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Professor Stone is definitely a tough grader, but he will make your writing improve!
It's not an easy A, but the reading is really interesting and like I said, your writing level will jump to the college level. Great class to take with wonderful discussions. Will definitely help you in your future college writing classes!
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Fall 2015 Grading Scheme:
Two Summaries: 5%
Annotated Bibliography, in Two Parts: 15%
Proposal for Research Essay: 15%
Research Essay: 50%
Attendance and Participation: 15%
This Writing II class was focused on fairy tales. I'm not sure if this will be a consistent focus in future quarters, but I found the subject really interesting. I was never very interested in variants of fairy tales and their impacts on society, so learning about this was very insightful. His voice is a bit monotone, so it can be difficult to pay attention sometimes, but more often than not Stone has a lot of eye-opening things to say. I really appreciate him as a professor. I came into this class thinking I was an excellent writer, and he helped me surpass my expectations. The readings were mostly all interesting, a mix of fairy tales and commentaries on those tales. And class time was basically spent talking about these readings. Class was twice a week for about two hours. The work load was a bit much but still manageable.
Two Summaries Grade: A-
The first summary we had to write was of a fairy tale. This was not graded, but he did give feedback so you can improve upon it for your second summary, which was graded. The second one was on a commentary, so it was a bit more challenging. It seems easy to do but it's actually quite difficult to condense a long text in just a few hundred words. It was a great first step in honing in on the writing process.
Annotated Bibliography, in Two Parts Grade: A
I had to do annotated bibliographies in English in high school, so these weren't so challenging for me. You needed to find six outside sources, three each in two parts, and comment on their possible uses in your research essay, evaluating them and synthesizing them with other sources. This is just a tool to scope out possible external sources you can use for your paper.
Proposal for Research Essay Grade: A
The proposal is basically just a one to two page summary of what you plan on doing with your essay. Stone holds conferences with each student to read over it and suggest improvements on it before turning in a final copy. I compare him to Tim Gunn from Project Runway because he critiques and gives advice without directly leading you in a specific direction. So you get helpful feedback while still needing to rely on yourself to "make it work." This proposal was a good way to outline your plan for your essay and get an idea of how you can synthesize your sources.
Research Essay Grade: A
This was a daunting task. The paper had to be 10-15 pages, double spaced, and offer a unique view on the content of the course - fairy tales. I struggled in the beginning of the course to specify my direction and find my thesis. But after scratching a lot of ideas, I focused on one topic that I felt comfortable writing about and was actually interested in. I recommend doing this for any paper you write. Again, Stone will hold individual conferences to assess the progress of your paper, and he will read drafts of it and give notes. Additionally, there were a series of in-class peer review sessions where you needed to bring like a 3-4 page draft, 6-8 page draft, etcetera to class to get input from other students. This was generally helpful in writing my paper. It's quite difficult to write so much about a topic and have it due 10th week, but it was a great exercise to improve my writing capabilities.
Attendance and Participation Grade: Unknown
You were allowed to miss two classes in the quarter without hurting your attendance grade. I went every class, but I didn't participate too much, which I kind of regret. However, if you do well on every other part of the grading scheme, you shouldn't be hurt by not participating.
Overall Grade: A
Overall, I thought this course was not too difficult. It was a bit challenging at time with the writing assignments, but everything is doable with the tools he provides. He is honestly a really great writing professor. Very eloquent and knowledgeable. On the last day of class when we turned in our final papers, he read to us a paper he had written himself summarizing our quarter, addressing our growth and projecting his hopes for us in the future, taking what we learned and applying it to our future endeavors. It was actually pretty beautiful and I teared up a little bit. If you're looking to take a Writing II class, and aren't looking to just get an easy A, I suggest taking this class with Stone.