EWP 190 is a college composition course will help you make the transition from the kinds of writing you did in high school to the kinds of writing expected of you in college and beyond. Writing is linked to reading and critical thinking so those are skills that will be emphasized as well.

In this course, you will be expected to give your peers feedback on their writing and do some collaborative projects. You will sometimes be required to read your writing aloud. The curriculum includes an oral presentation.

As the name of the course suggests, our topic of inquiry will be environmental issues. Over the semester, we’ll be reading a range of essays that explore environmental issues from both a scientific and cultural perspective. We’ll be writing about our connection to nature and our connection to place.


On a practical note, here are two things you might want to do before classes actually start:

1) Go buy your books. (Click on "books" on the sidebar.) Bookstores never carry enough copies, so you will want to beat your classmates to the shelves. If you're ordering books online, you need to do it before the semester begins.

2) Read over everything on this website so that you can ask questions the first day of class. Oh, and you might want to go down into the basement of Centennial to locate the classroom so you don't get lost the first day.

To read before your first college class

Here are some articles to get you thinking about learning at the college level:

Close that Laptop in Class by Nate Kornell. From Psychology Today.

How should I communicate with professors? Youtube clip from the Experinence U Survival Guide created by the University of Prince Edward Island.

An Open Letter to Incoming Freshmen. By John Warner. Inside Higher Ed.

Bridge. A webcomic from XKCD.

This Water. By David Foster Wallace. Commencement Speech. Kenyon College, 2005.

Productivity Myths. By Alan Henry.

The writing we'll do

Process Skills
During this course, you will: 
Analyze the audience for something you are writing.
Analyze the purpose of a text and how that shapes what you write.
Learn how writing can be a way of learning.
Brainstorm for ideas, choose a focus, formulate a thesis.
Develop ideas, research ideas, use supporting details.
Consider different ways of organizing your ideas.
Revise your writing, using feedback from peers and multiple drafts.
Collaborate with your peers.
Plan, develop, and deliver an oral presentation.
Evaluate the writing of your peers as well as your own

I will give you each a manila folder. You are expected to keep all your work, both formal and informal writing, in this folder. You will be handing the portfolio in at the end of each unit to be graded.

Informal Writing
Informal writing includes the writing we do in class, as well as the short papers that you see on the assignment schedule. The word “informal” means that I recognize that these papers are first drafts. We’ll be using informal writing to respond to texts, ask questions, analyze issues, explore topics, and synthesize ideas. You will be sharing the short papers with your peers so you should think of them as a way to add to our on-going discussion about environmental issues. The short papers will also be a way of gathering ideas and brainstorming for topics for your formal papers. Short papers are due in class. You may not send them in with a classmate or email them to me. If you miss class, then you miss the chance to hand in that short paper.

Peer Review
Throughout the semester, you will be reading and responding to each other’s writing. We’ll be using principles from the book Beat Not the Poor Desk by Ponsot and Deen. Giving other students feedback is not simply a way to help out or evaluate your peers, but also an important way for you to learn to edit your own writing. I expect you to take this process seriously.

Formal Papers
When I grade the formal papers, I will be looking for a clear thesis, a logical organization, strong supporting ideas, fully developed paragraphs that include specific details, smooth transitions, a clear and concise writing style, and an introduction that puts your topic in a larger context. I will look for evidence that you’ve considered both purpose and audience. The final draft should be carefully revised and edited. All formal papers are due in class. I cannot accept papers sent over email. Please include the earlier drafts of your formal paper in your folder: mark clearly which is the final draft.

Social Media
In this course, we’ll be experimenting with twitter and other forms of social media as a way of enlarging the conversation beyond our classroom. Knowing how to use social media is not a prerequisite for the course, so don’t panic if you don’t have a twitter account. You’ll have one soon!


Unit One (first five weeks):
30% Informal writing: short papers, in-class writing, response pieces
60% A formal paper which will synthesize ideas from our readings
10% Class participation, which includes presenting ideas from your writing

Unit Two (middle five weeks):
30% Informal writing: short papers, in-class writing, response pieces
60% A formal paper which will include analysis of an environmental issue that you’ve researched
10% Class participation, which includes presenting ideas from your writing

Unit Three (last five weeks):
30% Informal writing: short papers, in-class writing, response pieces
60% A formal paper in which you will use elements of argument
10% Formal oral presentation

 I’ll be grading your portfolio after each of three units, using this rubric. If at any other time you would like to discuss your grade with me, make an appointment and bring your portfolio with you.


The anthology we'll be using for the class is:

The Future of Nature
Writing on a Human Ecology from Orion Magazine
Selected and Introduced by Barry Lopez
Milkweed Editions, 2007

You will need this book right away. It should be available at the Syracuse University bookstore in Schine and possibly at the ESF bookstore in Gateway.

The handbook used on the ESF campus is The Pocket Wadsworth Handbook, fifth edition by Kirsner and Mandell, published by Cengage Advantage Books.

If you prefer an online resource, you will want to bookmark the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab).

Official Policies and such

You are expected to attend all classes unless you are desperately sick. Most professors will understand if you miss one or two classes over the course of a whole semester, but you would be wise not to miss no more than that. If you are desperately sick and need to stay in bed, please talk to one of your classmates to find out what you missed. You may want to make arrangements with a classmate ahead of time to plan for this. Any student who misses more than two classes will be required to have a conference with the teacher.

Participating in class means more than merely showing up for class. It means coming to class awake, well-rested, and prepared. Please don’t check your cell phone for text messages during class: it’s distracting to other students and the teacher.

The Writing Center
The Writing Resource Center is located in 13 Moon Library. Peer tutors and graduate assistants are trained to work with you on all stages of your writing projects. This is a free resource available to support your writing. The Writing Center asks that you come prepared for your appointment by bringing your assignment, ideas, papers, and a specific area you would like to work on. Tutor hours will be posted the second week of classes. To make an appointment, visit their online scheduling system. Tutors can meet with you for 30- or 60-minute one-on-one sessions and are available for drop-in hours. Time slots fill quickly, especially during peak times in the semester.

Plagiarism is a serious offense and will be treated as such on the ESF campus. The Council of Writing Program Administrators offers this definition for plagiarism: In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common‐knowledge) material without acknowledging its source.

A failure to acknowledge and properly cite your sources can look like plagiarism. It's best to avoid that situation. It’s essential for you to think about your sources, evaluate whether or not the sources are credible, and document where you are getting your information from at every step of the process. We need to keep reminding each other about this and figure out ways to give credit even while we're experimenting with new ways of writing.

Academic Integrity
SUNY ESF’s Academic Integrity Policy holds students accountable for the integrity of the work they submit. Students should be familiar with the Policy and know that it is their responsibility to learn about expectations with regard to proper citation of sources in written work. Serious sanctions can result from academic dishonesty. Further details are available in the handbook. 

Academic Accommodations
Students wishing to utilize academic accommodations due to a diagnosed disability of any kind must present an Academic Accommodations Authorization Letter generated by Syracuse University’s Office of Disability Services. If you currently have an Authorization Letter, please present this to your teachers as soon as possible so that they may assist with the establishment of your accommodations. Students who do not have a current Academic Accommodations Authorization Letter from Syracuse University’s Office of Disability Services cannot receive accommodations. If you do not currently have an Authorization Letter and feel you are eligible for accommodations, please contact the Office of Wellness and Support, 110 Bray Hall, (315) 470-6660 or wellness@esf.edu as soon as possible.

Learning Outcomes for EWP 190 established by the Writing Program: 
Students will demonstrate the ability to: 
Write and support an argument that demonstrates skills of analysis.
Enact basic research strategies and methodologies that reflect an ability to evaluate and integrate a range of sources in writing.
Read, analyze, and interpret challenging and complex texts.
Engage in a writing process (inventing, drafting, revising, editing, reflecting) that includes revision and feedback from both peers and instructors.
Prepare, present, and evaluate an oral presentation.

Process Skills for First Year Students

Writing is a process you will be working on in almost all your classes. The First Year Experince Team developed this list of process skills to show you the overlap amongst your courses and your learning outside the classroom as well. 

Observation and description
Writing: Students will develop skills of observation and learn to write with precise and accurate detail. Chemistry: Students will detail the experimental outcomes in the chemistry laboratory.
Biology: Students will practice the craft of technical writing by completing lab reports and other essential projects.

Recording information 
Writing: Students will use writing to thoughtfully record information.
Chemistry: Students will learn to record objective and descriptive experimental notes.
Biology: Students will learn to take accurate and precise field, lab, and lecture notes.
Student Life: Students will record and reflect on the growth and learning experienced through various student life related activities such as service projects and the LC freshmen Retreat.

Raising meaningful questions
Writing: Students will brainstorm topics and engage in academic inquiry.
Chemistry: Students will brainstorm topics and engage in academic inquiry.
Biology: Students will hone their skills in displaying their comprehension, integration and synthesis of lecture/lab material and concepts.
Student Life: Students will learn to raise meaningful questions in a respectful way at required floor programs, residence hall meetings, workshops and community service events.

Analysis and interpretation
Writing: Students will analyze texts. They will analyze the purpose and audience for their own writing projects.
Chemistry: Students will analyze obtained experimental data and make chemical interpretations based upon those analyses.
Biology: Students will demonstrate the skills of gathering, analyzing and interpreting field and laboratory data.
Student Life: Students will understand and showcase the impact their behavior has on the community in the residence hall setting via community meetings and through interactions with their resident advisor.

Writing: Students will organize ideas into a coherent essay.
Chemistry: Students will use a laboratory notes to synthesize meaningful laboratory reports.
Biology: Students will formulate appropriate responses in an organized manner to convey their understanding of key concepts from lecture and lab related activities.
Student Life: Students will understand the importance of organizing their thoughts and managing their time effectively through participation in academic support workshops.

Writing: Students will synthesize ideas from multiple sources and write a thesis statement.
Chemistry: Students will write a hypothesis.
Biology: Through laboratory and lecture assignments, students will form hypotheses and support their analysis.
Student Life: Students will learn from the diverse thoughts and experiences of their peers in various settings such as the residence hall environment to help expand and fine tune their own individual beliefs and ideologies.

Critical thinking
Writing: Students will develop critical and close reading practices.
Chemistry: Students will develop their chemical intuition so that they can intellectually question the media interpretation of chemistry specifically and science generally.
Biology: Students will learn to critically evaluate their own and others’ research data and interpretation. Student Life: Students will learn to think critically while examining the ideas of others that are presented during floor programs and community service projects.

Writing: Students will work together in the writing process while reviewing and editing peer essays and reflections.
Chemistry: Students will work in teams in and out of class to study, create understanding and to refine ideas.
Biology: Students will work collaboratively to design and implement experiments.
Student Life: Students will negotiate with their peers to share common living spaces, skills that will be stressed during the LC Retreat and Mentoring Program.

Writing as Learning
Writing: Students will see writing as a way of learning, rather than simply a vehicle for communication disciplinary knowledge.
Chemistry: Students will write laboratory reports via the aggregation of organization, interpretation, and analysis skills.
Biology: Through completion of laboratory reports, students will understand the usage of writing as a way to showcase their knowledge and understand of biology related concepts.
Student Life: Students will use writing as a vessel to communicate their reflections relative to service learning/community outreach experiences.

Oral presentation skills
Writing: Students will plan, develop, and deliver an oral presentation.
Chemistry: Students will create a video of work related to both class and one or two of the class readings.
Biology: Students will create and implement a presentation on the form and function of critical organ systems, based on information from laboratory and lecture related activities.

Writing: Students will learn techniques like brainstorming and freewriting to improve their writing process. They will learn editing and proofreading techniques.
Chemistry: Students will develop experimental laboratory procedures.
Biology: Students will develop proficiency in numerous field and laboratory biology techniques.

Study habits and study skills
Writing: Students will learn to work with multiple drafts. They will learn to edit, revise, and proofread. Chemistry: Students will learn how to study through working problems and refining definitions. Laboratory experiments will be intentionally created to reinforce classroom instruction.
Biology: Students will learn to re-write lecture notes, tables and outlines, reading text prior to lecture, completing end of chapter questions, and using textbook and internet websites to support the classroom instruction.
Student Life: By means of the academic support workshops, students will be introduced and gain an understanding, of appropriate and effective skills relative to time management, proper note taking and study tips, preparing for final exams, and managing anxiety and stress to mold a healthy and successful academic student lifestyle.

ESF Writing Resource Center -- now open for the semester

The ESF Writing Resource Center opens this week. You can make an appointment online or in person. The Center is located in the basement of Moon Library.

When you go to your appointment, bring a copy of your assignment and your rough draft. Peer tutors will help you with your writing.

The Writing Resource Center is free so you should definitely take advantage of it.