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Teaching Guide: Teaching Resources for CO301A

As you'll see in the course descriptions and sample syllabi linked below, we recommend focusing the course on

  1. analysis of current contexts where writing about the humanities for non-academic audiences appears, and
  2. writing texts designed for these contexts.
Some of the materials collected here repeat in the online resources listed under CO301. But many of the resources here include variations on assignments, class activities, and readings developed by teachers in the thick of CO301A. Assignment sheets, daily activities, workshop sheets, and sample papers are all clustered under the assignment types.

Please contribute your variations and additions to this compendium!

Course Overview and Policy Statements

Ghe first linked item is the course description as approved by the English Department and the University curriculum committees. The next five links provide more extended descriptions required for approval as a University core course; these details combine for the fullest explanation of the course goals and implementation. You can see the ways teachers have interpreted and developed this course description in the overviews and policy statements from individual teachers.

Course Description

CO301 A,B,C,D Intermediate Composition

Prerequisite: CO150 College Composition

CO301 focuses explicitly on reading and writing strategies for accommodating the rhetorical demands of specialized subjects to the needs of diverse audiences, particularly those audiences outside the students' disciplines. The course will be taught in four subsections that address topics and issues of interest in one of four, broad, disciplinary areas:

A. Arts and Humanities
B. Sciences
C. Social Sciences
D. Education

Although students may sometimes write to readers well educated in one of these fields, their work in CO301 is not designed to substitute for disciplinary writing in a field. Rather, CO301 assumes that students will write to more general audiences. The first six weeks of the course focus on analyses and responses to readings while the rest of the semester is devoted to preparing a portfolio of pieces written by the student.

As an intermediate composition course, CO301 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 CO300, which focuses on one mode of written discourse--argument--CO301 focuses on multiple modes and genres of written discourse. Students taking the course will learn about and practice writing a wide range of essays, including those that explain, interpret, react to, or reflect on specific issues for general audiences. The focus on general audiences is another point of distinction between CO300 and CO301. Whereas CO300 focuses on audience concerns only from the perspective of argumentative discourse, CO301 addresses a broad range of issues concerning how writers adapt their texts to diverse audiences, including which genres are most appropriate for specific rhetorical purposes.

Unlike CO302, which focuses on adapting to the rhetorical demands of writing in online contexts, CO301 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), posts to a class Web discussion forum, and out-of-class writing and reading activities (homework). 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: The syllabus for each section of CO301 is available on the class resource pages for CO301 on the Writing Center Web site. A sample weekly syllabus is also available on this site. Please note that this online syllabus serves as a general model that can be adapted by CO301 instructors. Specific sections of CO301 may use a syllabus that varies from the sample weekly syllabus.

CO301A, Writing in the Humanities
In this course you will address topics and issues of interest in the arts and humanities in this course. Although you may sometimes write to readers well educated in the arts and humanities, your work in CO301 is not designed to substitute for disciplinary writing in your field. Rather, CO301A assumes that you will write to more general audiences, including readers of Smithsonian, National Geographic, Atlantic Monthly, the Times Literary Supplement, the Denver Post Arts section, or even the Fort Collins Forum. Assignments might include critiques of performances or exhibitions, analyses of university and community policies regarding arts and humanities, or arguments about controversial topics in arts and humanities.

CO301 as a Core Course

To be approved for the new all-University Core Curriculum, CO301 needs to meet several key goals established by the University Curriculum Committee. First, we include the criteria and then the explanations of how CO301 meets the objectives.

Core Objectives:

2. Advanced Writing
The objective of this option is enhancement of skills in written communication. This option further develops the writing competencies of the II.A. requirement. Courses designed to achieve the objective should develop students':

a. awareness of and ability to implement basic strategies of written communication for specialized purposes, contexts, and media;
b. command of Standard English syntax and specialized usage;
c. awareness of which modes and styles of language are appropriate to specialized kinds of communication and audience;
d. understanding of how specific objectives and audiences determine the choice of strategy, mode, and medium of written communication;
e. skills specific to the desired effects, presentation strategies, modes, and media of advanced or specialized forms of written communication. These include the ability to:

  1. identify a thesis;
  2. locate and acquire information;
  3. critically evaluate sources;
  4. interpret and critically evaluate written texts;
  5. synthesize information;
  6. define and develop a main argument;
  7. structure and organize supportive arguments;
  8. develop an outline to structure the main argument and its supporting arguments;
  9. identify and analyze audience and adapt the message to them;
  10. phrase information in an intelligible and rhetorically effective manner;
  11. use appropriate formats of documentation and citation;
  12. choose an appropriate style and format of presentation;
  13. understand and use appropriate technologies and formats of delivery;
f. understand linkages to Foundations and Perspectives courses.

CO301 meets these core curriculum objectives in these ways:

A. Implement Basic Strategies of Writing for Specialized Purposes: CO301A-D builds on the core competencies in writing developed in CO150 and extends them to more specific rhetorical contexts. In section A, students focus on Arts and Humanities, in B on Sciences, in C on Social Sciences, and in D on Education. In CO301A-D students will read a variety of texts written about general, disciplinary topics in order to analyze how purpose and audience affect how a final text is written. Drawing from these analysis skills, students then will target their own audiences and purposes for writing about disciplinary issues and subjects, and compose texts for those contexts, choosing the appropriate genre, organization, and style for their intended context. Both the students' reading and writing will address specialized purposes related to their disciplinary focus for more diverse audiences, typically non-experts.

B. Command of Standard English Syntax and Specialized Usage: In reading and writing for specific contexts and audiences, students will be targeting specific venues for their writing, including targeted publications. Students will be required to edit and proofread their texts to provide professional final drafts as well as to make choices about when specialized, disciplinary language is appropriate within these contexts.

C. Adapt Style to Audience: Since CO301A-D emphasizes audience throughout, students will be required both to know how to analyze a written text to determine how its style is affected by its audience, and to write texts for similar audiences, adapting their style to fit the rhetorical context.

D. Adapt Strategies, Mode, and Medium to Specific Objectives and Audiences: CO301A-D's primary focus is on this objective. By requiring students to identify, analyze, and construct a text with a specific objective and audience, the course emphases how genre, strategy, organization, medium, and style must be chosen in accordance with that context. Final drafts are evaluated on how well the writing strategies used address the text's specific purpose and audience.

E. Skills Specific To Desired Effect: CO301A-D requires students to practice the basic elements of good writing covered in CO150 including identifying a thesis, locating and evaluating sources, synthesizing information, defining and developing a specific purpose, choosing and maintaining an organizational strategy, and using appropriate forms of documentation, style, and medium for delivery. In CO301A-D these skills are applied to more complex rhetorical contexts, and instruction on adapting these skills to audiences and contexts in the public sphere is emphasized throughout. Most importantly, these skills are directed toward writing at a more professional level about specialized topics from the student's discipline.

F. Understand Linkages to Foundations and Perspectives Courses: Through investigation of a general, disciplinary theme, students will read and write texts focused on issues specific to their discipline to audiences across the disciplines. CO301A-D asks students to apply their foundational knowledge of their own discipline in their writing, while adapting that knowledge to address multiple audiences and purposes. To reach wider audiences, an understanding of diverse perspectives and the connections/divergences among disciplinary perspectives and contexts is necessary.

Core Detail: Instructional Modes

What are the instructional modes to be used to achieve the learner-oriented course objectives and outcomes?

During the first six weeks of the course, students will read and analyze articles written in the arts and humanities. The goal of this reading activity is to help students understand how the rhetorical context in which a text is produced (author/purpose/audience/subject) affects the final product. Students will write three analyses of selected articles. The goal of writing analyses of the readings is to help students understand that the choices writers make are intentional and influenced by a variety of rhetorical factors. These analyses will also help students develop skills such as reading with a writer's eye and understanding how to make informed choices in their own writing.

Class time during this unit will be devoted to discussion of readings, in-class writing, peer review, and small-group work.

During the next eight weeks of the course, students will focus on writing texts for multiple audiences. One goal of this unit is to help them learn about the demands of writing for different rhetorical situations and of adapting information and arguments for varying audiences. A second primary goal is to enhance their ability to write with appropriate style and register for particular audiences. A third goal is to help them learn to adapt organization strategies and select appropriate forms of evidence for their audiences. A fourth goal is to enhance their planning, drafting, and revising skills.

In this unit, students will select an individual or group topic in the broad disciplinary area upon which the course focuses, conduct a rhetorical analysis of the topic, create a research plan identifying:

These essays will consist of a total of at least 15 finished pages of final, polished work and must represent at least two separate pieces written to different types of audiences.

Class time during this portion of the course will be devoted to workshops, conferences, strategy sessions, and student group presentations on style issues.

Core Detail: Course Objectives

This course assumes complete control of the skills developed in CO150 so that students can go well beyond introductory academic writing. Students in the course will learn rhetorical strategies for accommodating the demands of specialized subjects to the needs of diverse audiences, particularly those audiences outside the students' discplines.

Specifically, the course aims to teach: The course will be taught in four subsections that address topics and issues of interest in one of four, broad, disciplinary areas:
A. Arts and Humanities
B. Sciences
C. Social Sciences
D. Education

Although students may sometimes write to readers well educated in one of these fields, their work in CO301 is not designed to substitute for disciplinary writing in a field. Rather, CO301 assumes that students will write to more general audiences.

Core Detail: Weekly Schedule

Weeks 1 - 6: Unit I: Text Analysis. During the first six weeks of the course, students will read and analyze articles about a specific theme within the disciplinary focus of the course (i.e. section A-Art and Humanities; B-Sciences; C-Social Sciences; D-Education). The goal of this reading activity is to help students understand how the rhetorical context in which a text is produced (author/purpose/audience/subject) affects the final product. Students will write three analyses of selected articles. The goal of writing analyses of the readings is to help students understand that the choices writers make are intentional and influenced by a variety of rhetorical factors. These analyses will also help students develop skills such as reading with a writer's eye and understanding how to make informed choices in their own writing.

Week 1: Course overview; assign readings and first homework assignments; in-class writing and discussions focus on rhetorical situation and students' previous writing experiences

Week 2: Assign first analysis essay; assign additional readings and homework; in-class writing and discussions focus on analyzing rhetorical situations and varieties of text analysis

Week 3: Workshop and revise first analysis essay; assign additional readings and homework; in-class writing and discussions focus on revision techniques, analytical techniques, and workshop techniques

Week 4: Collect first analysis essay; Assign second analysis essay; assign additional readings and homework; in-class writing and discussions focus on additional techniques for analyzing texts and rhetorical contexts

Week 5: Workshop and revise second analysis essay; assign additional readings and homework; in-class writing and discussions focus on revision techniques, additional analytical techniques, and workshop techniques

Week 6: Collect second analysis essay; Assign third analysis essay; assign additional readings and homework; in-class writing and discussions focus on additional techniques for analyzing texts and rhetorical contexts

Weeks 7 - 14: Unit II: Writing Texts. During the next eight weeks of the course, students will focus on writing texts for multiple audiences. One goal of this unit is to help them learn about the demands of writing for different rhetorical situations and of adapting information and arguments for varying audiences. A second primary goal is to enhance their ability to write with appropriate style and register for particular audiences. A third goal is to help them learn to adapt organization strategies and select appropriate forms of evidence for their audiences. A fourth goal is to enhance their planning, drafting, and revising skills.

In this unit, students will select an individual or group topic in the broad disciplinary area upon which the course focuses, conduct a rhetorical analysis of the topic, create a research plan identifying:

These essays will consist of a total of at least 15 finished pages of final, polished work and must represent at least two separate pieces written to different types of audiences.

Week 7: Collect third analysis essay; introduce Unit II; create topic groups; discuss research techniques; begin research on topics

Week 8: Assign rhetorical analysis of a topic paper; homework and in-class writing focus on rhetorical and textual analysis techniques; provide opportunities for topic groups to meet and plan during class

Week 9: Collect rhetorical analysis of a topic assignment; assign research plan paper; homework and in-class writing focus on rhetorical and textual analysis techniques; discuss advanced research techniques; provide opportunities for topic groups to meet and plan during class

Week 10: Collect research plan assignment; assign major writing assignment for the unit (at least two essays totaling at least 15 pages of polished prose written for different audiences); homework and in-class writing focus on generating ideas for the essays; discuss writing processes

Weeks 11 - 14: Workshop mode for the remainder of the unit; classes begin with a daily writing assignment (tied into their essays), then move to brief full class discussions, then move into drafting and workshopping activities adapted to the needs of individual students; teacher conferences and reviews essay drafts with students

Weeks 15 - 16: Unit III: Course Wrap-Up. Collect major essay assignment; class discussions focus on student efforts to adapt their writing to specific audiences and contexts; review analytic techniques for texts and rhetorical situations. The last week of class will be devoted to presentations of student writing and self-analysis of student learning in the course. The final exam will focus on adapting student essays for an additional audience specified by the teacher.

Core Detail: 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), posts to a class Web discussion forum, and out-of-class writing and reading activities (homework). 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 Overview - Thomas

This course overview gives you the "big picture" of CO301a.

Unit I: Text Analysis (approx. 6 weeks)

In the first three weeks of the course, we will read and analyze a number of pieces. Our goal is to understand how the context in which a text is produced (author/purpose/audience/subject) affects the final product. Our analyses will be based on our understanding that the choices writers make are intentional and influenced by a variety of factors. These analyses will not only serve as a basis of discussion of some key issues in the arts and humanities but will also encourage you to develop writerly habits such as reading with a writer's eye and making informed choices in your own writing.

Our readings will focus on the role of the humanities in education. We will read selections placed on reserve at Morgan Library. We will practice a variety of analysis techniques, and you will write 3 assignments based on those analyses. The first will be a series of posts to the forum, the second a written exercise, and the third an analysis paper. You will be given detailed assignment directions for each of these papers. There will be a number of smaller homework and in-class assignments which will allow you to practice the skills and explore the ideas upon which you will base these papers.

Unit II: Portfolio (approx. 8 weeks)

This guide begins with your analysis of exploratory research on a topic of interest in the humanities of your choice. You will create a research plan identifying the overall issue(s) you will address, the texts you will analyze, the kinds of analyses you will conduct, and the essays you will write. Your analyses must include at least one thorough publication analysis. The final portfolio includes 10 finished pages of final, polished work. These pieces must represent at least two separate pieces written to at least two different types of audiences. (No more than 3 pages of work written for another class will count toward the total.) The portfolio includes a cover sheet indicating the audiences addressed, the contextual factors considered as you wrote, and the key differences in context among your pieces. Class time during this portion of the course will be devoted to workshops, conferences, and lessons on areas of writing chosen to reflect the needs of the class members.

Wrapping it all up (approx. 2 weeks)

The last three days of class will be devoted to analyzing and responding to your portfolios. You will read and respond to at least two classmates' portfolios during this time and write a detailed postscript to your own portfolio in which you analyze and evaluate it.

Policy Statement - Coan

CO301A: Writing in the Humanities
Instructor: Cathy Coan
322 Eddy, 491-7251
coan@info2000.net
Office hours: 12:20-1:20 T Th and by appointment

Course Description
CO301A focuses explicitly on reading and writing strategies for accommodating the rhetorical demands of the arts and humanities to the needs of diverse audiences, particularly those outside the arts and humanities. Although you may sometimes write to readers well educated in this field, your work in CO301A is not designed to teach you to do academic writing in it. You can imagine that your readers are patrons of Smithsonian, National Geographic, Atlantic Monthly, New Yorker, Times Literary Supplement, Denver Post Arts section, and the like. Your readers may also be patrons of academic journals, but these journals are not where you should imagine your work appearing.

How do writers adapt their texts to diverse audiences? Which styles are most appropriate for specific rhetorical purposes? The first six weeks of the course focus on analyses of and responses to reserve readings intended to help you learn to think and perform critically in context; the rest of the semester is devoted to preparing a portfolio of pieces you've written (see "Portfolio," below). These two sections are linked by an exploration of Best American Essays 1998, a collection of some of the more informed, eloquent, and interesting pieces from large and small publications last year.

I envision the class as an ongoing discussion; rather than a lecture-heavy format, I prefer the freshness of student-driven conversations about our work and reading. Essays, in-class writing activities (such as "dailies" and peer review workshops), and out-of-class writing and reading activities will contribute to your grade. Some of your reading and writing assignments will be designed by you and members of groups to which you will be assigned--I'd rather you explore your interests than mine within the framework of the course.

Texts

Other Materials Course Requirements
  1. Class participation: Discussion, group work, and items like abstracts and outlines
  2. Three rhetorical context analyses of articles: First six weeks
  3. Three assignments TBA for Best American Essays section
  4. Portfolio (at least 15 pages of final, polished work representing at least two separate pieces written for different types of audiences): Week seven through end of semester
Portfolio
In your portfolio, you will present your writing and some related documents to demonstrate what you have learned about expository writing for particular contexts, about a subject, and about using the methods of the arts and humanities. All of the labor you've invested up to this point in the semester will begin paying off as you apply "how" to "what." The following briefly explains what you will include in the final portfolio.

A) Annotated bibliography. Sources consulted and used both in your pieces and in your context analyses (ten minimum). Include all sources: interviews, library research, Web sources. Use MLA style for the citations. Annotations will include a one- to two-sentence summary of the piece and a one- to two-sentence notation about its usefulness to you. Put a * by each entry actually used as a source for your pieces.

B) Cover sheet. A detailed analysis of the context, purpose, audience, subject, author, and style for each piece of your 15+ pages of writing, and an explanation of how contextual factors influenced particular choices you made in writing each piece. Also, a brief comparison/contrast of your pieces.

C) Postscript. Answers to questions I will provide about the writing process in general and your writing in particular. Also, questions you would like answered by my comments on your portfolio.

D) Grading criteria. A list of the criteria against which your finished pieces should be evaluated (for example, Does it speak to the audience for which it was intended?). We will establish a general set of criteria as a class, and then you will negotiate specific criteria relevant to the contexts in which you are writing.

E) Finished pieces of writing. You will submit at least fifteen pages of finished, polished expository writing directed at particular audiences which focuses on the humanities in form and content. These finished pages must include at least two separate pieces. Each piece must differ in its context in some significant way. Graphics, photographs, and/or artwork certainly may be submitted with your writing to enhance its presentation, but these will not be evaluated and will not count toward the total of finished pages.

AND: Supplementary materials. Prepare a folder (I'd suggest an expandable one) for use along with your in-class binder (which will hold your notes from workshops, lectures, and discussions). In the folder include drafts (besides the two you turn in with each of the first three essays), photocopies of sources, outside notes, scribbles, etc. I reserve the right to ask to see this folder; it tells me that you are using a process and good evidence. The folder will serve as a "background" record of your research and learning from the beginning of the semester to the end, from rhetorical context analyses through your finished portfolio.

Grading
Three rhetorical context analysis essays - 30 points
Three Best American assignments - 30 points
Portfolio - 30 points
Dailies (turned in at end of semester)/Other writing assignments - 10 points
Class participation affects all other items

Attendance
You are in an upper-level college course, paying to be here, so I have no formal attendance policy. Please note, however, that I do take attendance and that consistent attendance is necessary for understanding concepts, receiving assignments, and participating in group work and discussion. My attendance sheet will be kept on record in the English Department, and should you wish to dispute a grade which is lower than you wish or expect, that sheet will hold evidence of this aspect of your commitment to the course.

Plagiarism
Intentional plagiarism (passing off someone else's ideas or writing as your own) is grounds for dismissal from the class and an "F." Unintentional plagiarism (forgetting to cite) will substantially lower your grade on any assignment. MLA format is easy to use. Become familiar with it.

Policy Statement - Myers

CO301A Section 03
Instructor: Tiffany Myers
Office: Eddy 322A
Office Phone: 491-6417
Office Hours: TR 9:30-11 and by appointment
E-mail: riteme@frii.com

Required Materials: Writing About the Humanities, by Robert Diyanni
Prerequisite: CO150 or equivalent
Course Description: This course assumes complete control of the skills developed in CO150 so that students can go well beyond introductory academic writing. This course also assumes that writing is central to your life and that you enjoy doing it. Students in this section will address topics and issues of interest in the arts and humanities and will learn and practice rhetorical strategies for directing specialized subject matter to diverse audiences.

The goal of this class is to give students practice writing for specific rhetorical contexts related to the humanities. We will look not only at the different disciplines within the humanities, but also at how to read, write, and think as a member of that community. After taking this class, students should be able to act as a chameleon, being able to easily participate in any academic discussion related to the humanities.

In addition, this course emphasizes the writing process and focuses on revising, workshopping, and editing. Therefore, CO301A is designed as an interactive writing workshop in which you will learn from working closely with one another. Students will approach the essays of their peers critically, relying on each other for ideas and feedback. Therefore, active participation in group work is essential. This is a very demanding course! You must be willing to commit significant time and effort to successfully complete CO301.

Attendance and Tardiness: Students are expected to attend all class sessions and work only on CO301 writing assignments during class. You are also expected to come to class prepared each day, even if you were absent during the previous class period. As for absences, you are allowed to miss four classes with no questions asked. However, keep in mind that taking more than four absences will result in a lowering of your final grade by a maximum of 5% for each class period you have missed over the designated limit. I also reserve the right to count you absent if you show up for class unprepared. For example, be assured that if you come to class on a workshop day without a workshop draft, you may be asked to leave.

Be warned! If you are not present when attendance is taken, you will be counted absent. It is your responsibility to inform me after class if you have arrived late so that I can add your name to the attendance record as tardy instead of absent. Please note: If a student receives four tardy markings in the attendance book, they will be counted as one full absence.

Late Papers: Out of fairness to all students, late assignments will be penalized. An assignment is considered late if you have failed to hand in your assignment by the beginning of the scheduled class period. Handing in a final paper late will result in a grade deduction of one letter grade for each day the assignment fails to reach me. Daily homework assignments and quizzes will not be accepted late. If you miss the class in which the assignment is due, then you have missed the deadline! In the event of a serious emergency which prevents you from handing in your paper on time, you must contact me at least 12 hours before the due date of the paper.

Documentation: Much of your writing for this course will be based on outside sources. All writing must be your original work. Outside research must be properly documented using MLA citation format. Improper documentation--including all forms of plagiarism--merits an "F" for the paper and possible dismissal from the class.

Writing Center: Eddy Hall, Room 6 or https://writing.colostate.edu
The Writing Center is a wonderful resource available to all students free of charge. Although the Writing Center tutors will not write your paper for you, they can be instrumental in helping you grasp particularly difficult or confusing writing assignments. Feel free to stop by or utilize online tutorial service located at the above address.

Open Door Policy: If at any time you have questions or concerns, please contact me. I am always available during my scheduled office hours (TR 9:30-11) or by appointment. However, if your question is brief and specific, the easiest way to get hold of me is often through e-mail. If you prefer this method to a face-to-face conference, contact me at riteme@frii.com

Policy Statement - Thomas

CO301a: Writing in the Humanities Sec. 1
Course Policies and Procedures
Instructor: L. Thomas
Office: Eddy 309; phone 491-0674
Office hours: 12-1 (on days class meets)
E-mail- llthomas@vines.colostate.edu
On-line Writing Center: www.colostate.edu

Course description: This course assumes complete control of skills developed in CO150 so that students can go well beyond introductory academic writing. Writers in the course learn rhetorical strategies for accommodating the demands of specialized arts and humanities subjects to the needs of diverse audiences, particularly those audiences outside the students' disciplines. Students will become sophisticated readers, particularly in reading from a writer's point of view. Moreover, students will enhance their critical reading skills and become comfortable as part of the community of readers of sources explored in the course. In addition to reading process, the course emphasizes writing processes with special emphasis on revising and editing. Students address topics and issues of interest in the arts and humanities. Although students may sometimes write to readers well educated in the arts and humanities, their work in CO301 is not designed to substitute for disciplinary writing in their fields. Rather, CO301a assumes that students will write to more general audiences, including the readers of publications such as Harper's, Smithsonian, The Atlantic Monthly, or the arts sections of a daily newspaper. The first three weeks of the course focus on analyses and responses to readings while the rest of the semester is devoted to preparing a portfolio of pieces written by the student.

Required texts and materials: Zinsser, On Writing Well, 6th edition
Readings on reserve at Morgan Library
Pocket folders for submitting assignments and portfolio
3.5 computer disk for backup
copy card (for copying sources & reserve readings)

Computer requirements: Taking a composition course in a computer classroom offers you the opportunity to use technology to enhance your learning on a daily basis. While we will use the computers nearly every class in some way, do not expect to simply spend all class time typing your papers. Be aware, as well, that you are responsible for typing well enough to complete in-class activities in a timely manner, for having a willingness to learn to use the hardware and software correctly, for helping your classmates, and for treating the equipment with care. Proper care of the equipment includes no food or drink in the classroom. You are expected to use the computers only for class activities during class time, not personal business, work in other classes, or recreational Web-surfing. Keep in mind, too, that it is your responsibility to take whatever measures necessary to avoid losing your work. "The computer ate my homework" is not a sufficient reason for not completing work on time in this class. You will receive a network directory (U:) to use during the course. While you can save files on your U:, you are advised to back them up on a disk as well. You will need an e-mail account for this course. (If you do not have one, see me for info on obtaining a free account.) Be sure to check your e-mail on this account regularly as I will periodically communicate with you via e-mail.

At the end of this course, you will have used and possibly gained in proficiency with word-processing, e-mail, an electronic forum, and on-line research. While our primary goal is to use these technologies to support writing, you will no doubt use and refine skills that are applicable to a variety of contexts.

Attendance: Class attendance is essential to your success in CO301a! You are expected to be in class, on time and prepared to participate, every scheduled class meeting. If the regular class is canceled for individual or group appointments, that appointment is considered a class meeting. To encourage you to attend every class, attendance will affect your grade in the following manner: Everyone gets up to two (2) absences excused, no questions asked. Additional absences may reduce your participation grade (see "Participation" section for more details). Be forewarned that attendance will be taken daily. If you are not present when attendance is taken, you will be counted absent. If you have any intention of missing more than one class at a time or missing more than two classes total, consult with me in advance.

Make-up work: If you miss class, you are responsible for doing the work done in class and the next day's assignment. Please do not return to class after an absence unprepared. Be advised that this is not the kind of class for which getting notes from another student will always suffice. You should, however, check with someone, preferably a classmate, for assignments, work collected, and the general activities you missed. While I am happy to clarify information you miss or help in ways a classmate cannot, please don't expect me to re-teach the class to you if you are absent. Always check the forum to read the daily post from me and new posts from classmates.

Submitting assignments: Assignments are due in class on the announced due date. Late work will not be accepted. All major assignments must be submitted in a pocket folder and must be typed. Homework does not need a folder. If you need to turn an assignment in at a time other than at a regular class meeting, take it to the English Department and have it put in my mailbox. (You're taking a risk if you leave it outside my office or under the office door.) ALWAYS keep a copy of your paper, just in case.

Workshops: We will schedule several peer review sessions throughout the course. These workshops are for your benefit and are only useful if everyone participates. Follow these workshop guidelines:

Plagiarism: Plagiarism (the intentional or unintentional submission of all or part of another's work as your own) is unethical and, in some cases, illegal. If you turn in plagiarized work, you will receive a zero on that assignment and may be reported to the university discipline authorities.

Participation: The focus of this class is learning to communicate more effectively; therefore, you need to be fully engaged in our ongoing "conversation" in whatever role is appropriate at the time.

Plan on being prepared for every class--and busy! Preparation includes completing reading assignments and written homework, as well as bringing texts and materials to class.

Your participation grade will include dailies and other in-class activities, forum postings, written homework, workshops, and postscripts. I will not collect everything I assign, but any assignment might be collected and graded. Therefore, you need to be prepared to turn anything in. In general, all assignments will be weighted the same, but workshops and postscripts will be weighted times 2.

If you are absent more than two times, each subsequent absence will result in a 2 point deduction from your participation grade.

Grading: Plus/minus grading will be used in this course. You will be given clear directions regarding what is expected of you. In addition, we will discuss how to evaluate effective writing throughout the semester. Completing all assignments on time and attending class are essential to passing this class, but work which simply fulfills the basic expectations receives a C, not a B or A. While you will receive more explicit information about grading and evaluation criteria throughout the semester, the following outline is provided for quick reference. If you have a question or concern regarding your grade at any point during the semester, please arrange to meet with me outside of class.

PLEASE NOTE: Keep all the work you do throughout this class. Not only does each assignment build on the previous one, but your portfolio of work is a record of what you have done in this class which may be needed to verify your grade, support a grade appeal, demonstrate your progress in the course, or submit (with an application, for instance) as a sample of your work, among other possibilities.

Portfolio grading. The majority of the course will be devoted to writing pieces to submit in a portfolio at the end of the semester. While you will have the opportunity to receive feedback on work-in-progress from your peers and instructor, you will not receive grades on this work until you submit the final portfolio. Ideally, you will gain the ability to evaluate your own work and revise it according to criteria we develop. Take advantage of the feedback opportunities and strive to become an effective evaluator of your writing and that of your peers.

OPEN DOOR POLICY: If at any time you have questions or concerns, please contact me. While it is your responsibility to learn in this course and to work toward the grade you desire, clear communication between us is critical to your success as well. Please let me know if you have any particular needs that require accommodation, e.g. hearing or visual impairment. Take care of small concerns and confusion early before they have the opportunity to grow into major difficulties.

Syllabi

As you'll see in the detailed syllabi linked below, each teacher works out slightly different timelines for collecting papers or portfolios.

Sample Weekly Outline

Weeks 1 - 6: Unit I: Text Analysis.
During the first six weeks of the course, students will read and analyze articles written in the field on which the course focuses: (a) arts and humanities, (b) sciences, (c) social sciences, or (d) education. The goal of this reading activity is to help students understand how the rhetorical context in which a text is produced (author/purpose/audience/subject) affects the final product. Students will write three analyses of selected articles. The goal of writing analyses of the readings is to help students understand that the choices writers make are intentional and influenced by a variety of rhetorical factors. These analyses will also help students develop skills such as reading with a writer's eye and understanding how to make informed choices in their own writing.

Week 1: Course overview; assign readings and first homework assignments; in-class writing and discussions focus on rhetorical situation and students' previous writing experiences
Week 2: Assign first analysis essay; assign additional readings and homework; in-class writing and discussions focus on analyzing rhetorical situations and varieties of text analysis
Week 3: Workshop and revise first analysis essay; assign additional readings and homework; in-class writing and discussions focus on revision techniques, analytical techniques, and workshop techniques
Week 4: Collect first analysis essay; assign second analysis essay; assign additional readings and homework; in-class writing and discussions focus on additional techniques for analyzing texts and rhetorical contexts
Week 5: Workshop and revise second analysis essay; assign additional readings and homework; in-class writing and discussions focus on revision techniques, additional analytical techniques, and workshop techniques
Week 6: Collect second analysis essay; assign third analysis essay; assign additional readings and homework; in-class writing and discussions focus on additional techniques for analyzing texts and rhetorical contexts

Weeks 7 - 14: Unit II: Writing Texts.
During the next eight weeks of the course, students will focus on writing texts for multiple audiences. One goal of this unit is to help them learn about the demands of writing for different rhetorical situations and of adapting information and arguments for varying audiences. A second primary goal is to enhance their ability to write with appropriate style and register for particular audiences. A third goal is to help them learn to adapt organization strategies and select appropriate forms of evidence for their audiences. A fourth goal is to enhance their planning, drafting, and revising skills.

In this unit, students will select an individual or group topic in the broad disciplinary area upon which the course focuses, conduct a rhetorical analysis of the topic, create a research plan identifying:

These essays will consist of a total of at least 15 finished pages of final, polished work and must represent at least two separate pieces written to different types of audiences.

Class time during this portion of the course will be devoted to workshops, conferences, strategy sessions, and student group presentations on style issues.

Week 7: Collect third analysis essay; introduce Unit II; create topic groups; discuss research techniques; begin research on topics
Week 8: Assign rhetorical analysis of a topic paper; homework and in-class writing focus on rhetorical and textual analysis techniques; provide opportunities for topic groups to meet and plan during class
Week 9: Collect rhetorical analysis of a topic assignment; assign research plan paper; homework and in-class writing focus on rhetorical and textual analysis techniques; discuss advanced research techniques; provide opportunities for topic groups to meet and plan during class
Week 10: Collect research plan assignment; assign major writing assignment for the unit (at least two essays totaling at least 15 pages of polished prose written for different audiences); homework and in-class writing focus on generating ideas for the essays; discuss writing processes
Weeks 11 - 14: Workshop mode for the remainder of the unit; classes begin with a daily writing assignment (tied into their essays), then move to brief full class discussions, then move into drafting and workshopping activities adapted to the needs of individual students; teacher conferences and reviews essay drafts with students

Weeks 15 - 16: Unit III: Course Wrap-Up.
Collect major essay assignment; class discussions focus on student efforts to adapt their writing to specific audiences and contexts; review analytic techniques for texts and rhetorical situations. The last week of class will be devoted to presentations of student writing and self-analysis of student learning in the course. The final exam will focus on how adapting student essays for an additional audience specified by the teacher.

Syllbus - Coan

COURSE SYLLABUS

Readings are to be done for the days they are listed on the syllabus. Reserves are available inside the front door of the library at the desk to your right. You are allowed to make copies of reserves or to read them inside the library. I highly recommend making copies as we will refer to the texts in class. ALWAYS take notes as you are reading, both on your copies and in your notebook.

WEEKS 1-6: UNIT ONE, TEXT ANALYSIS
January
19--General introduction.
21--Discussion: Defining Arts/Humanities and Context.
24--Reserve: Edmundson, Mark. "On the Uses of a Liberal Education ...As Lite Entertainment for Bored College Students"
26--Reserve: Shorris, Earl. "...As a Weapon in the Hands of the Restless Poor."
28--Rhetorical Context Analysis #1 Assigned. Group work toward it.
31--Reserve: Orwell, George. "Politics and the English Language."

February
02--Reserves: Willis, Susan. "Public Use/Private State." Hiestand, Emily. "Hymn."
04--Find an ABSTRACT of an article in the library and bring it to class. In-class writing of abstract for article of your choice (bring it).
07--Peer Revision, RCA #1. Consider Orwell's advice as you review each other's work.
09--RCA #1 Due. Reserve: Lapham, Lewis. "In the Garden of Tabloid Delight." RCA #2 Assigned.
11--Read/scan and bring the most recent Harper's. Group Publication Analysis.
14--Due: 1-3 page individual Publication Analysis. Formation of groups/group work generating portfolio topics.
16--Reserve: Hirsch, Jr., E.D. "Cultural Literacy."
18--Reserves: Hirsch, Jr., E.D. "What Your Sixth Grader Should Know" and "Literacy and Cultural Literacy." Group work comparing/contrasting contexts of Hirsch's articles.
21--Peer Revision, RCA #2.
23--RCA #2 Due. Introduction to exploratory research (on portfolio topics). Group decisions on portfolio topics. Begin individual exploratory research tonight.
25--Bring an article from any of the journals mentioned in the Course Description section of this syllabus to which you have a strong reaction, positive or negative. RCA #3 Assigned.

WEEKS 7-14: BEST AMERICAN (TRANSITION)/UNIT TWO, WRITING TEXTS
NOTE: You will not receive final grades on your portfolio essays until you turn them in at the end of the course. Do, however, think of the essays as needing to be very nearly finished on the dates listed for their completion. I am available to help you with drafts at all points.

Feb. 28--"Building the House" (Oliver) and "Water Babies" (Sachs), BAE. BAE Assignment #1.

March
01--"Real Life" (Wood), "Will You Still Feed Me?" (Epstein), and "The Merely Very Good" (Bernstein), BAE.
03-"In History" (Kincaid) and "Soldier's Heart" (Simpson), BAE. RCA #3 Due. BAE Assignment #2.

Spring Break.

13--"Two Baths" (Graver) and "Nearing Ninety" (Maxwell), BAE.
15--"The Telephone" (Accawi) and "Lost Art" (Updike), BAE. BAE Assignment #3.
17-Bring two sources or models you've found in your exploratory research. Writing an annotated bibliography.

Discuss Rhetorical Topic Analysis (personal analysis of a topic, often incorporating evidence from other sources). Each group begins to create research plans for its members, identifying 1) the issues each member will address, 2) the texts (s)he will analyze (those from your exploratory research or our reserve reading are a good start), 3) the kinds of analyses (s)he will conduct (more or less reliant on sources for the final product?) and 4) the kinds of essays (s)he will write (at least two separate pieces written to different types of audiences).
Finding specific, appropriate publications in which you'd like to publish is recommended for the benefit of your pieces.

20-Discussion of Audience/Purpose for portfolio essays: Adapting information and arguments, writing with appropriate style and register, finding appropriate organization and evidence.
22--Discussion of advanced research techniques.
24-Bring one article which you are using for your portfolio essays and be ready to write a short summary/evaluation-of-analysis of it in class. Write out personal research plan.
NOTE: Keep in mind as you research Essay #1 that sources you're tempted to discard might work well for Essay #2.
27--Individual writing: One-paragraph proposal for Essay #1.
29--Group work expanding/narrowing proposals for Essay #1. Based on this work, continue research.
31--Visit Reference Librarian.

April
03--Professional writer visiting class.
05--Individual writing: Defining approach and writing an opening paragraph for Essay #1. Outline from this writing. Group work refining this first impression to entice the targeted audience. Continue research and have a rough draft for next Monday.
07--Optional conferences: Essay #1.
10--Workshop, Essay #1. Tonight, rework your essay as your partner(s) suggest, whether you like their comments or not. Save the original so that you can scrap this draft if it doesn't benefit from this revision.
12--Workshop, Revised Essay #1.
14--Due: Abstract of Essay #1 as it stands. Individual writing toward topics/approaches for Essay #2. Group work expanding/narrowing topics for Essay #2. Based on this work, continue research and bring in new sources on Monday.
17-Essay #1 Completed. Optional conferences: Moving on to Essay #2.
19--Individual writing: One-paragraph proposal and possible opening paragraph for Essay #2. Group work recommending approaches.
21--Bring outlines of your three favorite essays from the course reading and be prepared to discuss how their overall structures help to achieve unity and effect. In-class outline for Essay #2: How can you implement these or similar structures in your own piece?
24-Reviewing/Evaluating past student portfolios.
26--Student presentations, portfolio reviews/evaluations. Rough draft of Essay #2 Friday.
28--Workshop, Essay #2.

May
01--Essay #2 Completed. Discussion: Evaluation criteria, postscript, etc., for portfolio.
03--Final help in class with portfolio.
05--Last day. Portfolio due, dailies checked.

Syllabus - Thomas

Jan 21-Mar. 4

Thurs., Jan. 21: Introduction to Web Forum and Dailies. What are the arts and humanities and why do we study them? Discussion of Edmundson and Shorris articles. Complete group survey.

Assignment DUE: Read two pieces "On the Uses of a Liberal Education": Mark Edmundson, "As Lite Entertainment for Bored College Students" and Earl Shorris "As a Weapon in the Hands of the Restless Poor." Briefly summarize each, identifying what each implies should be the purpose of studying the humanities as well as who is studying humanities and to what end. Write down questions about course policy and overview. Write 2-3 pages about yourself: previous writing classes taken, goals for the course and career, academic and outside interests, writing strengths and weaknesses.

Tues., Jan. 26: Further discussion of first analysis assignment. Using a grid to collect information. Groups meet to plan work and discuss articles.

Assignment: Read the following: George Orwell "Politics and the English Language," Susan Willis "Public Use/Private State," and Emily Hiestand "Hymn." Write one-paragraph summaries of each and make a list of what the pieces have in common.

Thurs., Jan. 28: Groups meet to discuss articles and collect material for the paper.

Assignment: Each group will determine its own assignment for today.

Tues., Feb. 2: Finish/polish papers and turn in. Introduction to second analysis.

Assignment: Bring "In the Garden of Tabloid Delight" by Lewis Lapham.

Thurs., Feb. 4: Read abstracts of first analysis paper and come to consensus definition of expository writing in the humanities. Discuss portfolio topics. Introduction to Analyzing a Written Text.

Assignment DUE: Postscript to Analysis Paper I. Post abstract of group paper.

Tues., Feb. 9: Answer questions about Analyzing a Written Text. Perform Publication Analysis on Harper's.

Assignment DUE: Read Lapham, "In the Garden of Tabloid Delight" and Analyzing a Written Text questions. Complete at least the following sections of Analyzing a Written Text re: Lapham's article: Purpose/Context, Author, Topic and Position.

Thurs., Feb. 11: Discuss analysis of Lapham's article.

Assignment DUE: Complete Analyzing a Written Text.

Tues., Feb. 16: Introduction to Exploratory Research for Portfolio: Review of research techniques.

Assignment DUE: Analyzing a Written Text answers. Topic Proposal (at least 5 potential topics with an explanation of your background and interest in at least 3 of these).

Tues., Feb. 16: Wrap up analysis of Lapham article. Introduce Context Analysis assignment. Collect analyses of Lapham and topic proposals.

Assignment DUE: Analysis of Lapham (final, typed version). Portfolio topic proposals.

Thurs., Feb. 18: Discuss "Cultural Literacy" and what the text tells us about its context.

Assignment DUE: Read "Cultural Literacy." Write a brief summary of its contents and take notes on the following questions: What is Hirsch's purpose? Who is his audience? How can you tell?

Tues., Feb. 23: Discuss "What Your Sixth Grader Should Know" and chapter 1 of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs To Know. Compare and contrast contexts of Hirsch's articles using a grid.

Assignment DUE: Read "What Your Sixth Grader Should Know" and chapter 1 of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know. Summarize each briefly and take notes on the context of each.

Thurs., Feb. 25: Introduction to exploratory research (on portfolio topics).

Assignment DUE: Work on Context Analysis paper.

Tues., March 2 : Peer review workshop.

Assignment DUE: Bring a complete draft of your paper which is in as good shape as you can get it on your own to be reviewed by peers. (Bring a hard copy and a disk copy.)

Thurs., March 4: Wrap-up discussion of analysis. Review writing an annotated bibliography.

Assignment DUE: Bring your MLA handbook if you have one and at least two sources or models you've found in your exploratory research.

Context Analysis Paper due no later than 4 p.m. Friday, March 5.

ENJOY your Spring Break!

Portfolios?

Some teachers find portfolios too time-consuming to evaluate, and so they may choose to collect individual papers. That's certainly an option for CO301A. Many teachers of the course, however, have found that portfolios benefit students in many ways. So we include here one teacher's description of the portfolio elements (overview) and process requirements (process), as well as several pieces examining the pros and cons of using portfolios in a writing class.

Portfolio Overview - Thomas

In your portfolio, you will present your writing and some related documents to demonstrate what you have learned about expository writing for particular contexts, about a subject, and/or using the methods of the humanities. All that labor invested in analysis up to this point in the semester will now pay off! This overview briefly explains what you will include in and with the final portfolio.

Annotated bibliography. Sources consulted and used both in your pieces and in your context analyses (10 minimum). Include all sources: interviews, library research, Web sources. Use MLA style for the citations. Annotations will include a 1-2 sentence summary of the piece and 1-2 sentence notation about its usefulness to you. Put a * by each entry actually used as a source for your pieces.

Cover sheet. A detailed analysis of the context (purpose/audience/subject/author) for each piece, an explanation of how contextual factors influenced particular choices you made in writing each piece, and a brief comparison/contrast of your pieces.

Postscript. Your answers to a few questions about your writing process and the questions you would like answered by my comments.

Grading Criteria. A list of the criteria against which your finished pieces should be evaluated. We will establish a general set of criteria as a class and then you will negotiate specific criteria relevant to the contexts in which you are writing.

Finished Pieces of Writing. You will submit twelve to fifteen pages of finished, polished expository writing directed at particular audiences which focuses on the humanities in form and content. These finished pages must include at least two separate pieces. Each piece must differ in its context in some significant way (audience/purpose). Up to 4 pages may be comprised of all or part of a paper written to fulfill an assignment in another class. Graphics, photographs, and/or artwork certainly may be submitted with your writing to enhance its presentation, but these will not be evaluated and will not count toward the total of finished pages.

All of the above must be typed in the standard format (1 inch margins, double-spaced, readable font). Label each piece and submit the lot in a pocket folder. (This is your chance to buy that snappy folder you've had your eye on!)

Supplementary materials. Prepare a folder (I'd suggest an expandable one) with photocopies of sources, context analyses, drafts, workshops, notes, scribbles, etc. I reserve the right to ask to see this folder as I grade your portfolio, so be prepared to give it to me upon request during the last two weeks of the semester. I may, in fact, ask you to bring the folder to class during the last week so that I can assess it for participation points. I recommend using this folder from the earliest stages of research to keep yourself somewhat organized throughout the process.

Portfolio Process Requirements - Thomas

The purpose of these portfolio process requirements is to allow as much individuality and flexibility as possible while taken into account that we are all human beings with full schedules and limited resources. You want the freedom to work at your own pace and in your own style; I need to keep things organized and respond to the needs of the whole class. I will expect you to understand and adhere to these requirements.

Schedule. We will put together a master schedule based on topics we need to cover in order for you to write the pieces for your portfolio and specify the context you imagine you are writing them in. After surveying the class, I will put a copy of the master schedule on our class page. Any changes to that schedule will be posted in Daily messages on the forum. Each student is responsible for keeping track of the schedule and for meeting his/her deadlines. You will lose 2 participation points for each day past a deadline that you turn something in. Keep in mind that you must turn everything in, even if it is late.

Documenting sources. Everyone will submit an annotated bibliography which lists all sources consulted and cited. This bibliography must include both sources used in writing and used for context analysis. All material used in writing which is not the writer's personal experience must be documented or referenced in some way, but the style depends on the target audience. When you analyze your target publications, be sure to look for documentation style used therein. Make and keep copies of all sources; I may ask to see them.

Feedback. You are required to obtain feedback from me at least once for each piece that ends up in your portfolio. If a piece appears in your portfolio that I've never seen nor heard about from you, I reserve the right to reject it. That feedback may consist of a conference between us about your ideas, plans, or early draft OR you may submit a draft. In either case, you will direct the feedback by asking me specific questions. Please don't hand or e-mail me a draft and ask, "What do you think?" Take responsibility for your writing and use me as a reader, fellow writer, and coach. Please allow me at least 48 hours turnaround. If I need longer than that, I will let you know when you submit your draft.

Workshops. On designated workshop days, you must bring a draft-in-progress and participate in peer review. The goal of peer review is obtaining a variety of responses to your work. You are not obligated to enact this advice, just to respectfully consider it. By the same token, you are expected to provide honest, thorough, specific and helpful comments to your peers on their work. Workshop drafts must be typed. Comments must be typed or written and must bear the reviewer's name. You will be expected to receive comments from at least 3 peers on each piece in your portfolio.

Work days. We may have a few class periods designated as work days. This is to allow you to write, do research, discuss your paper, etc., with peers and instructor at hand. You may only do work related to this class and are expected to work rather than socialize.

Portfolio Explanation (Harper)

As you know, for the rest of the semester you will be compiling a second portfolio of your work. As we compile the portfolio, you will be learning about specific strategies for argumentation. While we will read, discuss, and write about some common topics, you will decide which media and "American" culture topic or topics to write your arguments about. You should, at this point, already be well on your way to writing on a particular topic or topics. You will have several opportunities for feedback from a number of sources: workshops, conferences, intervention drafts, etc. You will also have plenty of time for research and revisions, providing you keep up with deadlines.

On April 27, you will turn in all the work you have done (research, collecting, notes, homework, drafts, etc.), along with the final draft(s) of the paper(s) you have selected as your best work.

Why?

Research, but mainly experience, has shown me that writers learn and perform best when they have multiple opportunities to try, fail, learn, think, get feedback, and revise. I would also argue that the only way to learn to write is by doing so. Compiling a portfolio gives you such opportunities. You will have several weeks to write arguments as you learn more about argument. Then you will choose your best work, revise and polish it, and receive grades for both the work you do (process) and the quality of your best work (final papers).

What will be in the portfolio?
Everything you write between now and April 27. Your goal is to show the step-by-step process you took in learning and writing as you compiled the portfolio. All homework, freewriting, research materials, notes, drafts, and workshop materials get turned in. As always, you will identify your final draft(s) of your best work and include them as well.

How will the portfolio be graded?
You grade will have two parts. Part one is process, and that includes showing all the work you have done. There will be certain minimum requirements that will be discussed later. Some people will do more than the minimum. If you meet the minimum requirements, you get an 'A' on process. If things are missing or deadlines haven't been met, your grade will be reduced accordingly. Part one accounts for 20% of your portfolio grade. Part two is the final papers. These are worth the other 80% of your portfolio grade. The minimum requirement is 12 pages, as I have informed you. (You may exceed the minimum if you discuss your plans with me in advance.) You may meet the minimum requirement for final papers in the following ways:

These papers will be graded on criteria for effective argumentation and academic writing in general. We will learn about and develop these criteria as we go.

What kind of feedback will we get?
You will continue to work together informally and in planned workshops in class. You may also choose to work with classmates or others outside of class. These "others" may include Writing Center consultants. In addition, I will comment on intervention drafts. These are drafts you may submit to me for quick-turnaround, focused comments. You may submit intervention drafts to me on the dates specified. I will read these drafts quickly and make note of the one or two most important areas I feel you need to address first in revision. Consider my comments but one source among many, and please do not expect me to point out everything you might need to revise. The sheer volume of drafts to read precludes my spending more than 10-15 min. on any draft. And regardless of what feedback you get or from whom, remember that it's your paper and the decisions for its execution must necessarily rest with you.

Some important general requirements:

When do we begin?
You already have begun! Continue thinking about issues, problems, and controversies related to media and "American" culture. Reflect on what you have read and written so far this semester, and on future discussions, readings, observations and research. Start keeping a record or log of assignments as they are assigned. This will help those of you who have a hard time staying organized and remembering "exactly what needs to be included."

When you have questions, write them down and ask me about them in person, in class, over the phone, by e-mail ... etc.

Portfolio Grading (Holtcamp)

I have become an advocate of portfolio grading for several reasons:

The following is how I present portfolio evaluation in the policy and procedure sheet:

2. Portfolio Grading - The first eight weeks of the semester you will be working on a portfolio. You must prepare one portfolio of your best work. The portfolio must include at least 12 pages and must include at least 2 pieces but no more than three pieces. 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 the course of the eight weeks. Each piece included in the portfolio must have been workshopped in class, and the workshop sheet must be submitted with the piece in the portfolio.

3. 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, that 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 also submit intervention drafts anytime. I will arrange to turn them back to you the next class period or soon thereafter.

Portfolios: Promises, Problems, Practices (Kiefer)

Definition--Students collect of their best writing once, twice, or three times during a term. Some teachers set limits on the kinds of papers; some require a certain number of pages.

Promises (Rationale)
As a teacher of comp, I struggled with ways to make practices match my preaching--I encouraged revision in writing process, but grading practices seemed to cut off revision prematurely. Then I discovered portfolios. They

Problems
  1. Students wait until the last minute to begin writing.
    Solution: Assign regular "due" dates or regularly scheduled workshops at which drafts are required and checked.
  2. Takes too much time.
    No Solution! When the final portfolios come in, it's like taking two or three sets of papers home at once. So portfolios definitely will not save time. But I spend much less time on intervention drafts than I used to on final papers, and if I've seen most of the final portfolio pieces in draft, I don't have to spend as much time on them as I would on a brand new piece.
  3. If students don't take the initiative to ask for intervention, some students can go for a long time without feedback.
    Solution: Regular workshops will give all students frequent opportunities for peer review.
    Another Solution: Occasionally, I require an intervention draft from everyone.
  4. I spend so much time on intervention drafts that I have doubled my total grading time.
    Solution: Comment on only the most significant feature of a draft (the element that will result in the most significant revisions).
  5. Students do only superficial revisions.
    Solution: Suggest students do as much writing as possible on a computer so that revisions don't require a lot of re-typing. Since I've switched to a computer classroom, I haven't had this problem. You could also require revisions of genre, audience, purpose, etc., to encourage students to make global revisions.

Traditional And/Or Portfolio Grading? (Gogela)

Come to think of it, I really don't like grading--at all, under any circumstances, ever. However, since Steve insists on this necessary evil, here are some of my thoughts on the issue.

While I've never tried portfolio grading in C0150, it has worked well for me in C0300 and C0301. Over the years, I've experimented with various assignments that culminated in a number of portfolios over the course of a semester. Currently, I'm using a system that combines traditional and portfolio grading to accommodate not only some of my students' needs but my own as well.

Obviously, there are disadvantages to traditional grading:
a) Students are tempted to write for a grade. Once they have that grade, they're stuck--for better or worse. A student who receives an 'A' may rest on his or her laurels for the rest of the semester and not grow much as a writer. Worse yet, a student who fails the first assignments will be discouraged for the rest of the semester, hate writing. . . and my guts. What's a good teacher to do?
b) Traditional grading can also lead to choppy assignments. I like to work with sequences that culminate in a major project, so it's difficult to smack a "grade" on bits and pieces of the process.

Alas, portfolio grading does not solve all problems, either. a)No matter how well I explain the concept (in writing and rhetoric), some students don't understand that this is a GIFT. Every time I collect intervention drafts, for instance, a couple of dodos will say, "I didn't put much work into this because you're not grading it anyway." Grrrr! Most of the time, this is more of a self-discipline/time-management problem on the part of the student rather than a problem with the system. b) Of course, instructors are not immune to time-management problems, either. Depending on the required content of a portfolio, how many classes/preps I happen to have that semester, and what else is going on in my life, I may have to do some serious juggling of priorities (--builds character).

Since both traditional and portfolio grading have advantages and disadvantages, I use a combination that's comfortable and manageable for me. In C0300 (Writing Arguments), for example, I assign traditional grades for about a third of the semester--with option to rewrite for students who struggle (but I don't advertise this in advance). By the time we start portfolios, we have established a learning routine and students are pretty clear on my expectations and standards. Now they can concentrate on writing without worrying about grades for every little chunk of work they do. In addition, students have more control over what gets done and when--as long as it does get done. At the beginning of a given unit, I distribute a check-sheet for work due at the end of the unit, so there's no ambiguity. The content of a portfolio is determined by the instructor. (Do you prefer several smaller portfolios--or a couple of more extensive ones?)

Defining the Humanities

At the beginning of the course, some students may need the most general context setting to understand the specific work of writing about the humanities. As you think about ways of helping students define what they mean by "the humanities," please consider contributing your reading, critical analysis, or impromptu writing tasks for this part of our collection.

Collaborative Activity - Myers

In groups of five, review your "humanities" definitions. Combine what you have to make one workable "master definition." Then, write that definition on an overhead transparency.

When finished, collaborate to determine five disciplines (such as "history") that would be considered part of the humanities (according to your definition). Put this list aside for the moment...We'll get to it a bit later!

10-15 mins.

Humanities Defined - Myers

How do we define "the humanities"?

Dictionary Definition:
The branches of learning (such as philosophy or languages) that investigate human constructs and concerns, as opposed to natural processes.

But what does that mean?

The humanities, such as classical and modern languages, literature, history, and philosophy, have the overall goal of the exploration and explanation of human experience. Some would include the fine arts (music, art, dance, and drama) in the humanities, but others view the arts as a separate category. (We include the interpretation of the fine arts in this course).

In most disciplines in the humanities, written texts are extremely important, especially in history, philosophy, and literature. Historians attempt a systematic documentation and analysis of events related to a particular people, country, or period. Literary authors and artists attempt to capture for others their own human experiences and understanding of the world.

The humanities involve inquiry into consciousness, values, ideas, and ideals as they seek to describe how experiences shape our understanding of the world.

Text Analysis

We include here both specific text analysis assignment sheets (usually from the first half of the semester) and activities to help students complete the text analysis assignments. You may need to modify assignment sheets and activities to fit the specific tasks you assign.

Text Analysis Assignments

As you'll see when you look through the assignment sheets collected here, teachers often sequence the early text analysis assignments to build increasing complexity into the tasks. Other teachers use the text analysis tasks in the first part of the semester to give students repeated practice with basically the same task. Students then collect their most effective analysis papers for evaluation in the mid-term portfolio.

Text Analysis Activities

Some of the following class activities and workshop sheets were developed specifically for CO301A but others were developed for CO300 or another subsection of CO301. Please feel free to revise or edit as you need to for your course. And if you give us a copy of your revision, we can add it to our resources here.

Individual Topics

In general, CO301A moves from the analysis of texts in the first half of the semester into student-directed work on individual topics in the second half of the semester. (That's why the Individual Topics are often referred to in this resource as the Unit Two Portfolio.) The specific assignments for the second half of the semester often look quite different from teacher to teacher. Again, we include in this section specific assignment sheets and activities to help students with their writing for the final papers. If you'd like to see a student sample portfolio, please look under Teacher Resources on the CO301 Class page. We'd like to add more examples of student work here, so please submit good examples (with or without your comments).

Individual Topic Assignments

As you think about the Unit Two portfolio, please consider contributing your assignment sheets, workshop sheets, and student samples for this part of our collection. Please note that the Position Paper Tiffany Myers describes is only one of several pieces students write in the second half of her course. The Unit II Portfolio Laura Thomas describes gives students an overall assignment for the second half of the term.

Individual Topic Activities

As you think about ways of helping students with the Unit Two portfolio, please consider contributing your reading, critical analysis, or impromptu writing tasks, as well as assignment sheets, workshop sheets, and student samples for this part of our collection.

Reflective Writing

Some teachers include a week or two for students to reflect in detail on the writing and learning they've done over the course of CO301A. In part, these teachers use the final two weeks of the term to give themselves time to evaluate and comment fully on the Unit Two portfolios. But these teachers are also motivated, at least in part, by a strong sense that the most effective learning includes analyzing and reflecting on the learning experience.

For example, in the last week of regular class sessions and the final exam period, Laura Thomas asks students to present the topics of their portfolios, including reading from selected pieces. She also guides them toward detailed self-analysis of their learning in the course.

If you develop any specific guidelines for similar presentations or questions to guide students' self-analysis, please consider sharing them with other teachers of the course by contributing them to this resource.