Expository Writing


English 203

Section B


Fall, 2007


1-1:50 pm



Dr. Chidsey Dickson

Office: Carnegie 222

544-8110 dickson_c@lynchburg.edu

Office Hours: M&W 10-10:45am (in library foyer) and 2-3pm (Carnegie 222).



Required Materials


The Beauty of the Beastly. Natalie Angier

Dancing in The Streets: A History of Collective Joy. Barbara Ehrenreich

Eye For an Eye. William Ian Miller.

Resource Packet (handout)

A folder for keeping all works-in-progress

A notebook for taking notes (bring to every class, along with a pen or pencil)

2 highlighters (different colors)


Course Description


This course is a collaborative investigation into the craft of expository writing. You will read a lot—increasingly challenging  examples of expository writing. You will highlight sections of what you read as follows:


·        YELLOW: interesting stylistic features (tropes, metaphors, syntax, etc)

·        GREEN: provocative “moves” and “weaves” (summary, transition, claim, qualification, etc)


You will underline vocabulary words new to you and create a glossary at the beginning or end of the book. You will also “gloss” (= annotate, writes notes about) the sections you highlighted (see examples in the Resource).


It goes without saying, since this is a sophomore-level writing course, that you will write a lot. Small assignments (mini-writes and flash-writes) will build to larger assignments. You will learn to give and make use of feedback. At the end of the semester, you will learn some photoshop skills and produce a zine to share with the campus. After a semester of reading and writing, your prose skills will have improved. To what degree is up to you—why do you want to improve your writing? If you don’t know the answer to that question, it’s going to be a long semester.


Course Objectives


By the end of the semester, students will demonstrate

·         greater facility in recognizing what a writer is doing and applying it to their own writing

·         greater awareness of the mechanics of prose style (tropes, schemes, figures, sentence construction, moves, weaves)

·         greater flexibility in how they discover and develop ideas




Participation (highlighting&glossing, discussion, pop quizzes, mini-writes, peer response)










Final Semester Reflection (2 pages)




To get an A in the class you:

To get a B, you will generally need to meet the criteria of an A, but with some inconsistencies—or, you do all the work but the writing does not meet the departmental standards. The “inconsistency” could happen in any area, but generally it shows up as not being prepared for every class (not having the reading done, not handing in assignments on time), writing projects that don't meet all the assignment criteria, sporadic participation in class, or attendance or tardiness problems. The key here is that you are generally meeting the criteria for an A, but occasionally or in a particular area you are not.

To get a C, one or two inconsistencies become a norm rather than an exception. So, you could be working hard and learning  a lot—improving your writing abilities—but your writing that continually misses the mark (doesn’t respond fully to the assignment description), or you show little to no participation in class discussions, your is routinely late, so on.

Consistently failing to meet the criteria to receive any of these grades will result in a D or a failing grade.

Attendance/Class Behavior





Behavioral Standards for Learning Environments

(excerpted from the Hornet)

The values and attitudes that should guide student behavior consistent with maintaining an environment conducive to learning are set forth in the Lynchburg College catalogue and The Hornet. Responsibility and authority for maintaining order in the learning environment are assigned to faculty in Section 3.12.3 of the Faculty Handbook.

The following standards and procedures apply to all learning environments. However, each School and each instructor may have codes to specify additional standards suitable for learning environments or activities.

No student in Lynchburg College classes, laboratories, performances, lectures, and/or organizations shall behave in any way that obstructs or disrupts the normal functioning of the environment. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to, behaviors that persistently or grossly (1) inhibit the ability of other students to learn; (2) interfere with the meaningful participation of other students; or (3) inhibit the ability of an instructor or presenter to do his/her job. Specifically, students should foster an optimal learning environment by doing the following:


Missed Classes


Due to sickness, athletic events, family problems, etc., you will probably miss one or two classes during the semester. There’s no need to notify me if that’s all you miss. It is your responsibility, though, to have contact information for another person in the class (email and phone number) so that if you do miss a class you can find out what you missed, possible changes to the syllabus, etc.. More than three unexcused absences results in a drop in your semester grade by ½ letter grade.


Picking Up Work After an Absence


Some of my response to your writing will occur online, but you will occasionally turn in hard copies. If you are absent on the day I return a hardcopy of your work, you can pick it up later outside my office door in a cardboard box marked “ENGLISH 111 Dr. Dickson.” If you leave your work there for weeks and weeks, it will indicate to me a lack of interest in improving your work (see “Participation Grade”).


Class Preparedness and Late Assignments


Late assignments are penalized a half a letter grade for every day they are late. My feedback to your work will be prompt if it is turned in on time, but if you turn something in late, I cannot promise that I will have time to turn your work around as quickly. It may be 4-7 days before I have time to respond.




Plagiarism is a serious act of intellectual theft and will not be tolerated. All language and ideas you deploy in formal projects that you derive from sources must be credited. We will discuss the MLA guidelines for incorporating and documenting sources. As far as CW posts go, you are on your honor not to read your peers’ posts and merely paraphrase what they say. If I see that this is a problem, I will speak to you individually. If the problem is not addressed, I may choose to turn off your ability to see your peers’ posts, which disrupts part of the point of the electronic forum: seeing what others have to say.


What to Bring to Class (this is part of your “Participation Grade”)



*Occasionally, I will take up your books and check them to see that you are doing the highlighting and glossing.


Writing Center (Hopwood 04)


All writers can benefit from discussing their work with another interested writer; hence, the individual attention provided by the Writing Center tutors is a helpful resource for all students in ENGL 111-112.  You should decide at what point in your writing process discussion with a tutor would be most helpful: 

-          invention and focusing your document in the early stages

-          developing and organizing ideas in the rough draft

-          integrating and documenting sources (when applicable)

-          editing and proofreading before a final draft

You may like to visit the Writing Center more than once per assignment as your purpose changes at various points in the writing process, but a requirement of this course is that you make at least two visits to the Writing Center.  To avoid being blocked out of the Writing Center, make the appointments well in advance.  Afterwards, the tutor will send me an email form, which outlines the main points of your discussion.  This is how I know you have gone. This is worth 5% of your semester grade.


Teacher Licensure


This course is designed to assist students preparing to meet Virginia Department of Education, Teacher Licensure Competencies in English as follows: 


Competency 1: Understanding of the knowledge, skills, and process of English as defined in the Virginia Standards of Learning. (SOLS are 9.6-9.7; 10.7-10.9; 11.7-11.8 for ENGL 111; and all of these plus 9.8-9.9; 10.10-10.11; 11.9-11.10; 12.7-12.8 for ENGL 112).


Competency 3: Knowledge of grammar, usage, and mechanics and their integration in writing


Writing Projects: Overview


WP#1 Essay* on Scientific or Technical Knowledge

            Mini-Write** 1-A

Mini-Write 1-B

WP#2 Essay on Joyful Movement

Mini-Write 2-A

Mini-Write 2-B

WP#3 Essay on Strong Emotion

Mini-Write 3-A

Mini-Write 3-B

Mini-Write 3-C

WP#4 Zine (elaboration/remediation of one of the earlier  projects. Note: this can be a collaborative project)



**2 pages


Schedule of Assignments Fall 2007



Reading and Writing Assignments


Online Resources


M 27

Introduction to Course and Diagnostic Essay


W 29

BEAST Introduction and 3-49; quiz on technical terms (tropes, schemes, figures)

Rhetorica Silva: check out tropes, schemes and figures. Be ready to discuss what these concepts refer to and to give examples. Website here:


F 31

Mini-Write 1-A

[in class: Matt McCormick’s short film, “American Nutria”]

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/sentences.htm  [Whenever there are assignments from this online grammar source, your assignment is to read the information, note the examples, and then take the quiz. You will immediately  get the corrected answers. If you didn’t get 70% or better correct, it probably means you need to spend more time with this page and/or see  me]



BEAST 97-127, 177-196

You should print this document out. It contains some general guidelines about how to improve any writer’s prose and it has some good demonstrations of how to use semi-colons and commas to help articulate your ideas.



BEAST 131-174, 233-260


F 7

Mini-Write 1-B

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/fragments.htm  &






No class


F 14

Revision WP#1



JOY 1-76

Re-take one of the earlier quizzes from the online grammar that you did not do well in.


JOY 77-153

Re-take one of the earlier quizzes from the online grammar that you did not do well in.


Mini-Write 2-A



JOY 155-224

Re-take one of the earlier quizzes from the online grammar that you did not do well in.


JOY 225-304


F 28

Mini-Write 2-B







No class



Come with 2 questions!!



Revision WP#2



E4E ix-36



E4E 58-108



Holiday (over the break watch a movie about revenge)



Mini-Write 3-A



E4E 130-159



Mini-Write 3-B



E4E 168-202



Mini-Write 3-C






Come with 2 questions!!



F 2

Revision WP#3



Read 3-4 zines (in library)

Make a list of 3-4 design features and/or invention prompts that strike you as interesting



Meet in Computer Lab (workshop Photoshop)



Meet in Computer Lab (workshop Photoshop)



Proposal for WP#4



Expansion of earlier WP






Research/find  4-5 images  (put on P-drive or email to yourself)

Meet in Computer Lab (work on images)









Meet in Computer Lab



Meet in Computer Lab


F 30










F 7

Meet in Library For Zine Fair

Bring 5 copies of your Zine