Elaine M Barr
Study and practice of good writing; topics derived from reading and discussing stories, poems, essays, and plays. Cannot be taken if student has already received a grade of 2.0 or higher in either ENGL 111, ENGL 121, or ENGL 131.
111: Composition: Literature; Topic: Science Fiction and Genre Writing
This class will teach writing and composition through genre: the genre of science fiction, but also comparing bigger genres such as short stories, television, film, letter-writing, and journaling. The goal is to learn how to read the conventions of a genre in order to be able to write for a wide variety of audiences, both within and without the university.
The readings start with the classic Golden Age of science fiction, up to more modern SF. Authors include, but are not limited to, Isaac Asimov, Greg Egan, Octavia Butler and television includes episodes from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The themes in these readings, and hence the writings and discussions, are logic and subjectivity, technology, futurism, social organization, and computer science. If this is uninteresting to you, please don’t take the class!
This is a reading intensive class: not only will we read fiction each week, but there are complex academic essays about genre or science fiction topics. These texts are difficult and take time. All together there are 150 pages of material to read. Do not take this class if you cannot do the readings; you will not do well on the portfolio. There are weekly discussions about the literature which supply the material for that week’s writing assignments. In-class group work is required and participation is mandatory.
This is also a writing intensive class: A total of about 30-40 pages of writing will be expected of you this quarter. Each week, at minimum, a 2-3 page short assignment is due, based on discussion questions, class time, and journal entries. Mid-quarter you will complete a major paper, 5-7 pages, and then a peer review group: reading 4-5 of your peers’ major papers (reading about 30 pages), marking up and editing their drafts, and writing a one page letter summing up your reading experience, to each peer. There is also a final major paper, 5-7 pages, based on the whole quarter’s questions. This is a lot of work! But you will, guaranteed, benefit from the practice and genre switching that we do in this class. You are required to buy a small lined notebook for journal entries in this class. You will turn the notebook on a weekly basis, so do not write anything in it that you don’t want graded or read by me. This journal will help you brainstorm writing topics and discussion questions. (Keep your lecture notes separate, please).
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading
30% Participation 70% Final writing portfolio