CO250. 1 : Writing Arguments

"Writing is as close as we ever come to handling our ideas."
--Rosemary Deen and Marie Ponsot

Instructor: Brenda Edmands
Office:309 Eddy
Office Hours: MW 11-12, Thurs 9:30-10:30 and by appointment
Phone: 491-0674 E-mail:

Course Description: Although CO250 concentrates exclusively on argumentation, it builds on the writing principles and processes of introductory composition. In this course, you will have many opportunities to read and analyze several varieties of arguments and to research, write, and revise your own arguments on controversial issues. You will complete a series of assignments that call on and develop your summarizing, evaluating/analytical, crafting and research skills. You will also be honing your collaborative skills as there will be a large element of group work and peer review in this course.

Special note: As this course is taught in a computer classroom, we will also be making use of the computers almost every class day. If you are not able to type at least 25 wpm or if you are unwilling to work on a computer, this is not the course for you.

Course Objectives:

Required Texts and Materials:


Grading and Assignments: We will discuss in class the grading criteria for each individual assignment. As this is a processed based class, overall grading will be largely based on a portfolio system. You will turn in three portfolios over the course of the semester that will include rough and revised final drafts of the following:

Portfolio One (25%)

Portfolio Two(30%)

Portfolio Three (20%) (Note: This will be a group essay.)

In addition to the portfolios, your overall grade will also be based on a short group presentation of current arguments on a focused issue, a short take home final exam, and participation. Your participation grade is determined by your attendance and your involvement in class discussions and in-class writing exercises. These exercises will be collected from time to time on a random basis.

Attendance: As this course is based heavily on in-class discussion and writing, your regular attendance is crucial. Your participation grade will be determined in large part by your attendance: I start participation at an B. If you show up regularly and participate in class discussions, it will go up to an A. If you miss class regularly though (more than four classes), I begin lowering your grade. For each absence over four, I lower your participation grade by one full letter grade. More than six absences, may result in a failing grade for the course. Be here. Attendance for workshops is MANDATORY. If you do not attend class on a workshop day, or if you attend workshop without a draft of at least 2 pages already in hand ready to be reviewed, your grade on that paper will be lowered a full letter grade. If you have a family or medical emergency that prevents your attendance, please see me.

Tardiness: We will begin almost every class period with a short writing exercise. It's very important that you be here on time to complete these exercises as they form much of the basis of our in-class discussion and activities. Of course, I recognize that this is an early morning class and not everyone is a morning person. Thus, I'll give you three free "lates." But if you are late more than three times, I will begin to count the additional lates as absences. A "late" in this case is anything over 10 minutes.

Late Assignments: No late assignments will be accepted without a valid medical excuse or family emergency.

More on Workshops: In-class peer review of drafts can help you in two ways: you receive responses to and suggestions about your writing, and you see examples of how other writers have dealt with similar tasks. We will have at least one workshop of each of the 5 major essays. Be sure to come prepared to these workshops so they can be of use to you. See above about the attendance policy for workshops.

Paper specifications: ALL essay drafts (rough and final) must be word-processed using a 12-point regular font. Essays must be double-spaced, stapled, should have 1-inch margins all around and page numbers.

Plagiarism: Lifting or borrowing another's ideas or words without acknowledging the source is academic dishonesty. Doing so will result in a failing grade in this course and disciplinary action by the university.

Resources for Help with your Writing

I am always willing to talk to students about their writing for this course, no matter what stage they are at. If you just want to bounce topic ideas around or if you are struggling with structuring your paper, come see me during my office hours or set up an appointment to meet with me at another time. There are also other very useful resources available on campus to help you with your writing. I encourage you to use these resources. Not only are you paying for them with your tuition, they have proven time and again to help students advance as writers.

The Writing Center: Located in C104 Aylesworth, The Writing Center has a friendly, well trained staff to assist you in answering questions about your writing--whether it's an essay for a course or a letter of application for a scholarship or employment. They can help you focus and clarify your ideas and improve the structure of your writing. Please note, however, that The Writing Center tutors do not proofread or edit for grammar or spelling (though they do have a list of individuals who offer these services). They also will never discuss a grade for your paper. Be sure to bring a copy of your assignment sheet for the tutors when you visit The Writing Center.

The On-Line Writing Center: Can't get to The Writing Center in person or more comfortable seeking your assistance electronically? The On-line Writing Center is for you. For information on assignments, samples of essays, definitions of writing terms, the send-a-paper program, writing tutorials and much more access the On-line Writing Center through Netscape. The On-Line Writing Center's URL address is Note that each section of the Composition courses will soon have individual class pages to give you specific information relevant to your class.

Computer Assisted Writing Labs: The PCs in 300 Eddy are available for use by all CSU students. The computers include word processing software (WordPerfect for Windows), access to the Internet, E-mail, and the On-line Writing Center. The Writing Lab also has trained monitors to help you with computer questions. The Eddy Lab's hours are 1st week of the semester, M-F 8-5; rest of the semester, M-Th 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri -5, Sat Noon-5, Sun Noon-11 p.m.

There is also a computer lab open to all university students on the second floor of the Weber building. Please note that it is under construction, however, and may not be accessible until later in the semester. The Weber computer lab has several Macs for use as well as PCs.