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Rhetoric & Composition (ENGL 015)

[Texts and Course Description] [Requirements] [House Keeping and Fine Print] [Outline and Schedule]

Texts and Course Description

Texts: Rise B. Axelrod and Charles R. Cooper, St. Martin's Guide to Writing and The Little, Brown Handbook. (If you have ready access to the W3, you might substitute the Blair Handbook for the Little, Brown.) In addition to these texts, I expect you to read a number of photocopied, supplemental essays distributed in class.
As an introduction to rhetorical practice, this course concerns itself with how to make texts; it provides a forum where strategies for planning, inventing, composing, revising, and editing texts are shared and tested. It is not designed to simulate "real life" writing experiences. Instead, it should be regarded as a laboratory where you learn skills applicable to any writing assignment encountered both within and outside your university experience.
Throughout this semester, as we take on the role of writer--experimenting with different voices and audiences--we will proceed from the assumption that a conceptual understanding of the principles and nature of writing is best attained by actually writing.
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Requirements

Note: Keep all materials returned to you. Back up your work! Points earned at semester's end divided by possible points X 100 yields your final grade as a percentage.

Papers:
The five (100-point) papers that you write this semester are designed to culminate in the creation of a web site. In order to reach this goal you need to submit publishable papers, and you need to come to class ready to work with others: reading, rewriting, and hyperlinking. All written work must be submitted in two forms: printed out as double-spaced type and saved onto a floppy disk dedicated to course work in ENGL 015.

Paper #1 tells the story of a scar on your body. It capitalizes on the figure of speech rhetoricians call a "metonym."

Paper #2 seizes upon a detail in your scar story and enlarges it.

Paper #3 constructs an argument out of stories or anecdotes.

Paper #4 constructs an argument by examining metaphors.

Paper #5 explores the essay (as a form of research) in hyperspace.

Paper #6 exhibits your publishable work as a web site.

Web Site:
The web site is to electronic culture what the portfolio was (and still is) to print culture. Or at least web sites are analogous to portfolios. They show our best work to others (an invisible mass audience). Hence, in addition to receiving a grade for the papers you are required to submit, you will also receive a grade for the Web site you construct. In a sense, it is your final paper, your final exam. Its grade--200 points--will be determined both by the amount and quality of the work you are able to exhibit and by the care you take in constructing your Web site.

Class Participation:
Put negatively, if you do not like to attend class, complete regular reading assignments, and have participation required of you, if you have an aversion for computers, you should not enroll in this particular section of ENGL 015. 50 totally subjective points for class participation.
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House Keeping and Fine Print

I will show little toleration in dealing with late papers. In this class you are to see yourselves as writers, and the deadline as a normal and necessary part of any writing assignment.
Feel free--make that, feel obligated--to check on the progress of your writing during the course of this term. Should you need special assistance in understanding or in completing an assignment, schedule an appointment with me.
Plagiarism is a form of stealing (intellectual property). Make sure that you know how to credit your sources.
Absences: In one sense, there is no such thing as an excused absence. A missed class means missed material. If you are unable to attend class, perhaps because of illness or a death in your family, that situation will be dealt with individually. There are no make-up assignments; missed notes should be copied from another student. My office hours are posted, but I am willing to make appointments to meet at other times. My office phone number is (717) 771-4157. You can email me at jmj3@psu.edu.
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Outline and Schedule

The course is divided into six units, each one treating variations on possible relationships between a writer and his or her audience and subject matter. Each unit includes three sorts of material: 1) an assignment; 2) critical or explanatory commentaries describing the principles of a specific kind of writing; 3) examples of the kind of writing in question, to be used as models for the assignments. Commentary, both oral and written, is the source of the criteria by which the assignments are evaluated.

TELLING STORIES

WEEK 1
JAN 10 Intro to Course; Writing Sample
JAN 12 Intro to Assignment #1

WEEK 2
JAN 17 In-class activity
JAN 19 GTW 2, "Remembering Events"; GTW 13, "Narrating"

WEEK 3
JAN 24 Transcript Due
JAN 26 GTW 12, "Cueing the Reader"

EMPLOYING IMAGES

WEEK 4
JAN 31 Paper #1 Due; Intro to Assignment #2
FEB 2 GTW 3, "Remembering People"

WEEK 5
FEB 7 GTW 4, "Writing Profiles"
FEB 9 GTW 14, "Describing"

ARGUING THROUGH STORIES

WEEK 6
FEB 14 Paper #2 Due; Intro to Assignment #3
FEB 16 Parables and Urban Legends

WEEK 7
FEB 21 Ozick, "We Are the Crazy Women"
FEB 23 GTW 18, "Arguing"

WEEK 8
FEB 28 GTW 18, "Arguing"
MAR 1 GTW 18, Documenting Sources

SPRING BREAK

WEEK 9
MAR 13 GTW 6, "Taking a Position"
MAR 15 GTW "Proposing Solutions"

ARGUING THROUGH IMAGES

WEEK 10
MAR 20 Paper #3 Due; Intro to Assignment #4
MAR 22 Lakoff & Johnson

WEEK 11
MAR 27 GTW 15, "Defining"
MAR 29 Keidel, "A New Game for Managers"

WEEK 12
APR 3 Paper #4 Due
APR 5 Intro to Assignment #5

ESSAYING

WEEK 13
APR 10 GTW 5, "Explaining Concepts"
APR 12 Sontag, "Notes on Camp"

WEEK 14
APR 17 GTW 16, "Classifying"
APR 19 GTW 9, "Speculating about Causes"; GTW 8, "Making Evaluations"

WEEK 15
APR 24 Paper #5 Due
APR 26 Lab Work

WEEK 16
FINAL EXAM: SUBMIT AND EXHIBIT WEB SITES
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