English 002 – Section 25

Freshman Writing Seminar – Love and Sexuality

Spring 2018

MW 3:00 – 4:15 pm

Eaton 203


Professor Bryn Gravitt

Offices: East Hall 308

Office Hours: MW 1:45 – 2:45 pm (before class)

E-mail: bryn.gravitt@tufts.edu

Course Description: In this Freshman Writing Seminar, we will examine the concepts of “love and sexuality.” How do others define love, and how might you define this seemingly universal concept for yourself? What does sexuality have to do with it, and where do the two overlap or intersect? What other intersections might we find when we take these two as our subject (gender, race, class)? These questions and others like them will start our conversations and spark ideas for your writing assignments.

The goal of this course is to help you develop your own process for writing persuasive and perceptive college-level essays. It will also emphasize verbal communication through active participation in class discussion and individual and group presentations, as well as the critical thinking that is necessary to write persuasively. Regardless of your academic field, it is important that you learn to hone these communication skills as your professors (and future employers) will expect you to be able to write and speak clearly and effectively. We will read a variety of texts as inspiration for critical thinking and analysis – crucial components of writing persuasively – and focus on improving your individual writing process, from brainstorming ideas through composition and revision. While we are taking “love and sexuality” as our theme, I want to emphasize that the focus of the course is on the writing process.

Required Texts:        A Pocket Style Manual, Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers

Fun Home, Alison Bechdel

PDF Readings on Trunk (you must print these out yourselves)

You can purchase both of the required texts at the Tufts Bookstore. You can also purchase Fun Home at most book and comics book stores.

**Though I am not assigning readings from A Pocket Style Manual, I will hold you accountable for having access to a style guide (i.e. there’s no excuse for not getting MLA format correct). If you have one from English 1, that will be perfect. You may also use a reliable internet guide like Purdue Owl**

Attendance: Everyone is required to attend both classes and workshops. Please be on time, having read the day’s assigned material, and ready to participate. You are allotted two absences, but after this I will lower your grade by one step after each absence (for example, if you earned a B+ and have three absences, your grade will be lowered to a B). If you are consistently tardy (more than 5 minutes late on multiple occasions) you will earn an additional absence. English department policy requires you must attend the first two classes in order to retain your place in the class.

Participation: You will be expected to vocally participate daily in class discussion. Since these classes are small, out of respect for me and your peers, it is vital that you come prepared to class and ready to contribute. It is your chance to practice being a critical audience. The types of things we like and dislike in the readings are the same things to look for in your own writing! Please also make sure you bring the day’s reading (book, essay, etc.) with you to class; if it is from Trunk print it first.

Office Hours: Feel free to come speak to me during my office hours at any time during the semester. Please try and schedule at least one conference over the course of the semester, preferably before Spring Break so that we can discuss any questions or concerns you have about the class.

Blog Posts: You are required to post ten responses to the class blog. The blog posts will coincide with the days that individual class members will lead discussion, so I ask that you post your responses to the readings by 2pm on the previous day. So, if you have a post due on Wednesday, please post it by Tuesday at 2pm. These posts should be 250-300 words each and have a relevant title. Try to focus on one thing that interests you in the reading, and develop some ideas that you can use in class discussion.

Link to class blog: https://sites.tufts.edu/loveandsexuality/

Writing Assignments: Over the course of the semester you will be responsible for four formal writing assignments plus a final portfolio. For every day a paper is late, I will drop your grade one step (an A- to a B+, for example). In addition to handing in hard copies of your papers in class, you will also be required to upload them electronically to Trunk before the class period in which the paper is due. Upload your papers under the appropriate Assignment tab. 

Workshops: We will workshop drafts of most of your papers together as a class or in smaller groups. Not bringing a draft of your paper to class on workshop day constitutes an absence and will count toward your allotment. We will also workshop your thesis statements as a class. While I will read and comment on all thesis statements, you will sign up for one paper where your thesis statement will be workshopped in class. This will count toward your participation grade.


Participation –

Blog Posts:                               5%

In-class participation:              5%

Discussion leading:                  5%

Group Project –                                  10%

Writing Assignments –

Essay #1:                                 5%

Essay #2:                                 10%

Essay #3:                                 15%

Essay #4:                                 20% (Annotated Bibliography is 5% of this grade)

Final Portfolio –

                        First Revision                          10%

Second Revision                      10%

Cover Letter                            5%

Total   100%  

Final Portfolios: Your final portfolios will consist of revisions of two previous papers, their initial drafts with my comments, and a cover letter detailing the changes you made. We will talk more about this in class.                  

Leading Discussion: Each of you will be required to sign up for one class period in which you will lead discussion for the first half of class. I will pass out a sign up sheet to choose your day. It will be up to you to come up with discussion questions and activities based on the assigned reading for that day. If you have any questions feel free to come to my office hours to chat or e-mail me. It would behoove you to use your peer’s responses on the blog to come up with themes or common talking points (this is why they need to be posted ahead of time). You can have handouts or a powerpoint presentation, but you don’t have to. It’s up to you! Please be kind to your classmates: if you participate on other discussion days, your peers will be more inclined to return the favor.

Discussion Guidelines: We will come up with these together the first day of class.

Trunk: You can find most things that you will need for this course on the Trunk site. You should already have access to it when you log into Trunk: https://trunk.tufts.edu. Daily readings can be found under Resources and you can also access a copy of the syllabus and writing assignments. You are required to upload digital copies of your papers to the requisite Assignments tab. I will also post a link to the blog on the front page.

Writing Center: As a supplement to this class, I encourage every student to make use of the Tufts Academic Resource Center (ARC) at 720 Dowling Hall. Trained writing consultants will help you develop your thesis, organize your papers, and streamline your writing. It is extremely helpful! If at any time you feel you need more feedback, sign up for a session through SIS and TutorFinder online.   *I am also a Writing Consultant at the ARC. Please do not sign up for my sessions; this is a  conflict of interest*

Academic Integrity: Plagiarism obviously isn’t tolerated in any form at Tufts. We will go over exactly what constitutes plagiarism in class. Don’t worry, though: if you are being honest and doing your own work, there shouldn’t be any problem. I do reserve the right to check a paper on TurnItIn.com if I suspect plagiarism, but this most likely will not be a regular practice.