Course Assignments

Below you will find a description of major course assignments. All due dates appear in the syllabus.

Assignment 1- 1200 words (15 %): This assignment asks you to apply the rhetorical strategies we have studied together thus far in the course; you will locate a written argument—an editorial, a film, book, or product review, etc.—and analyze the effectiveness of that argument based on its construction. The objective is not to debunk or refute the argument, but rather to assess the rhetorical devices employed by the writer to determine whether or not those devices are effective in making the argument.

Assignment 2- 1200 words (15 %): This assignment asks you to consider the role of an audience not just as readers or listeners, but as active participants in a dialogue between writer and audience. Being an active reader or listener is more than understanding the message; it involves evaluating the argument and whether or not it is effective. For this assignment, you will locate a written argument and respond with your own argument, demonstrating a thorough comprehension of the argument to which you are responding.

Assignment 3- 900 words (15 %): In “The Dawn of the Postliterate Age,” Patrick Tucker argues that “The written word is itself a form of technology” and that the “information age” poses a threat to the written word and its “survivability”. This assignment asks you to consider how the use of internet technology such as Facebook, Twitter, YOutube, and blogging sites inform and enrich writing by allowing access to diverse audiences with the click of a button and creating a forum in which writers and readers can instantaneously interact with one another. For this assignment, you will write an essay in which you make an argument about the benefits and/or challenges such sites present in the dissemination of news and information as well as how they challenge us to interrogate what it means “to write” in this digital age.

Assignment 4- 600 words (25 %): As the culminating assignment of the course, this assignment asks you to consider the ways in which various media—images, video, audio, etc.—can be used to make arguments or to enrich written arguments. You will create an argument using any form of media other than strictly traditional writing; it may be anything from an image-based collage to a YouTube video, and you will defend your argument to the class in a presentation. Finally, you will write an essay in which you discuss the reasoning behind the rhetorical choices you made to most effectively defend your argument.

Note: all formal papers must be word-processed and double-spaced, in Times New Roman, twelve point font. Follow MLA style of documentation for all written assignments. All papers must be submitted via the appropriate assignment drop box in Sakai no later than 12 PM of the date indicated on the syllabus. Late work will not be accepted. I am always available to discuss your papers with you during the writing and research process. If you have any questions or concerns about your work, please feel free to contact me via e-mail, visit during office hours, or schedule an appointment with me.

Blog Entries (300 words each, 8 total, 15 %): The purpose of this assignment is to serve as a site of research and reflection and to create a collaborative writing community in which you interact with your peers both as readers and as writers, engaging in an ongoing dialogue that challenges you to think critically about your writing and deepen your understanding of the importance of audience awareness in crafting a persuasive argument. For this assignment, you will create your own blog on WordPress.com. Throughout the semester, you will have ten (10) or more opportunities to respond to a prompt that I will post on the main course blog. You must respond to eight (8) of these prompts by the end of the semester. IN addition, you must respond to one (1) of your classmates’ blogs during each week that you post. While these blog responses are not formal essays, they must show evidence of critical thinking and make a clear argument about the topic to which you are responding. While you may choose during which week to respond to blog prompts, it is your responsibility to keep a record of your responses. Your entries must total eight (8) by the end of the semester. Missed responses cannot be made up.

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