Course Overview and Policy Statements



Text Analysis

Individual Topics

Reflective Writing

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Authors & Contributors

Policy Statement - Rilling

CO301B, Writing in the Disciplines: Sciences
TR 12:30-1:45, Eddy 2, Spring, 2000
Instructor: Sarah Rilling, PhD
Office 1: Eddy 333
Hours: TR 10:00-12:20
Phone: 491-3344
Office 2: Co-Op Units (IEP)
Hours: M: 1-2:30
Phone: 491-6616

Course Purpose:
This course emphasizes expository and argumentative writing about the sciences for lay audiences. Although you may sometimes write to readers with a science background, your work in CO301B will not include technical writing in your scientific disciplines. You will practice appropriate forms and techniques for adapting writing about science to the needs of different non-expert audiences, including readers of such publications as Scientific American, Discover, or National Geographic. You will write analyses and explanations of the rhetoric in your discipline and in 'popular' scientific writing. You will practice writing about scientific and technical topics and controversies for a non-specialist audience. Throughout the course, you will practice adapting form and style to your audience.

The course focuses on (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.

CO301B 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. CO301B 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.

Course Means:
We will engage in face-to-face and online discussions and practice of course readings, rhetorical strategies in analyzing texts of various kinds, and writing techniques for converting scientific discourse into language understandable to specific, non-specialist audiences.

Required Text:
MacKenzie, N.R. (Ed). (1995). Science and technology today: Readings for writers. NY, NY: St. Martin's Press.

Descriptions of papers will be available online at least one week prior to the due date for that paper. For each paper, you will write approximately 3 double-spaced pages in 12 point font. (10 points per paper for 60 points)

Mid-Term Portfolio
The midterm portfolio is a collection of 8-9 pages of finished, polished work. In the portfolio, you must include revised writing you have completed for the class, including papers and/or in-class writing assignments. You can select which components you will further develop from your earlier drafts. Be sure to rethink, revisit, revise these papers significantly. You must also include a one page cover memo in which you describe the portfolio, from a process and/or product perspective. (100 points)

Final Portfolio
The final portfolio is a collection of 15 pages of finished, polished work. In the final portfolio, you must include a revision of paper #5. All other papers are of your choosing and can include revisions of earlier papers or in-class writing (including further revisions on mid-term portfolio essays). Your final portfolio must also contain a cover memo addressing final portfolio process/product. (100 points)

360 Total Possible Points:

Grades are based on straight percentages:
A = 324 or more points (90% +)
B = 288 to 323 points (80% - 89%)
C = 252 to 287 points (70% - 79%)
D = 216 to 251 points (60% - 69%)
F = below 216

Late papers will be docked two points per day late. Late portfolios will be docked 20 points per day late.