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Teaching Guide: Teaching Resources for CO301B

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

  1. analysis of current contexts where writing about the sciences for non-technical academic and general 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 as they've taught CO301B. 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

The 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 original pieces.

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 the English Department, 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.

CO301B Writing in the Sciences
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 CO301 will not include technical writing to readers expert 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 Scientific American, Discover, Natural History, National Wildlife, National Geographic, Science News, Smithsonian, and Colorado Outdoors, among others. You will write analyses and explanations of scientific and technical topics; argumentative papers on current controversies in science, technology, or science education; and investigative and research essays. Throughout the course, you will practice adapting form and style to your audience.

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 a 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 confers 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%).

Policy Statement - Kiefer

CO301B Policy Statement
K. Kiefer, 338 Eddy, 491-6845
E mail: kekiefer@lamar.colostate.edu
Office hours: 10TR and by appointment
Writing Center hours: Mondays through Thursdays 9-12, 1-4; Fridays 9-12; Sunday evenings 6-9

CO301B, Intermediate Composition: Writing in the Sciences, builds on the writing principles and processes practiced in CO150. CO301B focuses on studying the contexts in which writing for non-technical science material appears and practicing similar kinds of writing for those audiences (non-specialist academic and non-academic audiences). This course offers students multiple opportunities both to read and analyze varieties of science writing and to research, write, and revise their own science writing on appropriate topics. Students will complete a carefully sequenced series of assignments of text analysis at the beginning of the semester and write original work, often based on library and field research, in the second half of the semester.

Required text: Science and Technology Today: Readings for Writers, Nancy MacKenzie, St. Martin's Press.

Course Objectives:

Policies:
1. I don't accept late papers. Moreover, you need to bring a complete draft of the paper to the scheduled workshop or you lose a significant percentage of the portfolio grade.

2. Attendance: Your attendance for scheduled class meetings is crucial in this course because we will cover key issues on the days we meet. Moreover, 10% of your grade depends on participation when we meet in class and on completing assigned tasks every day even when we don't meet. The workload is heavy, and falling behind can be disastrous. Look ahead to the schedule for portfolio 2. If you need more structured work time to get such a large project done, please speak to me about alternative ways to approach this 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 suggest possible revisions for the most striking features; I do not comment on every possible flaw in a paper. Please remember that you can take or leave my comments, but you must also revise for other features that I may not have noted. I will be happy to comment on as many drafts of papers for this class as you want to give me. Send me the draft by e mail or drop it off with me, and I will return it to you with comments within two days. (Note: My students find this one of the best ways to improve their writing during the semester.)

4. Responsibility: Even though I will comment on drafts and we will have regular workshops during which your classmates will also comment on your papers, remember that you are in control of your writing. You know what you want to communicate in a given paper.

5. Portfolio grading: You will be graded on two portfolios of completed work due on the dates specified on the attached assignment syllabus. For Portfolio 1 you may choose among the text analysis assignments from the first 6 weeks of the semester. Portfolio 2 will include at least 15 pages of finished polished original work (2 or 3 pieces, your choice). You can find much more detail about each portfolio on our class Web page.

6. Daily writing: In addition to the portfolios, I assign daily reading and writing. We'll review how to send your assignments to me electronically, but you may also print out this writing and turn it in on paper. I keep track of DAILY writing on the day it's due, so being late means you probably won't get credit.

7. Drafts: Please keep all drafts (handwritten and computer generated) of your papers and clip them to the final copy in the portfolio.

8. Documentation: Much of your writing in this course will draw on outside sources, and so we will discuss appropriate documentation in detail as the semester progresses. Improper documentation--including all forms of plagiarism--merits an "F" for the portfolio.

9. When we meet as a class, we will generally work on the computers in our classroom. If you're not familiar with Windows, plan to run through the tutorials available in room 300 Eddy.

10. On days noted as "work days" in the syllabus, this classroom will be available for you to work here (to confer with me, to complete DAILY writing, to read and write e mail, to write on the Web forum, to meet with your peer reviewers or group members). If you prefer to complete your work for CO301B at another time, you'll have to work upstairs in Eddy 300 or from another computer on or off campus. You will need an e mail account because I regularly send messages to the class. If you want to work on a Mac, it is your responsibility to save and transfer files in a format others can read in our classroom. See me for details. If the technology ever baffles you, I will be here to answer your questions and step you through a process of using each computer tool you need for the class.

Your final grade will be determined as follows:

Portfolio 1 - 35%
Portfolio 2 - 55%
Participation - 10%

Policy Statement - Rilling

CO301B, Writing in the Disciplines: Sciences
TR 12:30-1:45, Eddy 2, Spring, 2000
Instructor: Sarah Rilling, PhD
e-mail: srilling@lamar.colostate.edu
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.

Papers
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)

Grades
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

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

Syllabi

As you'll see in the detailed syllabi linked below, each teacher works out 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.

Syllabus - Kiefer

CO301B, Fall, 2000
Writing in the Sciences
Daily Outline

Week 1 (Aug. 22-24)
Tuesday: Introduction to the course--our focus, the kinds of writing tasks (portfolios, daily writing, individual and group forum postings), policies
Readings due Thursday: Orwell, pp. 13-16; Selzer, pp. 464-470; Sacks, pp. 471-478 in Science and Technology Today (STT)

Thursday: Audiences for science writing; how and where does the personal perspective fit?
Readings due Tuesday: Goodall, pp. 175-185; Halloran, pp. 484-497; Sauer, pp, 509-527 (STT)

Week 2 (Aug. 29-31)
Tuesday: How writing shapes science
Readings due Thursday: Keller, pp. 38-50; Tilghman, pp. 51-55; Hershberger, pp. 498-508; Huxley, pp. 17-24 in STT

Thursday: How culture shapes writing, writers, and readers
Readings due Tuesday: Form groups and collect journal; skim the journal cover to cover.

Week 3 (Sept. 5-7)
Tuesday: Looking more closely at readers: group work on your journal - post on the Forum.
For Thursday: Be sure to read other groups' Forum postings.

Thursday: From journal to article: group work on selected article
Draft your conclusions as a "lab report" to post on the Forum for the class.
For Tuesday: Select an article to work on for the next two weeks. This article can be from one of the journals the class has considered or some other journal that might be a publication venue for your work in portfolio 2. Make a photocopy of the specific article for me. Try to bring a copy of the journal to class next week.
Be sure to read other students' Forum postings.

Week 4 (Sept. 12-14)
Tuesday: Context analysis with focus on journal readership.
Draft your conclusions as a "lab report" to post on the Forum for the class.
For Thursday: Be sure to read other students' Forum postings.

Thursday: Text analysis focused on organization, development, and style
Draft your conclusions as a "lab report" to post on the Forum for the class.
For Tuesday: Be sure to read other students' Forum postings.

Week 5 (Sept. 19-21)
Tuesday: Converting descriptive "reports" to text-analysis essays
Start drafting for portfolio 1.

Thursday: Work day (a great opportunity for a conference)
Continue drafting for portfolio 1.

Week 6 (Sept. 26-28)
Tuesday: Peer review--how and why to workshop. First workshop on draft for portfolio 1 (required attendance with draft)

Thursday: Work day (a great opportunity for a conference)

Week 7 (Oct. 3-5)
Tuesday: Second workshop on draft for portfolio 1 (required attendance with draft)

Thursday: Final workshop on draft for portfolio 1 (required attendance with draft)

Week 8 (Oct. 10-12)
Tuesday: Portfolio 1 due; complete postscript in class.
Readings for Thursday: Ehrenreich, pp. 405-409; Baumrind, pp. 410-417; Woodward et al., pp. 418-423; Begley, pp. 455-458 in STT

Thursday: Possible topics for portfolio 2
Due Tuesday: Jot down your best "research tips."

Week 9 (Oct. 17-19)
Tuesday: Doing research.

Thursday: Work day. Daily is due by 5 p.m.

Week 10 (Oct. 24-26)
Tuesday: Commit to a topic. Discuss audiences, formats for portfolio 2 papers.

Thursday: Work day. Daily is due by 5 p.m.

Week 11 (Oct. 31-Nov. 2)
Tuesday: Work day. Daily is due by 5 p.m.

Thursday: Work day. Daily is due by 5 p.m.

Week 12 (Nov. 7-9)
Tuesday: First workshop on draft for portfolio 2 (required attendance with draft)
Send a DAILY with your revision plan by 5 p.m. today.

Thursday: Work day (a great opportunity for a conference)
Submit a draft-in-progress by 5 p.m.

Week 13 (Nov. 14-16)
Tuesday: Second workshop on draft for portfolio 2 (required attendance with draft)
Send a DAILY with your revision plan by 5 p.m. today.

Thursday: Work day (a great opportunity for a conference)
Submit a draft-in-progress by 5 p.m.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Week 14 (Nov. 28-30) Tuesday: Workshop on draft for portfolio 2 (required attendance with draft)
Send a DAILY with your revision plan by 5 p.m. today. Use the DAILY prompts for either 11-7 or 11-14 for today's revision plan.

Thursday: Style and editing workshop on draft for portfolio 2 (attendance strongly recommended)

Week 15 (Dec. 5-7)
Tuesday: Portfolio 2 due. Complete postscript in class.

Thursday: Forum day: In what ways did you see culture shaping your writing on portfolio 2? How does your writing shape your readers' view of your science culture? How can you apply what you've learned and practiced this term to be successful in writing in your field?

Finals Week
Final class to collect student evaluations and to return portfolios.

Syllabus - Rilling

Timeline:

T: Jan. 18
R: Jan. 20 - Hardison, p. 198
T: Jan. 25 - Watson & Crick, p. 479
R: Jan. 27 - Halloran, p. 484
T: Feb. 1 - Disciplinary Texts; Paper #1 Rhetorical Analysis Response
R: Feb. 3 - ditto
T: Feb. 8 - ditto
R: Feb. 10 - Orwell, p. 13; Paper #2 Disciplinary Rhetorical Analysis
T: Feb. 15 - Huxley, p. 17
R: Feb. 17 - Snow, p. 25
T: Feb. 22 - Hughs, p. 234
R: Feb. 24 - Rybczynski, p. 103; Paper #3 What's a Scientist?
T: Feb. 29 - Postman, p. 128
R: March 2 - Brown, p. 274; Mid-Term Portfolio
March 4-12 - Spring Break
March 12-19 - Conference Break
T: March 21 - Kuhn, p. 165
R: March 23 - Goodall, p. 175; Paper #4 Rhet. Analysis of Popular Science Mag
T: March 28 - Carson, p. 344
R: March 30 - Gore Handout
T: April 4 - ditto
R: April 6 - McPhee, p. 358
T: April 11 - Reisner Handout
R: April 13 - ditto; Paper #5 Topic for a non-specialist audience
T: April 18 - Elshtain, p. 424
R: April 20 - Karpati, p. 435
T: April 25 - Begley, pg. 455
R: April 27 - Hubbard, p. 304; Paper #6 Rhetorical Analysis of Specific Texts
T: May 2 - Wheeler, p. 323
R: May 4
Final Portfolio Due

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 CO301B. 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), as well as several pieces examining the pros and cons of using portfolios in a writing class.

Portfolio Overview - Kiefer

In each portfolio you compile this semester, you will present your best, finished writing and related documents to demonstrate what you have learned about science writing for particular contexts and audiences.

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 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 approximately ten (portfolio 1) to fifteen (portfolio 2) pages of finished, polished writing directed at particular non-technical audiences who read science writing. Each piece must differ in its context in some significant way (audience/purpose). Graphics, photographs, and/or artwork certainly may be submitted with your writing to enhance its presentation, but these will not count toward the total of finished pages. Please see the more detailed explanations of portfolios 1 and 2 for additional guidelines and initial criteria.

All of the above must be typed in the standard format (1 inch margins, double-spaced, readable font).

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. I recommend using this folder from the earliest stages of research to keep yourself somewhat organized throughout the process.

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?)

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. You may want to look at a teacher's syllabus next to the assignments to get a fuller sense of how the writing tasks fit into a teacher's conception of the course overall.

Text Analysis Activities

Some of the following class activities and workshop sheets were developed specifically for CO301B 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, CO301B 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 CO301B. 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. Kate Kiefer works toward the same goals with some directed postings on the class Forum.

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.