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Proposal for an Online EG 35 Using the SUNY Learning Network

EG 35, our Advanced Expository Writing course, is important for many of our students.
In this course students continue to improve and develop effective academic writing skills
and all the requisite skills that are concomitant. A wide array of students will take this
course from Education majors to English majors to those interested in continuing their
study of composition and growth as writers. Offering this course asynchronously in an
online environment like the SUNY Learning Network will prove invaluable for all of
these students.

EG 35 is an important course for our students. EG 35 continues to build and hone the
crucial skills that are built in EG11. An asynchronous online version of EG 35 is an
invaluable offering for our students.

   •   Offering this course asynchronously through the SLN will enable many of our
       students to be successful and continue to develop the requisite skills needed for
       college. Students involved in this course will be able to build upon and continue
       to develop the writing processes—really “skills processes” that involve much
       more than writing—that they learned in EG 11. As in my EG 11 proposal, online
       asynchronous writing courses immediately remove a stumbling block that many
       students trip over: time. Many students simply cannot coordinate critical thinking
       and reading, oral communication skills, writing and rhetoric in a structured time
       frame—one hour and fifteen minutes, for example. I continually hear my students
       say, “I’m so much better when I work outside of class at my own pace.” We
       combat this issue in the traditional classroom by stressing the process nature of
       writing and by helping students to develop their own steps and approaches to
       writing that are personalized and process-oriented. The asynchronous online
       version of EG 35 can continue this notion and take it to its natural conclusion, a
       writing process that is truly one’s own. Classroom time limits and the pressure to
       perform in a structured time frame often cripple student’s writing. Yet these
       students must learn that they need to be productive, “on schedule.” A paper that is
       due in a week must be produced in that week. This asynchronous course balances
       the ideas of working on a schedule to produce effective writing while stressing
       and developing the “outside of time” nature that we all take when we approach
       our writing.

   •   Many EG 35 students have developed in depth means of “hiding” in the college
       classroom. Frequently, these students can disappear from view, overwhelmed by
       the rigors of the college classroom and social setting. Many of these students
       produce the minimum they can, and offer little to the class; these students take too
       little from the class, never fully developing the skills they’ll need later on. For
       these students, the online setting is perfect. A structured online course gives them
         the ability to share their voices in a non-threatening manner and does not allow
         them to slink down behind a desk. These students are held accountable for
         producing work that meets the course expectations. Additionally, much that
         threatens these students in a face to face environment is reduced. These students
         can, thusly, rise up and grow as never before.

    •    Many students have schedules that do not allow them to take part in many
         traditional classroom courses. These students work, are parents or caregivers, and
         want to grow and develop their minds, but they are frustrated in these efforts by
         strict schedules that make this growth impossible. An asynchronous version of
         EG35 will allow these students to take part in this crucial course and be successful
         college students. Without this course, these students would continue to be
         excluded from an important means of personal growth.

Course Objectives
The course objectives for EG 35 are fixed and agreed upon by the English department.
The department objectives are in italics below; I have added my comments after each

    EG 35 Course Objectives:

To pass the course, the student must:

1. Read and analyze nonfiction prose for style as well as content

The asynchronous online version of 35 supports this objective in a number of ways. First, through threaded
discussion posts and responses, online quizzes and written responses all students must actively engage in
responding to the prose selections. Students must demonstrate an understanding and an ability to interact
with the text. Additionally, resources to aid in analysis are organized and linked to be always just a “click”

2. Demonstrate critical thinking skills in writing and discussion

The asynchronous online version of 35 supports this objective by placing students in the position of
continually responding and interacting in the class through writing and discussion—written response and
threaded discussion are the backbone of the course. Students must show critical thinking skills in all of
these exercises; they must show a level of critical understanding of/interaction with the texts and their
peers. (Each and every student must show this. No student can decide to sit out or hang back in the online

3. Demonstrate the following writing skills: conciseness, emphasis, sentence variety, and coherence

The asynchronous online version of 35 supports this objective by drilling these skills in writing projects
that are developed across sound writing processes. Revision and editing notions and re-drafting, focus
around enhancing these elements of powerful prose.
4. Write, re-write and revise essays, the process that leads to finished writing

The asynchronous online version of 35 supports this objective by structuring each module in the course
around a writing process. Each student works through this project based course by developing each
required essay in a series of steps designed to drill and develop the skills and techniques of writing as a

5. Write essays of literary analysis that demonstrate the following qualities: controlling purpose, clear
focus, adequate development, logical organization, and use of textual details to support purpose
6. Master the argumentative essay, i.e. thesis, logic, organization and language

The asynchronous online version of 35 supports this objective through, again, project based modules that
develop essays of the types mentioned in objectives 5 and 6. Students develop projects, through writing
processes, which are effective examples of literary analyses and argumentative essays (among others).

Methods and Communication Strategy

The EG 35 course will be offered asynchronously via the SUNY Learning Network. The
course will be broken up into modules that will each focus on one aspect of the course:

             •    The Writing Process: Discovering Our “Personal Processes”
             •    The Myth of the “Model” Family: Exploring the American Family
             •    Learning Power Myths: Exploring Education and Empowerment
             •    True Men and Real Women: Exploring Myths of Gender
             •    Created Equal: The Myth of the American Melting Pot
             •    The Portfolio Process: Showcasing Our Work
             •    Culminating Activities: Evaluating the Course and Suggesting Changes
                  To Help It Grow

    All of the modules will be broken down into smaller work “areas” that will each
    focus on an aspect of the writing process. Modules will be project-based, each
    focused on the production of a particular piece of writing. These modules will all
    have a similar, logical structure that will reinforce the use of a writing process.
    Additionally, 3 of these modules will call upon students to use outside research to
    support their writing. This will be done using effective research strategies and skills
    and using proper documentation (MLA Style). Project Modules will each involve a
    pre-writing stage where students are assigned readings and interact via threaded
    discussion and responses. They will gather information here and share ideas etc.
    Quizzes on the readings will be a part of this area. Drafting areas will follow.
    Revision and drafting will be intertwined in these areas and supported again via
    threaded discussion and reply. Students will share drafts and respond, get revision
    feedback from peers and professor here, and submit later drafts ultimately leading to
    finalized drafts for evaluation. At the end of each Project Module will be a feedback
    area where students will read and respond to each others final drafts.
Required Texts

In addition to utilizing a vast array of web based resources and direct link/utilization of
the library resources, two texts will be required:

       •   Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing.
           Gary Colombo et al, Bedford / St. Martins Press.
       •   An acceptable writing / research handbook: these must be up to date and
           approved by professor. A list will be given of “good” ones like the Bedford
           Researcher, The Modern Writer’s Handbook, The St. Martin’s Handbook etc.