ENGLISH 1010 Syllabus

College Writing 1, a Critical Thinking and Writing Course

Course Web Page: http://research.uvu.edu/mortensen/1010

Your Professor

I'm Lee Ann Mortensen and I have an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Utah.  Though I have written in a variety of genres, I primarily focus on neo- postmodern, sort of minimalist prose/fiction that focuses on marginalized voices in the West. Click here to read my sometimes upsetting, angry, funny, four-letter-word work (that means it isn't everything for everyone). I've been published in journals like Ploughshares, River Styx and Prism International.

OFFICE: Liberal Arts room CB410d (the metrosexual)--there is an English drop box outside CB410?? if you need to turn in things that you can't E.mail or post to Canvas (which should be nothing).
HOURS: TTH 7:15-8:15PM, in my classroom CB413, or in my office CB410d. Appointments are available the same days. Be sure to also take advantage of consultation days.
PHONE: 801-863-8785
E.MAIL: mortenle@uvu.edu.

Course Overview

You might think experienced writers have a magic gift, but what they really have is an awareness of some important writing concepts.  For instance, experienced writers know that a writing project often begins with an interesting question or problem (often an impossible-to-solve dilemma), and a desire to think deeply about that problem's complexity.  This is sometimes the hardest thing for new writers to learn.  Experienced writers also know that complex dilemmas are usually more interesting to read about (especially for college audiences) than mere vitriol (if you don't know this word, practice being an experienced writer and look it up).  Experienced writers know readers want to be at least a little bit surprised as they read, which often means the writer also has to be open to surprise--as Robert Frost says, "No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader" (Preface to Collected Poems, 1939).  Experienced writers know there are many rhetorical strategies (look up "rhetoric" or see your Bedford glossary) that can be used to appeal to (or enrage, or entertain, or explain, or persuade, or even "merely" inform) diverse audiences (to think about rhetorical strategies and audience, look at this Cosmo ad).  Experienced writers also know there are many different processes that lead them into a "final" draft, including reading other authors to learn from their styles or their ideas (and reading multiple connotations between the lines helps), talking in groups to hear a wider range of opinions, freewriting to help see more complexly what they really think, researching to find out what knowledgeable (and not so knowledgeable) experts are saying, writing a detailed draft with exploration in mind, getting feedback on the writing to see how they can improve, and a lot of revision.  In this general education writing class, you'll be doing all of these things, and you'll become a more critical thinker, and educated person, in the process.  

Because you should know grammar by now (or know how to find out about it), we focus mostly on the other processes of writing.  If you feel you are not grammatically ready for this course, please take English 095 or 098 for grammar basics.  If you feel you are overly ready for this course, please go to the College Testing Center and take the English CLEP test, and there are many Internet sections of this course available as well at http://www.UVU.edu/disted/.

Once you have earned a passing grade for this course, you will then go on to take second semester College Writing II, English 2010 (humanities) or 2020 (sciences), which will be a deepen your ability to read and use sources in your writing. 

Texts and Other Required Expenses


Course Rules

1. Computer Usage - Be sure to pay attention to your course Calendar or Assignments on Canvas. There is also a backup web Calendar to up you keep up with the work, and review Lee's lecture notes.  Also watch your Canvas Announcements or E. Mail for news, clarifications, assignments, and updates.  Your on-campus UVLink E. Mail system can be set to forward messages to your most used email address (so please set this up). You can send me E. Mail at mortenle@uvu.edu

Lee's 1010 Course Back up Web: http://research.uvu.edu/mortensen/1010

Here is the direct link to Canvas as well: https://uvu.instructure.com/

You are also required to word process most of your writing assignments (this does not usually include informal brainstorming or freewriting journal assignments).  I can help you with some computer skills if you come see me during office hours, and you can always ask for help in the CSC open labs. Don't try to type an essay on your phone or your Ipad or tablet. This often creates huge amounts of errors.

2. Read Your web Email and/or Canvas Announcements regularly - Please check your UVLink Email on a regular basis for important information, updates, questions, and lecture or assignment clarifications from me.  Your on-campus UVLink email is at https://uvlinx.uvu.edu/lumlogin/lumlogin.aspx . You can set up your UVLink Email to forward to your most used email. You can send me Email at mortenle@uvu.edu.

3. Being A True, Mature Learner - In my class you are a writer in a community of writers.  You are also a curious learner, and a thinker, and someone willing to seriously discuss issues and try new things.  Do not disrupt this writing and learning community with apathy, lack of preparation, chit chat, excuses, sleeping, overt inattentiveness, Facebooking, texting, or bad attitude.  If you choose to mistakenly pretend you are in high school, I will immediately kick you out of my classroom and have you administratively dropped (in other words, as I said above, don't waste our time).

4. NO CELL PHONES or other distracting devices or apps or ear buds etc. If I allow you to have laptops, and I tell you put away them away and face me, please close them. If I see or hear you on your phone, I will automatically deduct 5 points for each time I see you with it. This Salon article about not tweeting during Breaking Bad might give insight into multitasking problems.

5. Additional Writing Help - You can meet with me after setting up an appointment, or come to my office (see above).  You can always E. Mail me with questions at mortenle@uvu.edu.  You can also use the excellent UVU On-Line Writing Lab (OWL) for feedback on your essays, and for additional grammar tutoring, or go to their office in the library, LI 208.  Visit them at http://www.uvu.edu/owl

6. Students with Disabilities - If you have any disability which may impair your ability to successfully complete this course, please contact the Accessibility Services Department (LC 213; 863-8747). Academic accommodations are granted for all students who have qualified disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the Accessibility Services Department. I must have a letter from their office to give you accomodations.

8. Remember, no children (or pets unless service animals) are allowed in classrooms at UVU--see the Wee Care center for day care information.

9. Final exams cannot be taken early.

10. Attendance - Because this class relies on writing and critical thinking demonstrations, in-class computer activities, group discussions, peer review workshops, attendance is extremely important.  


If you are late more than 3 times, or if you leave very early more than 3 times, this will count as one of your three allowed absences.  Because you are allowed to miss 3 class periods, explanations for absences or lateness are not required or desired before, during, or after class.  Just be aware that even if you only miss 2 classes, your grade might suffer.  

If you do miss class, consult with a responsible classmate afterward to see what you missed.

If you miss a peer review/workshop day, you will automatically have 10 points deducted from your total.  If you are bothered by this policy, you can write me a five page, double-spaced, logical justification for why you believe this is an unfair practice. See extra credit below.

11. Late Work- For any assignments handed in or E. Mailed late, you will lose 5 points off for each week your work is late.  Obviously, this will add up and cause your grade to drop no matter what kind of writer or thinker you are. See extra credit below.

--subject to change--see Canvas Assignments for details.

1. UVU Grading Guidelines - see UVU policy by clicking here. Just because you "need" an A doesn't mean you will earn an A. Your grade for the course is determined by how many points you get out of the total.  Each assignment builds on the previous one, and there are not a huge amount of total points, so missing even one assignment can make your grade go down drastically.  Sometimes I require revisions of main essays for better grades, but if you have a dispute about a graded assignment, you are allowed to write me a three page, double-spaced, logical justification for why you believe you deserve a better grade.

2. Graded Activities - Along with completing assigned readings, attending outside lectures, and doing small exercises, you will keep your written work to include in a final portfolio that demonstrates your overall improvement as a writer, a critical thinker, and a researcher. This porfolio may contain:

As a way to help you with the above essays, you will also complete the following shorter assignments (see the course calendar for details):


  • 6-8+ Journal assignments (informal, handwritten or blog style, for prewriting, and detailed research notes) - 5-10 pts each

  • Up to 8 Writing Exercises/Analyses - 10-30 pts each

  • Up to 4 analytical reading reactions and replies, 600+ words, double-spaced in Canvas- 30 pts each

  • 1-2 Outside Lecture Analytical Reactions - 600 words, 30pts each

Other Assignments:

  • Class attendance, participation, and in-class activities, and workshops - 150 pts (unless you miss 5 or more classes)
  • As an educated person, and as part of our other assignments, you will also read one intellectually stimulating book--Outcasts United--for this class to be followed by an essay or oral presentation in Powerpoint as your Midterm (or some other digital medium) - up to 100 pts

Make Up (for up to 2 absences max), and Extra Credit Possibilities:

  • If for some reason you miss a workshop, or get a low score on an assignment, you can watch a contestable documentary or attend a humanities-based lecture. You may watch PBS shows like Frontline (available online or in our UVU library) or perhaps the Ethics in the 90's videos in the UVU library (there are over 26).  Find the call numbers at our UVU Library Catalogue. You can complete up to 2, 600 word analytical reactions for up to 20 extra points depending on the quality of your work.

  • Anyone can get 5 extra points per session (up to 5 visits total) with the UVU OWL (on-line writing lab or LI 208; go to http://www.uvu.edu/owl/ to set up a session), or 5 extra points per visit (up to 7) to the Writing Lab (LI 201).  Submit English 1010 assignments well in advance of the due date to get this extra credit. Calling for an appointment is recommended : 801-863-8936.

These points and assignments are subject to change. See Canvas Assignments for details.


Academic Honesty/Plagiarism Statement: Plagiarism, or the use of othersí words or ideas without proper attribution, is an impediment to your education and to the educational mission of Utah Valley State College. Under the policy of the English and Literature Department of UVU, work that has been plagiarized must receive a failing grade. A distinction is made between unintentionally plagiarized work, which must be corrected in order to be considered for a passing grade, and intentional plagiarism, which will be forwarded to the Office of the Dean of Student Life as a disciplinary matter in accordance with UVUís statement on Student Rights and Responsibilities. Evidence of intentional plagiarism will cause you to fail this course. Please refer to www.uvu.edu/courseinfo/engl/plagiarism_policy.html  to read the departmentís full statement on plagiarism, and speak to your instructor if you have any questions about avoiding plagiarism.

Email Me with syllabus questions: mortenle@uvu.edu

Then start checking your daily assignments on Canvas or our backup web calendar.



Copyright © Lee Ann Mortensen 2014