Lectures: 2 hours / session, 1 session / week
This course, as part of the Experimental Study Group Seminar Series, offers students the opportunity to participate in a small discussion-based class taught by an MIT upperclassman under the guidance of a faculty supervisor. Seminars taught in this format are all graded Pass / Fail and receive 1/2 of the academic credit assigned to regular academic classes.
Good writing is simply good thinking. And what else does MIT teach, other than a way to see the world? Sitting around a table with like-minded people and reflecting on this four-year experience... putting it into words, and carefully crafting those words so they say exactly what you want them to—it's a mix between taking a break from the woes of class, and working on a much deeper level than you might be used to. When we reflect on how we're spending our waking hours, and look at how others are doing so, that's one of the hardest things we can do in life. Because there is no right answer, there is no partial credit. It's scary and awesome and very, very slow.
We'll practice this process of reflection, this slowness, by looking at delicious examples of text from various genres. Each week we'll read and discuss a text, and do a little writing. During the term, you'll have the opportunity to share four or five of these writings with your classmates in a Workshop, where we constructively analyze your text and give you suggestions. It may be one of the few times in your college career that you put yourself down on paper, share it with an audience, and see how that feels.
We will be sharing details of our lives; it is essential that we are all respectful of each other. This means being aware of one another and our needs, being constructive during discussion, and being attentive (among other things, turn off your cell phone).
Texts written for homework can be in any format, as long as they are typed. Length guidelines will be given for each text, and range from one paragraph to two pages (double spaced). Ample time is given for the creation of each text.
For workshops, a couple of people will e-mail their texts the weekend before they are officially due. You will print these out, read them, and write one paragraph for each (preferably typed) with constructive criticism, which we will use in our workshop discussions.
You will revise one text you wrote in the class, taking into account suggestions you received during your workshop. These revised texts will be compiled in a book for you to keep.
Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of someone else and submitting them as your own. It is both dishonest and against the law. It is a great way to forfeit that pass.
You will read and write faithfully every week, in class and at home. You will respond to my and your classmates' writing and ideas honestly, constructively, and conscientiously.
Specifically, these are your requirements:
This course is graded pass/fail. To earn that coveted P, attend (and be on time to) the vast majority of classes and earnestly attempt all of the work. Being a seminar, this is supposed to be a lot of fun.