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Areas of Evaluation Topics in Rhetoric

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. Missing more than 4 separate class sessions will negatively effective your final grade. 
  • 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). A (+) or (-) designation indicates meeting some but not all of the requirements of a grading category (as established in evaluation rubrics). For example, if you met three of the requirements of an “A” composition, but two of a “B”, then the grade would be an A-. Conversely, meeting three requirements of the “B” category and two of the “A” would result in a B+.

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)


Blog Response Writing                  50%

Rewriting Humanism Project    30%

Scholarly Contribution                 20%

Areas of Evaluation

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 Response Writing 50%

Each week (starting Week 2), you will need to post a response to that week’s reading and discussion on your WordPress blog. The response should critically engage with the material and discourses, asking questions, exploring concepts, and finding ways of using those concepts in practical (or impractical) ways. While the material is can certainly be mind-bending at times, this is your opportunity to work through complex ideas in creative ways, including but not limited to

  • exploring a specific cultural/rhetorical artifact through these discursive lenses,
  • synthesizing the discourses and concepts with prior theories, or theories and experiences from other courses, disciplines, or practices,
  • constructing an informed critical counterargument,
  • extending the discourse to new, perhaps unexplored areas

Make creative use of the blog space and the digital/multimodal opportunities it affords. This means creating hyperlinks to related and networked texts, embedding images, graphics, video, and audio, composing with space and form.

Each week’s blog post is due by end-of-day Friday for that week. Grading criteria for each post is located in the Appendix. The grade for this category will be the average of all posts.

Rewriting Humanism Project 30%

Your formal project will be a semester-long endeavor, with key check in dates. The project is a research-based, multi-modal examination of an element of culture and its humanist origins, aims, and/or problems, and exploring and rethinking this cultural phenomenon in posthuman terms. What does this cultural thing rhetorically communicate? Or better, how does it construct a reality that perhaps has humanistic aims? What are the problems with those humanistic aims? Alternatively, this cultural rhetorical artifact could be expressing posthuman concepts or constructing a posthuman reality.

  • What are the consequences?
  • How does it work rhetorically?
  • What might we do to create a rhetorical counter, or to extend the rhetorical posthumanism of this cultural discourse/artifact/reality?

Key check-in dates. Check-in deliverables are credit/no credit, and account for 10% each of the total grade for this project. Late work is not accepted.

  • Proposal: 250 word overview of the subject you would like to research and write about, including possible cultural elements/artifacts, theories you’ll engage with, and a research plan. Due March 7 before class, posted on WordPress blog.
  • Annotated Bibliography: list of sources and artifacts, including bibliographic citation, brief summary, and how you will use each source (including relationship with other sources). Due April 18 posted on WordPress blog.
  • Rough draft: Due May 7 via Blackboard peer revision group.

Final draft due as a blog post, May 15.

Scholarly Contribution 20%

I expect you to read all assigned texts carefully and critically, and participate vigorously in all class discussions and activities, in-class and virtual. All participation should be conducted with respect and professionalism. We will likely disagree with theories, readings, approaches, and perspectives, and this is fine; however, we must also practice creating the sort of classroom environment of open, positive critical thinking that we would wish our own students to create. Due to the highly interactive nature of this course and the emphasis on group work and class discussions, I expect you to attend all class meetings (and to be on time). Please note that, according to the university catalog, Chapman University “recommends as a minimal policy that students who are absent 20 percent of the course should be failed” (i.e., more than four seminar meetings).

In addition, each student will be required to lead a discussion. You will be randomly assigned a week to be the discussion leader, and are responsible for generating questions based on all the assigned material, as well as doing extra research to help inform those texts and the discussion.

Undergraduate Discussion Leaders will focus on the critical theory text, any companion cultural texts, and will be expected to bring in a relevant, contemporary cultural example of rhetoric that fits the concepts of the discourse that week.

Graduate Discussion Leaders will focus on the additional graduate readings, which will typically be foundational philosophical texts referenced by the critical texts. Discussion leaders are expected to provide a clear and concise overview of the concepts developed in the graduate reading text for that week in a 10-15 minute presentation, and then generate questions from that presentation.

I encourage the undergraduate and graduate discussion leaders to at minimum touch base with each other so that there isn’t overlap or redundancy in the discussions, and ideally to work together to ensure an effective interaction between the various complex components of discourse contained in the various texts.

See Appendix C for grading criteria.

Late Assignments and Make Ups

All assignments will receive an automatic half-letter grade permanent reduction for each week late. There is no revision of work in this course.

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