308 Syllabus

EN 308 A
Style and Revision
Spring Semester 2010
Dr. Bess Fox
Tuesday, Friday 12:30PM - 01:45PM, Gailhac 38

Final Exam: Friday April 30 12:00-2:30 Gail 38
Office Hours: 10:00-12:00 TF, 4:00-6:00 TH, and by appointment
Gailhac 23A
Phone: office (704) 284-1568, home (202) 640-1942
E-mail: ude.tnuomyram|xof.sseB#ude.tnuomyram|xof.sseB

Academic Integrity
By accepting this syllabus, you pledge to uphold the principles of Academic Integrity expressed by the Marymount University Community. You agree to observe these principles yourself and to defend them against abuse by others.
Special Needs and Accommodations
Please advise the instructor of any special problems or needs at the beginning of the semester. If you seek accommodation based on disabilities, you should provide a Faculty Contact Sheet obtained through Disability Support Services located in Gerard Hall, (703) 284-1615.
Access to Student Work
Copies of your work in this course including copies of any submitted papers and your portfolios may be kept on file for institutional research, assessment and accreditation purposes. All work used for these purposes will be submitted anonymously.
Student Copyright Authorization
For the benefit of current and future students, work in this course may be used for educational critique, demonstrations, samples, presentations, and verification. Outside of these uses, work shall not be sold, copied, broadcast, or distributed for profit without student consent.
University Policy on Snow Closings
Snow closings are generally announced on area radio stations. For bulletins concerning Marymount snow or weather closings, call (703) 526-6888. Unless otherwise advised by radio announcement or by official bulletins on the number listed above, students are expected to report for class as near normal time as possible on days when weather conditions are adverse. Decisions as to snow closing or delayed opening are not generally made before 5:00 AM of the working day. Students are expected to attend class if the University is not officially closed.


An advanced writing workshop exploring the effects of style on revision and enabling students to analyze and perfect their own writing styles. Style includes the principles of clear and fluid sentence-level prose as well as the connection between sentence-level choices and an author’s voice. Students will apply the guidelines of well-known style manuals and analyze and imitate the distinctive styles of prominent writers. English majors must earn a minimum grade of C. Prerequisite: EN 102.

Much of the class work will involve sentence-level revisions to writing assignments of varied length. Students will share and revise their writing in class workshops. The course will cumulate in a 7-10 page feature essay that includes primary and secondary research.


Upon successful completion of this course, students will be expected to:

  • Produce a feature article, short topical essays, and an article analysis through a process that involves drafting and revision based on feedback.
  • Produce a focused and coherent feature article and article analysis that address specific audiences, move effectively between generalizations and details, make honest use of sources, and engage complex ideas without distortion.
  • Produce a feature article, short topical essays, and article analysis, all of which show careful attention to fluent sentence structure, grammatical correctness, and proper documentation.
  • Identify a topic of human interest for scholarly inquiry in the humanities, analyze appropriate primary and secondary source materials, and support a focused thesis or argument in a clear, coherent, and engaging feature article for a specific audience (readers of a chosen magazine).
  • Identity the key elements of sentence-level style such as emphasis and concision
  • Revise writing for clear and fluid sentence-level prose
  • Differentiate between issues of style and issues of grammar
  • Practice variations of style based on professional models
  • Evaluate the many different (and sometimes conflicting) rules of style
  • Present research findings in oral presentation
  • Apply a critical eye to early and late drafts (their own and their peers) in service of revision


workshop, lecture, discussion, small group discussion, tutorial


15% 5 short writing assignments (1-2 pages each, includes revisions)
15% Essay I: 4 page study of a magazine and one of its writers or feature articles (includes revision and presentation)
40% Essay II: 7-10 page feature article (includes revision and secondary & primary research)
5% sentence-level revision of a 4-page piece of writing produced a previous semester
25% participation (including workshops, peer review, writing groups, quizzes, conferences)

  • Attendance, including physical as well as mental presence, is necessary if you are going to do well in this class and if the class as a writing community is going to succeed. Whether excused or unexcused, an absence, by definition, will affect a student’s participation grade. Because short assignments. quizzes, and writing workshops comprise a large portion of the participation grade, numerous absences and tardies will have a negative effect on the final grade of even the most vocal and engaged of students.
  • Short assignments and quizzes, due within the first ten minutes of class, cannot be accepted late or made up for any for any reason. An excused absence or tardy provides no exception to this policy because these assignments and quizzes measure whether you are in class and prepared to contribute.
  • Texting (note that your professor can see you texting even if your phone is on your lap or behind a book) and side conversations in class will negatively affect your participation grade. I will deduct one to five letter grades, depending on the frequency of the offence, from a student’s final participation grade for engaging in these behaviors.
  • If you are absent on the day you are scheduled to present on essay I or on your style guide, you will not be able to make up the assignment unless the absence is excused.
  • Essays are due at the beginning of the class period. If you contact me before the essay is due, we can arrange an extension. If you do not contact me, the below penalties will apply. I will accept essays electronically, but any failures in technology (missing attachments, lost emails, etc) that prevent the essay from being accessible by the due date will result in late penalties.
  1. An essay will be penalized one letter grade for every class day it is late except for circumstances involving an excused absence.
  2. If an essay submission is late due to an excused absence, you must submit it no later than the first class you return in order to avoid late penalties (in certain situations, I will consider extending the deadline further).
  • Note that excused absences, which are only relevant in the case of a missed presentation or late essay, require documentation.
  • Students are required to have access to Blackboard and are responsible for keeping their e-mail addresses current in Blackboard


Lynn Truss Eats, Shoots, and Leaves
Joseph M. Williams Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace
William Strunk and E. B White Elements of Style
Best American Magazine Writing 2007


All writing, however strong, can benefit from a careful reader’s response. In addition to feedback from your instructor and your classmates, writing assistance is available from peer tutors in the Learning Resource Center. LRC tutors can help at any stage of the writing process – from getting started to final editing. They can help you figure out an assignment, overcome “writer’s block,” or discover your thesis. Remember, however, that tutors are not allowed to revise or edit students’ papers for them. All changes, revisions, or corrections must be your work.

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