Week #15, April 27-May 3






Final Essay and Audio/Video:  For your final project, you should:

  • Send me a revised, polished and edited version of one of the four essays.
  • Additionally, please attach an audio or video of you presenting this revised essay. I will post these on the website on the “Digital Readings” page. There are currently examples posted there from previous classes. This should also be emailed.
    Both essay and digital presentation should be emailed to me (dlfarmer@alaska.edu) by Friday, May 1.
  • I will accept any other assignments not yet turned in by Monday, May 4.

Here are some tips for revision:

  1. When I revise, I work especially hard on the opening paragraph. I feel like once I have that in place, everything else follows naturally. I sometimes spend as much time on my opening as I do the rest of the essay.
  2.  Identify the 2 or 3 most important scenes in your essay, and work to illuminate them in as much detail as possible. Understanding the difference between Scene and Summary can make a big difference. Here’s a handout that I find helpful:

    Download (PDF, 750KB)

  3. Read essay out loud a couple of times. If you have someone you can read it to, all the better. Our ears will notice things our eyes will not. Reading out loud will also help you develop an ear for rhythm in your sentences.
  4. Tighten the language. Here’s another handout I find helpful:

    Download (PDF, 1.1MB)

Finally, here are some suggestions for presenting your work by audio or video:

  1. Practice a couple of times before recording. (Another reason to read the work out loud). The more you know the work, the less you will stumble through the words.
  2. Speak clearly.
  3. Use punctuation – commas and periods especially – as reminders to take a breath.
  4. Most of us have a tendency to drop off at the ends of sentences. Think to emphasize last words of sentences to keep this from happening.


Here are links to a couple great examples of well known authors presenting work:



Week #14, April 20-24

  1. Response #9 — Due on April 21, by 5:00 PM
  2. Exercise #9  — Also due on April 23 by 5:00 PM

Essay #4 will be posted under “Workshops” in the next couple of days. Please remember that peer responses will be due on Slack on April 27.

Please note:  While I like the idea of a potential ZOOM get-together so members of the class could meet, given that several of you live out of town, that people’s schedules vary widely during Finals week, and that adding one more thing to your Finals week schedule seems unfair to you at this late date, I have decided to not try to schedule this.

Please remember that in addition to emailing me your final draft of one of the four essays during Finals, I will ask you each to post either a video or audio of you reading your essay by the end of Finals week.


Week # 12 – April 6-April 10

Hi Everyone,

Hope you’re all doing well. I’ve been reading through your essay #3’s, and finding them quite moving. I was thinking maybe rather than the usual peer workshops, I’d just put them in a readable form to share? That way you can read them without having to worry about providing feedback. I think it will be good for all of us to read them, and to hear what some of your classmates are going through. There are a few essays that did cover an event as originally assigned, and I think it will be good to read those, also, just as a reminder of where we were just a few short weeks ago.
Stay healthy everyone!

This week’s agenda:

  1. Response #8 — Due on Tuesday, April 7
  2. Exercise #8 — Due on Thursday, April 9
  3. Please also note that your Essay #4, Due April 16, is posted here: https://engl377.community.uaf.edu/2017/04/02/essay-4-the-portrait-or-profile/

Please let me know if you have any questions.





Week #11 – March 30-April 3

This week’s agenda:

  1. Response #7 – Due on March 31
  2. Exercise #7 – Also due on April 2
  3. Read Chapter 8 in Writing True.  This chapter is about new media. Look for a related blog post about this later this week.
  4. And, looking ahead, here’s the assignment for Essay #4, due on April 16.

Please note, I’ll try to to schedule essay #3 Slack workshops for April 9. I plan to post these essays and peer review assignments later this week. I think it’s important for you to have readers for theses essays, and as many of them will deal with COVID-19, they’ll be of interest, cathartic even, for you. My new policy of flexible due dates, however, means that I’ve not yet received all of the essays. Bear with me as I determine the best way to schedule this

Thank you!

Week 10 – March 23-27

Hi Everyone,

Before I post this agenda, I want to say that I hope you’re all doing well during this strange time, and that you’re with people you care about, in a safe place, and staying healthy. We have the advantage of ALREADY being online, but it’s clear that all of our lives have been disrupted in a variety of ways. Please let me know if I can be of help to you in any way. For example:

  • if you need chapters or readings copied because your book was left in your dorm (or elsewhere);
  • the disruption has left you in a place without adequate technology, and you need an alternative way to finish the coursework;
  • you need flexibility on due dates. (All due dates from here on out are flexible – I’ll keep posting them, just to help you stay on track. But my policy will be, if you finish the assignment, you’ll get full credit).

I’m sure there are other things I haven’t thought of. Just know that I’m here to help in any way that I can.

A couple other notes:

  • The revised schedule has now been posted.
  • I’ve added a Q&A (q_and_a) channel to the Slack page. Fairly new to the online teaching world, if there’s one thing I miss the most it’s having more interaction with students. Starting on Tuesday 3/24, I will be immediately available there from 3-5 on M,T, and Th. You can ask me questions anytime, of course, but I’ll be online then. You can ask me anything that has to do with writing – publishing, the writing process, dealing with writer’s block, etc. And because we have so many great writers in the class, others can chime in as well. Please understand that this is not a requirement by any means – just a way to make myself more available.
  • Sadly, Elena Passarello’s visit to UAF in April has been cancelled. If you have purchased her book,  Let Me Clear My Throat I want to recommend that you keep it and read it at your leisure. It’s a wonderful book. I believe that she WILL be on campus in the fall, if it all works out. But I am sensitive to the cost of books, and apologize for having you purchase a book that we won’t have time to use.

Now it’s time for the:

  1. There’s only one thing due this week, and that’s your essay #3, which is due on Thursday, March 26. Some of you have done the assignment already, and that’s great. But, clearly, this has been the wrong two weeks to attend a public event. The assignment page (Essay #3) has been updated with an alternative assignment.

    MY agenda is to update your grades and return all assignments this week. Thank you for your patience.

Week #8 – March 2-6

Hi Everyone,

Just to let you know, I’ll be traveling to San Antonio this week for the annual AWP Conference. AWP stands for Associated Writing Programs, and this is an annual conference that brings together writers, teachers and professors of writing, publishers, and other industry people. It’s four very full days. As we head into spring break, my main goal will be to catch up on all grading. Thanks for bearing with me.

I also want to make sure you know about our English Department contests. These contests come with money prizes: $100 and $150 respectively. There’s so much great writing coming out of this class – I’m convinced one of you will win. And who among us couldn’t use 100 or 150 dollars? So, please consider entering. I’ve posted the info sheets for the two contests related to nonfiction below, but there are other contests for fiction, and scholarly writing. Deadline: March 8. Find more info here:   UAF English department contests

Download (PDF, 1.72MB)

On to the agenda for this week:

  1. Response 6 and Exercise  6 are combined this week.  Due by Thursday, March 5 by 5:00 PM.
  2. Check out Essay #3 if you haven’t already. (I’m not expecting you to do work over spring break, but it could be that that something you do over the break might be appropriate for the essay – so keep that in mind)
  3. Slack posts for all Essay #2 peer responses should be posted by, Friday, March 6, by 5:00 PM. Please keep in mind that this means you’ll be reading and responding to three of your classmate’s essays by then. It might be wise to spread them out and not try to read them all too close to that deadline.

I’ll be posting the next agenda by Sunday, March 15.

Week #7 Feb. 24-28

  1. REMINDER: Essay #2 is due  Monday, Feb. 24 by 5:00 PM
  2. Response #5Post by Tuesday, Feb. 25. You will find the essay and prompt on the Response #5 page
  3. Exercise #5  – Due Thursday, Feb. 27.
  4. Be Aware: Peer Reviews for Essay#2 should be posted to Slack by March 6. I will post the essays early this week, and will post peer assignments on the “Workshops” page of the website.
  5. Read “Twenty Ways to Talk about Creative Nonfiction” (pp. 71-74) and Chapter 6 Writing True.

Week #6, Feb. 20-26

Please note: There were some errors on the course schedule relative to peer response post dates on Slack. Because this schedule might vary as we move along, I’ll post those dates here on the agenda as we get to them. Apologies for the convenience and for any confusion.

Dr. Farmer

  1. The only item on this week’s agenda is to finish Essay #2 -Writing Place. To give you a little extra time over the weekend (I know many of you have very busy schedules during the week), I’m extending the due date to: Due Monday, Feb. 24 by 5: 00 PM.

Hope you have a great week!

Week #5

Week 5, Feb. 10 — Feb. 14

  1. Please remember to read and respond to your classmates’ work per your assigned essays. Peer Reviews should be posted to Slack by Feb. 11.  The ones I’ve seen so far look good. Helpful!
  2. Read E.B. White’s “Once More to the Lake.”
  3. Response #4  —  Due Feb. 11
  4. Exercise #4 — Due Feb. 13
  5. Please look at the Assignment #2 Page for the Essay#2  assignment. This assignment will be due on Feb. 20.