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Sylabus for Rhetoric

In: Film and Music

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NOTE: All matters associated with this course are subject to change at the instructor's discretion. Any and all changes will be communicated to students in writing.

Course Description
RHET 1302 will prepare you for college-level writing while helping you develop your critical thinking skills. Rhetoric is the study and practice of how people communicate messages, not only in writing and speech, but also through visual and digital mediums. In this class, you will develop skills to analyze the way rhetoric, in its various forms, addresses audiences. By paying attention to the strategies that good writers and speakers use to persuade their particular audiences, you will learn to reason better and to persuade others in your own writing, both through rhetorical appeals and through analysis of audience, purpose, and exigency that is at the heart of the study of rhetoric. For RHET 1302, you will read and reread texts and write multi-draft essays. Practically speaking, you will learn skills that you can use in your future course work regardless of your major.

Student Learning Objectives

• Students will be able to write in different ways for different audiences. • Students will be able to write effectively using appropriate organization, mechanics, and style. • Students will be able to construct effective written arguments. • Students will be able to gather, incorporate, and interpret source material in their writing.

Required Texts
Rosenwasser, David and Stephen, Jill. Writing Analytically with Readings. Second edition. Thomson/Wadsworth, 2011.

Fall 2011 Assignments and Academic Calendar
|Wed, Aug 24 |Introduction to the Course |
| |Quick review of course syllabus and class expectations (We'll review this more on Friday.) |
| |In-class Assignment (Ungraded): Diagnostic Essay |
|Fri, Aug 26 |Writing and the Writing Process |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 1 |
| |Further review of syllabus and class expectations |
| |Introduction game: Two truths and a lie |
| |What is rhetoric? |
| |Review the basics of academic essay writing: organization, development (transitional words and phrases, paragraph |
| |structure), style issues |
|Mon, Aug 29 |Writing and the Writing Process |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 2 |
| |Exercise: Awareness |
|Wed, Aug 31 |The Process of Critical Analysis |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 3 (pp. 53-71) |
| |Exercise: Apply "the Method" to a story or poem (I will provide the piece.) |
|Fri, Sep 2 |The Process of Critical Analysis |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 3 (pp. 72-84) |
| |Announce Blog project (ongoing throughout the semester) |
| |Exercise: Analysis of an advertisement |
|Mon, Sep 5 |Labor Day Holiday (no classes) |
|Wed, Sep 7 |The Process of Critical Analysis |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 4 |
| |Exercise: Passage-based freewriting |
|Fri, Sep 9 |Using Evidence |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 8 |
| |Exercise: Distinguishing evidence from claim using passages from your diagnostic essay |
| |Out-of-class assignment: Blog Post #1 due |
|Mon, Sep 12 |Finding, Citing, and Integrating Sources |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 14 (pp. 283-307) |
| |Discuss MLA citation |
| |Exercises: From OWL Purdue website |
|Wed, Sep 14 |Finding, Citing, and Integrating Sources |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 14 (pp. 307-314) and "Politics and the English Language," George Orwell (p.690) |
| |Discuss Orwell's essay |
| |Discuss plagiarism: Why is it important not to plagiarize? |
| |Out-of-class assignment: Review Plagiarism Tutorial at |
| |[] |
|Fri, Sep 16 |Introduce Essay #1 Assignment |
| |Writing About Reading |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 5 (pp. 105-113) and "Disconnected Urbanism," Paul Goldberger (p. 473) |
| |Exercise: Paraphrase x 3 with "Disconnected Urbanism" |
|Mon, Sep 19 |Introduce Essay #1 Assignment |
| |Writing About Reading |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 5 (pp. 114-131) and "Our Cell Phones, Our Selves," Christine Rosen (p. 457) |
| |Discuss "Our Cell Phones, Our Selves" and the binary of talk and discussion |
|Wed, Sep 21 |Reading Analytically |
| |"The Naked Crowd," Jeffrey Rosen (p. 476) |
| |Discuss "The Naked Crowd" in-class |
|Fri, Sep 23 |Reading Analytically |
| |"The Public Realm and the Common Good," James Howard Kunstler (pp. 521) |
| |Discuss in-class |
| |Out-of-class assignment: Blog Post #2 due |
|Mon, Sep 26 |Making Interpretations |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 6 |
| |Exercise: Analysis of a New Yorker cover |
|Wed, Sep 28 |Thesis Statements |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 11 |
| |Exercise: Revise a thesis statement from a previously read essay |
|Fri, Sep 30 |Thesis Statements |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 12 |
| |Exercise: Revise thesis statement for Essay #1 |
|Mon, Oct 3 |In-Class Workshop/Peer Revision/Conferences – Essay #1 |
| |"Demolition Zones...," Jack Gambino (p. 533) |
| |Discuss "Demolition Zones" in-class |
|Wed, Oct 5 |In-Class Workshop/Peer Revision/Conferences – Essay #1 |
| |"Fortress Los Angeles," Mike Davis (p. 577) |
| |Discuss "Fortress Los Angeles" in-class |
|Fri, Oct 7 |In-Class Workshop/Peer Revision/Conferences – Essay #1 |
| |Reminder: Submit Essay #1 to by Mon, Oct 10 |
| |Exercise: Revision |
| |Out-of-class assignment: Blog Post #3 due |
|Mon, Oct 10 |DUE: Essay #1 Final Draft |
| |Introductions and Conclusions |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 16 and "In Plato's Cave," Susan Sontag (p. 779) |
| |Discuss introductions and conclusions in "In Plato's Cave" |
|Wed, Oct 12 |Introduce Essay #2 Assignment |
| |Analyzing Arguments in Your Writing, Part I |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 7 |
| |Exercise: Agree/disagree with Supreme Court case summary; defend position opposite from what you believe |
|Fri, Oct 14 |Analyzing Arguments in Your Writing, Part II |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 9 |
| |Exercise: Create a fallacy and revise it into a logical statement |
|Mon, Oct 17 |Analyzing the Visual |
| |Selections from Writing Analytically, Chapter 24: "Learning to See," Barry Lopez (p. 792) |
| |Exercise: Ekphrastic writing |
|Wed, Oct 19 |Analyzing the Visual (cont’d) |
| |Selections from Writing Analytically, Chapter 24: "Images of Women in European Art," John Berger (p. 804) and |
| |"Beauty (Re)discovers the Male Body" (p. 827) ***Note: These essays and the images in them may be offensive to you. |
| |If you think you will be uncomfortable reading them, alternative essays will be assigned.*** |
| |Discuss the relationship between "Images of Women in European Art" and "Beauty (Re)discovers the Male Body" |
|Fri, Oct 21 |Organizing the Essay using 10 on 1 |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 10 (pp. 207-216) |
| |Exercise: Apply the Method to a scene from a film |
| |Out-of-class assignment: Blog Post #4 due |
|Mon, Oct 24 |Organizing the Essay using 10 on 1 |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 10 (pp. 216-224) |
| |Exercise: Apply 10 on 1 to a scene from a film |
|Wed, Oct 26 |In-Class Workshop/Peer Revision/Conferences – Essay #2 |
| |Exercise TBA |
|Fri, Oct 28 |In-Class Workshop/Peer Revision/Conferences – Essay #2 |
| |Exercise TBA |
|Mon, Oct 31 |In-Class Workshop/Peer Revision/Conferences – Essay #2 |
| |Exercise TBA |
| |Reminder: Submit Essay #2 to by Wed, Nov 2 |
|Tue, Nov 1 |**Last day to drop with a WP/WF** |
|Wed, Nov 2 |DUE: Essay #2 Final Draft |
| |Introduce Essay #3 Assignment |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 13 |
| |Exercise: Freewriting and revising on a source—your choice—from a previously read essay |
|Fri, Nov 4 |Academic Research Essay (cont’d) |
| |Obama and the Language of Politics section from Writing Analytically, Chapter 23 (p.728) |
| |Discuss section in-class |
| |Out-of-class assignment: Blog Post #5—your last post—due (Yay!) |
|Mon, Nov 7 |Style and Word Choice |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 17 |
| |Discuss examples of style from fiction (I will provide excerpts) |
| |Exercise: Write a sentence from three POVs |
|Wed, Nov 9 |Style and Sentence Structure |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 18 |
| |Discuss sentences and parts of sentences |
| |Exercise: From OWL Purdue |
|Fri, Nov 11 |Style – Sentence Structure and Word Choice |
| |Continued discussion of sentences and parts of sentences |
| |Exercise: From OWL Purdue |
|Mon, Nov 14 |DUE: Proposal/Abstract for Essay #3 |
| |More on Organization |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 15 |
| |Exercise: Analyze and "translate" a film clip to show transition |
|Wed, Nov 16 |Grammar and Punctuation |
| |Writing Analytically, Chapter 19 |
| |Discuss grammar |
|Fri, Nov 18 |In-Class Workshop/Peer Revision/Conferences – Essay #3 |
|Mon, Nov 21 |In-Class Workshop/Peer Revision/Conferences – Essay #3 |
|Wed, Nov 23 |In-Class Workshop/Peer Revision/Conferences – Essay #3 |
| |Reminder: Submit Essay #3 to by Mon, Nov 28 |
|Nov 24-26 |Thanksgiving Holiday (no classes) |
|Mon, Nov 28 |DUE: Essay #3 Final Draft |
| |In-Class Workshop |
| |Revising the Portfolio |
|Wed, Nov 30 |Reading Analytically |
| |"My Neighborhood," Ishmael Reed (p. 632) |
| |Discuss "My Neighborhood" in-class |
|Fri, Dec 2 |Reading Analytically |
| |"Mother Tongue," Amy Tan (p. 621) |
|Mon, Dec 5 |DUE: Portfolio |
| |Course Wrap-Up |

|Blog Project |5% |
|Essay #1: Community Writing or Rhetorical Analysis |15% |
|Essay #2: Visual Analysis |20% |
|Essay #3: Academic Research Essay & Proposal |30% |
|(Proposal = 5% of total 30%) | |
|Portfolio |10% |
|Homework/Peer Review/Other Assignments |10% |
|Participation |10% |
|Total |100% |

(I will make use of the +/- system in grading as stipulated by The University of Texas at Dallas Undergraduate Catalogue, 2010-2012.)
|Blog Project |5% |50 |
|Essay #1 |15% |150 |
|Essay #2 |20% |200 |
|Academic Research Essay & Proposal |30% |300 |
|Portfolio |10% |100 |
|Assignments/Presentations/Homework |10% |100 |
|Participation |10% |100 |
|Total |100% |1000 pts |

150 point totals for Essay #1:

141-150 = A
135-140 = A-
130-134 = B+
125-129 = B
120-124 = B-
115-119 = C+
110-114 = C
105-109 = C-
90-104 = D
Below 90 = F

250 point total for Academic Essay (25% without Prospectus):

231-250 = A
225-230 = A-
218-224 = B+
208-217 = B
200-207 = B-
193-199 = C+
183-192 = C
175-182 = C-
150-174 = D
Below 150 = F

Assignment Descriptions
(Note: You must submit all major assignments to by the due date.)

Essay #1: Rhetorical Analysis
Due Date: Mon, Oct 10
Length: 750-1000 words (not including Works Cited) in MLA format, 11 or 12-point font
Source limit: One (1) source minimum
You must include a “Works Cited” page and use correct MLA format for in-text (parenthetical) citations.

For this assignment, you will write an analysis of the rhetorical strategies and techniques used by a writer in constructing a short essay. The purpose of this assignment is to think and write critically about a text. The skills you use in this exercise also apply to the image you analyze for your visual analysis essay and the research you use in your Academic Argument essay. In this paper, analyze an essay selected by your instructor from the reader or another essay you select with the approval of your instructor.

To begin your analysis, look at the different rhetorical choices evaluated in the first three chapters of our text, and other writing strategies we have discussed in class, such as the writer’s backing of a claim, use of evidence, logic (or logical fallacies), address of counterarguments, organizational strategies, style, humor, and/or tone. Choose an approach and be selective: you cannot cover all of these elements in a single paper. You must have a thesis about the article you choose and elements of its rhetoric. You might, for example, write a thesis that addresses a single important technique of the writer, a few of the central strategies used by the writer to structure the article, or the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the essay in achieving its purpose for a particular audience, using selected criteria. It is fine to have a nuanced thesis that does not conclude the essay is entirely good or entirely bad. Remember that these pieces are composed by published, respected writers who have quality to their writing; at the same time, you may find gaps in the writing, disagree with the logic or approach, or find significant concerns that are not addressed by the piece. While you may include a very brief summary of what the writer says, summary should only be a small portion of your essay, and you should concentrate on developing your argument/thesis about the essay, using evidence and insight to support your claim. The essay should include a Work or Works Cited page. Be sure to proofread your essay for technical errors.

Essay #2: Visual Analysis
Due Date: Wed, Nov 2
Length: 1000-1250 words (not including Works Cited) in MLA format, 11 or 12-point font
Source limit: Two (2) sources minimum
You must include a “Works Cited” page and use correct MLA format for in-text (parenthetical) citations.

The Visual Analysis assignment asks you to select a photograph, print advertisement, artwork, or scene from a film and analyze its features to discover a deeper meaning.

In working with something visual, you will apply the techniques and strategies you have read about in Chapters 2-4 and 6 of Writing Analytically with Readings. The visual analysis requires you make the five analytical moves we have previously discussed:

• Suspend judgment (understand before you judge). • Define significant parts and how they are related. • Look for patterns of repetition and contrast and for anomalies (aka The Method). • Make the implicit explicit (convert to direct statement meanings that are only suggested—make details “speak”). • Keep reformulating questions and explanations (what other details seem significant? what else might they mean?). (Rossenwasser and Stephen 53)

Just like a written text, a visual communicates meaning on a deeper level beyond merely the literal. Your essay will illuminate this meaning helping your audience understand your interpretation of the image.

Essay #3: Academic Research Essay
Length: 1500-2000 words (not including Works Cited) in MLA format, 11- or 12-point font, double-spaced
Due: Mon, Nov 28
Source limit: Three (3) scholarly and two (2) popular sources (5 sources total)
You must include a “Works Cited” page and use correct MLA format for in-text (parenthetical) citations.

In this assignment, write an essay that examines an issue of importance within your academic discipline. You will be graded on your ability to present an informed, effective argument that demonstrates your understanding of the subject, displays your research into its issues, effectively uses source material (in summary, paraphrase, and cogent quotations), and reaches logical, substantiated conclusions based on well organized and subordinated claims.

At least five sources (three scholarly and two popular) must cited in the final draft of your Academic Essay. Your drafts are expected to contain a cogent, well-formed argument based on that preliminary work and to be presented in the MLA style, which is a required, graded element of this assignment.

Blog Project
Length: at least 250 words
Minimum five (5) due during the semester
Due: Every other Friday
Blog Post #1: Sep 9
Blog Post #2: Sep 23
Blog Post #3: Oct 7
Blog Post #4: Oct 21
Blog Post #5: Nov 4

At five (5) different times this semester, you will post to a blog designated for your particular RHET 1302 section. Your blog entries should offer a thoughtful response to course readings and/or class discussions.

Use your blog freely within the bounds of good sense. Think of blog entries as something you would be willing to say in class (or have someone read aloud in class). Entries should conform to a good sense of propriety and classroom etiquette.

Keep in mind that these are writing exercises, so avoid “txt msg spk”. Furthermore, abbreviated responses or simply saying, “I agree”, in answering a classmate will not suffice. Although individual entries are not graded, the blog is graded writing as a whole. I will be looking for improvement over time in your ability and willingness to express ideas in controlled, focused blog entries.

Course Portfolio (E-Portfolio)
Due Date: Mon, Dec 5

The course portfolio is a complete collection of the work you have done during the semester. It is an opportunity for you to assess your progress as a writer, and evaluate those areas in which you still need work.

The complete portfolio will include the following:

1. Reflection Essay: A 750-1,000 word reflection essay examining your work. It should highlight problems you faced, how you feel you improved, and areas in which you are still unclear or feel you need more help. The essay should address these questions for each of the essays you submitted during the semester and for the blog project, as well as providing an overview of the work you did during the semester as a whole.

2. Completed Blog Project

3. Copies of both drafts of your: ◦ Rhetorical Analysis/Community Writing Essay ◦ Visual Analysis Essay ◦ Academic Essay

Keep in mind that this essay serves as a guide to help me evaluate your portfolio. It is your chance to direct my attention to what you have done best, as well as explain weaknesses in your pieces, demonstrating an awareness of how you might improve. This is not an argument for me to positively evaluate you. Rather, it is an opportunity to reflect on the individual assignments as well as your work as a whole.

Some things the reflection essay might address include: • Important revisions you made in the process of writing a paper • Patterns you seem to have in your writing • Differences between drafts • Challenges with specific assignments • What you learned • What is still confusing? • How you look at writing differently than when the semester began • How has your writing changed? • How your writing process has changed

Course Policies
Because each class period consists of a mixture of class discussion, group work and freewriting, your thoughtful, attentive, and active participation is essential (and will form a portion of your grade). If you sleep, engage in non-class-related activities (e.g. emailing, texting, doing homework for your math class) or interfere with your classmates' ability to learn you will be counted absent for that day. Be on time; class starts promptly. Leaving early will count as an absence.

Each student is allowed four (4) unexcused absences, no questions asked. Save them for when you really need them. Your final grade will suffer a 2% reduction for each unexcused absence you accumulate over three (e.g., 7 unexcused absences = 6% total reduction). You are responsible for your attendance. You must make sure you sign the roll sheet and/or notify me if you arrive late and after I have taken roll.

Persistent tardiness to class is disrespectful to both your instructor and your peers. Continually arriving late to class will affect your participation grade in the course. Three tardies will result in one unexcused absence for the course; I will consider you absent if you arrive more than 20 minutes late to class.

Class Participation
Your success in this course is a function of your level of engagement. I am interested in the quality of your remarks rather than the quantity. Please use your analysis of the readings, your blog posts, and prior research and/or study when responding orally in class, and please be prepared to back up any points you make. Reading the book is necessary, not optional, in order for class discussion to exist.

Participation in this course does not include doing work unrelated to this course during class, sleeping in class, or using the computers or other personal electronic devices for personal messaging, research, or entertainment.

Late Work
All drafts, including final, must be submitted when and as required in order to successfully complete this course. Late assignments will be deducted ten points for each day they are late. If they are not turned in within three days from the due date, they will no longer be accepted and will be recorded as a zero (0). Of course, if you let me know before the due date that you might have a problem turning in your paper on time, I might allow an extension.

Personal Communication Devices
Turn off all cell phones, pagers, and other personal communication devices before the start of class. Do not use such devices during class.

Room and Equipment Use

Tampering with or destroying any of the computers, printers, modems, or wiring in the classroom is strictly prohibited. Violations will result in disciplinary action by the Dean of Students’ office.

Hacking a door code and/or entering a classroom without the instructor’s permission constitutes criminal trespass. The Director of Rhetoric and Writing will pursue action through the Dean of Students’ Office and/or the UTD Police Department against any student who engages in such behavior. The Director of Rhetoric and Writing will also pursue action against students who are caught attempting to enter a room without permission (i.e., entering possible number combinations in an attempt to open a classroom door).

University Policies

Please review the university policies at

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