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Englwrit 112, Section 108, Fall 2017

College Writing

University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • INSTRUCTOR: David Fleming
  • CLASS MEETINGS: TTh 1:00 - 2:15 pm, Hasbrouck 230
  • OFFICE: South College W351
  • OFFICE HOURS: W, Th 2:30 - 4:00 pm & gladly by appt.
  • PHONE: 545-2972 (o)
  • EMAIL:

  • Welcome to College Writing! Englwrit 112 is the only course that satisfies the University’s CW requirement. A fundamental part of the General Education program at UMass Amherst, this course emphasizes critical thinking and communication, consideration of plural perspectives, and self-reflection on one’s learning.

     Goals | Texts | Assignments | Community | Policies & Grades | Resources | Calendar


    More specifically, the purpose of College Writing is to help you grow and challenge yourself as a college writer—for academic assignments and for the diverse writing demands of your personal, professional, and civic lives. In this course, you’ll examine how writing is a communicative act that always occurs within a particular context, and you’ll gain practice writing for different purposes in multiple contexts.

    By writing, reading, and engaging in discussion in this course, you’ll improve your ability to

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    You are required to purchase the following texts for this course:

    How to order your books: You can purchase these books through the Amazon Course Materials tool; search for Englwrit 112 on SPIRE to get the direct links. If you search for the books online, look for them using the ISBN numbers to ensure that you’re getting the correct edition. All texts are also available on course reserve (print only) at the DuBois Library.

    Additional requirements: Please bring a notebook to class every day for generative writing and other in-class exercises. At least once during the semester, everyone’s essays will be collected into a class publication (e.g., booklet or digital form) for the class to read.

    Keep the EasyWriter: We encourage you to keep the Easy Writer during your entire undergraduate studies. This is a grammar and citation handbook which you’ll likely use for other courses. You may be required to purchase this same book for the required junior-year writing course in your major

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    College Writing has been designed on the belief that writing is a process and a social activity, that people learn to write by writing and giving/getting feedback, that writers can gain more control over their writing by cultivating an awareness of their own processes and strategies, and that texts written by students in this class community are therefore central to the course.

    Students in all sections of College Writing are required to write five essays (each c. 1,000-1,250 words); each will go through an extensive writing process, and each will introduce new challenges:

    Units 1-4 Portfolios. Each unit assignment requires that you engage in a rigorous writing process. For each unit, you’ll develop and submit a portfolio that includes the following:

    Each activity, including peer review, is meant to help you focus on specific aspects of your writing; you’ll get teacher feedback once during the drafting stage of Units 1-4. With certain assignments, we may devote more time to certain stages of the process, and at other times, we may move more quickly. At least once, we’ll experiment with publishing your text.

    To grow as writers, we all need to write, reflect, and write some more—thus, each part of the process is required, and unit grades will be based on the entire portfolio, not only the final version of essays. Be sure to save every piece of writing! For each unit, you’ll be given instructions on what to submit, how, and when.

    Unit 5 Portfolio. Unit 5 is a critical analysis of who you are as a writer and how your writing has developed in this course; portfolios for Units 1-4 and additional generative writing will serve as the basis for this essay.

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    Writing Community Membership

    Creating a community that enables us to grow as writers depends on each of us fulfilling our responsibilities, offering mutual respect, and being receptive readers of one another’s writing. Cell phones off, please. All students are expected to adhere to the University’s “Guidelines for Classroom Civility and Respect.”

    Names and Pronouns: Everyone has the right to be addressed and referred to by the name and pronouns that correspond to their gender identity, including the use of non-binary pronouns. Class rosters have a student’s legal first name, unless they have entered a preferred/chosen first name on SPIRE. Pronouns are not included on rosters, so you will be asked to indicate the pronouns you use for yourself whenever we share our names (you are not obligated to do so, though). A student’s chosen name and pronouns are to be respected at all times in the classroom.

    Essential learning in this course will happen as you engage in writing-related activities with peers. Performing well in writing community membership means actively and respectfully contributing to and seeking to learn from our class community. Note that participation can take a variety of forms: e.g., asking questions and giving comments during class discussion, taking notes on behalf of a small group, sharing perspectives in writing with peers.

    Writing community responsibilities include the following:

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    Class Policies & Grades

    Attendance Policy. Class activities are a major part of this course. You are expected to attend and be prepared for every class, including scheduled one-on-one conferences with me. The University recognizes that some absences are unavoidable and thus excused, e.g., due to religious observance or required participation in athletic events (see the policy here). However, if you cannot attend at least 80% (10 weeks) of class meetings—even if your absences are University-sanctioned—you should take College Writing in a different semester.

    Students who miss more than 20% – or 3 weeks – of class meetings (6 absences for TTh/MW classes, 9 absences for MWF classes) cannot pass the course. If you have extenuating circumstances that might affect your class attendance and/or if you might have University-sanctioned and unexcused absences, talk to me as soon as possible—ideally, during the first week of classes.

    You are responsible for the following if you miss a class: (1) to notify me in advance, (2) to find out from me how to make up the equivalent of missed work, and (3) to complete the make-up work by the original deadline. If you cannot give advance notice, talk to me as early as possible.

    For non-University sanctioned absences that add up to fewer than 3 weeks, these absences can impact your writing community membership grade in the ways listed below. Note: University-sanctioned, excused absences will not affect your writing community membership grade.

    1. If absences add up to 1 week of classes (for MWF schedule, 2-3 absences; for TTh/MW schedule, 2 absences), your writing community membership grade will drop one letter grade—i.e., you can earn no more than 9 out of 10% (equivalent to A-).
    2. If absences add up to 2 weeks of classes (for MWF schedule, 6 absences; for TTh/MW schedule, 4 absences), your writing community membership grade will drop two letter grades—i.e., you can earn no more than 8 out of 10% (equivalent to B-).
    3. If absences add up to 3 weeks of classes (for MWF schedule, 9 absences; for TTh/MW schedule, 6 absences), your writing community membership grade will drop three letter grades—i.e., you can earn no more than 7 out of 10% (equivalent to C-).

    Note that absences may also impact the quality and completeness of your unit portfolios–and thus, may affect the grade that you’ll earn for these portfolios.

    Academic Honesty Policy.  When using ideas, words, and short passages from other people’s writing in your own writing, you are required to acknowledge the source. Failure to acknowledge the contribution of others is considered plagiarism, a serious academic offense; fabrication of sources is another form of academic dishonesty. We’ll discuss the Writing Program’s Academic Honesty Policy later in the semester, but note that suspect papers (e.g., those without drafts or works cited pages, papers which make large departures in style from your other work) may be submitted to as part of the grading process. For more details, click here. And see the University’s policy here.

    Course Grade. Your final course grade for the semester will be based on the following breakdown:

    Unit Portfolios, 1-4 (units may not all be weighted exactly the same, i.e., 20% each)


    Unit 5: Writer's Statement


    Writing Community Membership




     Final grades will be based on the following numerical equivalents and general definitions:


    grade pt.























    *Note: Grades of B and above are considered honors grades. The grade of A is reserved for excellence.




































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    Office Hours. You’re welcome to come to my office hours any time you’d like to discuss questions or concerns related to this course. If you have a time conflict with those hours, just schedule an appointment with me – I’m happy to meet at other times.

    The Writing Center. As a UMass Amherst student, you have access to free one-on-one writing support from our Writing Center, located in the W E B. Du Bois Library. Trained tutors can work with you in 45-minute sessions to brainstorm, structure a piece of writing, learn strategies for copyediting, and more. All student writers—whether you love writing, struggle with writing, or both—are welcome. And remember that you can keep using the Writing Center throughout your studies at UMass. Make an appointment by clicking here, and bring your assignment, notes, and draft.

    The Writing Program. Englwrit 111 and 112 are offered by the university’s Writing Program. Let us know if you have questions: drop by 1323 W.E.B. Du Bois Library, call 413.545.0610, or email

    Best Text Contest & Student Writing Anthology. We encourage you to think about how your writing for this course can reach readers beyond this class. Submit your essays to the Writing Program’s annual Best Text Contest; instructors can also nominate student essays to be considered for selection in the annual Student Writing Anthology. More details can be found here.

    Office of Disability Services. The Writing Program is committed to making our courses accessible to all students. Students with disabilities are encouraged to register with the Office of Disability Services; at the start of the semester, do meet with me about tailoring accommodations identified by ODS to your work in this course.

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          Introduction to Course and Unit 1: Inquiring into Self
    1 Tu 09/05 First day of class; introduction to course and one another
      Th 09/07 Introduction to Unit 1: Inquiring into Self
    2 Tu 09/12 Initial Draft of Unit 1essay due
      Th 09/14  
    3 M 09/18 last day to add or drop the course with no record
      Tu 09/19 Revised Draft of Unit 1 essay due
      Th 09/21  
          Unit 2: Interacting with Texts back to top
    4 Tu 09/26 Unit 1 Portfolio due. Introduction to Unit 2: Interacting with Texts
      Th 09/28 Summary & response to 1st essay from Opening Conversations due
    5 Tu 10/03 Summary & response to 2nd essay from Opening Conversations due
      Th 10/05 CONFERENCES. Initial Draft of Unit 2 essay due
    6 Tu 10/10 NO CLASS: students follow Monday schedule
      Th 10/12 Revised Draft of Unit 2 essay due
           Unit 3: Adding to a Conversation back to top
    7 Tu 10/17 Unit 2 Portfolio due. Introduction to Unit 3: Adding to a Conversation
      Th 10/19 mid-semester: last day to drop with a "W"
    8 Tu 10/24 Research question due
      Th 10/26 Initial Draft of Annotated Bibliography due
    9 Tu 10/31 Initial Draft of Unit 3 essay & Revised Draft of Annotated Bibliography due
      Th 11/02  
    10 Tu 11/07 Revised Draft of Unit 3 essay due
      Th 11/09  
          Unit 4: TBA (To Be Announced) back to top
    11 Tu 11/14 Unit 3 Portfolio due. Introduction to Unit 4: TBA
      Th 11/16  
    12 11/18 - 26 NO CLASS: Thanksgiving Break
    13 Tu 11/28 Initial Draft of Unit 4 essay due
      Th 11/30  
    14 Tu 12/05 Revised Draft of Unit 4 essay due
          Unit 5: Writer's Statement
      Th 12/07 Unit 4 Portfolio due. Introduction to Unit 5: Writer's Statement
    15 Tu 12/12 last day of class; Initial Draft of Unit 5 essay due
      12/14 - 20 Exam period: Final version of Unit 5 essay due

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