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 20%
Throughout the semester you will be composing in the writing space of your personalized WordPress blog. Short compositions, exercises, responses, as well as your higher stakes projects, will be appear in the blog roll, or as a page within the blog. The goal in keeping this electronic portfolio is to explore a variety of means of rhetorical composition, including (but not limited to) metacognitive reflection, analysis, narrative, argument, inquiry and exposition. Weekly blog posts will range between 300-700 words, and should be published as polished drafts, meaning no sentence-level errors. All short compositions are due by 11:59pm on the Sunday of the week assigned.
I have deliberately refrained from posting a set schedule of exercises and due dates in order to retain the greatest flexibility in what we are writing during the semester. Blog posts will be directed, meaning they will be discussed in class prior to a due date, with guideline prompts posted on Blackboard. However, some blog posts will be left to your discretion. In general, you will be required to compose at least one blog post every other week.
By the end of the semester, you will have written a minimum of approximately 1500 words of short compositions, and another 4500 words for the high stakes projects. For the short compositions (those not specifically indicated as “projects”) you will receive a letter grade. Your Blog Portfolio grade will be an average of these scores.
At the end of the semester, you will post a Final Blog Portfolio Review (consider the “final exam”) that reflects upon the work you’ve done in this class over the semester, including process and revision. This metacognitive post will occur after a discussion during the Final Exam Period (mandatory attendance).
Open Letter Project 20%
Compose a multimodal Open Letter addressed to a specific individual audience (but with a broader public audience in mind). This specific audience should be a person of influence (living): a personal relationship, a celebrity, politician, novelist, filmmaker, CEO…your choice. The letter should present a clear argument, utilizing rhetorical appeals and concepts of social agency and authority, as well as strong research-based, multimodal support. A draft will be workshopped in class, and then published on the WordPress blog. Minimum 1000 words.
- First draft: in class, Sept. 28 (Thursday)
- Final draft posted on blog by 11:59pm, Oct. 1 (Sunday)
Memoir Project 20%
Compose a multimodal narrative recounting a specific memory / event in your life, using both skills of narrative description and critical /analytical reflection. An overarching theme /purpose should be developed (though not necessarily explicit) with an intended audience in mind. A draft will be workshopped in class, and then published on the WordPress blog. Minimum 1500 words.
- First draft: in class, Oct. 26 (Thursday)
- Final draft posted on blog by 11:59pm, Oct. 29 (Sunday)
Self-Ethnography Project 20%
Compose a multimodal, research-based autobiographical inquiry that presents a specific argument about your identity or world view, and how that has been shaped by experience, interpersonal relationships, and socio-cultural influences. The project will require a rhetorical purpose and audience, and multimodal synthesis of a variety of research. A draft will be workshopped in class, and then published on the WordPress blog. Minimum 2000 words.
- First draft: in class, Dec. 7 (Thursday)
- Final draft posted on blog by 11:59pm, Dec. 11 (Monday)
Discussion Forum 10%
Five times (or so) during the semester, we will engage in lively, asynchronously online discussions in the Blackboard discussion forum platform. The forum thread will be started by me (your professor), starting the conversation off with a prompt and some questions. The thread will open on Thursday at 6pm, and close Sunday at 11:59pm. You are responsible for making at least TWO thoughtful responses within the time period listed above. A “thoughtful response” makes a specific, relevant comment that fits with the ongoing discussion, meaning that you must read all the responses in the thread and add to this conversation. You can bring up new points, challenge points made by others, or elaborate upon interesting comments or ideas. Thorough responses are typically over 100 words in length.
Remember that the social etiquette of this virtual discussion should be no different than one in the physical classroom: be respectful of each other’s opinions, use appropriate language, and present your comments from a basis of knowledge. There is no anonymity in this discussion forum.
During Peer Revision Workshop weeks, the Discussion Forum will instead be limited to your peer revision groups, where you will expand your in-class discussion through more in-depth written comments for revision. During these weeks, responses must be posted by 11:59pm Friday. This ensures enough time for you and your group members to read and consider the comments for revision prior to publishing the final draft of the project.
You will receive full credit for each post by responding to the prompt in a thoughtful and thorough manner that furthers the current discussion. Responses that fall short of these requirements will only receive partial credit. At the end of the semester, your total score will be averaged out.
Process and Participation: 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.
Since participation is dependent upon attendance, each class session missed will affect your total Process and Participation grade. For example, missing 4 class sessions out of a total of 30 would mean you were participating a maximum of 87%, and thus would only qualify you for a max grade of B+ 3.3 in Process and Participation.
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.
Because writing and thinking critically are complex, recursive processes, I encourage you to revise your published work (the blog posts and the three major projects). I will accept revisions of all writing that was turned in on time. To revise, you must contact me within a week of getting your grade and schedule a meeting to discussion the revision. In that meeting, we will decide on a new due date. Prior to publishing the revision (an update to the original blog post), you need to send me a copy (screen shot or document) of the originally published work.
The Self-Ethnography Project is due on the final exam day. To be eligible for revision, you must publish it (and notify me) by 11:59p Friday, Dec. 8. I’ll grade it before the final exam period on Monday, and if you’d like to revise, we can discuss during that period and you can submit your revision by 11:59p Friday, Dec. 15.
A composition must meet ALL of the criteria to achieve the specified letter grade. (+) and (-) indicate slightly higher achievement or slightly lower achievement in that letter grade’s criteria. For example, an A- composition might meet all of the criteria but the last, containing several errors in grammar or confusing syntax.
A – an “A” composition demonstrates the highest quality of composition, analysis, research, and rhetoric.
- Poses an intriguing, nuanced, and well-developed argument that effectively uses the conventions and constraints of the rhetorical genre and form.
- Develops the argument with an effective internal logic, utilizing creative rhetorical choices in design and structure.
- Demonstrates the ability to rhetorical support the argument using specific examples and credible outside sources that are dialogically integrated.
- Invokes a specific audience (the discourse community) through rhetorical choices in style and conventions, research, language, and theory.
- Composes the text with a superior use of diction, voice, syntax, punctuation, and grammar. There will be no errors.
B – a “B” paper demonstrates a capacity to engage in quality composition, analysis, research, and rhetoric, although at times struggling in one or more areas.
- Poses a clear argument within the rhetorical genre and form. However, the argument will struggle to be fully developed, containing holes and additional questions, and lacking in originality or creativity.
- Develops the argument with a logic that is not always effective rhetorically, containing gaps in logical connections, rough transitions, a design or structure that may be confusing at times.
- Sometimes struggles to support the argument and purpose, making broad statements or unsubstantiated claims. Illustrated examples will be used, as well as outside sources (not always credible), but these references will struggle to be dialogically integrated into the argument.
- Invokes a broad audience, meeting at times—but also struggling with—discursive and rhetorical choices in style and conventions, research, language, and theory.
- Contains errors and inconsistencies in diction, voice, syntax, punctuation, and grammar that are sometimes distracting to the reader and confuse meaning.
C – a “C” paper demonstrates a development toward quality composition, analysis, research, and rhetoric, attempting but struggling to compose quality analysis, research, and rhetoric.
- Struggles to pose a clear argument within the genre and form. The argument tends to be limited, failing to adequately incorporate theory, interpretation, and/or analysis with a specific purpose.
- Struggles to develop the argument with a rhetorical and logical structure and design, leaving the reader confused: gaps in logic and connectivity, missing transitions, undeveloped or misplaced ideas.
- Struggles to support the argument, relying on broad statements or unsubstantiated claims with few effective and credible examples and references. Most examples/references will not be dialogically integrated into the argument.
- Rarely considers audience/discourse community with choices in style and conventions, research, language, and theory.
- Contains distracting errors and inconsistencies in diction, voice, syntax, punctuation, and grammar that confuse meaning.
D – a “D” paper struggles and fails to meet expectations of quality in composition, analysis, research, and rhetoric, either through a need for continued experiences or by lack of effort.
- Little to no discernable argument or purpose, with little if any incorporation of theory and analysis.
- Confusing and limited structure of ideas without rhetorically effective design, transitions, and internal logic.
- Does not support the argument, relying on ineffective examples and no outside references.
- Does not consider audience/discourse community with choices in style and conventions, research, language, and theory.
- Contains severely distracting errors and inconsistencies in diction, voice, syntax, punctuation, and grammar that confuse meaning.
F – an “F” paper fails to meet any expectations of quality in all areas; this paper is typically very short, messy, and a demonstration of little to no engagement in the subject.