Course: Process, Growth, Mindfulness to Autonomy (applicable for all levels)
| Required Texts
This course is an introductory course designed to strengthen and arm you, the students, with academic literacy, composition, analytical, verbal and digital skills, you will find are necessary for our course, for your other courses and your professional goals.
This semester we will be relearning how to learn, according to us. By engaging in: interdisciplinary reading materials, writing across the curriculum, various learning practices, strategies and activities, researching unfamiliar topics and completing digital research projects, you will discover how you learn best and ultimately excavate meaning and knowledge in whatever way is right for you. Gloria Steinem has said, “The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.” We are conditioned through years of workforce training and capitalist models to learn in one specific way and earn grades, in the same way we earn money. But, education does not happen overnight, nor am I able to deposit boatloads of knowledge into your hungry brains. So rather than perpetuating the traditional student receiver approach, we will work together to break away from our preconceived ideas of education and knowledge and work to encourage you to learn through various unorthodox approaches, which will ultimately provide you with a better sense of who you are as a learner, how you learn best, how to navigate difficult and challenging terrain (academically and professionally) and what it all means for you.
Departmental Learning Outcomes
- Look at problems and issues from the perspectives of different disciplines and different types of texts.
- Recognize attitude, tone, purpose, point of view, and intended audience in readings from a range of disciplines.
- Recognize types of evidence, styles of argumentation and ways of knowing that are typical of different disciplinary genres.
- Recognize that different genres require different reading strategies and apply these strategies to texts from different disciplines.
- Identify how socio-historical and disciplinary contexts shape texts.
- Differentiate between reliable and unreliable observations; differentiate between reliable and unreliable statements of fact.
- Distinguish between primary and secondary sources and their uses in research writing.
- Critique arguments: uncover key assumptions, find logical inconsistencies, trace cause-and-effect relationships, test validity of inferences, challenge interpretations, ideas, and values found in reading and research; imagine alternatives.
- Engage in several different research writing projects that result in extensive written essays. Become familiar with different modes of academic research and different types of evidence and analysis through these different research projects.
- Identify own perspective and position with regard to the issue in question; frame own view in light of other perspectives and positions, including those of the instructor and peers in the course.
- Use quotation, paraphrase, and summary by way of analyzing other ideas and developing/elucidating own ideas; incorporate quotation, paraphrase, and summary smoothly, accurately and appropriately (MLA or APA style).
- Use informal writing like prewriting, freewriting, brainstorming, journals, notes, lists, concept maps and outlines to help generate ideas.
- Develop drafts of formal research projects on the basis of informal writing; continue to utilize feedback from instructor and peer reviewers; engage in active, significant revision of earlier drafts of formal research projects.
- Communicate clearly, correctly, fluently, and effectively, according to appropriate conventions of language; follow instructor’s instructions as to proper format and acceptable presentation of written work (MLA or APA style).
- Become familiar with formal documentation styles (MLA, APA, Chicago) and why there are used.
Digital & Information Literacy:
- Access information and ideas that shed light on a given topic, issue, or problem, drawing on research sources including the library and the Internet. Increase fluency in using research search terms.
- Evaluate research sources for reliability, relevance, authority, complexity, and bias.
- Access CUNY+ and online scholarly databases to search CUNY libraries and KCC library holdings; locate books, journals, and periodicals in KCC collection (electronically and/or in print).
- Document research sources fully and accurately, using academic conventions; avoid unintentional plagiarism through correct use of documentation; understand issues involving intentional or unintentional plagiarism; follow conventions to produce a Works Cited page and/or References list.
- Navigate and utilize various digital applications and resources for academic and professional purposes.
Types of Assignments
Writing: Throughout the semester you will be expected to complete three formal research based essays. We are looking for growth over time, which means you will have the opportunity to revise your essays until you are satisfied with the progress you’ve made. I will provide feedback to guide you, but you will also be providing each other with feedback through peer-review activities, debates, panel discussions, presentations in conjunction with a Q & A, collaborative digital research projects and reading activities. You will be asked to participate in meditative and contemplative practices in order to relax and focus, concentrate and write in a calm, peaceful and thoughtful atmosphere, without worrying about who is texting you or commenting on your last Facebook post. Your final paper will be fully research based and may seek to explore issues related to your professional fields and majors. This class is an all encompassing beast, designed to engage every facet of your life.
In order to ensure that you are keeping up with and finding meaning in the course readings, you will create quizzes each week (in class) in which another student will complete. We will work on building your cognitive and physical reading skills, so you feel prepared to tackle difficult texts throughout your time at CUNY and when you participate in your occupational fields. One activity might ask you to read a text in which you were asked to annotate heavily and exchange your annotated reading with a classmate and reread the text along with your classmate’s annotations. You might add to the annotations, answer your classmate’s questions, or simply engage in a written dialogue about the reading on the text itself. In many ways, you will be leading each other and helping each other work through an intellectual path of confusion, inquiry, concern, ideas, prior knowledge, new knowledge and learning. In addition, many of the texts we will be covering will be linguistically challenging (Marx, Camus, scholarship, etc.) and since much of this class is grounded in your interpretations and understanding of the ideas in the texts, it is critical you come to class prepared and ready to work with and on the texts. If one of you are not prepared, you will endanger the entire class’ progression and set us back. The essays will be centered on these texts, so the activities we execute will be a major participant in how you come to understand these texts. For the greater good of the class, each and everyone’s participation is key to our success here.
Social Democracy: As a way to foster democracy and equity, we will also be practicing conversational responsibility. We will engage in three different conversational strategies:
- Timed commentary, responses and questions. Everyone should have a chance to chime in and no one student will be able to dominate the floor for too long. To ensure this, we will implement a time limit for each question, comment and response.
- Some days we’ll “take stack,” and write names as hands go up. Students will see their names on the board and respond as we move through the list.
- Random leadership and responder. Students will pick a number from a bag, which will also either say “leader” or “responder.” With the help of a random number picking application, leaders will start the conversation about an idea, topic, question, that emerged from the text or the previous lesson. Once this student has concluded, we’ll look to the number app to select four random responders. This approach will ensure everyone is listening and thinking about what we’re talking about and it will give quieter students a chance to engage with the class verbally and showcase their knowledge, interpretations and ideas.
One of the main goals of English 24 is to learn how to excavate formal research, interpret scholarly perspectives on a specific issue, compile your own data and seek to answer your own personal research question. You will work with three other students on a collaborative visual data project, based on one topic you wish to explore deeply. You will construct one specific research question derived from this topic and seek to answer this question through research, inquiry, data collection and experimentation. As a group you will decide on a method to study your research question (perhaps design an experiment, collect data (statistics), conduct interviews, design and implement a survey, etc.).
The final product will be a digital research project directly related to your thesis that showcases your findings. The interactive project should be organized in a visually stimulating way, but should also clearly convey the data you have collected (through MapsMarkerpro, Prezi, Tiki-toki). You and your group will present your research and methodology at our classroom panel discussion at the end of the semester and take questions from the audience after you’ve presented your research.
Informal Written Notes:
- Literature Review: Reflect on 3-4 scholarly perspectives surrounding your specific area of inquiry (seek to include some ideas that answer your research question in direct and indirect ways– these scholars do not necessarily have to agree with your hypothesis). What do other scholars say
- Area of Inquiry: Discuss your hypothesis and explain what you believe you will reveal through your exploration and data collection.
- Methodology: Explain what you intend to do to collect your data and confirm your hypothesis.
- Conclusion: Interpret your results as it pertains to the hypothesis. (You may find that your results do not support your hypothesis—that is all right– simply explain how your results support of refute your initial thought).
Note: you may want to delegate tasks to each member. One student may be responsible to gather scholarly research, another might be responsible for collecting data, another may be responsible for taking notes and organizing the informal notes, etc. Your cohort should agree upon and determine these guidelines and how it should function.
See CUNY Sociodemographic Map as an example
Formal Essay #1 15%
Formal Essay #2 15%
Formal Essay #3 20%
Data Project 15%
Panel Discussion 10%
Participation & Attendance 15%
Extra Curricular Extra Credit:
The data says that “70% of CUNY Students do not participate in any extra curricular activities.”
My assumption is that many CUNY students tend to think of CUNY colleges as commuter schools, where we make a stop to class and continue on to our job, to pick up our children, interpret mail or leases for family, do a quick grocery shopping, make dinner, or go do whatever next thing needs to be done. Extra curricular activities are time suckers and seem to have no explicit rewards. However, it’s been said that extra curricular activities for undergraduates include:
the development of social and leadership skills, improved educational aspirations and academic achievement, enhanced decision making skills regarding career and life planning, heightened self-confidence, stronger relationships with faculty, the ability to see course curriculum as more relevant, and further success after college (p. 17). Pritchard and Wilson (2003) also list improved satisfaction with college and higher retention rates, increased confidence in academic ability, and a stronger drive to achieve as benefits of student involvement. (full text here)
While the research suggests extra curriculars provide students with invaluable learning opportunities, income inequality needs to be addressed in order to unmask the very real issue that is clouding our classrooms, our culture and our policies. I started to think about how I could enhance your overall college experience by showing you that Kingsborough could offer you professional advancement in conjunction with academic advancement. Perhaps, if the rewards were greater and included financial and academic incentives, we’d see a growth in academic engagement and personal connections. The goal of the institution is not only to arm students with intellect, but to prepare them and guide them through the various professional terrain they will eventually embark on. With that said, as an extra credit incentive (worth 15% of your grade), I’d like you all to apply for one job on campus. I am available to help you fine tune or develop your resumes to be used this semester, or in the future. I’d like you to think about what you want to do on this campus, where you’d be most helpful and useful, where your skills could flourish and grow and where you would WANT to work. Together we will find out what the job requirements are, how to tackle the cover letter, resume and interview. If you get the job, GREAT! But, the job is not the end goal here, the professional development is.
Students are allowed 8 hours of absence from English 24 before they may be given an Unofficial Withdrawal (WU) in the course. An “absence” is any time that you are not in class. There is no difference between an “excused” and “unexcused” absence in college. The reality is that you cannot actually improve your skills if you do not attend classes regularly. Lateness is also extremely interruptive. Therefore, if you surpass 8 hours of absences, that include days missed and calculated times late, you will automatically receive a “WU” in this course.
CUNY Policy on Plagiarism:
Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own. The following are some examples of plagiarism, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:
- Copying another person’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes, attributing the words to their source.
- Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the source.
- Using information that is not common knowledge without acknowledging the source.
- Failing to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignments.
- Internet Plagiarism includes submitting downloaded term papers or parts of term papers, paraphrasing or copying information from the Internet without citing the source, and “cutting and pasting” from various sources without proper attribution.
- Plagiarism carries a range of penalties commensurate with severity of the infraction. The instructor may, for example, require the work to be redone, reduce the course grade, fail the student in the course, or refer the case to the Faculty-Student Disciplinary Committee. Cases referred to that committee could result in suspension or expulsion from the college.
Civility in the Classroom: Kingsborough Community College is committed to the highest standards of academic and ethical integrity, acknowledging that respect for self and others is the foundation of educational excellence.
Civility in the classroom and respect for the opinions of others is very important in an academic environment. It is likely you may not agree with everything which is said or discussed in the classroom, yet courteous behavior and responses are expected. Therefore, in this classroom, any acts of harassment and/or discrimination based on matters of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and/or ability are not acceptable. Whether we are students, faculty, or staff, we have a right to be in a safe environment, free of disturbance, and civil in all aspects of human relations
Some things to know about me:
Your instructor cares for you! But, she will not give you the answers. She graduated from Kingsborough in 2004– She believes in this school and believes in its patience. Like you, she works full time and also goes to school, but she cannot make exceptions to the rules. She watches the Real Housewives of Everywhere and Game of Thrones– no, she’s not always a teacher. I expect you to try, even if it doesn’t live up to your own personal standards– it will get better. I want to participate in this process, but only if you’ll let me. We all start from somewhere–we don’t know it all right away, so don’t think anyone knows more than you, they’re just ahead in the game.