Donald Wolff

Office Hours:  Posted by term.

Office Phone:  (541) 962-3527  Office:  L153




WR 121 Generic Syllabus

(Be sure to consult the syllabus for a specific term and year on Blackboard.)


Students who miss more than 4 meetings the first two weeks of the term, will be dropped from the class.


All students are required to meet with a Peer Writing Assistant at least twice for each essay.  Failure to do so will result in a “0 (F)” for the paper.  Two 0s for course papers will mean an “F” for the course.


This syllabus and the Class Schedule of assignments are subject to changes during the term.


All assignments will be posted in our Blackboard site.



Writing 121 Expository Prose Writing

Catalog description:

College-level practice of writing skills with a special emphasis on writing analytically, usually about texts. Students learn to adapt their writing processes to the rhetorical constraints of academic writing.

Prerequisite: Completion of WR 115 and a satisfactory in-class diagnostic essay or Accuplacer placement in WR 121. Because all formal papers must be typed, a basic mastery of keyboarding is expected.


Required texts:

Bullock, Richard and Maureen Daly Goggin.  The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings. 2nd ed.  New York:  Norton, 2010.

Hacker, Diane.  A Writer’s Reference.  6th ed. Boston:  Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007.

Other texts as determined by term.

Required Supplies:

Gizmo (also called Flash Drive or Thumb Drive) (Available in EOU Bookstore and Learning Resource Center, and elsewhere more cheaply)

A Ream of Computer Paper and a Manila Folder for the handing is essays and drafts.


Course outcomes:

1)            Quality of Thinking: Develop, support, and convey clear, focused, and substantive ideas in ways appropriate to topic, context, audience, and purpose.

2)            Organization and Coherence: Organize writing in clear, coherent sequences, making connections and transitions among ideas, paragraphs, and sentences.

3)            Sentence Structure and Word Choice: Use and vary sentence structures and word choices to achieve clear and fluent writing.

4)            Editing: Edit for correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, paragraph structure, sentence construction, formatting, and, when appropriate, citations.

5)            Writing Process: Use effective processes—including drafting, peer responses, and, when appropriate, tutorial assistance—to generate, compose, organize, revise, and present writing.

6)            Research Process: Identify and frame topics, questions, and purposes for inquiry; plan and conduct research.

7)            Analysis of Information Sources: Locate and interpret varied information sources; distinguish among facts, supported inferences, and opinions; evaluate information.

8)            Use of Researched Information: Use, integrate, and cite researched information and evidence.

9)            Single Source and Multisource Analytic Prose: Integrate a single source or multiple sources that have been critically evaluated into an essay, while presenting the writer's own carefully and thoughtfully considered point of view on a topic.

10)        Reflection: Evaluate and articulate one's own strengths and weaknesses as a writer; plan ways to address weaknesses and take advantage of strengths.



Course Requirements:


Your final grade will be based on successful completion of assignments.   Students will be graded on out-of-class essay assignments and on in-class and out-of-class summaries, reflections, and exercises.  Out-of-class assignments include three essays, with drafts and Invention work, as well as 2 Blue Slips for each essay.  (Without 2 Blue slips the paper receives a 0.  The best students will have more than 2 for each paper; the best students make and keep a weekly appointment with a Peer Writing Assistant.)  Blue slips documenting work with a Peer Writing Assistant will be collected each Friday, beginning with the second Friday of the term.  Each essay is worth 150 points, for a total of 450 points.

Each Summary and Function Outline is worth 10 points, for a total of 160 points (bringing the Course Syllabus, the Course Schedule, and first essay assignment on day 2 is worth 10 of those 160 points); each Draft and Individual 15 min. Conference is worth 20 points (5 min. conferences have no point value), for a total of 120 points; each Final Draft of our 3 Essays with are worth 150 points each, for a total of 450 points.  A total of 730 points can be earned.  All work should be written in formal academic prose:  Use complete sentences; write solid, well-focused, well-developed and coherent paragraphs; employ precise language; edit carefully—even though I will not have time to mark all the errors.  I do not expect you to write perfectly but I will look closely to see that you are writing clear sentences and have edited carefully and you make progress in editing over the term. All work for this course must follow either MLA or APA guidelines for documentation, which can be found in our Hacker text.


Preparation, engagement, & contribution to class: This includes having complete drafts of papers in class the day they are to be workshopped or turned in (worth 20 points each), completing reading and homework assignments before class and being prepared to discuss them, providing quality feedback to peers, participating actively in group activities and discussions, and taking responsibility for advancing others’ learning as well as your own.


 All work is due the first 5 min. of class; if it is not ready on time, it will receive a “0.”



(Fine print:  Work can be made up if you or your children are very sick, if you obtain my permission to hand your work in late beforehand.  Athletes or those participating in college-sponsored extracurricular activities who will be absent for a class because of competition or other obligations must make prior arrangements with me to get their work in on time.   Almost no other excuses are accepted.   Be careful:  0’s are almost impossible to make up.   With just a couple of 0’s on a number of assignments and your grade begins to fall precipitously.  We won’t have a final in the usual sense this quarter, so it is all the more important that you keep up with your work.  In the past students with D and F averages for coursework—due mostly from not turning it in—tried raising their grades by acing the rest of their assignments.  That didn’t work very well.  This course rewards consistency of effort.  Late papers are treated as failures to turn them in; they receive a “0.”)


Major assignments:

Essay 1: Summary/Response Essay, plus Reflection, plus 2 Blue Slips, plus all draft material.

Essay 2: Two-Source Analytical Essay, plus Reflection, plus 2 Blue Slips, plus all draft material.

Essay 3: Multi-Source Analytical Essay, plus Reflection, plus 2 Blue Slips, plus all draft material.





150 - 142 = A

113 - 112 = C

141 - 135 = A-

 111 - 105 = C-

134 - 129 = B+

 104 - 99 = D+

128 - 127 = B

98 - 97 = D  

126 - 120 = B-

 96 - 90 = D-

119 - 114 = C+

89 - 75 = F

0 = F (Work Not Turned In or Turned in Late or Missing 2 Blue Slips (impossible to make up with subsequent grades—avoid at all costs!)


Drafts (including Drafting Exercises)


20-point assignments are all or nothing:  either the work is done completely and earns 20 points or is incomplete and earns 0 points.  For example, if you come to a conference but do not have a complete drat, then you get 0 points even if you showed up; or, if you don’t show up but have a complete draft you show me later, you get 0 points.



          10 = A

            9 = A-

            8 = B-

            7 = C-

            6 = D-

            5 = F

            0 = F (Work Not Turned In or Turned in Late or Missing or Incomplete.


At the end of the course your points will be totaled to determine your Final Grade.  See the scale below.  There are 730 points possible; I don’t round up.  You can see your scores at any time by looking in Blackboard Grade Center for this course.


WR 121 Grading Scale (Final Grades)

730 - 693 = A

692 - 657 = A-

656 - 627 = B+

626 - 620 = B

619 - 584 = B-

583 - 554 = C+

553 - 547 = C

546 - 511 = C-

510 - 481 = D+

480 - 474 = D

473 - 438 = D-

437 -         0 = F

Attendance:  Much of the work in this class is collaborative and process-oriented and thus cannot simply be made up at a later date. If you know you are going to be absent, it is your responsibility to find out what you will miss and turn in any assignments in advance.  I expect you to have all reading done before class the day it is due, to bring complete drafts of papers with you on days set aside for peer review, and to make an effort to contribute to your peers’ learning as well as your own.


A separate day-by-day schedule of assignments is provided in our Blackboard site.

All assignments will be posted in our Blackboard site.



Disclaimer:  Class schedule, syllabus, and assignments may be altered during the course of the term as needed.


Statement on Academic Misconduct:  Eastern Oregon University places a high value upon the integrity of its student scholars.  Any student found guilty of an act of academic misconduct (including, but not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, or theft of an examination or supplies) may be subject to having his or her grade reduced in the course in question, being placed on probation or suspended from the university, or being expelled from the university—or a combination of these.  (Please see the Students’ Academic Honesty Code at


Accommodations for Disabilities:  If you have a documented disability or suspect that you have a learning problem and need reasonable accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Program in Loso Hall 234.  Telephone:  962-3081.