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RHETORIC I

Syllabus for EN 110A Fall 2009

COURSE IDENTIFICATION  Course Goal


EN 110 Section C Rhetoric I is a course intended to help students attain college-level skills in
Mohler 204 critical thinking, writing, speaking, and information literacy. Students who
MWF 8:30-9:20 successfully complete the course will be able to use language effectively as a
3 credit hours
tool for constructing ideas and demonstrating learning. Most importantly,
INSTRUCTOR students will come to a better understanding of how and why they hold the
Dr. Bruce Clary views and opinions that they do.
Office: Mohler 201
Hours: 9:30-10:30 M-F
 Course Objectives
Phone: 242-0530 Students who fully participate in the course’s learning opportunities will
claryb@mcpherson.edu
1. Comprehend, summarize, and paraphrase challenging texts and
COURSE WEB SITE arguments.
Wwwi.mcpherson.edu/ 2. Listen carefully and contribute positively to discussions.
~claryb/en110 3. Apply critical and analytical thinking skills to claims and arguments.
4. Use writing as a tool for learning and discovering ideas.
REQUIREMENTS MET
5. Write clear, interesting, well-organized sentences, paragraphs, and essays.
This course (or its 6. Deliver formal and informal oral presentations.
equivalent) is required of 7. Prepare papers using the format and style recommended by the Modern
all freshmen.
Language Association (MLA).
REQUIRED TEXTS 8. Locate sources and synthesize and incorporate them into their own
Barnet & Bedau. Critical writing.
Thinking, Reading, and 9. Properly document all borrowings.
th
Writing. 6 ed. Boston
and New York: Bedford/  Instructional Methods
St. Martin’s, 2008.
Real-world writing takes shape within a lively social context. The methods I
adopt in this course are intended to fill the vacuum that writing students
often confront when they begin to write. Two of students’ biggest problems
in composition — finding something to say and getting started — often
derive from their lack of a vital connection with what other people have to
say about an issue or idea. The principal idea behind the design of this
course is to provide a community where ideas can be safely shared and
explored. I hope to achieve this through an emphasis upon discussion and
student-led forums. Other methods include limited lecture, regular reading
and writing assignments, testing, collaborative learning activities, peer
review, and writing workshops.
I have a number of basic assumptions and biases underlying my teaching methods that you should also know
about and understand:
 W riting and speaking for school and work is more craft than art, more motivation and effort than
talent. That means, with motivation and effort, you can overcome most any writing handicap, most any
public speaking inhibition, and be a competent, college-level writer and speaker.
 W riting follows reading. You cannot write better than you read. Writing develops after close reading.
Becoming a better reader is a crucial part of becoming a better writer.
 W riting is discovery. The act of writing itself is one of the most effective ways to generate new ideas,
make new connections, see new possibilities, find new answers.
 Language is thinking. We don’t really know what we think until we put ideas into words. Writing (or,
more often, rewriting) is a controlled way of saying; hence, writing is a highly disciplined form of thinking.
 W riting is a process. But not a linear one. Brainstorming, collecting data, making connections, drafting,
editing—all are complex activities that take place throughout the writing process.
 W riters write— and rewrite. First, there is no alternative to putting words on paper or screen. But most
often, our first efforts use the wrong words to make the wrong meanings. (That’s OK. That’s how we get
started.) Rewriting gives us a chance to get the right meanings in the right words, an opportunity to discover
meaning and to clarify it while it is being discovered. Your greatest growth as a writer will take place when
you revise and rewrite your work.
 Required Learning Activities
Discussion. Class discussion is an essential part of this course. Your full participation in discussion will help
you mature intellectually and prepare you for academic and professional success. More important from the
writer’s perspective, discussion offers a setting where we can hear and consider the ideas and opinions of
others and where our own ideas and opinions can take shape. After good discussion, writing no longer occurs
in a vacuum. Instead, it can acknowledge and respond to all that has been heard and read.
The following six rules will guide our participation in class discussions:
(1) Take an active speaking role.
(2) Listen attentively and take notes.
(3) Examine all sides of an issue.
(4) Suspend judgment.
(5) Avoid abusive or insulting language.
(6) Come prepared.
Participation in class discussion, as guided by the above rules, plays a significant part in your final grade for
the course. I’ll keep records of your participation and keep you posted on how you’re doing. I’ll have more to
say about class discussion early in the semester.
Forums. About five weeks of the semester will be devoted to student-led forums. You will work in groups of
three or four other students to research a topic of the group’s choice, make presentations, and lead class
discussion. I’ll hand out detailed information about forums during the fourth or fifth week of the semester,
but briefly, this is how they are structured:
Once your group has been formed around a particular topic, the group will determine more specific issues or
questions within that topic, assigning responsibility for researching subtopics to different group members.
Group members will compile a bibliography and write a two-page research report on their particular subtopic,
each member making a five-minute presentation to the class about their findings. The group will also be
responsible for writing discussion questions and leading class discussion after all the group’s presentations
have been made. As culminating activity, each group member will write his or her own 1,500-word research
paper based on the data gathered for their group’s forum presentations.

EN 110C Rhetoric I 2 Syllabus


Active Reading. Complying with Rule 6 for discussion will primarily involve active reading, that is,
thoughtfully marking and annotating texts as you read them.
Daily W ork. Daily work encompasses a whole range of assignments (annotations, summaries, paraphrases,
responses to writing prompts, grammar and usage exercises, and so on) prepared before class or done in class
to stimulate thinking about reading you have done or to give you practice on a writing skill or a fundamental
of standard written English. I will announce the point value of such assignments as I assign them.
Papers. You will submit at least four formal papers: (1) a 600-word persuasive essay, (2) a 600-word analysis
of an article of your choice, (3) the 600-word research report written in preparation for your forum
presentation, and (4) a 1,250-word researched paper. Papers may be revised in order to improve the paper
and its grade. (See course policy on revisions below.)
Final Exam. The final exam will give you a chance to demonstrate your mastery of the skills you will have
practiced throughout the semester. Prior to exam week, you will receive three persuasive articles to study. In
the final, you will receive one of those articles to annotate. After a brief class discussion period, you will write a
500-word response to the article.

 Course Evaluation
Your final grade in EN 110 will be determined by your achievement in four areas:
Major papers ........................................................................40% of final grade
Formal presentations ..........................................................10% of final grade
Daily work ............................................................................20% of final grade
Participation .........................................................................20% of final grade
Final Exam ...........................................................................10% of final grade

 Course Policies
Policy governing revision of papers. You may revise and resubmit your papers in order to improve your
grade, but you must adhere to the following requirements:
(1) You submit the revision along with all preceding drafts and versions (including any rubric or
comments that I returned with them) in a manila file folder with your name on the tab.
(2) The revision is substantive. I am not interested and will not use time to respond to a revision that
includes only minor corrections or changes.
(3) As a way of reinforcing (2) above, you must include with your revision a 200-250 word cover memo
that explains your revision process and the changes you made to improve the paper.
I am unyielding on these requirements and will not accept a revision that fails to meet any one of them.
Absenteeism. Absences are scored against your participation grade. We will meet 40 times during the
semester; therefore, each absence deducts 2.5 percent from your final participation grade. I take roll at the
beginning of class. If you arrive late to class, you will be marked absent in my roll book unless you make a
point to see me after class and explain your tardiness.
M ake-up work. Unless you are seriously ill, I expect that you will arrange to submit assigned work to me on
time. (Attaching a file to an email and sending it to me takes only a minute.) In-class work that requires
collaboration cannot be made up, of course; other kinds of in-class work – grammar exercises, for example –
can be made up. I reserve the right to determine what work can and cannot be made up for credit.
Late papers. Ten percent is deducted from your total participation grade for each day that a paper is late.
Respectful behavior. Because the success of this class is in large part determined by the freedom students feel
to speak and express their ideas, disrespect to fellow students cannot be tolerated. Students who insult or
belittle others will be asked to leave the classroom and may be withdrawn from the class.

EN 110C Rhetoric I 3 Syllabus


Cell phones. Please turn of cell phones and store them away in your backpack. I will confiscate phones of
repeat offenders.

 Concerning Disabilities
If you have a disability that prevents you from fully expressing your abilities, please contact me as soon as
possible so we can discuss necessary accommodations to ensure your full participation and facilitate your
educational opportunity.

 Tentative Schedule of Major Due Dates and Semester Events


This schedule indicates tentative due dates and topics only. I will provide details about readings, exercises,
and formal assignments in handouts that I distribute in class and post on the course Web site. Always check
the latest course handouts and announcements on the course Web site (http://wwwi.mcpherson.edu/
~claryb/en110) for complete information on assignments and due dates.

M 8/31 Introduction to Course


W 9/2 Read and study CTRW 3-24
From Formed to Informed Opinions
F 9/4 Practice with the elements of critical thinking
M 9/7 Practice with the stock issues
W 9/9 Tour of Miller Library
Complete ID101 FYS library assignment
F 9/11 More practice with critical thinking strategies
M 9/14 DUE for Workshop: 500-word analysis of an argument
W 9/16 Read and study CTRW 31-46
F 9/18 Practice annotating and summarizing articles
M 9/21 Practice annotating and summarizing articles
W 9/23 Practice annotating and paraphrasing texts
F 9/25 Practice annotating and paraphrasing texts
M 9/28 DUE for Workshop: 250-300 word article summary
W 9/30 Read, annotate and study CTRW 75-83
F 10/2 Read, annotate and study CTRW 84-88
M 10/5 Read, annotate and study CTRW 88-100
W 10/7 Read, annotate and study CTRW 177-93
F 10/9 Discussion of Jacoby article CTRW 191-93
M 10/12 DUE for Workshop: 500-600 word analysis of Jacoby article
W 10/14 Read, annotate and study CTRW 221-41
F 10/16 Read, annotate and study CTRW 242-55
M 10/19 Fall Break – No Class

EN 110C Rhetoric I 4 Syllabus


W 10/21 Miller library research resources
F 10/23 Preparing the forum presentation and research report
M 10/26 MLA documentation
W 10/28 Assessment Half-Day – No Class
F 10/30 Practicing MLA documentation
M 11/2 Forum 1: Discussion Day
W 11/4 Forum 1: Presentation Day
F 11/6 Forum 2: Discussion Day
M 11/9 Forum 2: Presentation Day
W 11/11 Forum 3: Discussion Day
F 11/13 Forum 3: Presentation Day
M 11/16 Forum 4: Discussion Day
W 11/18 Forum 4: Presentation Day
F 11/20 Forum 5: Discussion Day
M 11/23 Forum 5: Presentation Day
M 11/30 Parenthetical documentation
W 12/2 DUE for workshop: 1,250-word researched essay
F 12/4 Submit 1,250-word researched essay
Preparing the persuasive speech
M 12/7 5-6 minute persuasive speeches
W 12/9 5-6 minute persuasive speeches
F 12/11 5-6 minute persuasive speeches
Th12/17 8 a.m. Final Exam

EN 110C Rhetoric I 5 Syllabus