Syllabus * Wendt * Fall 2009 * English 201* Advanced Rhetoric

required materials
All readings will be posted or linked to on the wiki

course description
This course is designed to help you learn to write in ways quite unlike the usual academic essay. Your research will be different, your writing will be different, and your whole way of looking at texts will be different. Because this is an advanced writing course, you will be doing a lot of writing, but no drafts are graded until the end of the semester in a portfolio. It will require of you a lot of personal responsibility, time management, and self-discipline. If these things are hard for you, drop the course before wasting anyone’s time. Our deep focus on rhetoric as an art and on the rhetorical situation will enhance your perceptions, give you a more critical perspective, and demonstrate how critical thinking and extensive writing can change the ways we see the world.

course goals
• To help you become more confident in your writing for various audiences and purposes
• To improve your ability to engage thoughtfully with materials, have a clear and interesting purpose, develop adequate support and analysis, and have an effective, efficient structure
• To prepare you to understand both the verbal and visual elements of rhetoric and how they work together
• To understand how critical thinking changes the ways we see the world
• To improve your ability to constructively evaluate your own rhetoric and the rhetoric of others
• To demonstrate how purpose, audience, and visual elements affect your rhetorical choices
• To enhance your writing with stylistic tools
• To improve your overall writing abilities through extensive writing

vocabulary (100 pts)
During the course of the semester, it will be a goal of this course to help you expand your vocabulary to include stronger verbs and more intense word choices. To aid in this endeavor, our course wiki will have a “Definitions” page to which you will be required to contribute. You must contribute at least 10 words, one each week by Friday, for the first 10 weeks of class. You will add them alphabetically to avoid duplications. For each entry, you must put the word and its definition (its main one at least—feel free to copy and paste from an online dictionary) and then must use the word in a sentence. An added pronunciation is often helpful. Each entry is worth a possible ten points for a total of 100 points overall for the semester. Late entries are welcome but worth ZERO points. Your ten points will be broken down thusly: 5 for word choice, 2 for including relevant definition(s) and pronunciation, and 3 for proper and creative use in a sentence. You are more than welcome to pull the word and its sentence directly from something you have read; the sentence does not have to be original. If, however, you choose to use someone else’s words, please use quotation marks and give the author and title. Also be sure to put your name at the end of your entry for credit; if you don’t, I won’t know who posted what. Of course I expect you to use these words in your writing; not all of them, of course, but those that will enhance your ideas.
BTW: A good word choice is not necessarily one we have not heard of but rather one you find is rich in sound, less common, and adds vitality. It does not have to be some big, obscure, useless word; as a matter of fact, it should NOT be such a word.

Good Example: ROBUST – strong and healthy; hardy; vigorous In order to do well in this vocabulary section of the course, students will want to choose ROBUST words.

Bad Example: STRONG - able to exert great bodily or muscular power; mentally powerful or vigorous: powerful in influence, authority, resources, or means of prevailing or succeeding. Strong words make strong writing.

publication (20 pts)
During this course, you are required to attempt getting one or more of your pieces published. While the idea is ultimately that all of your pieces are publishable, you are to submit at least one for publication. Because this s required and very important, you get an automatic 50 points just for the attempt. Getting accepted or rejected is irrelevant; the object is that you try. I will provide several links and options on the wiki that lead you to determine what pieces are best sent where.
My Turn – Newsweek
This I Believe – NPR
Newspaper Article – Almanian, Morning Sun, Gratiot County Herald
And more...

Revision Exam (30 pts)
Because of the heavy emphasis on style, near midterm you will be given an "exam" of sorts. More on this closer to the date.

drafts/homework (50pts)
Drafts and homework will be graded on a check system: check plus, check, check minus. You will be provided with a schedule of due dates for all drafts. Each time a draft is turned in on time, you will receive a check mark for doing the work on time. Homework will be graded similarly. No late drafts will be given a check, nor will any late homework. I will still read what you have done and give you feedback, but this is a grade on timeliness and to keep you from putting things off.

reflection (100 pts)
During the course of the semester, I will have you write several journal entries that are meant to be reflections of the work we are doing in class. These will be checked off when you bring them to class. At the end of the semester, you will use these to write a 10-page reflection of the entire semester, which will then be graded.

presentations (200 pts)
You will be doing several projects in class, some of which you will have to present to the class. These small presentations will be graded on a 4.0 scale and averaged together for 10% of your grade.

You will also have a major project, worth 100 points or 10%. Toward the end of the semester, you will be “re-mediating” one of your papers. Essentially you will be turning one of your papers into a visual argument. I will give you a lot of details and guidelines closer to this time, but keep in mind that you will be representing at least one piece of your writing visually. As you can tell by the number of points attached to this assignment, I expect you to take this assignment very seriously, put a lot of time, thought, and creativity into it, and give a stellar presentation. While this part of the semester is a lot of fun, I do grade these projects rigorously. Samples of A work will be on the wiki.

Portfolio (500 pts)
Your papers will be graded by portfolio at the end of the semester. You are required to have a minimum of 25 polished pages in this portfolio, as well as all previous drafts of the papers with my comments on them and the comments of your peers. These will be graded individually by rubric then averaged for a holistic score. The grading rubric will be available on the wiki for you to use as a guide. A strict schedule of drafts and revisions will be provided; however, following this does not affect your paper grade, only your drafts/homework grade. Because this is graded at the end of the semester, I will not make comments on final drafts unless you specifically request it because you intend to retrieve your portfolio.

semester points
vocabulary- 10%
publication – 2%
exam - 3 %
drafts/homework – 5%
reflection – 10 %
presentations – 20 %
paper portfolio – 50%
Total – 100 %

moodle and course wiki
I use Moodle as a place for you to turn in your work electronically, which I require at the end of the semester. At that time, you will submit your papers on Moodle by clicking on the “Drop Final Drafts Here” link and following instructions. Please save your documents in the required format.

I use the course wiki for everything else ( Here you will be able to see what work you have missed, know what is due the following class period, access any handouts you may have lost, and a host of other things. We will spend some time familiarizing ourselves with this wiki so you are comfortable using it.

It is a crime, literally, to say you wrote something when you didn’t. Plagiarism means using someone else’s words and calling them yours. And you would be surprised how easy it is to plagiarize without realizing it. If you get something off the Internet or from a book, or write what someone else said, you must cite the source. In this course, it will be particularly tempting to “steal” from other websites. We’ll talk about this issue, but remember that any time you use something—even a little icon—from some other website, you must keep the URL and cite this. It is also plagiarism if you take someone’s words and shuffle them around or change them a little and call them yours. Paraphrasing without citing the source is still plagiarism. We will work on this to avoid it. And you’ll want to avoid it, because plagiarism can result in an F on a project, failing the course, or expulsion from school. (For details on AC’s academic integrity policy, see page 30 of the Academic Catalog). Plagiarism is a serious issue. Don’t do it.

late work
For many reasons, it is important for you to turn your work in on time. If you won’t be able to come to class the day a draft is due, let me know and we’ll make arrangements for you to turn it in on time in another way. If there are extenuating circumstances, these should be communicated to me well in advance; it isn’t an extenuating circumstance, for example, if you put off the paper until the night before and then don’t get it done. Vocabulary cannot be made up, nor can draft due dates or journal dates. If you are absent on days these are due, I expect you to take responsibility and electronically get these documents to me.

It is very difficult to succeed in this course without regular attendance. So I’ll give you 3 freebees—you don’t need to tell me anything at all. Let me make this clear: illness is NOT an excused absence. I expect you all to have a day or two that you don’t feel well. The three freebees are for these sick days, so be sure not to use them right away or take them lightly. Because for every absence beyond three, I will lower your grade by one-half letter grade: e.g. If your course grade is a “B” and you have four total absences (3 freebees plus 1 more), your final grade will be reduced by one-half letter grade to a “B/C”; five absences would make it a “C”, etc. Please contact me promptly if you are having problems and cannot attend class. If you know you will be absent on a particular day, please see me at least one week in advance to make arrangements. Only pre-arranged absences or issues discussed with me prior to the absence will be excused.

the writing center
Although I will be available for conferencing at any time, additional help is available—and advisable—at the Writing Center. The Writing Center is located on the first floor of the library back by the computer lab. Please visit the Writing Center wiki to make an appointment at You will greatly benefit from this resource, so be sure to take advantage of it.

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