MTWF 9:00-9:50, Vickner Hall 204
Instructor: Barbara Fister
Office: Library 204
E-mail: email@example.com; IM: bfistermn
Office hours: Mondays, 1:30-2:30; Fridays, 2:30-3:30; available by appointment at other times. I will also be in the library at the reference desk almost every Thursday evening from 6:00-10:00 pm.
|The common reader "reads for his own pleasure rather than to impart knowledge or correct the opinion of others. Above all, he is guided by an instinct to create for himself, out of whatever odds and ends, he can come by, some kind of whole . . ."
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader, 1925
This seminar introduces students to critical thinking and a discussion of values, and develops oral and written communication skills, through an investigation of reading as a personal pursuit and as a social activity. Why do we read? What do we enjoy reading most, and why? How do various kinds of texts serve their readers? Students will examine their own reading preferences, investigate literacy as an aspect of culture, and will explore how different forms of writing serve various purposes. As a community of readers, this class will publish a course blog, choose reading material to share, and will develop an online reader's guide to one of the required books.
That's the official word. What is this course really about?
I am fascinated by the ways people read and the role reading plays in their lives. The ways ordinary people talk about the books they read for pleasure (what scholars often call "popular literacy") differs from the ways scholars talk about books and reading. Why are those reading practices different? What values and expectations underlie those experiences? Can we read our favorite books critically? Can reading difficult books be fun? This course will give you an opportunity to think about what you like to read and why, share your thoughts about what you are reading, practice reading in various genres and for different purposes, and explore the role reading plays in society.
This course will also introduce five core activities that are part of every FTS - and your entire college career.
Critical thinking: we will think critically about what we read and will think about what it means to read critically. ("Critical" doesn't mean being negative - it simply means being thoughtful and curious about how things work.) We will also think critically about issues related to literacy, reading, writing, and publishing.
Writing: we will write every day and will write for different audiences and different purposes. We will think about how the things we read were written. We will examine the steps professional writers take when they write: plan, research, draft, revise, check facts, rewrite, get other readers' feedback, and revise again prior to publication. You will do all of these things, too.
Speaking: we will work on two kinds of speaking that are important not just in college but in your life-long role as a citizen. As we discuss books and ideas, we'll practice what it takes to have a good discussion: to prepare ahead of time, to listen to one another carefully, to pick up on others' ideas and develop them further, and to disagree both passionately and cordially. The second kind of speaking is one that makes many people nervous: speaking in public. All of us need to know a few basic tricks that will help us do this well, because sometimes what we have to say really matters and we want our words to be heard.
Values: A lot of the assignments in this class will ask you to explore the value of reading - as an individual and as a society. By the end of the course we all should have a clear idea of what we each value as a reader and why. We also will have explored the value of books and reading, of a free press, of free speech, and of access to information, as well as grappling with issues associated with copyright, intellectual honesty, and the impact of technology on reading and writing.
Academic Mentoring: I will be your academic advisor in your first year, so we will spend some time during this first semester "reading" college culture and learning how Gustavus works. We will also spend one-on-one time planning for the next semester and beyond, as well as dealing with the inevitable questions and issues that arise as you get used to being a college student. You'll have a lot of questions. As librarians often say, "I may not know the answer, but I know how to look it up." I'll even show you how to look it up for yourself. When the time comes to choose a major, you'll get a new mentor who will be able to guide the rest of your journey. Some of you may feel awkward or shy talking to professors at first; we'll practice until you're comfortable with it, because the conversations you'll have with professors can be a wonderfully rich part of your life as a college student.
I have several general expectations of you.
personal reading essay - 15%
individual and group contribution to information ethics presentation - 20%
overall participation, including complete portfolio of coursework - 25%
Please note: The percentages indicated for assignments is intended to be informative, but is not a menu of options. You cannot pass this course by selecting which assignments you choose to complete. It's a package deal. Failure to submit all assignments in satisfactory form or a pattern of failure to complete readings, attend class, and/or engage in class participation will result in an F for the course. Don't let problems cascade into failure. See me if things are not going well so we can discuss solutions.
Jessica Barron is one of the many talented writing tutors available at the Writing Center (Confer 232). We're lucky to have her as a designated tutor for this course. She is familiar with your assignments and with my expectations, so will be particularly helpful, but all of the tutors are excellent writers who have been carefully trained to help other students become more effective writers. You may drop in at any time they are open - Sundays from 7-10 p.m., Mondays-Thursdays from 2:30-10 p.m. Or, better yet, make an appointment by calling during those times or requesting an appointment with Jessica via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Schedule - dates may shift; those that are firm are marked with an *. In addition to the assignments listed here, you will must post a draft and a finished blog entry at least once a week on your assigned day.
|week one||what we'll be doing in class||read/view/listen for today|
|Sept. 6*||introduction - what we know about reading, what we read||syllabus|
|Sept. 8*||using wordpress - finding books in the Gustavus library - meet in library||Spufford, ch. 1; Blogger's Code of Ethics|
|Sept. 11||writing & discussion||Spufford, ch. 2|
|Sept. 12||writing & discussion||Spufford, ch. 3|
|Sept. 13||writing & discussion - bring your choice of newspaper to class||Spufford, ch. 4|
|Sept. 15||collaborative library tour - meet in library||Spufford, ch. 5|
|Sept. 18||draft of reading essay due; peer review of reading essays||Huntley|
|Sept. 19||guest speaker - Steve Bennett||Huntley|
|Sept. 20||writing & discussion **Dalton Conley event, 7p.m., Christ Chapel**||Huntley|
|Sept. 22||writing & discussion; determine contents of the Guide||Huntley|
|Sept. 25||research day - using reference books and databases - meet in library - final draft of reading essay due|
|Sept. 26||plagiarism and the Gustavus Honor Code|
|Sept. 27||writing from sources - the basics of documentation|
|Sept. 29||no class - catch-up day!|
|Oct. 2||Arnaldur Indridason - first draft of Guide contribution due **Arnaldur Indridason, Interpretive Center, 7 pm**||Indridason|
|Oct. 3*||Nobel Conference (pick up the Tuesday issue of The New York Times)|
|Oct. 4*||Nobel Conference|
|Oct. 6||Science and medical writing - bring Science Tuesday section of the NY Times with you to class||Murphy|
|Oct. 9||using the Web for research - meet in library|
|Oct. 10||evaluating sources - meet in library||YouTube clip on Wikipedia|
|Oct. 11||swap session - what are you reading? bring a newspaper to discuss|
|Oct. 13||guest speaker - Sharon Stevenson, designer|
|Oct. 16||using interlibrary loan; mining information from sources - meet in library|
|Oct. 17||fieldwork - explore the campus|
|Oct. 18||bring in a newspaper for discussion (today's NY Times, Star Tribune, or USA Today)||EPIC 2014; Today's Front Pages|
|Oct. 20||Kosovo swap shop - bring in your sources to share with others|
|Oct. 23*||Reading Days - no class|
|Oct. 24*||Reading Days - no class|
|Oct. 25||Guest Speakers - government documents and archives - meet in library|
|Oct. 27||Take the Lassi - 1st draft of Guide contributions due|
|Oct. 30*||guest speaker - Jane Lalim, study skills expert - nominations for common reading due today|
|Oct. 31||Is reading at risk?||NEA, pp 1-31 (.pdf pp 14-44); Ross|
|Nov. 1||why read? **Mark Edmundson Lecture, 7 p.m., Alumni Hall**||Edmundson, Yardley|
|Nov. 3||field trip - career center|
|Nov. 6||guest speakers - careers with books|
|Nov. 7||editorial team reports|
|Nov. 8||mentoring meetings - no class|
|Nov. 10||mentoring meetings - no class **An Experiment With an Air Pump, Nov. 9, 10, 11, or 12, Anderson Theatre**|
|Nov. 14||information ethics - issues and controversies - 2nd draft of Guide contibutions due; other teams go to work||YouTube clip on Social Networking|
|Nov. 15||group brainstorming for poster sessions|
|Nov. 17||field trip - meet in International Education Office|
|Nov. 20||research day - meet in library|
|Nov. 20||research day - meet in library|
|Nov. 21||group planning for poster sessions|
|Nov. 22||design team reports; other teams complete work|
|Nov. 24*||Thanksgiving - no class|
|Nov. 27||informal panels lead discussion|
|Nov. 28||informal panels lead discussion|
|Nov. 29||practice poster presentations - **public poster presentations, 7 pm, library**|
|Dec. 1||literacy as a social issue||Rose|
|Dec. 4||literacy and gender|
|Dec. 5||the future of books - discussion||Kelly|
|Dec. 6||do books have edges? - discussion||Thompson, Updike|
|Dec. 8||common reading discussion I|
|Dec. 11||common reading dicussion II|
|Dec. 12||bring portfolios to share - draft/outline introductory essays|
|Dec. 13*||final day of class - course- and self-evaluation|
|complete portfolio with introductory essay due in my office by Dec. 17th, noon.|
last updated 12/06