This is a class in which you will use writing to help you to develop a broader, more geographic perspective of the world.  It is my goal in this course to help you start to "think geographically" by reading, thinking and writing about what is going on in the world and how events affect places and people.  This goal will be accomplished through the use of an informal writing exercise to help you learn to express your ideas and to develop critical thinking skills. 

            The writing component will take the format of a "weekly journal of events" from around the world to allow you to informally express your personal ideas about events, apply concepts from class and to help you develop a sense of what geography is. Writing frequently will not only help you to improve your writing skills, it will also assist in your learning and understanding of the material.



Writing can be difficult and frustrating!  It is stressful when you have ideas in your head but you don't know how to even begin to put them down on paper.  This initial block can hinder the learning process.  Taking the plunge and getting a few ideas down on paper is the way to start; refining your ideas and developing a proper structure will follow.  Through revision, your ideas will take shape and a paper will emerge.  Writing exercises help you learn and better understand the material; expressing your ideas in writing will help you develop your critical thinking skills.  Effective writing takes knowledge, logic, creativity and LOTS OF PRACTICE!


THE WRITING COMPONENT (Statement of Intent): Writing will be an integral part of the course structure and you will be expected to express yourself clearly and accurately on assignments in this course. Writing to learn mathematics and writing to communicate mathematics are important aspects of any mathematics course. You will be writing about course content at least once every two weeks. You may also be asked to write quickly and concisely about course concepts as part of your exams.


PHILOSOPHY OF WRITING: The philosophy behind these writing assignments is that you learn to write well by writing about mathematical ideas and that you will learn the major concepts in this course better by writing about them, taking responsibility for your own learning.


COURSE OVERVIEW:  This course is intended to provide the student with knowledge of the political institutions and processes that develop and implement laws and policies in the United States.  The main focus of this introductory course is on the basic components of federalism and the separation of powers.  Additionally, this course satisfies PSU's Writing to Learn criteria.  This means that writing assignments will be used during this course as learning tools.  The purpose of this course is not to develop writing skills, per se, but is to use writing to learn about U.S. politics.  Specifically, this course is designed to develop structural and critical knowledge.  The development of structural knowledge means that, instead of memorizing the various components of the government and what they do, the student should attempt to see these components in terms of their relationship to a larger structure.  When the student successfully understands this template of governance, new information about American politics can be more quickly and easily understood, since the student will be better equipped to understand this new information within a larger political context.  Critical knowledge refers to the ability to understand the inherent assumptions behind particular claims, and the ability to see consequences of those assumptions or substitutes for those assumptions.



  • Development of a structural understanding of the various components of the American political structure, the function of each of those components, and the relationship between them.
  • Development of an understanding of how policies have been and continue to be developed in the American political context.
  • Development of a critical consciousness toward the values imbedded within American governmental institutions.
  • Development of writing as a learning tool.

CLASS FORMAT:  Classes will generally be in the lecture format, although nothing can substitute for the power of involved learning.  To this end, I will attempt to make lectures interactive.  Questions during the lectures are permitted and encouraged.  It is your own involvement with the learning material that will make it interesting and memorable, which is most important come test time.  However, I will usually have a few issues that I would like to cover.  Therefore, if time becomes an issue, I do reserve the right to delay questions in order to cover all the material.  The student is expected to have read the assignment listed on the calendar for that lecture day.  This is essential, for not all material can be covered and an understanding of the reading assists in comprehending the lectures.  Likewise, reference to issues not discussed in the text may be discussed by the professor.  This is free knowledge!  Do not let this offer pass you by!

Statement of Intent

This is a write to learn course.  Lab reports will be written in order for students to learn the proper procedures and the steps followed to obtain accurate test results.  Report writing will aid the student in the industry expectations of the way lab reports are to be compiled. Lab report requirements and format is located elsewhere in the syllabus.

Philosophy of Writing

Writing clear and concise lab reports are critical elements of materials testing.  Your reports in a professional setting will be reviewed by various professionals for information that is vital to the judgments that they will make using your report as a source of accurate and creditable information.

Statement of Intent: This W/L Music Appreciation course (with classical emphasis), will increase your knowledge  and enhance your enjoyment of classical music as it furnishes you with an overview of the music of the western classical tradition. This course will help you further develop an understanding and appreciation of music by using the techniques of listening to recognize the various elements, forms, styles and textures relating to classical music. Because this is a W/L course, there will be a number of writing exercises involved. These writing activities will consist of:  journaling (in conjunction with concert attendance), short writing assignments which will involve describing both the abstract and concrete in listening to musical examples and one formal essay assignment (with a rough draft to proceed it.)


Philosophy of Writing:  Writing is a most important form of communication which helps to clarify and structure ideas and organize thought processes. Writing is a crucial skill that one needs to develop and continue to develop throughout life. In music, one of our most abstract art forms, writing helps to bring listening, ideas from class discussion, emotional response and concept recognition into focus. For this reason, course content will include journaling, short writing exercises and writing a formal essay. Ideas both concrete and abstract will need to be expressed clearly and in an organized fashion. The writing assignments will need to make of use the appropriate musical terminology learned through class lectures and assigned readings.


Writing to learn component:

This is a writing to learn class.  Writing to learn does not mean learning to write. Instead, you will be required to take copious notes, write special assignments and draw as you write to learn.

    Yes, I consider drawing a form of writing. Consider the oldest kind of writing - drawings used to communicate and to help the writer and others remember how things were done. These drawings were also used to help plan things and improve future projects.

    For your writing to learn component you'll be expected to write and draw in an effort to remember details, to plan projects and to communicate to others. Please keep a separate notebook just for this class. Please have a pad of tracing paper just for this class as well.


Writing to learn statement of intent:

Writing will be an integral part of the class used as a way to learn and retain course material. Most of the graded writing will be brief entries completed during class using the Discussion Board link in ANGEL, our online course support software.

    These entries will emphasize learning and will involve interactive discussions among the students of the class and/or me as your instructor. This means that often the writings will require responses to other's comments. Meaningful participation will be of primary consideration when I evaluate your writing. I want well-considered and thoughtful comments that stimulate higher level learning.

    Expect a writing assignment of this type once or twice each quarter. Evaluation of the writing assignments will focus on content above grammar or style.


Philosophy of Writing:

The act of writing has special qualities. As a learning tool, I believe it helps hold ideas in the mind of the writer. By seeing, thinking and marking on paper or on a computer screen, writers put their thoughts out for long term consideration. The writer, as well as others, get to see what's going on inside a mind. At the same time the writer is etching those thoughts into his/her memory for future use.

    Writing also works as practice for future writing. It's just like practicing a musical instrument or training for a sport. Writing often and with expression helps you become a better writer. Why is that important to a designer? Because the best designers are good writers. It all comes down to effective communication which is absolutely imperative in today's world.

    Graphic Designers work with two basic elements of communication - words and pictures. We will focus on both in this class. Writing will help improve not only the written communication but also the visual portion as well.



Writing to Learn Statement of Intent:

This is a Writing to Learn course with a close integration of reading and writing. The focus of most activities is on meaning. Both higher order cognitive strategies and lower order decoding strategies are simultaneously practiced throughout the course. Students have opportunities to practice different styles of writing, from very informal to formal. During the semester, you will make eight entries in your Cuaderno Personal. These assignments provide a low-stress, safe space for writing, where you may take risks with language and ideas. On four occasions, you conduct research using the internet to gather information related to readings, and write a one paragraph-summary of the main points of your internet research. These lab assignments offer opportunities to practice summarizing data in your own words.   You will also write an essay which is a work in progress throughout the semester and a good example of more formal writing.


Philosophy of Writing

We can all learn how to write well -to write clearly, simply, and effectively. In order to develop good writing skills, we must practice and perfect certain important techniques. Simply reading many examples of good writing -examples from a variety of styles, genres, and epochs- will not teach you how to write well; but if you read enough of such examples you will eventually acquire an appreciation of good writing. However, being able to appreciate something is not the same as being able to do it. To write well you have to write! Just as in acquiring and perfecting any other skill, it is necessary to practice if you are to become proficient and successful in writing.




Writing serves several important functions. Writing things down helps us remember information. Writing also helps us work through our thoughts, helping us to come to a clearer understanding of our beliefs and ideas about complex issues. In this course we will write frequently as a way to learn course material. The writing will range from short reading responses to journal entries to more formal essays. Expect to write about course content every week.



The philosophy behind these writing assignments is that you learn to write well by writing often about complex ideas. The philosophy is also that you will learn the major concepts in this course better by writing about them and thereby taking responsibility for your own learning. We learn to write well by practicing writing and by expecting to go through several stages of process before coming to a final product. This is why you will sometimes be given the possibility of showing me the rough draft of an assignment, and this is why you will be encouraged to take it to the Writing Center. You'll receive extra credit for attending the Writing Center for help on major papers. A helpful website that students can use for questions on writing papers is





I believe that a person cannot write coherently about an issue or event unless he or she has a basic understanding of what happened.  Reading and analyzing material is essential in historical writing.  Writing in a coherent, concise manner about what we know is a hallmark of an educated person.  Good writing skills will benefit you no matter what career you pursue.  And the more you write, the better writer you will become.




Since this is a Writing to Learn course, students will write about what they are learning.  The writing assignments will vary.  During the semester, students will complete a wide range of writing assignments.  In-class writing assignments will allow students to reflect about historical events and their impact on today's society.  As I grade your papers, I will look for your knowledge of the subject, how well you develop your ideas, and if your reasoning is logical.  On out-of-class assignments, I will expect good organization and good mechanics (complete sentences, correct spellings, etc.).  You will need to type, revise, and edit those papers.  On informal, in-class assignments, I will not count off for misspellings, etc. but will grade primarily on the amount written.



WRITING TO LEARN:  INTENT AND PHILOSOPHY  Effective communication has become increasingly important for every student, no matter the major.  In times past, it was possible to hide behind a secretary - "take a letter, Miss Jones," or "clean this up, Miss Smith" - but no longer. In the age of computers most use email and word-processing directly from their own desks, unfiltered through a secretary.  People do judge you by your writing as well as your speech.  More important, writing to persuade, explain, or document an event or process has become standard in most professions, as have presentations which make use of computer-made slides on a screen.  You cannot hide.


Furthermore, because this course has been designed to emphasize critical thinking, the written component of this class is a key means to that end.  Clear writing and clear thinking go hand in hand.


The writing activities required of you during the semester will never be busywork assignments.  Rather, their intention is to get you to think differently about the past; to go beyond a recitation of the facts to consider their meaning and importance, and their link to other events, those that occurred previously (cause) and those that came afterwards (effect); to consider what-if questions; to analyze an event; or to see the past through the eyes of contemporaries.  The major writing project for the semester, one that combines critical thinking with effective writing, is the journal.


I will read every word you write.  I will try to engage you in your writing both at a technical level (spelling, grammar) and at an argumentative level (how well you explained and explored your point), so you can have feedback designed to improve the effectiveness of your writing at both levels.

Your success in writing is very important to me.  As the author of one book and many articles, the editor of a scholarly journal that circulates worldwide (The Midwest Quarterly), associate editor for history of another (Social Science Computer Review), and the developer of historical computer simulations and tutorials, I read, edit, and write as part of my daily routine.  If you are having trouble, please see me or go to the Writing Center in 114 Grubbs Hall where there are trained students ready to help you develop the writing skills necessary to succeed in college and after graduation.


People will judge you (rightly or wrongly) by the words you speak, but far more people will form an impression from your written communications.  Bad spelling, poorly constructed sentences, incorrect grammar, and writing that has not been proofread for errors will all contribute to a negative opinion.  With attention and self-discipline, you can write effectively and eliminate mistakes.


What you take away from this university should be thinking and communication skills (career-specific information will likely be out of date in a few years, and studies show you will change careers several times so you cannot accurately predict what will be relevant to you later), a rich background of information with which to analyze and process new information, a habit of being interested in a wide variety of topics apart from those that will earn you a living, and a discipline to govern how you think and how you attack problems and find solutions. 


Words do have the power to transform lives:  if you don't think so, imagine how different you, your community, and history would be if there were no Bible, no Constitution or Bill of Rights, no Declaration of Independence, no Emancipation Proclamation, no Common Sense, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Looking Backward, The Jungle, 1984, Brave New World, The Other America, The Silent Spring, or The Feminine Mystique.




This is a Writing to Learn course and the purpose is to have you write frequently about the course material to help you familiarize yourself with certain aspects of American Government. In addition, you will learn to think more clearly, logically, and upon successful completion of the course, will be better able to express your thoughts in written form.



Writing is an essential ingredient of understanding and communication. Writing is also a learning process, in which the student can only become more proficient over time and with practice. To aid in your writing education, I will respond promptly to all writing assignments. I encourage and expect class participation regarding course content and writing assignments, both pre-writing and post completion of a project. I will be available for conferencing and will be reachable via e-mail.



F.  Writing-to-Learn. 


Statement of Intent.  In this course we will be using writing frequently as a way to learn course material.   The point of using writing in this course is not to ensure that you can make grammatically correct sentences or are a good writer in general (although you may improve on grammar and writing style as a result!), but to use writing as another resource that you can use to learn the information that is presented to you in this class.  On most of your writing assignments, spelling and grammatical errors will not be considered as part of your grade for that assignment.  When spelling and grammar do count, you will be informed of this in advance.


Philosophy of Writing.  I believe that putting your ideas in black and white, through writing, helps one to clarify their own ideas.  Hence, writing not only encourages critical thinking, but independent thinking as well.  Another perk of using writing in class is that as a result, many of you will become better writers.  The concept underlying this revolves around the idea that the more you write, the better you become at writing.  It really does work! 


In-Class Writing.  In class, we will take time to let you gather your thoughts about the content of the course and write them down.  The purpose here is to help you summarize and critique information that is being covered.  Ultimately, this should help you to learn the information.  No in-class writing assignments will count spelling or grammatical errors.  Each in-class writing will be worth 5-10 points.


Reaction Papers.  In addition to the analysis papers, periodically, you may be asked to write, outside of class, about your reactions to particularly psychological concepts or theories.  In these reaction papers, you will need to do two things.  First, provide a summary of the concept or theory--what is it all about?  Then, provide your reaction:  What do you think of this concept/theory?  How can you use this in your own life for personal benefit?  These papers may be handwritten and the length will be specified at the time of the assignment--usually from 1-2 pages.  Each of these papers will be worth 5-10 points.


NOTE:  Late papers are accepted.  There will be a 10% point deduction per day.  No electronic papers, please.



Writing to Learn Statement of Intent: I intend to use writing as a way to help you learn to appreciate literature and to practice your critical thinking skills.  You will be doing short writes regularly, allowing you to take risks as you think about what we read.  You will also be writing two formal papers, demanding that you refine your creative thinking into a clear communication to a specific audience.  The formal papers will allow you to take time to revise your writing as you go.  Finally, you will be writing essays as part of your exams.  These essays will ask you to write quickly and concisely about ideas we have covered in class (although you might be applying those ideas to something new).  Because good writing comes from a thoughtful approach to ideas, you will be spending some class time in groups working through the complex concepts that arise in our discussions.


Philosophy of Writing:  My philosophy of writing is threefold: we don't truly understand something until we write about it-the act of writing is a form of thinking; good writing takes practice (that's why you will write and discuss regularly in this class); and a finished piece takes revision (therefore I assign the rough drafts).  My responses to the short writes will deal with your willingness to try to understand the material and to have a truthful, personal reaction to it.  For rough drafts, I will be seeing how well you develop your ideas, how original your thinking is, and how logical you are in your reasoning.  The formal papers will need content and thought, but also must have a clear style, because you will have plenty of time to revise and edit your writing.  I see writing as a way to free the mind, to get beyond stereotypes, and to develop one's personal voice and vision.  Writing about the stories we read is essential for understanding them truly.



Philosophy of Writing:

Being able to write well is a hallmark of an educated person and something that will benefit students no matter what career they pursue.  Writing is a skill that improves with practice.  Reading and analyzing material are an essential parts of learning about history.  To write coherently about an issue or event, it is necessary to have a basic understanding of what happened.  So writing is a tool that will help students learn about the history of our nation and a skill that will benefit students for the rest of their lives.


Statement of Intent:

Students will complete seven out-of-class writing assignments for this class.  These assignments will introduce students to some of the skills and tools historians use to understand and analyze the past.  Some of the assignments will require students to relate historical events or trends to present-day developments.  All out-of-class assignments should be typed and display good organization and good mechanics (complete sentences, correct spelling and punctuation, etc.). 


In addition, each exam will include an essay or short written answers that will require students to take a position on an issue and back up their position with evidence from the textbook and lectures.  Several short, in-class writings will be offered in class for extra credit.



Writing to Learn Statement of Intent

A. Notebooks: Students will keep a notebook as described in section VII of the course syllabus. These will be collected periodically and without prior warning for inspection for completeness, format, clarity and quality.

B. Essay Paper: All students will compose an original essay about an artist whose career falls within the chronological and geographical parameters of the course. The final essay will be between 5 and 6 pages (typed, double-spaced) in length. The paper topic must be approved by the instructor.

C. In-class writing assignments: These will be composed in the student notebooks on topics relevant to the course material.


Philosophy of Writing

D. Clear writing promotes clear thinking. Writing about course material is a skill that can be improved with practice. In this class you will be writing often on a variety of assignments. As a result, you will become active learners able to articulate ideas in your own words and from your own perspective.

E. Writing about visual art reinforces visual literacy. We are inundated by a confusing array of visual images from television, Hollywood and advertising.  Writing about works of art develops critical thinking skills which can be used to analyze and interpret all visual imagery.



Writing to Learn: This is a Writing to Learn (WL) course.  The rationale behind the use of writing to learn is that it allows and encourages you to become an active participant in the learning process. Writing will help you to articulate ideas and concepts in your own words and to think about women's issues from your own perspective.



Statement of Intent

This is a Writing to Learn class.  We write frequently as a way to learn and retain course material.  Graded writing assignments are brief typed papers (approximately 2-3 pages) and a journal of your communication life experiences.  In-class writing assignments (peer and self-evaluations) are handwritten and not graded.  The focus of the writing assignments is to engage you in the discovery of a personal connection with the course material.


Philosophy of Writing

Writing is an essential skill that helps students to articulate their understanding of course material while also increasing their capacity to understand and retain course material and master critical thinking skills.  Writing engages the student in the course material and provides a long lasting personal connection.  Your perspective is important and through your writing, I encourage you to challenge your worldview and be intellectually honest.



Writing to Learn Component:  Writing for this course will take the format of a weekly journal of events from around the world.  This will allow you to voice personal ideas about current events that you learn about.  This in turn will help you to look geographically at the world.  Writing frequently will not only help you to improve your writing skills, but will help you to understand the material from class.  The first class of each month you will turn in your journal with a weekly entry (see Journal Handout).  The Writing to Learn Component will be worth 25 points per month, 100 points total.


STATEMENT OF INTENT:  The ancient Greek geographer Eratosthenes (circa 270 BC) is credited for coining the word geography, and during his time it meant literally "writing about the earth".  Since this time writing has always played an important factor in geography evolving beyond earth description.  I intend to use writing as a way to help you, the student, learn to look critically at many aspects in geography, but especially to develop the ability to relate events globally.


PHILOSOPHY OF WRITING:  Using writing to learn geography forces you to develop, expand and strengthen your own ideas.  The journal entries compel you to think quickly and write quickly.  These are less formal and I will focus on your ideas over correct grammar and organization.




Philosophy of Writing:

Since this is a Writing to Learn course, students will write frequently as a way to improve this aspect of their Spanish skills, but also for the purpose of writing about the experience of learning a language and learning about other cultures.  Because of this dual goal, students will be allowed to do some writing in English when expressing more complex or philosophical ideas about their own learning experience.  The philosophy behind these writing assignments is that you learn to write well by writing often about complex ideas and that by writing about what you learn you better assimilate the material and concepts.  In this way, writing can be seen as a knowledge-building tool by which new understanding is developed through the very act of expressing one's ideas.


Statement of Intent:

With regard to foreign language skills, it is easy to understand that new material --new grammar concepts, for example--are more likely to be retained if put to use not only orally, but also in writing.  In addition, as students progress into the intermediate level, they should be able to express themselves in a more sophisticated and conceptualized manner, and will therefore be expected to write short essays responding to various materials.  Writing assignments will range from short, in-class writings to preparing essays outside of class.





Research has shown that writing ideas out, particularly if you do so soon after a class or after reading, increases retention of ideas tremendously.  Writing forces a person to think about ideas, to place them in a logical framework, and to evaluate ideas more critically.  As such, they help you LEARN, which explains the Writing to Learn classification.  In addition, I am

convinced (as a former English major) that what is most important to

developing one's writing skills is to write a lot.  It is, of course,

also important to learn grammar and the technical aspects of writing, but

if one does not write, knowledge of grammar and technical skills cannot

be developed.  In sum, the Writing to Learn assignments are intended to

serve two purposes: to help you learn course material and think about it

critically, and to give you an opportunity to write, which should improve

your writing skills.





        In addition to the weekly quizzes (which will all require written

answers) there will be nine or ten formal WL assignments.  These WL

assignments represent the foundation of this course.  With them, you will

gain a command of the lecture and reading material, and use the concepts

and ideas from those sources to gain a new understanding of our political

world.  Two of these assignments will be more extensive, worth double,

and you will be given two weeks to complete these.

        There will be a variety of WL assignments, and I will provide

instructions and expectations for each of them.  It is impossible for me

to generalize about all of them, but often, you will apply concepts to

analyze various aspects of U.S. politics.  This will require you to

understand concepts in more than an abstract fashion; you will also apply

concepts to the "real world," which should enable you to develop a

greater awareness of political developments that influence all of our

lives long after the semester has ended.  To take an example, for one of

the assignments you will read critiques of television news coverage in

which the authors describe various "biases" of the news that you probably

not familiar with.  You will then watch news programs and analyze them

based on the reading.  Assuming you understand the authors, you should be

able to "see" and analyze the news from a new perspective.

        The "normal" WL assignments will require a bare minimum of two full typed pages (not one page and one sentence written on the second page), and the "major" assignments will require more writing.  Aside from the length

requirement, grades for the WL assignments will be based on the following



A       The student summarized the material effectively and also expressed   their own ideas that reflect significant insight into and/or critical

        Evaluation of the material.

B       The student effectively satisfied the requirements of the assignment.

C       The student's work was incomplete and/or had some problems.

D       The student showed little effort and/or did not write enough.

NA      The student did not submit the assignment

        Please note that the final grade (No Assignment) is far below an F.  More

specifically, if A=4, B=3, C=2, and D=1, then NA = MINUS 4.  Given that

you cannot submit a WL assignment unless you are in attendance, you must

attend classes if you hope to receive a good WL assignment






Since this is a Writing to Learn course, students will write frequently as a way to improve this aspect of their French skills, but also for the purpose of writing about the experience of learning a language and other cultures. Because of this dual goal, students will be allowed to write in English when expressing more complex or philosophical ideas about their learning experience. The philosophy behind these writing assignments is that you learn to write well by writing often about complex ideas and that by writing about what you learn, you better assimilate the material and concepts. In this way, writing can be seen as a knowledge-making tool by which new understanding is developed through the very act of expressing one's ideas.


With regard to foreign language skills, it is easy to understand that new material-new grammar concepts or new vocabulary, for example-are more likely to be retained if put to use not only orally, but also in writing. Writing assignments will range from short, in-class writings (sometimes collaborative), to keeping a journal, to writing a short essay.



PHILOSOPHY OF WRITING:  Writing is an essential part of any learning experience.  Writing is a way of voicing your ideas and responses, of ordering your thoughts, and it is that aspect of writing that I believe is essential in helping the student come to terms with the material being studied. Writing helps you think critically about the material, one of the goals of a General Education course.  I also believe that writing is an important skill that anyone can learn, develop, and improve.  Technique, structure, and usage are all important in writing because they are the mechanisms through which you convey your thoughts and ideas to others.  The more you write, the more comfortable you become with writing and with expressing your thoughts.  The more comfortable you become, the easier it is to get your thoughts down on paper and the easier it becomes to explain those thoughts.   Writing allows you to explore and clarify your ideas to yourself and to communicate those ideas to others.  It helps you assimilate what you've read with your experience and then to step beyond that experience and explore implications that you might not have considered if you had not articulated and then explored your original thoughts. 


STATEMENT OF INTENT:  In this course, we use writing to help you articulate your ideas, feelings, and thoughts about the literature that we read.  As these ideas are solidified in your writing, it becomes easier to connect your experience to that of the literature.  Much of the course is organized around informal out-of-class journal writings.  We also do some short, in-class response writings and some short, informal group writings.  These assignments are designed to use your writing to help you understand the literature, the values and concerns that generated it, and your own response to the work.  They are also designed to help you, the student, improve both your critical thinking skills and your understanding of literature and its place in (or relationship to) the "real world," or to the world as you know it.  These writings will help you record your initial understanding of the work and how that understanding changes as we discuss the work in detail.  The goal is to allow you to articulate your own answer to our beginning questions by the end of the semester.


When writing, you can capture your first reactions to and understanding of a text.  This initial response gives you a key to understanding yourself and thus the literature more clearly.  In essence, writing allows you to "connect" to, to understand, the literature and thus the world around you and to find connections within that world.  Since one of the goals of this class is to understand the role of literature, which is writing, it is fitting that part of that process is writing itself.  Even if you do not see yourself as a "good writer" or do not particularly like to write, if you honestly follow the guidelines and attempt to answer the questions, writing will help you understand the literature in ways you may not have expected.




When presented in a "writing-to-learn" format, this course will also enhance your communication skills by allowing you to practice the principles of effective writing (Goal I, Objective 2).  But its specific role is to help you develop the capacities described in Section II below.  Various written exercises allow students to develop their ability to gather and evaluate information, synthesize it, and present it in a clear and coherent manner, demonstrating their mastery of the basic concepts and methods of comparative politics. 



Statement of Philosophy and Purpose of Writing Across the Curriculum.  Communication skills, particularly in writing, are absolutely critical to competence in the modern workplace.  You are eventually going to find writing to be both necessary and frequently used, no matter what your occupation.  The need for effective writing will also extend to your personal and community lives.


Consequently, part of our purpose in this class is to reinforce writing skills in a specifically technical arena, outside of English composition.  We also intend to engage you directly in the subject matter of the laboratory through activities that focus on writing as a means of learning.  These include the weekly informal lab reports that teach critical thinking, organization, and synthesis of diverse elements, summarizing skills, and awareness of your own learning processes.  The formal report teaches these same skills through careful revision and rethinking, peer evaluation, and reformulation into a finished product.


In this way, writing is not added to the physics content, but the physical principles will be entered, illustrated, and secured through your writing.  In other words, both teaching and learning are directed towards specific experimental outcomes, carefully created and monitored by the instructor, so that by doing these projects, you will acquire the insight and knowledge of the physical principles set forth in the course objectives.


This course should help you develop the abilities:

            to think clearly and express thoughts precisely

            to pose worthwhile questions

            to evaluate the adequacy of an argument

            to use, apply critically, and move easily among facts, inferences, and opinions,

            to understand how general principles are established in physics from experimental


            to deal with ill-formed problems and quandaries

            to give and receive criticism profitably

            to agree or disagree by measure

            to extend a line of thought beyond the range of first impressions

            to articulate a complex position in a way that adds nothing to its complexity.

Writing to Learn:


This course is a Writing to Learn (WL) course.  The philosophy behind this course is to use writing so you will become active learners, articulating ideas in your own words, and developing critical thinking. 


In this course, we will write frequently.  There will be three types of assignments:  weekly writing in your lab journal, lab reports, and internet assignments.


Your lab journal will be checked for weekly entries.  If an entry is written, attendance points will be given for that lab.  The lab journal is to help with the writing of the lab reports and to collect information and observations.

Two lab reports will be reviewed for the WL aspect of the course. One report will be reviewed at the beginning of the course and one report at the end of the course.  Each person will have different lab projects to write and turn in, depending on which labs they are assigned. Each lab write-up will be carefully reviewed for writing, grammar and spelling. If you want to raise your grade or if the lab should be rewritten, you will be requested to rewrite and resubmit the lab.  We would like to have you experience the writing of the best possible paper you can do so you can continue to write effectively throughout your university experience as well as during your industrial experience after graduation.

Writing to Learn Statement of Philosophy and Intent:  This is a Writing To Learn class.  There will be a number of writing assignments as a means of helping you learn course material.  There will be several short writing assignments, short essays on tests II, III, and IV, short reading summary papers, and one 2 to 3-page typed rough draft on the subject of censorship in music.


Because of the abstract nature of music, it is difficult to describe verbally.  There is both an objective content in music as well as an "emotional" content.  One of the goals of this class is to help you find ways of putting this content into words. Different listeners hear different things in music.  Even experienced musicians listen to music in different ways and find some things more important than do other musicians. It is hoped that these experiences will not only make you a more informed listener, but will help you evaluate and appreciate music in a more meaningful way.

   The purposes of the writing assignments are:

  •   to help you learn course material, including the ability to describe and evaluate music
  •   to help improve your writing skills by requiring topic sentences, concluding statements, etc.
  •   to improve your ability to use critical thinking skills

            The short writing listening assignments will be done in class and will be based on listening examples.  There will be no make-ups of the writing assignments.   Some of the examples will be played at the beginning of the style period and others will occur after I have discussed the style.  A format for describing each piece will be presented in class.   All will cover what you hear in the example.  The first two examples will be graded and returned for revision.  Those two examples will be repeated for an opportunity to improve your listening and writing skills.  Each assignment will take about 7 minutes and will cover the following topics :


                        1.  Stride

                        2.  Chicago Dixieland

                        3.  Swing

                        4.  Bebop

                        5.  Cool                       

     The test essays will be similar to the speed writing above except that you will be asked to describe what you hear and identify the style. The total length of these essays should be about 50 - 100 words.  One point will be given for an strong essay (opening) statement and a strong summary (closing) statement.  The other points will be award based on the number of characteristics and instruments performing you correctly identify.  The test examples will also award 1 point out of the 5 for the correct style.  Test II will also have an essay comparison question on 2 of that units styles.

    The rough draft will cover the idea of censorship in music and backward masking.  This should be a classical argument paper. This type of paper do 5 things.

            1. take a stand,

            2. look at opposing viewpoints fairly,

            3. find evidence for both sides of the issue,

            4. evaluate the evidence, and

            5. argue that your point of view is the more logical one to take.

We will discuss the issues in small groups and then I will add input.  I have some articles which you may check out from me for 2 days.  You will then write an 800 word (2-3 pages typed, double-spaced, 4 handwritten) rough draft due the week of mid-terms.  This is not to be a finished product but the first rough draft.  It may contain errors of grammar and spelling but should express your ideas on the subject in a coherent and distinct manner.  Grading will be based on 3 points for the strength of the opening essay statement, 2 on the summary or closing statement, 3 for the proper length, 2 for the basic organization, 1 for correct information, 3 for the major points (backward masking and one each for the major pro and con arguments), 2 for a complete bibliography with a variety of at least 5 sources, and 4 for other ideas/points presented.  Two points will be deducted for lateness.  Papers will not be accepted more than 2 weeks late. DUE OCTOBER 7.

            We will also be doing a short writing, predict & response, paper at the beginning of Unit IV.  This will entail you describing an imaginary a painting of a "Lonely Women" (predict) in detail and then discussing if the example played in class seems to fit in musical terms the painting you described (response).

          There will be four additional short writing assignments at 3 points each.  A minimum of three of these needs to completed.  The topics will deal with general education concepts.

Philosophy of Writing

           Writing is a means of helping students become more active in the learning process, allowing them to express concepts and ways of thinking in their own words and from their own perspectives.  Writing also requires the student to think clearly and logically in order to communicate their ideas clearly. 

The development of clear writing skills also serves as a means of learning the course content in a more meaningful way.


This is a writing to learn-designated course.  I intend to have you write frequently about our course subject matter to help you:

  •             learn the course content
  •             practice expressing your ideas thoughtfully
  •             start to think about the various aspects that makes up Classical Music
  •             enhance your critical thinking abilities.

Writing for this class will take 3 main forms:

            Research writing - for both your presentations and your chart outline, you will need to research and decipher information, making critical decisions about what to include and what do expand upon.

            Spontaneous writing - in-class listening assignments will help you learn how to put your opinions about a musical work and performance down on paper.  Learning how to write your impressions about classical music will help you to learn how to talk about your personal views on the subject. 

            Notebook/Lecture notes - receiving information from not only your instructor but also colleagues, guest artists, and other lecturers will mean learning to write efficient and thorough notes that will help you in your weekly class work and future research projects.


How important is language?  How important is it to communicate effectively?  Your personal success depends a great deal on how you express your knowledge and understanding in our day-to-day world.  Becoming better equipped at writing enhances your overall success as a communicator.  Classical music is a subject that you already have an opinion about.  I'm here to help you express your opinions cohesively, following a course of study which may or may not make you change your mind.

WL Statement of Intent: Writing in this course will serve several purposes.  The writing assignments will:

  • Help you to organize your thoughts on certain topics in this class
  • Encourage you to evaluate your own study habits and determine ways to improve
  • Assist you in learning to not only find the answer, but also communicate mathematics

Philosophy of Writing: The writing assignments in this course are designed to assist you in assimilating the information in this course.  Formulating the ideas in your own words will enable you to develop a deeper understanding of mathematics presented in class.  Your writing assignments will be graded on how well you meet the requirements of the assignment, not necessarily on how well you write.


Art Education is a writing to learn course.  Hence, students will fulfill a number of writing assignments throughout the semester.  Clear writing promotes clear thinking through active learning.  Writing about art is a skill that can be improved upon with consistent practice.  At the same time, drawing promotes close observation, builds stores of mental images, and stimulates aesthetic perception.  In this class you will be writing and drawing often, communicating ideas in your own words and sketches from your own experiences. Writing about visual art reinforces not only verbal, but also visual literacy.  Since we as a society are flooded with an overabundance of visual images, it is important for art educators to assist students in breaking the "visual codes" and "cryptographic signs" they encounter every day.   Aesthetic perception along with reflective writing develops critical thinking skills that can be used to analyze and interpret all such visual imagery.  The writing and drawing assignments you will engage in are likely to include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A. Essays: All students will compose several original essays, including:
  • § Visual Qualities Essays (Aesthetic Perception)
  • § Visual Culture Response and Synthesis Essays (Visual Culture)
  • B. Written justifications for selected teaching activities.