HU 102: Writing from Sources

Instructor Jennifer Sheppard
Section 24 Meets MWF 10:05-10:55 in Fisher 127
Section 25 Meets MWF 11:05-11:55 in Fisher 125

Office Hours MW 12:00-2:00 and by appointment
Office in Walker 146
Contact Me at 487-3275 or

Required Materials:

  1. The Guide to Succeeding in First-Year English. 1998-1999 ed.
  2. The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life. By Kenneth J. Gergen. 1991.
  3. Additional readings may be placed on reserve in the library.

Course Description: Humanities 102 is a course designed to continue your development of deliberative writing, along with helping you to do more complex work with sources. This means that in addition to intensive reading and discussion, you will learn to assess the reliability of sources, identify what is at stake in various issues, and interpret and synthesize information from a variety of sources. You will use this research to work as part of a collaborative writing group as a way to develop papers that investigate multiple viewpoints and that work critically with ideas. As an individual and as part of your group you will be asked to use writing for a variety of purposes, including to explore, analyze, and critique complex ideas, and to persuade others that your perspective is well thought out and has validity. Deliberative writing demonstrates a belief in the value of listening to different views, asking questions, and recognizing the complexity of issues.

Course Theme: Our primary topic of study will be the continual and profound impacts of technology in contemporary culture. As our central reading, Kenneth Gergen’s text offers a rich and complex look into how such changes are affecting individuals and institutions alike. Though the concepts and ideas that Gergen examines are challenging at times, they will provide us with a way of exploring technological issues and implications in a manner that moves beyond simplistic reporting and sound-bite dialogue. You will have the opportunity to choose a specific issue related to technology that interests you and your group to research and write about throughout the quarter.

Course Work:

  • Project Proposal (5-6 pages)
  • Source Analysis (7-9 pages)
  • Collaborative Deliberative Course Project (8-12 pages)
  • 10 to 12 reading responses
  • In-class writing assignments
  • Informal presentations
  • Participation on NetForum discussion list
  • Final report/analysis on your collaborative group experience

Attendance: Since deliberative writing demands that authors consider seriously what others have to say about a given issue, attendance and participation in class discussions and activities is very important. Absences, therefore, will automatically hurt your grade, and more than four absences will put you in danger of failing the course. Please talk to me if this becomes a problem for you. If you must miss class, you are still responsible for turning in any work that is due on the day you are absent, as well as on the day you return, so contact me to make arrangements.

Grading: You must complete all assignments to receive a passing grade in this course. The two categories of work that figure into your final grade are class participation and writing assignments. Class participation means reading the assigned readings and fully completing responses, coming to class prepared and with all necessary materials, being an active group member, and contributing to discussions both in class and on the NetForum. The types of writing assignments we will do are discussed below. I do not assign grades to the formal assignments as I consider them works in preparation for the final project. Your writing grade will be determined through holistic reader response outlined in your Guide to Succeeding on pages 29-30. Since this grading system may cause some anxiety, you will be given a midterm grade review and we will discuss your progress during conferences in the third and ninth week. Additionally, you can ask me about you current standing at anytime during my office hours, and I will inform you if a particular assignment is below passing level so that you can revise it.

Major Writing Assignments: Over the course of the semester you will write and revise three major assignments; an individual Project Proposal, a collaborative Source Analysis, and a collaborative Deliberative Course Project. Each will build on the ideas of the previous one. They will become increasingly complex and will demand more research as the quarter progresses. Notice that these assignments are not called “papers” or “essays” because they each have special demands that will require you to do a different kind of writing than you have likely done in the past.
Reading Responses: You will have approximately 10 to 12 written responses due over the course of the semester. Most will be in response to assigned readings and will be about one to two pages in length. I will generally provide questions or prompts. These are NOT summaries of the material unless explicitly specified. These writings are exploratory responses to the readings and the ideas they present. They should be attempted thoughtfully and seriously. They are often designed to get you thinking about issues associated either directly or indirectly with your essay subjects. You will be asked to share your writing with others. Completion of all responses is expected.

Late Papers: It is in your best interest to avoid turning papers in late. If you miss a deadline for a rough or final draft you will be required to meet with me during office hours. More than one late essay will seriously affect your grade.

Writing Center: The Writing Center, located in Walker 107, provides free writing assistance for any University course. Take advantage of their help. They offer both semester-long and walk-in coaching. For more information stop in, call them at 487-2007, or see their website at

MTU’s Policy on Discrimination and Harassment
MTU complies with all federal and state laws and regulations regarding discrimination, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. If you have a disability and need reasonable accommodation for equal access to education and services at MTU, please call Dr. Gloria Melton, Associate Dean of Students (7-2212). For other concerns about discrimination, you may contact your advisor, department chair, or the Affirmative Action Office (7-3310).

MTU’s Policy on Academic Integrity
Plagiarism and cheating are serious academic offenses. MTU’s Academic Integrity Policy defines it as “knowingly copying another’s work or ideas and calling them one’s own or not giving proper credit or citation,” and it covers copying sections or entire papers from printed or electronic sources as well as handing in papers written by students for other classes or purchasing academic papers. Plagiarism and cheating are not only dishonest but cheat you out of learning, the primary reason you are here. If you ever have any questions about this issue, please talk with your instructor or consult a coach in the Writing Center (7-2007).