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JOURNALS FOR E301 ADVANCED COLLEGE WRITING, CSU FULLERTON SPRING 2013 (2/07/13)
What's the basic assignment? This is a more or less informal assignment: write down your thoughts about material you are currently reading for this or other classes, or on your own beyond class, with regard both to its style and (to a lesser extent) its content. Two separate journal sets will be due by email. You should write approximately one single-spaced page per week, beginning with Week 2. So the first bundled journal set, which will be due over the weekend of Week 7 (Sunday, March 17), should consist of around 6 single-spaced pages with a common typeface and point size. The second set will be due on exam day (Tuesday, May 21), and it should be approximately 8 single-spaced pages (since one of those weeks is spring recess and there's no need to count that one). When I say "bundled," I mean that the first six-page set should be emailed as one Word or similar document, not a bunch of separate files for each entry. The same is true for the second set due on exam day.
What is the point of the assignment? The point is that it's a good idea to keep a running journal about writing itself. One way to improve your skills is to think of yourself as a writer and as an appraiser of other people's writing; that's somewhat different from just considering yourself a retail consumer of information. In your journal, it isn't just what is said, it's how it's said that should concern you: how effective is a given piece of writing? Why does it seem to you well done or not well done? We live in an age where instant communication seems to be the imperative when it comes to the written word. Twitterâ„¢ is king, and even e-mail seems almost Jurassic these days. Such developments may be good in some ways, but not so good when it comes to the quality of our writing. It takes a bit of effort and concentration to think about style and effectiveness of rhetoric, but the payoff should be that you'll feel more "in command" of your writing, whether you're writing to express yourself, explain something, or convince others to take some course of action.
How to do well on this requirement: I will not mark journal sets down unless they are late (maximum grade = B), incomplete, or so brief and derivative as to suggest evasion of intellectual labor: they should consist of honest responses to the assigned readings or to material you are currently reading, not quotation of texts without further comment, and not pasted secondary material from Internet sources. Read the above instructions; complete entries as you go through the course, not at the last minute; send sets on time, making sure I verify receipt; respond thoughtfully. Use your own words and refer to your texts' specific language. (The two sets combined make up 25% of the course grade.)