Edmond Chang
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GIS 140 (D)
MTuWTh 9:30 AM-12:00PM
(LOW 112)
Early Fall Quarter 2006-07

Who is teaching the class?

Instructor: Edmond Chang
Office: TBA
Office Hours: W 12:30 - 1:30 PM or by appointment
Email: changed @

What are the course texts and materials?

• GIS 140 Course Reader (Chang). (required, picked it up the Ave Copy Center)
• Lunsford, Andrea A. The Everyday Writer. 2005. (required)
• a full-sized college-level dictionary (recommended) • course supplies (notebook, pens, paper, stapler, disk or memory stick) • a sturdy pocket folder to hold all of your work for your Portfolio • approximately $20 for making copies/printing
• an active UW email account (required)

What is GIS 140: Writing Ready?

Ursula K. Le Guin once wrote, “First sentences are doors to worlds.” In a manner of speaking, GIS 140 is the first sentence, the first words of your university experience. This class is a first step, a first look, and often a first in-depth exploration of your transition to college, of academic reading, writing, research, of campus resources, and of critical and scholarly thinking.

In this course, you will learn to become critically conscious of your specific relationship to and encounters with writing, reading, and learning. Through thinking about and reflecting on the the writing, reading, and analytical skills you bring to this class, you will learn to assess who you are as a writer, a nascent scholar and develop your skills to engage with and to perform more effectively in college writing courses like English 131, 121, or 111.

This course is divided into four sequences, one week per sequence. The first of the four sequences focuses on the concept of literacy and the nature of learning. You will explore these subjects critically and theoretically by reading studies and essays about the process of learning to read and write and see and know. You will also write your own literacy narrative or definition of literacy in which you reflect on your experiences with reading and writing. Furthermore, we will push the definition of literacy beyond just a knowledge of letters to include multiple literacies and multiple ways of knowing and expressing.

The second and third sequences examine the challenges and strategies of learning. We will explore concepts of difficulty, conventions of ‘academic discourse’, reasons why people resist facing challenges, and ways for working through difficult learning tasks. At the same time, we will further develop writing habits, reading lenses, and learning practices, including reading and responding to difficult texts, critiquing media, working in peer groups, conducting research, and using campus resources.

Finally, the fourth sequence asks you to look back at the whole quarter and reconsider your literacy narrative and ways and means your writing, reading, and learning have changed. You will be asked to put together a portfolio of all of your work and to submit a culminating prospective essay in which you discuss the challenges you will face as a college writer, how you expect to meet them, and how you will further develop your new set of skills, strategies, and theories.

GIS 140 promises a fast-paced, compressed quarter of writing, reading, discussion, research, asking questions, more writing, revision, more reading, more discussion, critical thinking, analysis, fun, and even more writing and revision. We will engage texts small and large, everyday and theoretical. This particular incarnation of GIS 140 also promises a healthy inclusion of popular culture, cultural studies, politics, gender studies, new media, and experiential learning. By the end of the quarter, the hope of this course is that you realize that learning and knowledge and experience are more than just rubrics, rote, numbers, syllabuses, tests, grades, and graduation requirements—that learning and knowledge are fundamentally interconnected, intertextual, personal, political, cultural, and mutually enhancing.

What do I need to do to get the most out of the class?

Improving your writing requires working simultaneously on different skills in different ways. This course combines several different activities and exercises to teach, improve, and illuminate the reading, thinking, and writing process. This course will include the following:

Participation: A classroom is a community. Both classroom and community provide support, safety, shared resources, conversation, and interaction. All students are expected to come to class prepared with readings and work done and to engage in the discussion and activities. Participation is important and you are encouraged to ask questions, create conversation, and respect one another. Negative class participation can hurt your grade. See the later section on grading.

Papers/Portfolio: Your main work in the course consists four sequences of papers. Each of the sequences is made up of three to five short assignments and one longer, major paper. Each assignment in a sequence is designed to build one upon the other and must be done in the order specified and turned in on time. In order to pass this class, you must have a complete portfolio. See the later section on grading.

Peer Review/Workshopping: Working in groups is one vital skill that this course hopes to foster. Collaborative learning and collaborative teaching add interest and investment in any classroom. Peer reviews, workshopping assignments, and general group work will help you brainstorm, learn and teach concepts, analyze examples, and develop the basic skills required to constructively critique other students’ work.

Class Blog: Beyond the formal written assignments, you will participate in the class web log. Please bookmark the blog address, check the site regularly, and feel free to comment and post regularly. The class blog will be used for announcements, assignment reminders, updates to the syllabus, as well as questions, inquiries, provocations, and an extension of in-class discussion. Blog commenting and posting will be taken into account in evaluating class participation. See the class blog for details on blog etiquette and rules of engagement.

Do I have to come to every class?

Attendance is strongly recommended. If you miss a class, you miss the explanation of an assignment, the clarification of a persuasive strategy, an in-class exercise, the chance to have your draft critiqued, an opportunity to help someone else improve, and overall the class as a learning community. Because the course is only four short weeks, each class will cover a significant amount of material. It is in your best interests to come to class. Also, you are expected to be in class on time. Class will start immediately at the appointed time. In the first minutes of class I may make important announcements, establish the agenda for the class meeting, begin immediately with an important lesson, or field questions. Therefore, it is particularly important for you to arrive on time. If you come in after I start class, even by only a few minutes, you are late and I will mark you as such.

Chronic or conspicuous attendance problems will negatively affect your class participation grade. If you know you are going to miss class, please let me know ahead of time (via email), provide any pertinent documentation, and we will make any necessary arrangements. And when you do miss class, always find another student to get class notes and see me in order to make up missed work in a timely manner. If you miss a great deal of the quarter, you are recommended strongly to take the course during a quarter in which you can more easily attend class.

What do I need to get an ‘A’ in this class?

Your grade should not be the sole exigence or motivation for this class. It is the hope of the course that you walk away from English 131 with something more. Find some pleasure and some edification and some knowledge from this class (or any class really) and success is usually not far behind. With that in mind, your grade will be a reflection of improvement, engagement, and effort. Your grade is made up of two parts: your writing portfolio and class participation.

Portfolio (60%)

In this course, you will complete four assignment sequences. Each assignment sequence requires you to complete a variety of shorter assignments leading up to a major paper. Each sequence’s major paper is worth 15% of your total portfolio grade. All of the preparatory work leading up to each major paper must be completed to receive full credit for the sequence. At the end of the quarter, you will be asked to compile and submit a portfolio of all your work, including all short in-class and out-of-class papers as well as the four major papers for each sequence. In addition, the portfolio will need to include all of the sequence-related work you were assigned during the four weeks. A portfolio that does not include all the above will be considered incomplete.

Participation (40%)

Participation forms a large component of your final grade. Reading and commenting on the work of your peers, discussing ideas, and engaging with the classroom community are all important parts of this course. You can see why it is essential that you attend class and participate. For example, class discussion, group activities, oral presentations, and peer-review sessions cannot be made up. Missing class may seriously compromise your ability to do well in this class. Again, negative participation will hurt your participation grade.

Participation is determined by 1) your respectful presence in class, 2) your willingness to discuss, comment, and ask questions, 3) your overall preparedness and completed work, 4) your engagement in group work and peer workshops, 5) your use of the class blog, 6) and your interactions with me and the writing consultants. In addition, failure to turn in homework, incomplete assignments, or late papers will negatively impact your participation grade.

Evaluation Rubric

The following is a general guideline, a grading rubric, to keep in mind for each of your graded assignments and your participation grade. The focus of assessment will be on how well you meet the goals of the assignment, on commenting on your performance, on evaluating rhetorical success, on steady progress and improvement over time, and most importantly, critical engagement and revision. Practice makes perfect, after all. Over the course of the quarter, assignments will receive feedback and comments that will identify what you are doing well and what still needs improvement. Only major assignments will receive a numeric grade. Consider the following evaluation rubric as signposts or a kind of legend to your progress:

• Outstanding (3.7-4.0): Offers a very highly proficient, even memorable demonstration of skill, thought, attention to detail, satisfaction of requirements and course goals, including some appropriate risk-taking and/or creativity.
• Strong (3.1-3.6): Offers a proficient demonstration of course requirements and goals, which could be further enhanced with further detail, organization, and revision.
• Good (2.5-3.0): Effectively demonstrates the course requirements and goals, but less proficiently; could use revision to demonstrate more skillful and nuanced command of skills, detail, and material.
• Acceptable (2.0-2.4): Minimally meets the basic requirements and goals of the course, but the demonstrated skills and performance are not fully realized or well-controlled and would benefit from significant change or revision.
• Inadequate (1.0-1.9): Does not meet the course requirements or goals; understanding of the assignment is not adequately demonstrated and requires substantial change or revision on multiple levels.

What do I do if I need to turn in an assignment late?

All assignments must be done completely and turned in on time. Lateness will subtract from your overall class participation and work must be turned in by the next class meeting after the original due date. Note that I will not comment on late work. However, you still need to complete late work and include it in your portfolio, as your portfolio must be complete in order for you to pass the course. If you miss class on the due date of a paper, you must notify me and make arrangements to get the paper to me as soon as possible. Unless previously arranged, I do not accept assignments via email. Furthermore, all work must be seen and checked by my to be eligible for your portfolio! Remember that a paper has not been officially handed in until it is in my hands. Never turning anything in late is always the best policy.

What do the assignments look like?

All papers must be typed or produced on a word processor. Word processing is preferable because it makes the mechanics of revision—-rearranging, adding, and deleting—-easy. If you do not have your own computer with word processing capability, computer labs are available on campus with a variety of software that is easy to learn.

All papers should be submitted with the following manuscript guidelines:

1) 1” margins top, bottom, left, and right on each page;
2) Double-spaced for formal papers and single-spaced for short response papers, using a standard font (preferably Times Roman), using a font size no larger than 12 pt;
3) Number all pages except for the first page; title page does not count;
4) Stapled once at the top left corner (do not use fancy report covers or binding gadgetry);
5) At the top of the first page, include your name, your course section, my name, date, and title; major papers will require this information to be on a separate title page;
6) Correct MLA citations and bibliography (later assignments require annotations); papers with fundamental citation problems will not receive credit;
7) Include any exercises or additional material required by the assignment.

Papers that do not follow these format guidelines will not be accepted. They will be returned unread to you. Papers will be regarded as late until they are resubmitted in the proper format.

Always make a backup copy of every paper you turn in, lest you be one of the unhappy people whose paper is eaten by the computer. You may even want to take the precaution of e-mailing your paper to yourself as an attachment at least a couple of times during the drafting process and certainly BEFORE you exit the document for the last time and leave the computer lab, your friend’s computer, or even your own computer. This way, even if you lose your disc or your paper gets mysteriously erased, you still have a copy in your e-mail files.

Where can I find help?

My office and office hours are listed at the front of the course policies. I am available during that time and by appointment to help you. I encourage you to come see early in the quarter even if it is just to talk about the class, about the assignments, or about school in general. I may ask you to meet with me when I think a conference would be useful.

Please also use the course reflector list or the class blog to solicit help from me and your peers. Further resources, both on- and off-campus can be found on the Links page of the course website:

You can find additional writing help at the GIS writing consultants provided specifically to help this course (more details will be handed out in class). You will also have access to the Odegaard Writing and Research Center (again more details forthcoming).

Finally, the Center for Learning and Undergraduate Enrichment (CLUE) is also a good resource for this class and your other classes. CLUE is located in Mary Gates Hall Commons and is open this summer Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday from 6 PM to 9 PM. It offers tutorial sessions for most freshman lecture courses, skills courses, access to computer labs, and drop-in centers for math, science and writing. They can help you one-to-one with paper planning, structure, revision and grammar. You do not need to make an appointment.


If you have a registered disability that will require accommodation, please see me immediately. If you have a disability and have not yet registered it with Disability Resources for Students in 448 Schmitz Hall, you should do so immediately. Please contact DRS at 206-543-8924 (Voice) or 206-543-8925 (V/TTY) or 206-616-8379 (FAX) or via their website. I will gladly do my best to provide appropriate accommodation you require.

Academic Dishonesty

Plagiarism, or academic dishonesty, is presenting someone else’s ideas or writing as your own. In your writing for this class, you are encouraged to refer to other people’s thoughts and writing -- as long as you cite them. Many students do not have a clear understanding of what constitutes plagiarism, so feel free to ask questions about these matters at any time. Plagiarism includes:

• a student failing to cite sources of ideas
• a student failing to cite sources of paraphrased material
• a student failing to site sources of specific language and/or passages
• a student submitting someone else’s work as his or her own
• a student submitting his or her own work produced for another class

If you have any doubt about how to cite or acknowledge another’s writing, please talk to me. It is always better to be safe than sorry. As a matter of policy, any student found to have plagiarized any piece of writing in this class will be immediately reported to the College of Arts and Sciences for review. Please refer to UW’s Student Conduct Code for further information.


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