6030 Schedule


Introduction to Basic Writing: June 3-7

Read and listen to info about syllabus posted on Bboard

Post to “Getting to Know You” thread (5 pts) Prompt: Tell us a little about yourself, and then share a time that a teacher misunderstood you or your work (I’ll start us off)

Respond to 2 of your peers’ posts (5 pts)

Read about our Basic English course at AUM (soon to be called Intro to Composition):

“Composition at AUM and the English Placement Test” at


Then Google “English Placement Test” to find examples of what kinds of assessment are used to place students in English classes. You may even find sample tests that you can take (U of Wisconsin has a practice test, for example). In the weeks to come, I’ll ask some of you to reference these items in your discussion. Please bookmark what you find.

Then visit the wiki entry for “Basic Writing” here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_writing.  You’ll be editing and improving this entry or creating another entry as part of your final project in this class.

Optional reading for graduate students: “Rhetorical Listening” by Krista Ratcliffe (pdf)

 Part 1: Orientation with Mike Rose  June 8-16

 Registration Cancellation is June 7. Last Day for 100% Refund for Class: June 10.  

Listen to

Have You Heard podcast interview with Mike Rose, ep #36 “The Skills Trap” https://soundcloud.com/haveyouheardpodcast/skills-trap

Then read the following material about Mike Rose and his book Lives on the Boundary (all sections incl. the Graff should be treated as ONE reading in discussion board posts)

Mike Rose Lives on the Boundary—read the summary of the book written on Amazon, the reviews there, and then read pages 1-6, 205-207 in “Look Inside”


(I’m hoping you’ll read more/order the book on your own; some of you in Education may have already read sections of it before)

Gerald Graff’s review of Lives on the Boundary from 2009, 20th anniversary of the book (pdf)

End the unit by reading…

Candace Spigelman’s “Taboo Topics and the Rhetoric of Silence: Discussing Lives on the Boundary in a Basic Writing Class” (pdf)

Post to the Discussion Board and respond to two of your peers (15 pts).

Additional task for 6030 (grad students): Connect your post entry to to your findings about placement tests. In what ways might these tests help or hurt the kind of student Mike Rose discusses?

Part 2:  Historicizing and Identifying Basic Writing June 17-23

 Read Chapters 1 and 2 of Basic Writing by George Otte and Rebecca Mlynarczyk (pdfs on Bboard)

Then set up a free Flipgrid account and record your first video in the “Get to Know You” section. Go to www.flipgrid.com to do so. Use your school email to sign up, or problems may occur.

Get to Know You Question on Flipgrid: Describe something you’ve struggled to learn/do/understand and how it made you feel as a result. Did you seek help? Did you quit? Tell us about it.

Post to the Discussion Board and respond to two peers. (20 pts incl the Flipgrid)


Part 3: Mina Shaughnessy and the Open Admissions Movement June 24-30

 Last Day for 50% Refunds for Class: June 24

First read “Why Johnny Can’t Write” editorial from 1974

Then read Mina Shaughnessy’s introduction to Errors and Expectations (pdf)

Finally, read Shaughnessy’s articles “Diving In,” “Some Needed Research on Writing” and “Open Admissions and the Disadvantaged Teacher” (all pdfs) These pieces are all short.

Post to Discussion Board. No peer responses required this week due to the below request:

Share a video/talking head on Flipgrid in which you discuss a time the naming or labeling of something negatively affected the way you saw or understood it. This should be 1 min and 30 seconds.

Share an object or picture with us as you explain. This Flipgrid is worth 10 pts.

(e.g. I’m planning to talk about a book, so I’ll hold up a book as I explain how it’s related to the topic)

 Do these three things clearly:

Share the term or name that you will discuss.

Explain why the term is problematic. Then explain how the situation is similar to the issues of naming Basic Writing and other related courses in remediation.

Part 4: Thinking about Race and Class  July 1-7

Read Lisa Delpit’s “The Silenced Dialogue” Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People’s Children”(pdf)

Read Scott Jaschik’s “Born to Win, Schooled to Lose” from Inside Higher Ed


Graduate students only: read “Open Admissions: American Dream or Disaster?” from TIME (pdf)

Post to Discussion Board and respond to two peers. No Flipgrid this week.

Qualitative Research Project:

Read the following instructions and begin thinking about someone you’d choose for the project—

Interview someone who struggled in college to make good grades. Do your best to find someone who doesn’t look like you, perhaps someone from a different nationality, race, socioeconomic class, or level of ability/disability.

Write up your findings as a 5 page double spaced document. Seek to answer these questions:

What was the nature of the struggle? Ask the person to provide concrete examples.

What could have helped mitigate or alleviate the struggle?

How was the person placed or admitted to the assigned writing classes?

What advice would this person give a student who is struggling in today’s college classrooms?

Finally, how does the reading in this course intersect or not intersect with this person’s experience? As graduate students, do you feel that theory (our readings) is connecting to practice (daily experience in the classroom)?

This paper will be submitted via email to khowar20@aum.edu at 11:59pm on July 10.

Part 5: The Basic Writing Classroom and Student Perceptions  July 8-14

 Last Day to Drop Class: July 12.

Read Linda Adler-Kassner’s “Just Writing, Basically: Basic Writers on Basic Writing” (pdf)

Read Deborah Mutnick’s “Still ‘Strangers in Academia”: Five Basic Writers’ Stories (pdf)

Post to Discussion Board and respond to two peers. Seek to connect the two articles to the interview you recently conducted.  Also, post to Flipgrid this week.

Optional reading for graduate students: Min-zhan Lu’s “Redefining the Legacy of Mina Shaughnessy”

Part 6: Exploring the Curriculum July 15-21

Read Rose and Hull’s “This Wooden Shack Place:” The Logic of an Unconventional Reading” (pdf)

Read and explore the recent blog entries, “About” page, and “Resources” page on the Council of Basic Writing Blog at https://cbwblog.wordpress.com/. (Consider this site one reading as a whole.)

Post to Discussion Board and respond to two peers. Seek to connect the two articles to the interview you recently conducted. Also, post to Flipgrid this week.

Separate Discussion Board post: Let me know this week what wiki entry you are planning to write for the final exam. This will be first come, first serve. No one should share topics.

Optional reading for graduate students: David Bartholomae’s “Tidy House”

Part 7: Exploring Local Programs July 22-28

 Google Basic Writing programs in our general area (Alabama and neighboring states). Locate the following information: info about placement tests, course description(s), number of composition faculty and their credentials, and objectives of the course (if available). Then take note of any additional information you find interesting enough to share.

Then post to the Discussion Board about your findings. In your own words, describe a Basic Writing curriculum/program design at an institute of higher learning/university/college/community college. Give us a profile of that program.

Finally, respond to two of your peers. Whose program is similar to the one you found? Different? Why?

Optional reading for graduate students: Kim Davis et al’s “Affective Matters”

Final exam project is due July 30 at noon. This should be emailed. No late submissions.


Grades will be posted August 5.