Reading assignments come from two major sources: (1) from your required course books and other published print or electronic materials and (2) from your peers’ essays and postings. To pass this course, you will have to complete all the reading assignments and provide evidence that you have done so. Posting a well-composed, extensive reading-response piece on our Discussion Board (DB) is probably the easiest way to prove this. Reading-responses will be part of our small- or large-group discussions. Be prepared to contribute with smart, thoughtful comments and insightful analyses of the readings. Postings will be part of your participation grade. Guidelines for DB postings are below. Sample reading-responses can be viewed under Course Documents.
Our main course book is The Fourth Genre or 4G for short. Along with other published reading materials, 4G will inform you about the theory and practice of creative nonfiction. I will assign several essays to read each week, but you will usually have two or three options, so you can decide which essays you want to read. This “information gap” between students’ reading will hopefully create a lively exchange of comments on the DB. Please check the Course Calendar to find out what your choices are. When you read the 4G essays, look at them as models for your own writing and as examples of the kind of papers I expect you to write. You also have the option to read essays above and beyond what I assigned for extra credit.
King’s On Writingand Lamott’s Bird by Bird contain invaluable advice for aspiring writers. You are required to read both books for this course.
Additionally, you will read essays and articles published by online journals or other creative nonfiction websites. Your Course Calendar will tell you what these online sources are how you can access them. There are many creative nonfiction books that I did not require for this course (so as to keep your budget low), but would recommend that you have a look at, since they contain excellent models for your assignments.
Reading your peers’ BB and blog postings is an important part of building a community in this course. To maintain a conversation with your peers, you will be expected to read their postings and respond to them regularly.