Syllabus Reflection* (Pre-Semester)
Bloom's Remembering: What did I do?
I designed this syllabus using a standard template I’ve been using for a couple of years in my last lecturing position plus the standards outlined in my new campus’ syllabus template. After reading various sample syllabi online, I especially liked the First Year Writing Program’s syllabus template from The University of Massachusetts Amherst. The titles of my essay assignments have changed, using language from UMass’ template. I think the phrasing pinpoints more closely what the student will do in their writing; I especially appreciate the “adding to a conversation” title (research paper), because it sums up exactly what a good research paper should do.
Essay #1 Inquiring into Self
Essay #2 Interacting with Text
Essay #3 Adding to a Conversation
Essay #4 Writer’s Reflection- Final Exam
Total: 100 %
My Comp II grading breakdown is also different than previous semesters:
Summary Response (In-Class Essay)
Essay #1 Interacting with Text
Rhetorical Analysis (In-Class Essay)
Essay #2 Adding to a Conversation
Digital Research Story
Essay #3 Writer’s Reflection- Final Exam
Total: 100 %
In order to leave some time to create a Digital Research Story, I limited the full-length essays to 3, but in addition to those 3, they will write 2 in-class essays: a summary response early in the semester to refresh them on that particular type of writing (because they will do that so much in this class), and an in-class rhetorical analysis. So much of Comp II is writing about what we read, so I needed to cut back on the amount of full-length essays to allow more time for teaching critical reading techniques.
Also, in both courses, I’ve assigned percentage values to certain aspects of the writing process:
- GENERATIVE WRITING (Brainstorming) to explore ideas and writing options (10%);
- an INITIAL DRAFT; (20%)
- a substantially REVISED DRAFT, based on feedback from self, peers, instructor, and others; (20%)
- a further REVISED AND COPY-EDITED FINAL DRAFT (25%);
- REFLECTION to help you identify effective processes and writing choices (25%).
Another change I made is inserting a link to a the course schedule within my syllabus, as well as links to assignment instructions.
Bloom's Understanding: What was important about what I did? Did I meet my goals?
It’s unclear, at this point, how much students will care about the percentage of the individual artifacts along the writing process, but it will certainly show up in their grade.I think that these grading percentage will help me achieve my overall goal for students to see writing as a recursive process because so much of our time in class is dedicated to the process. If students don’t follow the process they will fail or drop the class. Also, I purposely assigned a heavier weight to the last essay because I thought that paper requires more work and time (research), and students, at that point, should be more familiar with how the revision process works.
Bloom's Application: When did I do this before? Where could I use this again?
I have never assigned each revision a grade percentage, but in every writing class I’ve taught, I’ve dedicated the same amount of time to each essay and the revision process; this is just much more structured and consequential (for grading purposes). It will be interesting to see if there is any difference in student motivation.
Bloom's Analysis: Do I see any patterns or relationships in what I did?
While I’ve always valued the recursive process of writing, I’ve never given each step a graded percentage, so this action may be a good step for me to show students that the revision process has real weight on their grade and the level of quality in their essays.
*My reflections are inspired by Peter Pappas' blog, Copy/Paste.