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English: SU:Writing Science & Nature

ENGS 051 OL1 (CRN: 61537)

3 Credit Hours

About ENGS 051 OL1

Representative topics include Forms of Journalism and Writing for the Web. May be repeated for credit with different content. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.


Dates: May 20 - June 14, 2019

Section Description

Course Description: We write in order to share information, yes, but also to make meaning of our lives in connection with the myriad happenings around us—the web of life. In this nature- and science-based composition course, you’ll do just that: utilize writing to increase understanding—others’ and your own. The focus, for the most part, will be on sustainability—encompassing environmental concerns, medical practices, ecological literacy, and social connection. Through various forms of writing—including magazine-style journalism—you’ll learn to keep a close eye on detail, to recognize the wait—what? moments, and then translate those into writing that creates a desired cause-and-effect in your intended audience. Readings include: a nature memoir by renowned feminist and naturalist, Terry Tempest Williams and a variety of essays—space stories, profiles of scientists, stories on environmental science and those that rethink some current paradigms—from The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2018, in which editor Sam Kean (author of The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, The Disappearing Spoon, and The Violinist’s Thumb) writes: “This is one of the most exciting times in the history of science….Perhaps, not coincidentally, science writing itself has never been better either. There’s a misconception among the public that science is Vulcan, a strictly logical enterprise. In reality it’s an intensely human activity, employing the full range of both reason and emotions, of logos and pathos…and a real sense of craft and storytelling.” Through imitation and the writing process, you’ll learn the craft of employing the written word not simply for education and comprehension but so that these sustainability-based narratives become touchstones to the deepest of human concerns and values—as well as action and hope for change. How did they do it? you’ll ponder, and then track scientific queries and pluck ideas from the rich pasture of nature and the environment. How does this impact the quality of life over time? What can I do? you’ll wonder as you explore sustainability and discover both solutions and recreation—through writing itself, as a sustaining tool and activity. Warning: Expect a lack of closure. This course content is sure to generate questions that will last a lifetime. Prepare for the journey. Trust the process.

Section Expectation

Required texts: Refuge, by Terry Tempest Williams, ISBN: 9780679740247 The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2018, Ed. by Sam Kean, ISBN: 9781328987808 This course fulfills UVM's SU General Education Requirement. Sustainability Learning Outcomes: To conduct and encourage informed conversations about the multiple dimensions and complexity of sustainability To evaluate sustainability using an evidence-based disciplinary approach and integrate economic, ecological, and social perspectives To think critically about sustainability across a diversity of cultural values and across multiple scales of relevance from local to global To recognize and assess, as members of society, how sustainability impacts your lives and how your actions impact sustainability Writing Learning Outcomes: To expose the truth To delight, persuade, and inform To explore personal depths of creativity To discover effective modes of exposition To engage the senses – especially your ears, eyes, and tongue To sharpen and perfect your unique writer’s voice To become your own best editor, an architect of revision To achieve confidence and mastery in the written word To develop true heart… … all through the act and art of writing.


Course Requirements and Grading Criteria: Online class attendance and participation (includes Peer Workshops and Discussion Board): 30% Weekly Writings, personal and reflective, persuasive and research-based: 10% One Personal, Place-based Essay: 10% One Journalism-style Research Essay (topic of choice), 6-8 pages (including all process pieces, thinking and drafts): 20% Fieldnotes Journal (online): 10% Best American Science and Nature Writing/Reading Discussion: 10% Final Reflection and Analysis: 10%




Online Course (View Campus Map)