During the term, you will write three main papers, from 4 to 6 pages each. For the first two, you will produce an initial draft that I will grade; then you will write a final version of the paper that addresses the shortcomings of your original. There should be enough time for you to come in and see me between the initial and final drafts if you have questions about how to go about fixing the problems with your paper.
The initial and final drafts will each count 50% toward the final grade on the paper, so you should not consider the first to be a "rough draft". It should be the best paper you can make it. I will give you advice on it, and you will then continue to work on it to improve it. See the grading policy for details of how much the papers are worth.
This process of re-reading and revision may be new to you. Most students are used to writing a paper the night before it is due, and turning in what is essentially the first draft. More effective writing requires several rewrites (often three or four); when some part of the argument isn't clear, or doesn't do what you want it to do, that needs to be adjusted. We will apply that practice to your papers in this course.
The Bedford Handbook that you purchased has some excellent advice about planning and organizing your papers. Although I will not assign readings from this book directly, you should use it as a reference when writing papers (and not just in this course). As I correct your papers, I may refer you to specific sections of the book (they are numbered for easy citation).
When you type up your papers, you should use a reasonable sized font (10 or 12 point), with reasonable margins. I am not impressed by papers that are too long, or that you have made longer or shorter by adjusting the line-spacing, margins or font. Please use only one side of the paper, put your name on each page, and staple all the pages together. A cover sheet with the title of your paper, your name, and the date is not a bad idea, either.
If you have a learning disability that I should know about, you must inform me of this by the end of the second week of class. You also should make arrangements with the office of the Dean of Students to inform me that they have the proper documentation for your condition on file. Finally, before each exam, you should arrange with me for how we will accommodate your extra time; you should do this several days in advance of the exam date.