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Areas of Evaluation Rhetorical Criticism

Grades will be calculated use the 4.0 system for each category, and then weighted based on the chart below to determine an overall average for the final course grade. Each grade point represents the minimum threshold for that letter grade. For example, if you average a 3.5, you would end up with a B+, since the 3.7 of an A- was not achieved.

  • Attend all class sessions.
  • The student is responsible for all administrative procedures: adds, drops, withdrawals, etc.
  • In order to achieve a specific letter grade, all requirements within that category must be met (see Appendix for the general evaluation rubric).
  • Grades, including evaluation comments, will be posted in the Blackboard Grading Center, which you can access at any time.
Grade Breakdown English 373
Area of  Evaluation Percent
Blog Portfolio (short compositions) 40%
Final Criticism Project 30%
Final Project Presentation 5%
Article Review 15%
Scholarly Contribution 10%
Total 100%

A    4.0 (exceptional)

A-  3.7

B+ 3.3

B    3.0 (very good)

B-  2.7

C+ 2.3

C    2.0 (satisfactory)

C-  1.7

D+ 1.3 (unsatisfactory)

D   1.0

D-  0.7 (minimum passing)

F    0.0 (failing)

Area of Evaluation Descriptions

The following list gives a general description of each assignment/area of evaluation. Specific requirements, due dates, and evaluation criteria will be provided in an Assignment Prompt for each project and paper, located in the “Assignments” folder on Blackboard.


Blog Portfolio 40%

This course provides the most rudimentary introductions to a variety of methods in rhetorical criticism. The best way to understand rhetorical criticism is to do it, but that can feel like an overwhelming proposition full of risks. So we need to practice our criticism without feeling the pressure of “getting it right” the first time. The blog will serve as a space for this practice, where we can try out new methods and share with our peers these attempts.

Five short blog posts are scheduled, practicing various methods of criticism. These posts should draw from the theoretical texts and examples assigned for that week or segment of criticism, and analyze a single rhetorical artifact of your choice. Practice establishing an exigence and theoretical frame work—why this particular method is appropriate for understanding that rhetorical artifact, and what you are attempting to accomplish—and then do a close analysis within that framework. These posts do not need to be particularly long, say 500-700 words, but should be published as polished drafts. I highly encourage you to select artifacts that will be a part of your Rhetorical Criticism Project, helping you develop that project early on.

Your “grade” for each post will not be calculated on how “correct” you are in the application, but in your effort at setting up the framework and performing the critique, ie. your commitment to the criticism and communicating your purpose to an audience.

A proposal for your final rhetorical criticism project is also included in this category.

By the end of the semester, you will have written a minimum of approximately 3000 words for these short posts. The average grade of all six posts will be the grade for this category.


Rhetorical Criticism Project 30%

The culminating work of the semester will be a multi-modal rhetorical criticism that examines a variety of artifacts, with aim toward activism and social justice. While a proposal is due the week before Thanksgiving, it is important that you begin planning for this project by about Week 8, collecting artifacts, building a rhetorical framework for criticism, and reading additional theory within that framework. You may draw from your short blog posts (including using the writing you did there) for this larger project.

Recommended minimum word count: 2000

Due: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 11:59pm, published on your WordPress blog.


Final Research Presentation 10%

A multimedia presentation of your inquiry and research for the final criticism project. Presentation should be about 5 minutes and cover your main argument, theories, and evidence. You may use whatever presentation method you are comfortable with.

Due: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 8:00-10:30am.


Article Review 10%

Reading rhetorical criticism helps us understand how it works, and so our “midterm” will be a critical review of a rhetorical criticism article. You will search through rhetoric journals to find an article of interest, and write a review that summarizes the argument of the article, describes its critical methodology, and argues how that criticism works as a form of rhetorical action.

Recommended minimum word count: 1000 words

Due: Sunday, Oct. 14, 11:59pm, published on your WordPress blog.


Scholarly Contribution: 100 points, 10%

Critical thinking and writing are a process of idea generation and revision, refining your argument and analysis. You will be required to write multiple drafts, bring them to class to workshop in peer revision groups, and revise based on your classmates’ comments. In addition, you will develop skills as constructive critics, helping your peers to create the best possible arguments and analysis.

Your participation grade will be based on the quality of your comments, your preparedness, participation in class discussions, and active involvement in group activities:

  • Consistently and thoughtfully participates in discussion and peer review, demonstrates writing process through pre-writing, full drafts, and revision, and completes all assigned reading = A
  • Participates in discussion and peer review, demonstrates a writing process that is sometimes incomplete, and completes most of assigned reading = B
  • Rarely participates in discussion and provides incomplete peer review, demonstrates an incomplete writing process, and misses several reading assignments = C
  • Rarely participates in discussion and peer review, rarely demonstrates the writing process, and misses many reading assignments = D
  • No participation in discussion and peer review, does not demonstrate the writing process, and rarely completes reading assignments = F

At any time during the course I am happy to discuss your progress in participation.

Late Work Policy

Late work (even a few minutes late) will receive an automatic one letter grade deduction for the first week, two letter grades for the second week, etc. On rare occasions an extension may be granted for instances of verifiable health issues, but must be arranged prior to the assignment due date. Extensions requested after the due date will be denied. Extensions will not be granted for circumstances that are part of the academic experience: heavy course loads, academic projects and film shoots (with the exception of attending an academic conference), employment, Greek life, etc.