CAI English 3500: Applied Writing

Spring 2005

Eng 3500-01            
PH 300                  
MWF 8:00-8:55

Instructor:  Maria A. Clayton 

PH 329 (MTSU Box 70); faculty mailbox located in PH 303 
E-mail address:  
Phone: 898-2585 (office); 849-8369 (home; no calls after 10:00 p.m., please). You may leave a message on my answering machines, but you must try to catch me at another time to insure I received the information.

To learn more about your instructor, access About the Instructor.

Office Hours:

MWF 9:00-2:00 p.m.; other times by appointment 
Be sure to let me know you need to see me, so your trip is not wasted. 

Please Note:  Students with disabilities that affect classroom performance must inform the instructor and provide certification form the Office of Disabled Student Services (898-2783), so arrangements can be made as soon as possible to accommodate their difficulties.

Syllabus Contents

Texts & Materials Course Requirements Course Policies
Course Objectives Grades Writing Center

Texts and Materials:

Kirscht, Judy, and Mark Schlenz, eds. Engaging Inquiry: Research and Writing in the Disciplines. Prentice Hall, 2002.

Lunsford, Andrea A. Easy Writer: A Pocket Guide. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2002. 

Loose-leaf Folder of your choice which includes a hard copy of your syllabus and schedule

3-1/2," formatted, high density floppy disk to keep a record of all your work (you will also want to save your work to your own PC and/or another disk in case of loss, etc.)

One two-pocket folder for your Writing Portfolio 

Internet access and e-mail access through our D2L course website. Make a habit of checking email and announcements on the website regularly, three to four times a week, particularly during times of unavoidable absences and when you are in the process of sharing information with your peer group.

Syllabus Menu

Course Objectives:

Engl 3500, Applied Writing, will focus on developing reading and writing strategies for accommodating the rhetorical demands of subjects and audiences across the disciplines, including writing for the arts and humanities, the sciences, and the social sciences. The course objective is to expose students to various writing strategies that will enable them to see that stylistic choices are related to genre and disciplinary expectations, thought processes, and the need to persuade the audience for a particular piece of writing of the writer’s honesty, integrity, and intellectual maturity. Students will have an opportunity to develop a sense of style through the analysis of professional models and draft essays written by fellow students. Additionally, students will examine their own writing processes.

Syllabus Menu

Course Requirements:

The course consists of  a reading, writing, and homework components. The readings are intended to give you practice in matters of style and offer samples for analysis in the types of writing you will do—writing in the sciences, social sciences, and arts/humanities.

From four paper assignments [one in each of the three disciplines we will be discussing and following their specific style sheets plus one following the general style sheet, Chicago], you will select to write three, original to this course:

Summary & Response Essay General  Chicago Style Sheet
Chicago Manual of Style, Internet sources (Bedford/St.Martin's)
Observation Report Essay       Sciences CBE Style Sheet
CBE Documentation, Internet sources (Bedford/St.Martin's)
Review of the Literature Essay Social Sciences APA Style Sheet
APA Citation Guide (Ohio State U.)
Interpretive Essay Arts & Humanities MLA Style Sheet
MLA Citation Guide (Ohio State U.)

[Many thanks to Bedford/St. Martin's and Diana Hacker for the use of their very helpful online materials.]

You will develop multiple drafts for each of the three essays you select to write, usually, a minimum of three. At the end of the course, you will select two of these essays and revise them again for inclusion in the course portfolio. This portfolio will also include a major paper written in your discipline for another class, one that mirrors our assignment's requirements (see the assignments' descriptions in the Assignments section of the website. However, if you have no out-of-class paper that meets the requirements, you will need to write four papers original to our course. By the end of week 1, you will notify your instructor which assignments you have selected to write and which you will use from an out-of-class assignment. During the period on the schedule when the rest of the class is working on the essay you have opted to use from another class, you will revise this major discipline paper and participate in peer group getting some first-level audience feedback from your peers on this piece, too. For portfolio submission you will be required to include the corresponding teacher-marked draft of each essay so you will need to make a habit of storing all your class work in the loose-leaf binder required. The portfolio revisions provide you the opportunity to earn up to one letter grade higher than the average of the individual essays (see the weight of the course components in "Grades" below).

In addition to the writing, you will collaborate with other classmates in an assigned project group to develop a brief PowerPoint tutorial on one of the following style sheets (modeled after the MLA PP on the course website)--APA, CBE, Chicago. The group will also prepare handouts and make a presentation that details the style sheet's requirements and discusses the differences between it and the other sheets (see Style Sheet Project). For this assignment, you will use the Andrea Lunsford text as well as the website links above.

Finally, you will receive homework credit for coming to class prepared with daily assignments (drafts, reading, etc.), for peer group participation, for short, multiple-choice quizzes based on assigned reading, etc. When you come to class on a quiz date, you will access the appropriate quiz on the website, and the system will score it for you. You will be able to use notes or outlines during the tests; the more complete and clearly organized your notes/outlines are, the better they will serve you for the tests.

Student/teacher conferences--at this level, I don't make conferences mandatory, but you are invited/encouraged to make appointments with me to chat about your writing, progress in the course, problems that might arise, etc.

Syllabus Menu


To be eligible to earn course credit, you must (1) complete at least three drafts of all four essays,  (2) submit all major course requirements--essays and style sheet presentation (3) meet attendance requirements, (4) submit the Portfolio following all guidelines, requirements, and deadlines. Then your course grade is based on the 10 point scale (A=90-100, B=80-89, etc.) and will be determined as follows:  


Essays (3 original and 1 out-of-class)


Style Sheet Project


Portfolio (2 revised essays from those original to the course, plus, 1 out-of-class major paper in your discipline)


Homework and Class Participation



Because I feel they are detrimental to your GPA, I do not use the + or - system in reporting your final grades.

A word about final course grades: the responsibility for earning the necessary grade to retain financial aid, scholarships, etc. lies on your shoulders. The best way to insure you earn as high a grade as possible is to meet all course requirements, putting forth your very best effort in terms of quality of work, during the entire semester, not just at the end of the course.

Here's some general information about the scholarships: Students receiving the lottery scholarships must earn a 2.75 GPA after attempting 24 credit hours and a 3.0 GPA after attempting 48 hours or more. Students who drop below full-time status (12 hours) during the first 14 days of the semester will have their awards adjusted and will owe money to the University. Students who drop after the 14th day of class will have their future lottery scholarships suspended unless the drop was approved in advance by the Office of Financial Aid. Student may appeal the suspension if the drop is due to documented personal illness, illness or death of immediate family member, extreme financial hardship, military service, or other extraordinary circumstances beyond the student's control. The lottery appeal form may be obtained at For more lottery information please see

Syllabus Menu

Course Policies

Attendance--Class attendance is extremely important to you and your classmates' success in English 3500 because unlike the lecture course where your class absence affects no one but yourself, English 3500 is structured around your participation in class.  Your writing and your response to our readings is our subject matter.  Often classes will be conducted as writing workshops where your classmates and I will confer with you about your writing and where you will respond to your classmates about their writing.  Since there is no way to make up a writing workshop, class attendance is a must.

Therefore, you are expected to attend all classes.  I will take roll daily, and if you (1) miss more than four of the required classes or (2) participate in fewer than three of the four peer response groups, you will fail the course.  Only university sponsored functions (for instance, trips relating to sports, chorus events, livestock judging) are excused.  In such cases you are responsible for notifying me of the absence well in advance, and you are responsible for getting your work in early--before you have to be absent.  Absences due to illness, death in the family, and the like must be covered by the four allowable absences.  Exceptions will be made to this policy only under extraordinary circumstances, and then only when students notify the instructor immediately and arrange to satisfy requirements. It is the responsibility of the student to keep up with all assigned work, either reading or writing.  Being prepared for class is expected, even after any absence.  For backup, look around the room, select two or three reliable looking classmates and exchange phone numbers to use as  support in keeping informed.

Tardiness--Two late arrivals or early departures will equal an absence.  If you arrive after I call roll, it is your responsibility to alert me to your attendance.

Late Work--It is important that you submit your work on time to avoid incurring late penalties--1/2 a letter grade per class date each paper is late; these will affect the final grade dramatically rather quickly. If a paper is returned without comment for incorrect formatting or failure to meet any requirements, it will be treated as late. All writing must be completed within one week of due date; I will not accept essays beyond the one week limit set by the University and will lead to course failure. Late homework will not receive any credit.

Plagiarism You know that using another's work as your own is wrong. The most flagrant instances of plagiarism are (1) submitting an essay that is copied from another's writing, (2) having someone dictate what is written (such as having a typist rewrite a paper, substituting his/her language for the student's), and (3) using sources without proper documentation. Often such violations are very easy for writing teachers to spot because we get very familiar with the student's prose style (and you should know that writing teachers at MTSU often read the writing completed in each other's classes). We do not hesitate to fail students when we find students misrepresenting someone else's work as their own.

Syllabus Menu

Writing Center

The University Writing Center offers tutoring to students enrolled at MTSU. If I find that you have writing problems, in addition to offering links to on-line sites that will help eliminate those errors from your writing (click on Writing Tools below), I may recommend that you take advantage of this service. Students must sign up for tutoring in Peck Hall 325 (904-8237) and present a sample of their writing at the first tutoring session. Students may get tutoring on their own, without recommendations from teachers. However, you must sign up for the service. Tutors do not take walk-in clients; neither do they provide proofreading services.  How to use the Writing Center.

Syllabus Menu

Syllabus Schedule The Peer Process Requirements & Guidelines Writing Tools


Questions and Comments

 Dr. Maria A. Clayton
English Department
P.O. Box 70
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37132