ENGLISH 1010 Syllabus

College Writing 1, a Critical Thinking and Writing Course - Last Updated August 20, 2018

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

Your Professor

I'm Professor Lee Ann Mortensen and I have a BS in Psychology, and 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. If you like, you can 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, and I've won awards from Poet's and Writers, Summer Literary Seminars, and The Utah Arts Council.

OFFICE: Classroom building CB410d (Touchstones posters and prayer flags outside)--E.mail is the best way to get ahold of me.
HOURS: I'm usually in my office CB410d by appointment, though I am often there MW 4:00-5:00PM or MW 8:30-9:30PM or in my classroom CB413 just down the hall. Be sure to also take advantage of consultation days.
PHONE: 801-863-8785
E.MAIL: mortenle@uvu.edu.

Course Description

Per the Utah Valley University catalog, English 1010 teaches rhetorical knowledge and skills, focusing on critical reading, writing, and thinking. English 1010 introduces writing for specificacaddemic audiences and situations. English 1010 emphasizes writing as a process through multiple drafts and revisions. The course may include major essay assignments, writing and collaboration, research writing, journals, and portfolios.

Writers with more experience know that complex dilemmas are usually more complexly 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), but that ultimately its a challenge to get people to listen to your words.  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") 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, blogging and tweeting, 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 an audience might react, and a lot of revision. 

And you should always look things up, and cite your sources.

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 where you may be able to take the English CLEP test; there are also some Internet hybrid sections of this course available as well.

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), which will be a deepen your ability to read and use sources in your writing. 


Course Outcomes

Texts and Other Required Expenses


Course Rules

1. Computer Usage - Be sure to pay attention to our Web Calendar for Readings and Assignment details, and then turn your work into Canvas on the day it's due. There are sometimes lecture notes on the web Calendar if you happen to miss class.  Also watch your Canvas Announcements or E. Mail for news, clarifications, reminders, 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 should send me E. Mail at mortenle@uvu.edu

Lee's 1010 Course on the Web: http://research.uvu.edu/mortensen/1010

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

I can help you with some computer skills if you come see me during office hours or between classes, 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 unforced 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, trolling, 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 for notes and reference, but when 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 the problems of concentration and multitasking.

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/writingcenter

6. Students with Disabilities - If you have any disability that may impair your ability to successfully complete this course, please contact the UVU Accessibility Services Department (LC 312, https://www.uvu.edu/accessibility/ 801-863-8747). Academic accommodations are granted for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the Accessibility Services Department.

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 allowed absences.  Because you are allowed to miss 5 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.  

Simply not missing classes doesn't raise your grade. You have to listen, participate, and apply what you're learning.

If you do miss class, please do not interrupt class to give me excuses or ask me what's going on.  Consult with a responsible class mate afterward to see what you missed.  Exchange phone numbers with trusted classmates (this can also help later if you wish to form an outside workshop after class).

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 turned in late, you will lose 5 points.  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 the web Calendar for Readings and Assignment instructions; see Canvas to turn in your work.

1. UVU Grading Guidelines - see UVU policy by clicking here. The average grade in a college course is a C. Just because you "need" an A doesn't mean you will be able to earn an A. Your grade for the course is determined by how many points you get out of the total (between 400-600).  Each assignment builds on the previous one, so missing even one assignment can make your grade go down.  You can talk to me if you don't understand a grade, but be sure to look at the Web Calendar instructions or grading rubrics carefully first. If you have a dispute about a graded assignment, we can discuss things with civility. If this is not satisfactory, you are allowed to write me a three page, double-spaced, logical justification for why you believe you deserve a better grade. I can also ask one of my peers to re-grade your essay.

2. Graded Activities - Along with completing assigned readings, attending outside lectures, and doing small exercises, you will keep your written work to maybe 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, and to help you engage with other thought communities, you may be asked to complete the following shorter assignments (see the course calendar for details):

  • 1 to 3 analytical Outside reading reactions and replies to lectures or documentaries, orTumblr, or other campus events, 600+ words, double-spaced using outside sources and turned in to Canvas- 30 pts each

  • Quizzes on logic, the library, and other subjects

Other Assignments:

  • Class attendance, participation, and in-class activities, and workshops - (you can get extra points for great participation unless you miss 5 or more classes)
  • As an educated person, and as part of our other assignments, you will also critically read one "intellectually" stimulating book--The Boys in the Boat--for Unit 2 or 4 (up to 100 pts)

Extra Credit Possibilities:

  • If for some reason you miss a workshop, or get a low score on an assignment, you can use our Tumblr, or watch a contestable documentary, or attend a humanities-based lecture (watch PBS shows on 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. Lee might also be able to make films available in Canvas. To get credit, you need to complete a 600 word analytical reading reaction (you can complete up to 2).

  • Anyone can get 5 extra points per session (up to 4 visits total) with the UVU Writing Center (on-line writing lab or LI 208; go to http://www.uvu.edu/writingcenter/ to set up a session).  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 the Web Calendar for assignment details, and Canvas for points).

Grade is based on a percentage of the total points. If you have 95% of the points or higher, you get an A. If you have 90% of the points, you get an A-. If you have 87% of the points, you get a B+. If you have 85% of the points, you get a B. If you have 80% of the points you get a B-. If you have 79% of the points, you get a C+. If you have 75% of the points, you get a C. If you have 70% of the points you get a C- which is the lowest some of you can get without losing scholarships, or needing to take the class over again. If you have 69% of the points, you get a D+. If you have 65% of the points, you get a D. If you have 60% of the points, you get a D-. 59% or lower will get an E or a UW. 


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.



Completing all your assignments will likely give you a higher grade than your overall writing grade. Your final grade does have to reflect your writing ability, however.   Attending class each day, participating, being a thoughtful critic, reading well, doing your daily prewriting, having work that takes some risks, and making good, brave revisions can certainly put you in a higher grade category, so do not feel like there is no hope even if your writing is still inexperienced (or boring). The fewer late assignments, the better, obviously.

So, what might be the best writing?


Email Me with syllabus questions: mortenle@uvu.edu

Then start checking your daily assignments on our web calendar. Canvas is where you upload your assignments.



Copyright © Lee Ann Mortensen 2018-2019