Major Assignments

These will each have 2 required drafts, with further revision options.

Personal/Research Narrative: 350 words.
Literature Review: 750 words.
Grant Proposal (Collaborative assignment)

Pre-proposal--500 words max.

  • Proposal includes: Abstract--200 words max.
  • Executive summary--1 page max.
  • Research narrative--5 pages max, plus references.
  • Oral presentation of summaries with PowerPoint or overheads: 10 min.

Portfolio Review

Review of your own work, discussing progress, patterns in writing and thinking, and a collection of favorite pieces. A partner will write an introduction. Total new writing, at least 3 pages.

All assignments:
may include both verbal and visual components and some will also require oral presentations. Some online work will be required and I further encourage you to consider publishing all of your material online.

Other Work

In addition to the major assignments, there will be frequent smaller assignments in response to readings, videos, events on campus, or to each other's writing.

Finally, if something we are doing, some exercise or activity, is not working for you or you feel confused about any aspect of our work, talk to me about it at once! We can figure out what the difficulty is and do something about it; this class is for your benefit and I don't want to waste your time.

Using Sources Appropriately and Avoiding Plagiarism

There are two basic and universal rules regarding the use of information in academic writing:

  1. If you use the language of your source, you must quote it exactly, enclose it in quotation marks, and cite the source. If you use the language of your source, quote the wording exactly. This is called a direct quotation. A direct quotation is either enclosed in quotation marks or indented on the page. If you omit part of the wording, use an ellipsis (three periods, four if necessary for punctuation to indicate the omission). In any case, several words in succession taken from another source constitute direct quotation and must be acknowledged.


    A paraphrase employs source material by restating an idea in an entirely new form that is original in both sentence structure and word choice. Taking the basic structure from a source and substituting a few words is an unacceptable paraphrase and may be construed as plagiarism. Creating a new sentence by merging the wording of two or more sources is also plagiarism. The penalty for plagiarism is an automatic Fail for this class and a letter of notification to the Committee on Discipline.

    MIT's academic honesty policy can be found at the following link:

  2. If you use ideas or information that are not common knowledge, you must cite a source.