ENG 379 Travel Writing


Patricia Murphy

Course Description : In the Introduction to The Travel Writer's Handbook, Zobel and Butler claim, "While successful travel writers never forget the importance of accurate detail, they also know that equally important is how the writer--and the reader--feel about that detail." Ask any reader, and they will tell you that reading simple reportage will not transport the reader to the destination. In fact, mere retelling of fact might more likely lead to lack of excitement. To tell a compelling travel story, the writer must personalize and humanize the journey. In this course we will read and analyze the writing of many esteemed travel essayists. We will also read interviews with essayists, and several books on how to become a travel writer. We will practice techniques of creative nonfiction such as dialogue, description, narration, and point of view. We will share our work with classmates and receive constructive criticism. Then we will produce revised work for a final portfolio.

Writing Workshops: For Ten Weeks you will write 500 words (one page) in response to a brainstorming activity that is desgined to help prepare you to write one final polished travel essay. You will receive feedback on each of these brainstorming activities from a group of your peers and from your instructor. In the portfolio, you will take one, many, or all of the brainstorming activities and use them in a final polished essay of about ten pages.

This course is a workshop where students turn in writing and receive constructive criticism from other students and the professor. Students then use that feedback to revise their work for a portfolio. The true purpose of The Writing Workshop is to gather with a community of writers to receive input on your work so that you may revise it and polish it for an audience. Therefore, do not submit work that you do not wish to revise or that you already feel is completed and you don't want to change. Instead, bring in the work you would like to discuss and improve. By doing so, you will benefit greatly from this community of friendly, interested writers. The Writing Workshop exists to give you feedback. You must enter the Workshop willing to listen to the advice, praise, criticism, and the suggestions of the other writers. It is a true privilege to have a group of people who are willing to give you such feedback. Many writers pay thousands of dollars for such a service. So please respect and enjoy this Writer's Workshop, and take as much as you can from each of the careful readers who will respond to your work.

Course Learning Goals : Students can expect to gain the following skills:

Required Course Textbooks :

Est. Retail
Pub Year
Best American Travel Writing 2009
This is a collection of travel writing essays.
Zobel and Butler
The Travel Writer's Handbook
This is a how-to.
A Sense of Place
Traveler's Tales
This is a book of interviews with travel writers.
Travel Writing: See the World Sell the Story
Writers Digest
This is a how-to.
Travel Writing: How To
Lonely Planet
This is a how-to.

Required Work :

Reading - Worth 25% of your grade. For 10 weeks you will be assigned reading. You will compose a response to the reading and post it in the Reading Discussion Board. In order to receive credit your response must:

• meet the word-length requirement of 500 words
• use short quotes to support your response
• provide analysis (using literary terms) rather than summary (retelling)

Reading Responses is graded out of 10 total posts.

10 100% A
9 90% A
8 80% B
7 70% C
6 60% D
5 50% E

Workshop - Worth 25% of your grade. You will prepare written workshop responses to your gropu members' writing.

• meet the word-length requirement of 500 words
• use short quotes to support your response
• provide analysis (using literary terms) rather than summary (retelling)
• offer suggestions for revision

Workshop is graded out of 10 total posts.

10 100% A
9 90% A
8 80% B
7 70% C
6 60% D
5 50% E


Writing - Worth 25% of your grade. For 10 weeks you will be given 10 writing exercises that are designed as brainstorming activities that will help you complete a polished essay. Each writing assignment should be as close to 500 words as possible. It is very important to turn your writing in on time so that peers have time to respond.

Writing is graded out of 10 total posts.

10 100% A
9 90% A
8 80% B
7 70% C
6 60% D
5 50% E
Portfolio - Worth 25% of your grade. For the portfolio you will use material gathered from the 10 brainstorming activities you did throughout the semester. The portfolio will include analysis, along with a polished essay based on the topics and writings you explored throughout the semester. Grades for the Portfolio are based on the quality of your writing and your ability to describe why you made the choices you did based on literary skills. Please see the "Portfolio" button in Blackboard for complete instructions.


Grading Scale:
Each time you have an assignment due I will update the Grades Worksheet in Google Docs. I use your posting ID on that document. You will be able to track your assignments there. Assignments are due Tuesday and Thursday at noon because that is when I will start grading the work. If it is hard for you to turn in work at noon on weekdays, please think of the due dates as Monday and Wednesday at midnight so the work is there when I grade. If your work is not there when I grade you will not receive credit and you will be counted absent for that day. Since this class only has 10 due dates, if you miss more than 2 due dates you will fail the course.

Final grades are available after the end of the semester at my.asu.edu. I do not email final grades to individual students. Final grades will be based on the following scale.




Below 60

Important Dates: Point your browser to http://www.asu.edu/calendar/academic.html for semester dates.

Office Hours: Since this is an online course, I will not hold face to face office hours, but I am available by appointment. I check email once a day, Monday through Friday. I will answer questions through email usually within 48 hours except over weekends and on holidays. I am also happy to call you if you have a question. Simply email me your phone number and an appropriate time to call.

Attendance : This class meets online using myASU. The class asks you to complete the same work as other sections, but it has the added benefit of teaching you to communicate electronically with your teacher and classmates. This course is not self-paced. There are set due dates. Work submitted after the due dates will not receive credit. THERE ARE NO EXCUSED ABSENCES, even for emergencies or school activities.

Late Work : Other students depend on you to post your work on time, and we often cannot proceed until all the work is complete. For that reason, the policies on late work are very strict. Late work will not receive credit unless you email me in advance of the deadline.

Plagiarism : To plagiarize is to present as your own any work that is not exclusively your own. Plagiarism of all or a portion of any assignment will be strictly penalized. Penalties can range from no credit for the assignment to failing the course. Repeated offenses can lead to your expulsion from the university.

Online Environment : You will need to pay attention to a few details in order for your work to be counted. Always check your work to make sure it shows up as you intended. Also, be aware of how the things you're posting in online discussions come across--it's easy for something you meant humorously to be taken seriously in an online environment, so be careful. Above all, be kind towards and respectful of your fellow students.

Incomplete Grades: A course grade of “Incomplete” will be given only in extreme situations because the sad story is that most students who request incompletes never finish the course. Please visit http://www.asu.edu/registrar/forms/regforms.html under the Academic Record Forms section for the Incomplete Grade Request form, which is available in both Word and as a PDF. The form must be completed by the student, signed by the student, the instructor, and the department chair or school director.

Student Conduct: Students are required to adhere to the behavior standards listed in Arizona Board of Regents Code of Conduct ( http://www.asu.edu/studentaffairs/reslife/outreach/abor_code.htm ) ACD 125: Computer, Internet, and Electronic Communications ( http://www.asu.edu/aad/manuals/acd/acd125.html ), and the ASU Student Academic Integrity Policy

( http://provost.asu.edu/academicintegrity ).

Students are entitled to receive instruction free from interference by other members of the class. If a student is disruptive, an instructor may ask the student to stop the disruptive behavior and warn the student that such disruptive behavior can result in withdrawal from the course. An instructor may withdraw a student from a course when the student's behavior disrupts the educational process ( http://www.asu.edu/studentaffairs/vp/safety/disruptive_student_behaviour ).

Accommodations for Disabilities : The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal antidiscrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. One element of this legislation requires that all qualified students with documented disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation please contact the Disability Resource Center at ASU Polytechnic located in Student Affairs Quad # 4 or call 480-727-1039 / TTY: 480-727-1009.  Eligibility and documentation policies online: http://www.asu.edu/studentaffairs/ed/drc/

The Public Nature of the Class (Writing and Discussion) : Part of becoming an effective writer is learning to appreciate the ideas and criticisms of others, and in this course our purpose is to come together as a community of writers. Remember that you will often be expected to share your writing with others. Avoid writing about topics that you may not be prepared to subject to public scrutiny or that you feel so strongly about that you are unwilling to listen to perspectives other than your own. You are free to express your perspectives in writing and discussion, but you also need to write responsibly, contemplating the possible effects on others and on yourself.

Student Support Services
Polytechnic campus site: http://www.poly.asu.edu/students/services/

The Writing Center at the Polytechnic Campus: The Polytechnic Writing Center offers tutoring services to all students on any sort of writing project. Writing tutors can help with any stage of the writing process, including choosing a topic, brainstorming, clarifying a thesis, organization of ideas or paragraphs, grammar, citation styles, and more. The Center is located in the Academic Center Building on the Lower Level. Although walk-ins are accepted, it is strongly recommended that you make an appointment. Please call (480) 727-1452 to schedule an appointment. Online tutoring is also available if you cannot come in. Visit the Writing Center 's website ( http://studentsuccess.asu.edu/polytechnic/writing ) for more information.

ASU Libraries - offers 24/7 access to librarians through "Ask a Librarian" online chat and help by librarians in person at the Reference Desk during most hours the libraries are open. http://lib.asu.edu/

Polytechnic campus link: http://lib.asu.edu/poly

Counseling and Consultation – provides confidential mental health and career counseling services for all ASU students. http://students.asu.edu/counseling

Polytechnic campus site (Student Counseling Services): http://students.asu.edu/counselingpoly

Student Success Centers – the Student Success Center (SSC) on each ASU campus provides an array of support services that promote students' academic success. The SSC supports classroom instruction by helping students become better learners and gain the confidence and skills to achieve their greatest possible academic success. http://studentsuccess.asu.edu/

The Student Success Center at the Polytechnic Campus provides a variety of support services that promote students' academic success. The SSC's programs help students to become better learners and to gain the confidence and skills to do well in their courses. At the Polytechnic campus, the SSC provides the following services FREE of charge to ASU students: (1) subject area tutoring, (2) writing tutoring for any writing assignment, (3) supplemental instruction for MAT 170 and CHM 113, (4) academic success workshops on topics like reading strategies and studying for exams, and (5) individual as well as group study space. For questions, please call (480) 727-1452 or stop by. For more information and for tutoring schedules, please visit our web site at http://studentsuccess.asu.edu/polytechnic . The SSC is located in the Academic Center Building (CNTR) on the Lower Level. To see a campus map, please visit http://www.asu.edu/map/interactive/

Career Services – offers assistance to students in choosing a major, setting career goals, interviewing and job hunting strategies. http://students.asu.edu/career

Polytechnic campus site: http://students.asu.edu/career/poly

Student Financial Aid Office – offers information and applications for student funding such as grants, loans, scholarships and student employment. http://students.asu.edu/financialaid

Polytechnic campus site: http://www.asu.edu/fa/ (same as general ASU site)

Student Health and Wellness Center – provides non-emergency medical health care to all ASU students regardless of insurance status. Most visits with a physician or nurse practitioner are free of charge, but fees will be incurred for x-rays, lab results, etc. www.asu.edu/health/

Polytechnic campus site: same

Student Recreational Center – offers individual and group fitness opportunities, as well as information on nutrition and wellness, and massages. Use of the general facilities (weights, circuit training and cardio machines) are free, other services (yoga classes, massages) are fee-based. www.asu.edu/src/

Polytechnic campus site: http://www.poly.asu.edu/pac/

Student Legal Assistance – provides legal advice and counsel free of charge to all ASU students in areas such as landlord-tenant law, credit reports and collection issues, taxability of scholarships and grants, etc. Notary service is also available at no charge. http://www.asu.edu/studentaffairs/mu/legal/

Help Wiki – provides a frequently asked questions resource for technology users at ASU. http://wiki.asu.edu/help/

Information Technology on the Polytechnic campus: http://campus.asu.edu/polytechnic/uto

EMPACT Crisis Hotline – offers free 24-hour support for mental health crises. Call (480) 784-1500 in the Phoenix area, (866) 205-5229 for the toll-free number outside of Phoenix , and (480) 736-4949 for the sexual assault hotline. All services are free and confidential. http://www.empact-spc.com/

Important Dates


August 19-25: Late Registration and Drop/Add

September 16-23: Academic Status Report #1

September 28: Complete all work for ASU 101.

October 29: Spring 2010 Schedule of Classes Available- Online

October 21-28: Academic Status Report #2

November 2: Spring 2010 Registration & Tuition Guide Available - Online

November 3: Course Withdrawal Deadline

December 7: Complete Withdrawal Deadline

December 8: Reading Day

December 9-15: Final Exams

December 16: Commencement for Undergraduate Students

Point your browser to http://students.asu.edu/academic-calendar for additional dates.



Patricia Colleen Murphy, MFA * Arizona State University * 240M Santa Catalina Hall * 7271 E Sonoran Arroyo Mall * Mesa, AZ 85212