Course Texts and Required Materials

Ballenger, Bruce. The Curious Writer. 4th Custom Edition for the University of Montana. New York: Longman. 2010.

  • This is the main textbook for the class.  You can find it at the campus bookstore.  It is the same for all WRIT 101 sections.  It comes in a 3 ring binder.  The current edition of the book is highly preferred.

Lunsford, Andrea. The Everyday Writer. 4th edition. Custom Edition for the University of Montana. Boston, MA: Bedford’s/St. Martins. 2010.

  • The Everyday Writer is not required but highly recommended.  It’s a great resource for grammar, MLA formatting, etc.  You will be able to use it for your entire undergraduate career.  I recommend you get it.

Working Folder/Final Portfolio

You’ll be asked to keep an electronic or print working folder of all your writing throughout the semester. At midterm you’ll write a reflection on the working folder, and, at the end of the semester, you’ll construct a final portfolio that will include your three inquiry projects, selected invention and drafting, and an introduction to the portfolio. It’s essential that you keep all of the work you produce in the course, in electronic form and hard copy.  Also, in addition to working on the computers, we will be doing in-class writes frequently, so please come prepared to class every day with writing materials.

Other Readings

Throughout the semester I’ll be posting web-based readings.  I may also bring in paper print outs or direct you to ereserve for outside reading materials.

Grading, Attendance Policy, etc.


More than 3 absences from a Monday-Wednesday-Friday class will compromise your grade.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • 4th absence: Final grade drops by one letter.
  • 5th absence: Final grade drops by one letter.
  • 6th absence: Final grade is an F.

Grading for WRIT 101 is broken down as follows:

  1. Participation: 15%
  2. Blogs 15%
  3. Reflective essay: 20%
  4. Final portfolio         50%


  • Your full and enthusiastic participation is integral to your success in this class.  Full participation includes coming to class every week on time, remaining an active listener, contributing to class discussions, doing everything assigned, and the intangible: your general attitude towards the work.


  • Each of you will be creating and maintaining a blog.  You’ll be asked to do weekly assigned posts, as well as to read each other’s blog entries and comment on them.  Your blogs will be a chance to practice your writing in a forum other than the major papers we’ll be working on.   See the blog tab for more information on blogs.

Reflective Essay:

  • Midway through the semester you’ll be completing a 500-700 word essay wherein you reflect on the writing process, your goals for this class, etc.  This paper exists outside of the portfolio.  You’ll receive a letter grade.


Your portfolio consists of the three major papers that we’ll be working on throughout the class, plus a reflective paper at the beginning.  The major papers are as follows:

  • Paper 1: Personal academic argument (2,000-3,000 words)
  • Paper 2: Op-ed (700-1,000 words)
  • Paper 3: Life place essay (1,000 words)
  • Reflective Portfolio introduction (500-750 words)

You’ll be composing these papers throughout the semester.  I’ll give you an initial evaluation, and then the papers will be revised for your portfolio at the end of the semester.  It’s important to note that satisfactory completion of each of the major papers is required to pass the course.  Your first paper will be due October 1st.

Here are some very preliminary due dates for the major papers, subject to sudden and inexplicable changes at my whim.

  • Unit 1: Personal Academic Argument: Friday, October 1
  • Unit 2: Reflective Essay: Friday, October 8
  • Unit 3: Op-Ed: Monday, November 11
  • Unit 4: Life Place Essay: Monday, November 22
  • Final Portfolio: Monday, December 13

Grading for major papers: I will respond to these projects with written comments to guide you in your composing process (called formative evaluation), but I will also mark them using a check system to help you know where you stand on a specific project – particularly if you are unfamiliar with portfolio assessment. To give you a sense of the check system used in WRIT 101, please refer to the following descriptors.

  • Check (√) A project with a check generally meets its rhetorical goals in terms of purpose, genre, and writing situation without need for extensive revision. Written comments will elaborate on strengths, weaknesses, and strategies for focused revision.
  • Check minus (√-) A project with a check minus meets the basic requirements, but would benefit from significant revision and a stronger understanding of rhetorical decision-making. Written comments will elaborate on strengths, weaknesses, and strategies for substantial revision.
  • Unsatisfactory (U) A project with a U does not meet basic standards, and requires extensive development and attention. An unsatisfactory submission may be incomplete or inappropriate to the assignment. Such a submission may receive a request to rewrite in order to receive teacher comments or count as complete.

Evaluation Criteria for Portfolios

This is the standard list of requirements given by the department.  I will be giving you more guided, practical advice and instruction on what I expect of your portfolios throughout the semester.

  1. Does the portfolio include required elements?
  2. How does the portfolio demonstrate engagement in inquiry as a means of learning? In particular, can the student use strategies like exploration, explanation, evaluation, and reflection as inter-related means of inquiry?
  3. How does the portfolio demonstrate focus on a purpose appropriate to different writing situations, including different audiences?
  4. How does the portfolio demonstrate writing in multiple genres with an awareness of how genres shape reading and writing?
  5. How does the portfolio demonstrate use of specialized language from the discipline of composition to support learning?
  6. How does the portfolio demonstrate a student’s understanding and engagement in the collaborative and social aspects of learning? Can the student give and receive feedback on written texts?
  7. How does the portfolio demonstrate a student’s appreciation of the challenges of communicating effectively across differences?
  8. How does the portfolio demonstrate a student’s development of a flexible writing process?
  9. How does the portfolio demonstrate a student’s knowledge and use of research and reading as processes?
  10. How does the portfolio demonstrate a student’s knowledge and use of a variety of technologies to facilitate research and writing?
  11. How does the portfolio demonstrate a student’s knowledge and use of conventions for different genres, including documentation and control of features like punctuation, grammar, syntax, and spelling?
  12. How does the portfolio demonstrate inquiry and knowledge about the “big issue” of sustainability?


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