CO300: Writing Arguments - Course Description

Prerequisite: CO150: College Composition

In CO300 Writing Arguments, students explore the rhetorical contexts of academic and public argument by considering a variety of argumentative texts, and learn and practice how to research, write, and revise their own arguments on controversial issues. The course draws heavily on theories of argument advanced by Toulmin. It also provides practice in Rogerian argument. During the course, students will write assignments that involve summarizing, synthesizing, evaluating, and crafting arguments. Many of these assignments are based on library, field, and Internet research.

As an intermediate composition course, CO300 assumes complete control of skills developed in CO150 so that students can go well beyond introductory academic writing. Like the other intermediate composition courses offered through English, the course emphasizes (1) writing processes with a special emphasis on revising and editing, and (2) critical reading processes with an emphasis on reading from a writer's point of view.

Unlike CO301, which focuses on writing essays that explain, interpret, react to, or reflect on specific issues for general audiences, CO300 focuses primarily on one mode of discourse -- argument. Although the audiences to which students will address their written arguments may vary, the course focuses only indirectly on accommodating the needs of diverse audiences. Unlike CO302, which focuses on adapting to the rhetorical demands of writing in online contexts, CO300 addresses issues related to writing online only indirectly, through use of a class Web site, use of electronic communication with the instructor and classmates, and regular posts to a class Web discussion forum. Although faculty and students in the course will make use of online communication tools, they will not be writing specifically for audiences who are reading their texts online.

Methods of Evaluation: This course will be taught using traditional grading. In addition to grades on writing assignments, grades will also be assigned for in-class writing activities (e.g., daily writing activities, peer review workshops) and out-of-class writing and reading activities (homework). Grades for these in-class writing activities and homework will also contribute to the final grade for the course. Typically, the course grade will be based on in-class writing and homework assignments (15%), regular participation in discussions of course readings on a Web discussion forum (10%), and formal essays (75%).

Course Syllabus: A sample weekly syllabus is available on this site. Please note that this online syllabus serves as a general model that can be adapted by CO300 instructors. Specific sections of CO300 may use a syllabus that varies from the sample weekly syllabus.