WRT 386: Creative Nonfiction

Oakland University

College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Writing and Rhetoric

WRT 386: Workshop in Creative Nonfiction, 4 credits

Winter 2015

Instructor: Lori Ostergaard

Office Address: 379 O’Dowd Hall

e-Mail Address: ostergaa@oakland.edu

Office Phone: 248-370-2075

Class Time: Online

Office Hours: Online by appointment

Course (Catalog) Description: Creative writing workshop with emphasis on stories of real life, balancing artistry and accuracy. May include personal essay, autobiography or travel literature. Satisfies the university general education requirement in the knowledge applications integration area. Satisfies the university general education requirement for a writing intensive course in general education or the major, not both. Prerequisite: completion of the Writing Foundations Requirement.

Students will demonstrate:

Cross-Cutting Capacities:

Specific Course Outcomes: In this course, students will:

Required Text and Supporting Course Material:

Course Procedures: This is an online section of this writing-intensive course. In an online course, you are expected to participate in asynchronous activities, such as online discussions, web assignments, or quizzes. These are activities that don’t require the entire class to “meet” in the traditional sense; instead, you are expected to participate anytime prior to the deadline for that activity.

Course homework will include reading assignments and the development of three major projects, one major project revision, and one submission of a work for possible publication. In addition to weekly readings from our textbook and online sources, you will also be expected to keep up with course readings that include assignment descriptions, calendar updates, news forum announcements, instructor responses, etc.

Course work (class activities that might normally take place in a classroom) will include forum responses where you will respond to texts (published and in-process works), develop drafts, and workshop ideas.

Asynchronous online class work will account for 3.5 hours of your time every week. Homework assignments will be equivalent to about 1-1.5 hours of additional “out-of-class” work for every hour of class time. So you should be prepared to spend a minimum of 8 hours a week on work for this class. If you are not prepared to devote that much time to this online class every week, you may find you’ll do better in a face-to-face or hybrid class. Please note that it is very easy to fall behind with online classes: the dropout and failure rate in online classes is much higher than in traditional or hybrid classes because online course work requires a greater degree of discipline, commitment, and written work.

Online course assignments (generally in the form of Moodle forums) will be due at midnight on both Wednesday and Sunday nights unless otherwise indicated. Major projects will be due on Sunday nights at midnight.

Expectations of Students: OU excused absence policy and department attendance policy: All WRT classes adhere to the OU Excused Absence Policy for OU events and activities: http://www.oakland.edu/?id=6850&sid=175

For absences not covered by the university policy, the Department of Writing and Rhetoric permits students to be absent from this course for two online class sessions without penalty. This includes absences due to illness, travel, and schedule conflicts. Failing to complete online work by the deadline for that work will result in you being counted absent for that class and receiving a 0.0 on that work.

For each absence beyond two, your final course grade will be lowered by 0.15 points on the 4.0 scale. Students who miss seven or more class sessions (more than three combined weeks) will receive a final grade of 0.0.

Academic Conduct Policy: Cheating on assignments and examinations; plagiarizing the work of others; cheating on lab reports; falsifying records; unauthorized collaboration on assignments; and the resubmission of original work are considered serious breaches of academic conduct. The Oakland University policy on academic conduct will be strictly followed with no exceptions. See Student Code of Conduct: http://www.oakland.edu/?id=24228&sid=482

Peer Review and Sharing Your Work: The grades you earn in your Writing and Rhetoric classes are confidential. However, the texts you produce in our classes may be shared with your classmates as a part of our regular peer review process. Our classes will prepare you to meet the needs of a variety of readers in college and beyond, and to do so, we provide ample opportunity for your compositions to be read and responded to by classmates and by the course instructor. You should, therefore, always assume that the work you compose in our classes is public, not private.

Student and Instructor Expectations

Students are expected to:

The teacher is expected to:

Please note: I reserve the right not respond to email questions that are answered elsewhere in an assignment description, resource, or forum. Before emailing me with a question, post it to the Q & A forum, and review course materials to see if the answer is available online.

Grade Determination: Assignments will be due on Wednesday (midnight) and Sunday (midnight) of every week.

Weekly Forums 30%
 These are the online conversations, reflections, and reviews that you will complete every week. They include forums where you will be asked to

Project 1: Memoir (20%) 
2,000 word work of creative nonfiction drawn from Forums 1 through 7.

Project 2: Family History (20%) 
2,000 word work of creative nonfiction drawn from Forums 9 through 16.

Project 3: Travel or Place-Based Essay (20%) 
1,500 word work of creative nonfiction drawn from Forum 19 through 24.

Revision and Submission of Revised Project (10%) You will revise one work to submit to a print or online creative nonfiction publication (professional or undergraduate journal, collection, magazine, or chapbook). You will develop a short email introducing this work to the editor of the text and submit that work for publication. This revision and rhetorical work will take place in the final weeks of the semester, when you will engage in multiple peer review and revision sessions.

Begin looking for a possible publisher here: Literary Magazines, and here: Undergraduate Creative Writing Journals

Revision Policy: You may not revise forums for better grades, but you will have the option to revise projects 1-3 for a better grade.

Late submission of work: Because workshopping and revision are essential tools in every writer’s toolkit, it is essential that you submit works by their deadlines. Your peers will have the option of not responding to drafts that are posted late to Moodle forums, and I reserve the right not to respond to or (even) assign a grade to any work that is submitted after the deadline has expired. Works that are submitted late may not be revised for a better grade, works that are submitted late may receive a 0.0.

Grading Scale: Oakland University uses a numerical 0.0 to 4.0 scale.

Add/Drops: The University add/drop policy will be explicitly followed. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the University deadline dates for dropping this course.

Accommodations: Students with disabilities who may require reasonable accommodations should make an appointment with OU’s Disability Support Services office by calling (248) 370-3266 or TTY: (248) 370-3268; faxing (248) 370-4989; or e-mailing dss@oakland.edu. The DSS provides Faculty Notification Letters detailing approved services. Students are responsible for delivering these letters to their professors and are encouraged to discuss specific arrangements for reasonable accommodations with their professors. Please see the DSS website at www.oakland.edu/dss for more information.

Writing Center: The Oakland University Writing Center is open to OU students, faculty, and staff in all disciplines at any stage of the writing process. The center provides writers with an interested and supportive audience of well-trained consultants who help both novices and experts develop ideas and revise drafts into polished products. Students in WRT classes are strongly encouraged to visit the Writing Center.