Return to ENGW 4341 Syllabus

Current Theories Weekly Calendar

NOTE: The calendar below includes specific details about assignments, include the questions you’ll need to complete for Student-Led Seminars, which are the foundation of your Wednesday Writing assignments. This is a supplement to the more concise Calendar at a Glance. They work together, so be familiar with each. Like the Calendar at a Glance, the hyperlinks here will give you access to necessary folders and/or readings. Also, the slides from each week will be available after class; just click on the date.

WEEK  5

Monday, February 8

  • Defining Literacy
  • Understanding Literacy Studies

Wednesday, February 10

  • Short Paper Work Day

In lieu of our regular class meeting, you may have today to finalize the collection of your primary data or to prepare your full draft of the Short Paper, which is due for an in-class workshop on Friday.

I will be in our regular classroom to answer questions and/or help you troubleshoot.

HOMEWORK, to be completed before Friday, February 12

  1. Upload a Google Doc version of your draft-in-progress to our Short Paper: Peer Review folder.
  2. Bring one hard copy of your project to class.

My preference will be for you to complete the peer review online, but if you don’t have a laptop you can bring to our classroom, then the hardcopy will suffice.

Friday, February 12

  • Short Paper Peer Review
  • Instructor Recommendations

HOMEWORK, to be completed before Monday, February 15

  1. Finalize your short paper, using the feedback from your peers and from me.
  2. Make sure you include an Author’s Note as the first page of this document. In this Author’s Note, you should (a) provide an overall assessment of your paper, identifying what works and what doesn’t work well in your mind; (b) discuss your research methodologies, including what changes you would make with more time and/or resources; and (c) direct me to specific questions and/or concerns you have about the conversation you’ve created between your primary and secondary data.

Before next week, I’d like you to take a few minutes and complete our Week 5 Barometer. During the semester, I like to check in with students and see how the course is going from their perspective. Once you click on the above link, you’ll find six questions I’d like you to answer as thoughtfully and honestly as possible. Based on your answers, which will be anonymous, I may propose adjustments and changes to our class as we move forward with the semester. The goal here is for us to be engaged in a dialogue about what is and is not contributing to your learning.

WEEK  6

Monday, February 15

  • Semester Research Project Introduced
  • Week 5 Barometer Discussed
  • Short Paper due before 7:59 am on Tuesday, February 16

HOMEWORK, to be completed before Wednesday, February 17

  1. Daniell, “Narratives of Literacy: Connecting Composition to Culture”

READING QUESTIONS: (a) What are grand narratives in literacy studies? (b) What are little narratives? (c) How might little narratives work against grand narratives? How can we see this shift in Kelder’s history of literacy?

Wednesday, February 17

  • Little Narratives
  • Grand Narratives

HOMEWORK, to be completed before Friday

  1. Hirsch, “Cultural Literacy
  2. Hirsch, “A Wealth of Words
  3. Baker, “Culture Warrior, Gaining Ground 

READING QUESTIONS: (a) How is Hirsch defining literacy? You want to frame his definition in light of those offered by Kelder and Daniell. (b) What purpose or role does literacy serve in daily life, according to Hirsch? (c) What are the implications of Hirsch’s theories?

Friday, February 19

  • Cultural Literacy

HOMEWORK, to be complected before Monday

  1. Bizzell, “Arguing about Literacy

READING QUESTIONS: (a) What are the various definitions we see emerging for literacy? According to Bizzell, what is rhetorical literacy? How does this kind of literacy seem different from what Daniell and Hirsch were proposing? (b) How do we model rhetorical literacy in the classroom? In what ways do you see our definitions of literacy influencing the questions and concerns driving educational situations and classrooms?

 


 

WEEK  1

Monday, January 11

Introduction to the course

Syllabus and Calendar Discussion

Google Drive overview

Create your 4341 course folder in Google Drive. For additional help, the process is described here. Share the folder with me (dr.moriah.mccracken@gmail.com) as soon as you create it. To practice sharing materials via Google Drive, type up your answers to today’s discussion questions, and share that Google Doc (not an uploaded file) with me by organizing the file into our shared Google Drive / 4341 / Day 1 Answers folder. Use the following naming procedures: Last Name, Day 1.

Grades and attendance are tracked in Canvas, but otherwise, everything related to this course will be posted here and/or available via Google Drive.

One final reminder, as you look at the calendar below, I am listing the readings that should be completed before you arrive in class. This means that you need to read the section of Enos before Wednesday, and you should prepare notes for the student-led seminar, which are the foundation of your first Wednesday Writing assignment.

HOMEWORK, to be completed before Wednesday

Enos, “Professing the New Rhetorics: Prologue.” Read pages 5-15 (stopping at Richard Young).

Using the Wednesday Writing prompts as an entry point as necessary, come prepared to discuss the positions of each of the polylog participants. I want you to have mapped out the participants’ main ideas, noting and tracking the questions raised by the different voices.

KEY TERMS: “modern” rhetoric, “new” rhetoric, New Rhetoric, discipline, hermeneutic, neologisms, process

READING QUESTIONS: (1) Why are they talking about rhetorics (plural, not singular)? Are these rhetorics new? If so, why? how? (2) What is the source of the tension (splits) between rhetoric and composition? Why? (3) What are the participants saying about the first-year writing (FYW) issue?

Wednesday, January 13

Assigning “hats” to the Polylog Participants

Thinking about Rhetorics and Divisions

HOMEWORK, to be completed before our next meeting

Enos, “Professing the New Rhetorics: Prologue.” Read 15-35.

By now, it should be clear that I want you tracking each participant’s questions and points. Noting which ideas and/or questions are introduced by the public and which are raised by the participants, generate a list of the issues that the participants want to discuss.

Friday, January 15

No f2f Class

Online Assignment Due to January 15 Folder

In lieu of our f2f meeting for today, I’d like you to do two things. First, share the list of questions you think were raised about our discipline in the second half of the Polylog. Beneath these questions, track the basic answers provided by the participants (and audience if necessary). This is the “content” part of the reading assignment. Second, which questions are intriguing to you? That is, which of the questions and/or answers connect with something you wrote about on Day 1 of our class? Explain (~300 words).

HOMEWORK, to be completed before next Wednesday

Trimbur, “Changing the Question: Should Writing Be Studied?

Russell, “Activity Theory and Its Implications for Writing Instruction,” via Canvas

As you read this pair of articles, look for relationships between what Russell was doing in 1995 and what Trimbur claims in 2003, namely that we should “organize the study of writing as an intellectual resource for undergraduates” (23). You want to get the “gist” of activity theory, not be an expert in it. However, remember that the readings of this unit will serve as the foundation for your Short Paper assignment. So, read and process enough to know why Russell is using activity theory, but don’t feel obligated to learn the theory before class. You’ll also want to pay particular attention to the “Introduce Students to Rhetoric/Language” section, which will be important when we get to Downs & Wardle and start thinking about practice.

KEY TERMS: GWSI, activity systems, UED

READING QUESTIONS:  (a) Trimbur explains that different questions have dominated the discipline. What is his explanation for why the question changes? Note his explanations and rationales. (b) If writing is going to be studied, what are the considerations that we must take into account? That is, what would it mean to study writing? (c) How might the discipline change its identity without sacrificing its values, particularly the value it places on the autonomy of student writers?

WEEK 2

Monday, January 18—No Classes

See Friday for what to prepare for Wednesday’s class meeting. Use either the Wednesday Writing prompts or the questions below to prepare for the student-led seminar.

HOMEWORK, to be completed before Wednesday

Trimbur, “Changing the Question: Should Writing Be Studied?

Russell, “Activity Theory and Its Implications for Writing Instruction,” via Canvas

As you read this pair of articles, look for relationships between what Russell was doing in 1995 and what Trimbur claims in 2003, namely that we should “organize the study of writing as an intellectual resource for undergraduates” (23). You want to get the “gist” of activity theory, not be an expert in it. However, remember that the readings of this unit will serve as the foundation for your Short Paper assignment. So, read and process enough to know why Russell is using activity theory, but don’t feel obligated to learn the theory before class. You’ll also want to pay particular attention to the “Introduce Students to Rhetoric/Language” section, which will be important when we get to Downs & Wardle and start thinking about practice.

KEY TERMS: GWSI, activity systems, UED

READING QUESTIONS:  (a) Trimbur explains that different questions have dominated the discipline. What is his explanation for why the question changes? Note his explanations and rationales. (b) If writing is going to be studied, what are the considerations that we must take into account? That is, what would it mean to study writing? (c) How might the discipline change its identity without sacrificing its values, particularly the value it places on the autonomy of student writers?

Wednesday, January 20

Studying Writing

Problems with Writing Courses

Is our discipline more than a single writing course?

HOMEWORK, to be completed before Friday

Review Short Paper assignment, bring questions

Yancey, “Introduction: Coming to Terms” 

Adler-Kassner and Wardle, “Naming What We Know

KEY TERMS: Threshold concepts

READING QUESTIONS: In her introduction, Yancey notes 8 points of agreement across Naming What We Know. What are these 8 points, and how do you see them intersecting with the work of Trimbur and Russell? How can you see NWWK emerging from the work done in 1995 and 2003? What are the caveats and cautions offered by Adler-Kassner and Wardle? How do they reflect the problems of identity we’ve seen emerging in the discipline?

Friday, January 21

Understanding Threshold Concepts

Why are we naming what we know?

HOMEWORK, to be completed before Monday

Concept 1: Writing is a Social and Rhetorical Activity (pages 15-34)

Concept 3: Writing Enacts and Creates Identities and Ideologies (pages 48-58)

There are no key terms or reading questions for Monday. Rather than writing from Corderian questions, I want to see what you find interesting and important from these various entries for each of the major concepts. I recommend identifying key quotes and ideas to write from; you may even want to choose one of the minor concepts to write about for your Wednesday Writing. Because each entry will be shorter and we’ll have lots of voices and ideas to discuss, you may want a running list of who said what for your quick reference. We’ll be using the seminar-style approach on Monday, so, once again, your attendance credit depends on your contribution.

WEEK  3

Monday, January 25

Wrestling with Threshold Concepts

HOMEWORK, to be completed before Wednesday

Short Paper assigned

Driscoll’s “Introduction to Primary Research”. We aren’t the target audience for this piece, but she does a good job of highlighting some of the key issues we’ll need to address for you to fully develop your SP memos on Monday. You may be able to read this simply as a refresher.

Wednesday, January 27

Primary Research

Planning for Short Paper

We are not meeting in class on Wednesday. To be counted present for Wednesday’s class meeting, you need to email me (via my SEU email address: ilamc@stedwards.edu) a Short Paper memo before 11:59 pm tonight. 

Your memo should quickly (in less than 600 words) explain your position for what you think is currently happening in writing instruction on our campus (or what you think you want to better understand about writing instruction at any level and in any course). You should also detail the micro-research you will conduct to support your position. Paste your answers to the following prompts into the body of your email; do not send me an attachment and do not upload this to GDrive.

(1) Give me context. Using the readings we’ve completed thus far as a conversation starter, help me see how your short-paper idea emerges from the readings we’ve done in class. Walk me through the relationship you see between what you’ll discuss in the Short Paper and the content of our readings; that is, how will your short paper take up the ideas of activity theory and threshold concepts? Yes, I want to see how you’re processing those arguments before you start applying them outside your Wednesday Writings.

(2) Give me the primary overview. What do I mean by “micro-research”? One interview with one expert. One observation of one class; one observation of one tutor’s Writing Center sessions. Analysis of one major assignment in a disciplinary course. Collection of one set of data to be analyzed. Collection of one survey (under 10 questions) from one group (less than 20 people). You will determine what the “micro” feature is, but, regardless of method, you need to explain the instrument you intend to use. The short paper suggests interviews and assignment analysis, but you have some freedom to pitch an idea. If you’re doing a survey, let me see the questions you’ll ask exactly as you’ll ask them. Same for an interview. If you’re observing something, what are the questions you’ll use to guide those observations.

Use Driscoll as a resource for this part. She’ll help you anticipate the kinds of questions or concerns I might have. For example, how will you adhere to ethical research? How are you weighing the benefits/restrictions of your chosen method?

(3) Let me know if you have questions or concerns. Embed those at the end of your memo.

Again, this is due to my inbox no later than 11:59 pm on Wednesday. Failure to submit on time will result in an absence. I will be responding to these as they come in.

HOMEWORK, to be completed before Friday

Taczak, “The Question of Transfer

Wardle, “Creative Repurposing for Expansive Learning: Considering ‘Problem-Exploring’ and ‘Answer-Getting’ Dispositions in Individuals and Fields

Friday, January 29

Threshold Concepts Meet Transfer

HOMEWORK, or what to complete before class on Monday

Downs and Wardle, “Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions: (Re)Envisioning ‘First-Year Composition’ as ‘Introduction to Writing Studies’”

READING QUESTIONS: (a) What are the three (3) misconceptions about writing that D&W name? How have you experienced these misconceptions? How does their proposed course mediate those misconceptions? (b) In what ways does their course redesign resist and pushback against those misconceptions? (c) To what extent to do you see WAW courses as working within activity theory frames? with transfer theories? with threshold concepts?

WEEK  4

Monday, February 1

Writing about Writing pedagogy

HOMEWORK, to be completed before Wednesday

On Wednesday, we’ll have our first peer review of your Short Paper project. You should bring one hardcopy of a good faith first draft of your theoretical framing to class to be counted present; you should also share a Google Doc version of this draft with the Short Paper: Theories folder.

What is a good faith draft? This is a draft that shows you wrestling with the content of our class readings thus far in the semester (at least the Writing Studies unit). You should not only be carefully representing the ideas of the scholars but engaging them in the context of your short paper—use your lens of our campus, our local situatedness to make sense of the theories you chose. They aren’t expected to be perfect. Please note that you’ll receive feedback from me on these drafts.

Wednesday, February 3

Peer Review of Short Paper: Theoretical Foundations

HOMEWORK, to be completed before Friday

Upload a draft of your micro-research plan to the common folder for my review. My preference is before 6:00 am on Friday. Those submitted by the deadline will get feedback before class begins.

Review Driscoll. In class, we’ll discuss the methodology reading and review and edit your proposed plans.

Friday, February 5

Refining Micro-research

Review of Primary Research Methodologies

HOMEWORK, to be completed before Monday

Kelder,  “Rethinking Literacy Studies: From the Past to the Present”

Even though you are still working on your Short Paper, we’re going to move right along into the Literacy Studies unit. This new week will have us returning to questions of definition, but we’re no longer trying to define writing or to articulate how writing should be taught; instead, we’re going to ask questions about what it means to be literate and what literacy means in the US.

KEY TERMS: literacy myth, literacy event, literacy practice, ideological model, autonomous model, the Great Divide

READING QUESTIONS: (a) What is literacy? (b) How does the context for the use of literacy affect its definitions? What connections can you make between the uses of literacy and the threshold concepts of our discipline? (c) How might we compare historical definitions for literacy—what is unique about those definitions used by various researchers?