Week 2

For Tues/Wed, September 2/3

Read "Reinhabiting Environmentalism" by Peter Sauer on page 5 of the anthology The Future of Nature. Then write Short Paper #2 -- a response to that essay. (For those of you who don't have your book yet, I did put a copy of it on reserve in Moon Library.) You should think of the short papers as a way of adding to the conversation we'll be having about the reading. Click here for more about short papers.

Read "Freewriting" by Peter Elbow.

If you don't have a twitter account, go to twitter.com and create one. You need to put at least your first name on the account so that we know who you are. Click here for more about twitter.

Some accounts to follow once you are on twitter:
Janine DeBaise @writingasjoe   (me)
Eustace B. Nifkin @follownifkin  (ESF's unofficial, legendary student)

If you want to bring laptops on Tuesday/Wednesday, we can spend the last ten minutes of class experimenting with twitter — and trading twitter handles so that we can follow each other.

Note: If you are using your twitter account for class, it can't be a protected account.

For Thurs/Fri, September 4/5

Read "Beyond Hope" by Derrick Jensen, page 27.
Read "The Union Makes Them Strong" by Laura Paskus, page 32.
Write Short Paper #3

Also, go look at this comic from XKCD.

And if you don't know who Eustace B. Nifkin is, check out this blog post and this one.

Week One: Assignment for Wed/Thurs, Aug 27/28

Short Paper #1 is due.

Choose something that could be a symbol of your home community. Write a short essay (probably 400-500 words) in which you describe the symbol and explain how it represents your home community.

Your audience for this first paper are the other 20 people in the classroom. To cater to that audience, you will want to include interesting and specific details.

Most students can fit a "short paper" onto a single piece of paper by single-spacing between lines but double-spacing between paragraphs. Yes, you do need to type short papers.

I will warn you that I will be asking you to read this first short paper aloud.

You will also want to make sure you've bought the book The Future of Nature. In addition, click the link on the sidebar that says First Week Readings and check those links out. In fact, you should scroll through this blog and read everything. Then ask me if you have any questions.


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.

Your reading and writing assignments will posted on this blog so be sure to bookmark it.


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 soon so that you will get it on time.

2) Read over everything on this website so that you can ask questions the first day of class.

3) Finding the classroom: If you are in a Tues/Thurs section, our classroom is in the basement of Centennial and you might want to locate the classroom so you don't get lost the first day. If you don't live in the building, you can stop at the front desk and sign up for a key tab that will let you in the building. You will have to sign something promising that you won't sell the key on ebay. If you are in the MWF class, the classroom is in the basement of Moon Library.


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 or you can order it through the ESF bookstore in Gateway. You can also order the book online, but do it quickly so that you will get it soon.

The handbook used on the ESF campus is The Pocket Wadsworth Handbook, 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).

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.

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
SUNY-ESF works with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at Syracuse University, who is responsible for coordinating disability-related accommodations. Students can contact ODS at 804 University Avenue- Room 309, 315-443-4498 to schedule an appointment and discuss their needs and the process for requesting accommodations. Students may also contact the ESF Office of Student Affairs, 110 Bray Hall, 315-470-6660 for assistance with the process. To learn more about ODS, visit http://disabilityservices.syr.edu. Authorized accommodation forms must be in the instructor's possession one week prior to any anticipated accommodation. Since accommodations may require early planning and generally are not provided retroactively, please contact ODS 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.