Writing Arguments (CO250) Spring 1999

Instructor: Ms. Sutton

Office Hours: MWF 10:00 - 11:00 A.M. & By Appointment

Office: Eddy 323C


English Office: 359 Eddy

Writing Center: Eddy 6

Text: The Aims of Argument 2nd Edition, by Crusius and Channell

Being in the World by Slovic and Dixon

Course Description: CO250 focuses on reading and writing a range of arguments appropriate for academic and general audiences. This course offers students many opportunities both to read, analyze, and respond to a variety of arguments. Students will complete a carefully sequenced series of assignments that will include summarizing, responding, convincing, persuading, and analyzing. Many arguments that will be crafted in this class will be based on library and field research.

Policies and Procedures:

____1. Portfolio Grading - Parts of this course will consist of putting together a portfolio of writings. Drafts must be submitted in each portfolio. As an instructor, I want to be able to verify that each student's writing is improving and that students are working to hone their writing skills and abilities. No credit will be given to portfolios that do not have drafts included and do not show that the writer has been revising the pieces throughout time allotted. Each piece included in the portfolio must have been work-shopped in class and the workshop sheet(s) must be submitted with the piece in the portfolio.

____2. Drafts-in-progress - From time to time I will ask that you submit a draft-in-progress for me to comment on. When I read these drafts, I will suggest possible revisions for the most striking feature; I do not comment on every possible problem in the paper. Please remember that my comments are suggestions and not prescriptions. Note also: you must revise for other problems or weaknesses that I may not have commented on. Even though I will comment on drafts and as a class we will have regular in-class workshops during which your classmates will also comment on your papers, remember that you are in control of your writing. You should consider the comments of your readers, but don't expect them to do all your rewriting for you. Failure to turn in drafts-in-progress when collected will result in the lowering of the portfolio grade. Please note that you may submit intervention drafts anytime. I will arrange to turn them back to you the next class period or soon thereafter.

____3. Term Topic: We will be writing on the relationship between humankind and the environment in this section of CO250. It is your responsibility to change sections if you can't stand the idea of writing on these subjects. I will not accept papers on the legalization of marijuana, gun control, and abortion.

____4. Writing Exercises will help students understand their writing processes, collect information to be expressed in their papers, read critically and analytically, and evaluate effective or non-effective writing. These Exercises will be collected for credit. Each Exercise will be marked "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory," according to whether the student has followed the directives given concerning the assignment and the effort shown by the student when addressing the prompt. Then a Writing Exercise grade will be determined as a percentage (# completed/satisfactory out of the # assigned) and converted to a letter grade.

____5. Since this class relies heavily on workshops, discussions, and in-class practice, your attendance to each class is essential. I will be conscientious about lowering an attendance grade after 4 absences. Please note that excessive absences or tardiness may result in failure of the course and, typically, result in low grade percentages. Class participation includes coming to workshops prepared and demonstrating an overall interest in improving your writing skills.

____6. Do not borrow ideas. Although you will regularly share papers and exchange suggestions for composing, your work must be your own. Plagiarism merits severe penalties. Penalties include failure of the course and possible University discipline. Please refer to the "plagiarism" handout attached (below).

____7. Supplies - Students will need 2 pocket folders, notebook paper, and 3.5 floppy storage disk. These should be brought to every class session along with the textbook.

____8. With regard to the role of computers in this course, there may be occasions when having email will help students throughout this course, so please get a Holly email account. A Holly email account can be obtained via instructions available on the second floor of the Weber Bldg. Course materials are located on the CO250 Section One for this class; we will be referring to this web site throughout the course. Computers are available daily for use by CO250 students in Eddy 300. This is a writing class not a class in computers; however, a basic understanding of computers is essential. You should know how to "surf the web," cut and paste, and word-processes. There are tutorials available for Windows and WordPerfect in room 300 if you need to brush up on these skills. The class will not slow down to teach individual class members these basics.

____9. No late papers will be accepted. Papers are late if a complete draft is not presented for the workshop on that paper.

____10. If you need extra help, the writing center is available to all students. Times will be posted and noted in class.

____11. Evaluation

Portfolio One - 30%

Annotated Bibliography - 5%

Portfolio Two - 35%

Portfolio Three - 10%

Daily Assignments - 10%

Class Participation/Attendance - 10%

* * *

How will your writing be evaluated in CO250?

In an "A" paper -The rhetorical context of the writing is clear.
-The writer's voice is strong, assuring the reader that the writer is confident about the information that is being communicated.
-The work is rich in information. The subject matter is expertly focused for the length of the essay and is supported by carefully selected and carefully detailed examples and comparisons.
-Organization of the essay is logical; the reader never has to reread for understanding since facts and ideas flow in a sequentially smooth order.
-The writer makes use of a variety of sentence structures resulting in graceful style and fluid, easy reading.
-The writer uses words, especially verbs and nouns, which further the purpose of the essay.
-Punctuation is natural and unquestionably helpful to the reader.
-Mechanical errors (grammar and spelling) are rare.

A "B" paper should have many of the characteristics of an "A" paper except -The information may not be as rich, and the illustrations supporting the focused topic may appear "forced." -Some sentences may be in need of reworking because of occasional awkwardness.
-Choice of words is still on target, but an occasional one or two might lack the intended spirit of the essay.
-Punctuation might cause some minor confusion.
-Though there are some mechanical errors, they do not detract from the reading of the essay.

A "B" paper is very good; a "C" paper is average. In a "C" paper -The rhetorical context of the writing is not clear.
-Writers have adequate control of the topic, but their voices are less impressive and confident than the voice of the writers of "A" and "B" papers.
-The subject matter is adequately focused but lacks strong supporting examples.
-The reader must sometimes reread parts of the essay because of unclear organization.
-Sentence structures lack variety, sometimes resulting in choppiness.
-Choice of words conjure up less vivid images than those employed by writer of "A" and "B" papers. Cliches, "big words," and colloquialisms detract from the potential quality of the writing.
-Grammar and punctuation problems are a problem.
-Although readers of a "C" paper have to work harder to understand what they are reading, writers of a "C" paper "get the job done."

Writers of a "D" paper do not "get the job done." In a "D" paper -There is no realizable attempt to establish a rhetorical context.
-The subject matter is too loose and confusing to be adequately covered in one essay, usually because of haste on the part of the writer.
-Details are scanty.
-Organization, though discernible, is neither effective nor clear.
-Sentences are awkward, and diction is not effective.
-Punctuation, spelling errors, and mechanical errors abound.
-There is some sense to the paper, but the reader must dig to find it.

An "F" paper is unable to fit into any of the above categories.

(adapted from TETYC Spring 1981)