COURSE DESCRIPTION AND OBJECTIVES
Official Description: Students will be introduced to the principles of design and visual rhetoric. Students will also apply these principles to the design of print documents and online texts.
I love to teach first-year writing. No. Seriously. I. Love. It. When I took this job, I came here because I could teach first-year writing every year. As students, you are full of hope and optimism; you’re excited about what being in college might mean, and, most important for this class, you are still willing to try something new, especially if it may positively impact the rest of your college and professional career.
But, I am not naive. I know you are here because the university has decided you need to “learn how to write.” Can I tell you a secret? My class is not going to teach you how to write, and, I’m not going to help you produce “good” writing. Why not? Because no single class can do this.
However, your ENGW 1301 and 1302 courses should introduce you to what writing experts already know about writing (much like an Intro to Biology course starts the conversation), and this means that my required courses can help you understand how you write and identify your relationship with writing, reading, and researching because you are enrolled in a writing-about-writing course (WAW).
What’s WAW? It’s a pedagogical approach (a way of teaching) based on the theory that changing what you know about writing can change the way you write. Writing is relevant to all of us, and what you learn about writing now will be useful to you after this class ends (and even after you leave SEU). You already have 12+ years of (formal) reading and writing experience, so you have the expertise to ask interesting questions about why you (and others) write, which is the first step to becoming a student scholar. What kinds of questions will we explore? For starters,
- How, if at all, does writing help us learn?
- What is the purpose of asking questions in college, and what does this have to do with writing?
- Is college writing (and research) really any different from what we did in high school?
- Does writing even matter for my job or for my major?
Our class is going to be different from any other English class you’ve had. I am not here to transfer what I know about writing to you, pouring information into your head so you can give it back to me. Instead, you and I are working together to make new knowledge, to see what answers we might find to these questions. Together. As collaborators. I can’t wait to work with you.
Students in Rhetoric and Composition II will continue to develop the skills listed for Rhetoric and Composition I and work especially on research and argumentation. By the time students leave Rhetoric and Composition II, they should be able to:
- Identify and evaluate the elements of argument (claims, reasons, evidence, assumptions, values) and rhetorical strategies (style, voice, tone, emotional appeals, and so forth);
- Evaluate sources for balance, credibility, relevance, currency, and point of view;
- Appropriately integrate accurate quotations, paraphrases, and summaries of sources into their own writing in a way that audiences will find persuasive;
- Select a structure and format for a piece of writing to suit a particular rhetorical situation;
- Write multiple revised drafts for out-of-class writing and do extensive planning for in-class writing;
- Adapt a recursive sequence of invention, drafting, revision, and editing for each assignment;
- Critique their own and others’ work constructively;
- Edit texts according to the conventions of Edited American English;
- Formulate an appropriate research question;
- Use databases, library catalogs, and reference texts to research a topic;
- Recognize the strengths and weaknesses of different types of primary and secondary sources and make effective choices among scholarly and non-scholarly sources (books, journal articles, newspaper articles, web sites, interviews, observations);
- Identify faulty logic;
- Evaluate evidence for accuracy and reliability;
- Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of arguments;
- Identify and evaluate the values underlying their own and others’ arguments; and,
- Discuss respectfully their own and others’ viewpoints both orally and in writing.
Whew! That’s a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time, but when you look back at the course activities for the semester, I hope you’ll see that they are designed to meet these SLOs. You’ll also find that our in-class discussions will also help you interpret and understand the SLOs.
You will complete a series of related assignments over the course of this semester—all of which will prepare you to complete your own contributive research project.
Daily Grind Activities (200 points)
Trading 8s Exchanges, 200 points total
2 Leader Posts, 50 points total @ 25 points each
2 Follower Posts, 50 points total @ 25 points each
2 Recorder Posts, 20 points total @ 10 points each
Concept Maps, 50 points total @ 10 points each (Best 5)
Self-Assessment Surveys, 30 points total @ 15 points each
Writing Projects (800 points)
WP1: Strange Questions, 50 points
WP2: Higher Education and Inquiry, 100 points
WP3: Research Proposal, Approved or Not Approved
WP4: Annotated Bibliography, 150 points
WP5: Synthesis Essay, 200 points
WP6: SPARK Submission, 200 points
Final Portfolio + Self-Assessment Letter, 100 points
You will complete much of your work for this course in small groups, and I expect you to fulfill your fair share of group work and interact courteously with your peers at all times. Most of our class sessions will be conducted in discussion/workshop format, and many of these workshops cannot be “re-created” outside of class, so regular attendance and active participation are essential to your success. Active participation may also include successful completion of reading quizzes, which will be used to assess your preparedness for a class meeting.
You’ll find an explanation the general course policies applicable to all my courses on this site; please read and review these as necessary.
You should have purchased your own copy of The Craft of Research, which we’ll be reading in throughout the semester. In addition to this book, we’ll be reading articles available to you through the SEU Library and/or via our Google Drive site. Below is a list of the reading assignments we’ll complete this semester. When available, you’ll find a link for the article. If you click on this link from a computer on campus, you’ll automatically be redirected to the appropriate database. If you access these links off campus, you may need to complete a few extra steps. I encourage you to download these articles and to print out hard copies of each one. I can help you save trees by printing out efficient versions (which I’ll show in class). You may also wish to read them online, but know, in advance, that you’ll need to “show” how you read materials during class discussions, so be prepared with notes and references from each reading assignment.
Rosenberg, Karen. “Reading Games: Strategies for Reading Scholarly Sources.” Writing Spaces 2 (2001): 210-220. Web. 7 Jan. 2013.
Grant-Davie, Keith. “Rhetorical Situations and Their Constituents.” Rhetoric Review 15.2 (1997): 264-79. Web. 7 Jan. 2013.
Bartholomae, David. “Writing with Teachers: A Conversation with Peter Elbow.” College Composition and Communication 46.1 (1995): 62-71. Web. 7 Jan. 2013.
Elbow, Peter. “Being a Writer vs. Being an Academic: A Conflict in Goals.” College Composition and Communication 46.1 (1995): 72-83. Web. 7. Jan. 2013.
Downs, Douglas and Elizabeth Wardle. “What Can a Novice Contribute? Undergraduate Researchers in First-Year Composition.” Undergraduate Research in English Studies. Eds. Laurie Grobman and Joyce Kinkead. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 2010. 173-190. Print.
Sommers, Nancy, and Laura Saltz. “The Novice as Expert: Writing the Freshman Year.” College Composition and Communication 56.1 (2004): 124-49. Print.
Robertson, Liane, Kara Taczak, and Kathleen Blake Yancey. “Notes toward a Theory of Prior Knowledge and Its Role in College Composers’ Transfer of Knowledge and Practice.” Composition Forum 26 (2012): n. pag. Web. 7 Jan. 2013.
Olivas, Bernice. “Cupping the Spark in Our Hands: Developing a Better Understanding of the Research Question in Inquiry-Based Writing.” Young Scholars in Writing 7 (Fall 2009): 6-18. Web. 7 Jan. 2013.