English 1SC, Applied Intermediate Composition for the Sciences
The following is a syllabus for a class offered at the University
of California, Riverside.
Instructor : P. Aaron Potter
Course Description :
College level readers and writers are responsible for digesting and presenting
a broad range of material, in a variety of formats. This statement is as
true, or more so, for students of the sciences as it is for students of the
humanities. This is a writing course designed for students majoring in the
sciences : as such, it is committed to the principle that the skills which
go into good composition -- careful observation, critical evaluation, clear
organization and accurate representation -- are also necessary for success
in the sciences. As scientists, you will be responsible for the effective
presentation of material in your field, whether that entails notes on a
patient’s medical chart, or scholarly articles presenting vital research.
Similarly, you will be responsible for interpreting and evaluating the writing
of others on a daily basis. In addition to scientific knowledge, you must
acquire the tools of a writer, or that knowledge can never be communicated.
This class is intended to help you acquire those tools.
Required Textbooks :
Signs of Life in the USA, edited by Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon
Dracula, Bram Stoker
Course Requirements :
Students are responsible for arriving in class on-time and prepared, which
includes responsibility for all assigned readings on the dates indicated
in the schedule. All papers and drafts of papers are due at the beginning
of class on the due date indicated. In addition, occasional in-class exercises
and quizzes will be assigned, and are factored into the final grade as indicated
below. It should be noted that showing up for class on time and prepared
is considered *minimally* adequate behavior for a college-level class, and
thus merits a *C* grade. Active participation in classroom discussion is
essential to earning a higher grade in the participation category.
Grading : (numbers in parentheses indicate minimum page-length requirements)
Summaries #1-2 (1/2 each) -- 10% (5% each)
Annotated bibliography (6) -- 20%
Process description essay (3) -- 10%
Object/Text analysis essay (5) -- 20%
Speculative writing essay (5) -- 20%
Final examination -- 10%
Participation, quizzes -- 10%
Failure to turn in *one* assignment results in a zero ("F") for that assignment.
Failure to turn in *two* assignments results in a zero for those assignments
*and* a zero for the participation section of the grade. Failure to turn
in *three* or more assignments results in an automatic failing grade in the
Late papers are automatically graded one full letter grade lower than they
would otherwise have merited (an "A" turns into a "B," for example). An
additional one-third letter grade is deducted for each additional day (not
class day, but every day) that the assignment remains outstanding (that is,
from a "B" to a "B-" to a "C+" and so on). If the assignment is as much as
a week overdue, then it counts as not being handed in, per the policy above.
All essays should be typed and double-spaced, with approximately 1 - 1.5
inch margins on all sides, in a 12 point font (Times New Roman or a similar
‘standard’ font is strongly preferred). College level papers are
thoroughly formal documents : spelling and grammar are important components
of your writing, and I urge you to proofread carefully! Feel free to use
a spell-checker, but don’t let it do your thinking for you. For more
information on paper format, see the class web-pages and follow the link
to the "style guide."
Papers which are shorter than the required minimum will automatically be
graded one full letter grade lower than they would otherwise have merited.
Papers which are two or more pages deficient are automatically given a grade
of "F" (0). Please note that one sentence does not constitute a "page" of
writing -- the writing should extend at least half-way down the page for
it to be counted towards the minimum length requirements. Material from other
sources does not count towards the minimum page length.
This class adheres strictly to the University policy on academic dishonesty.
Course Schedule :
Week 1 -- Course Intro
04 / 04 (Tu) -- Introduction to the course, requirements, and policies.
04 / 06 (Th) -- Reading due: Maasik and Solomon, "Popular Signs," SOL 1-19.
Assignment #1 (summary #1) handed out.
Week 2 -- Basic and Advanced Semiotics
04 / 11 (Tu) -- Assignment #1 (summary) due! Reading due: Willis, "Disney
World: Public Use / Private State," SoL 744-56. Assignment #2 (summary #2)
04 / 13 (Th) -- Reading due: Medhurst, "Batman, Deviance, and Camp," SoL
686-702; Rivenburg, "Snap! Crackle! Plot!" SoL 716-20.
Week 3 -- Processes and Science as Semiotic Objects
04 / 18 (Tu) -- Assignment #2 (summary) due! Reading due: Gladwell, "The
Science of Shopping," SoL 757-64. Class exercise: process description. Assignment
#3 (process description) handed out.
04 / 20 (Th) -- Reading due: Blum, "The Gender Blur," SoL 453-460; Wolf,
"The Beauty Myth," SoL 481-90. Assignment #4 (annotated bibliography) handed
Week 4 -- Something Book Oriented and a midterm break
04 / 25 (Tu) -- Assignment #3 (description) due! Reading due: Lowery, "The
Traditional Romance Formula," SoL 418-25; Martin, "Dangerous Passions," SoL
04 / 27 (Th) -- No Class!
Week 5 -- Dracula
05 / 02 (Tu) -- Reading due: Dracula, chapters 1-7. Assignment #5 (object/text
analysis) handed out.
05 / 04 (Th) -- Reading due: Dracula, chapters 8-11.
Week 6 -- Dracula
05 / 09 (Tu) -- Reading due: Dracula, chapters 12-16.
05 / 11 (Th) -- Assignment #5 (analysis) due! Reading due: Dracula, chapters
Week 7 -- Reading at the Movies
05 / 16 (Tu) -- Reading due: Dracula, chapters 22-27; Seger, "Creating the
Myth," SoL 308-17. Class exercise: Bram Stoker's Dracula
05 / 18 (Th) -- Assignment #4 (bibliography) due! Class exercise: Bram Stoker's
Week 8 -- Futurity - tech
05 / 23 (Tu) -- Reading due: Lee, "Cult," SoL 398-413. Assignment #6 (speculative
writing) handed out.
05 / 25 (Th) -- Reading due: Reeves, Rodgers, and Epstein, "Rewriting Popularity:
the Cult Files," SoL 265-276. Class exercise: Star Trek
Week 9 -- Futurity - society
05 / 30 (Tu) -- Reading due: Croal and Hughes, "Lara Croft, the Bit Girl,"
SoL 702-5; Miller, "Women and Children First: Gender and the Settling of
the Electronic Frontier," SoL 505-13.
06 / 01 (Th) -- Reading due: Dick, "Blade Runner," SoL 385-93. Class exercise:
Week 10 -- Final Thoughts, Wrap up
06 / 06 (Tu) -- Assignment #6 (speculation) due!
06 / 08 (Th) -- Review, examination preparation, and wrap-up.
06 / 12 (M) -- Final Examination, 8:00 - 11:00 a.m. (location to be announced).
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Please direct comments and questions to
P. Aaron Potter