English 360-012: Advanced Expository Writing

Writing Nonfiction


Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11AM-12-15PM, HLG 123

Dr. John Laudun
HLG 329, Thursday afternoons & by appointment
482-5493, laudun@louisiana.edu


Course Description

This particular section of Advanced Expository Writing is offered as one of a new subset of the course focusing on particular topics. In our case, our topic is the larger umbrella of nonfiction of which exposition is a part. In particular, students learn about the genres of nonfiction and write in several of the modes that nonfiction relies upon. Familiarity with nonfiction genres comes through reading texts chosen specifically for this class (see Course Texts below) as well as reading more widely from newsstand periodicals and other nonfiction outlets.

Course Requirements

The usual caveats apply here.. For me, that means being in class and being there on-time. Five minutes late is late as well as being rude. We have plenty of breaks throughout this semester, but as a mark of good faith, I also spot you three absences. Use them well. When you can’t be there to get it, write down the names of two credible-looking classmates whom you can turn to for information. (Never, ever ask a professor: “Did we do anything in class last time?”)

While it is my profoundest wish that this course be a fun and exhilarating one, it is nevertheless one which will require attention and effort on all our parts to be so. It is my privilege to teach this course, and I do my best to be as prepared as I can be for all eventualities. I expect the same of you. As a result, everything that gets said in the classroom has a certainly warranty of importance: don’t only write down what I say or write on the board. It could be the person next to you who says it best. Be excited by the thinking and writing of those around you and they will be excited by your thinking, and writing, too.

Part of our effort to have the best possible classroom experience is leaving other things outside. This means pagers and cell phones must be turned off or set to a mode which does not disturb the class. (As in all things, if an urgent matter is pressing, just let me know ahead of time.) In general, I expect the same of you in this classroom as would be expected of you in any organization. Would you be late for a meeting with your boss? I didn't think so. 

That said, there are particular assignments which are required of you in this class:

PARTICIPATION & IN-CLASS WRITING.  In addition to being in class and being prepared to accomplish the day's task, I occasionally give the pop quiz or ask you to respond in class in writing to something we have read or discussed. None of these assignments can be made up or handed in late.
OUT-OF-CLASS WRITING. This is where this class gets interesting: this semester you have the opportunity to try your hand at doing the kind of research and doing the kind of writing that make up the larger field of nonfiction writing. For the shier (as well as the, er, less prone to move from a particular piece of furniture) among you, be forewarned that this does indeed require leaving the comfort of your room, your apartment, or your house. Enjoy it.

FINAL PROJECT.  As this is a writing course, much of your efforts throughout the semester will be focused on a larger project which will reflect both your own interests and abilities as well as the things you have learned in and through the class. A handout will provide you with more details. 

EXAMS (MIDTERM & FINAL).  The exams in this class are oriented toward testing your understanding of nonfiction topics, concepts, and terms as well as the contents and structures of the texts we read and view.

How grades for this course are calculated:

EXAMS (MIDTERM & FINAL) 35% (15% + 20%)

Course Texts

In addition to the books below, available at both bookstores, there is an initial course packet available from CompuCopy. There will be a few more course packets over the course of the semester, all fairly slim. 

Kurlansky, Mark
1997. Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. New York: Penguin.
Junger, Sebastian
1997. The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea. New York: Norton.
Carey, Richard Adams
1999. Against the Tide: The Fate of the New England Fisherman. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Greenlaw, Linda
2000. The Hungry Ocean : A Swordboat Captain's Journey. New York: Hyperion.

Emergency Evacuation Procedures

A map of this floor is posted near the elevator marking the evacuation route and “Designated Rescue Area.” Students who need assistance should identify themselves to the instructor.