Rhetorical Choices: Analyzing and Writing Arguments. Boston: Pearson, 2014.
What this writing intensive class is all about & what we hope to achieve:
In this class, we will critically analyze the methods that others use to communicate so that we can judge the effectiveness of their arguments, then focus on applying these lessons to our own writing.
By the end of English 101, you should be able to:
1. read texts critically and analyze the varied situations that motivate writers, the choices that writers make, and
the effects of those choices on readers;
2. analyze how writers employ content, structure, style, tone, and conventions appropriate to the demands of a
particular audience, purpose, context, or culture;
3. write persuasive arguments that articulate a clear, thoughtful position, deploy support and evidence appropriate
to audience and purpose, and consider counterclaims and multiple points of view, including international and
4. respond constructively to drafts-in-progress, applying rhetorical concepts to revisions of your own and peers’
5. analyze multiple modes of communication and the ways in which a wide range of rhetorical elements (both
written and visual) and cultural elements operate in the act of persuasion; and
6. evaluate sources and integrate the ideas of others into your own writing (through paraphrase, summary,
analysis, and evaluation).
Percentage Weight of Assignments:
Unit 1: Letter to the Editor 5%
Comparative Rhetorical Analysis Paper 15%
Unit 2: Annotated Bibliography 5%
Debate Analysis 15%
Unit 3: Position Paper for Academic Audience 20%
Unit 4: Position Paper for Public Audience 20%
In-class writing (handwritten) 10%
Out-of-class writing (typed) 10%
Grading Scale: A = 93-100, A- = 90-92.9 B+ = 87-89.9, B = 83-86.9, B- = 80-82.9 C+ = 77-79.9, C = 73-76.9, NC
A grade of NC means that the student has failed to complete enough work at C level or above to demonstrate that he or she has mastered basic college level writing skills or that the student has not fulfilled the course requirements or policies as outlined in the syllabus. The student may repeat twice a course for which an “NC” has been earned. The final grade of NC at the end of the semester stands for “No Credit” for the course and does not affect the student’s GPA.
In-Class Writing (10%):
We will be writing in class—a lot. The informal writing that you do in class (in which you brainstorm paper ideas, reflect on your process, etc.) counts in this category. Sometimes you will meet in groups or pairs to complete an activity during class, and this writing also falls into this category. Quizzes on readings also fall into the “in-class writing” category. Quizzes are either in the form of fact-based questions or free-form reading responses. Expect to be quizzed on any and all material. Always bring an annotated copy of your text to class with you. Read essays very carefully, rereading the difficult sections and making notes. When you finish reading the essay, you should be able to verbalize the argument of the essay, including some examples for supporting evidence. Doing this will ensure that you are properly prepared for the quizzes and for discussion.
In-class writing & quizzes cannot be made up if you are absent, even if you have been sick, have had something unexpected occur, or anticipate your absence in advance.
Typed Out-of-Class Writing (10%):
You will be typing reading responses, analysis worksheets, an informal oral presentation, a library tour, and other work to be completed outside of class and turned in during class time. I do not accept any work via e-mail, even if you have done the work and are sick and could not make it to class. Hard copies of your major papers & any out-of-class writing will either be turned in as hard copies (1) on time during class or (2) in the late papers mailbox in 311 McClung Tower (see “late papers” below), even if you have completed the work on time but couldn’t make it to class. If you know that you will be absent, feel free to turn your paper in early in the late papers mailbox. Occasionally I ask for work to be submitted digitally via Bb, which does not alter the “no work via e-mail” rule. Out of class work must be typed.
Note on in-class/out-of-class grades: I grade homework using a “check” system. A “check” indicates that you successfully completed the assignment. A “check plus” indicates that your homework was unusually thoughtful and thorough. A “check minus” suggests that while you attempted the homework, your response was either too brief or superficial to demonstrate the learning I am looking for or that your response indicates confusion or an incomplete understanding of the concepts the class is learning. I’ll assign homework a zero if the submission doesn’t really respond to the prompt, shows evidence of not reading, or is otherwise too hasty or brief. If you get mostly “checks” throughout the semester, your final homework grade would be a “B;” “check minuses” are equivalent to a “C;” “check pluses” are equivalent to an “A;” zeroes are equivalent to an “NC.”
(1) Each student must hold two conferences with me during the course of the semester. One of these conferences must be face-to-face, and the second can be via e-mail (or again face-to-face). I will schedule one conference for each student during class time. Only individuals scheduled for conferences on these days will be required to come to class (subject to the usual attendance policy). However, you do not need to wait for scheduled in-class conferences to meet with me. Conferences can also be held by (a) dropping by during my office hours (see top of the first page) or (b) e-mailing to schedule an appointment.
Formal Papers (80%):
I will provide a detailed assignment sheet for each major assignment this semester. Hard copies of papers are due within the first 10 minutes of class on the deadline established on the assignment sheet. I reserve the right to ask for some papers to be submitted digitally, either through our group file share on Blackboard, through e-mail, or through the Dropbox. I will always give advanced notice if I ask for papers to be submitted digitally in addition to or instead of hard copies in class.
Formatting: All papers must:
Be typed and double-spaced and paginated in a header at the top right corner
Use standard 1”/1.25” margins and 12 point Times New Roman font
Be printed on the front and back of each page (unless your printer does not have this capability)
Stapled (I reserve the right to hand it back to you and give late points if it’s not stapled)
Have your name, date, and title using MLA format (no title page)
In a folder with other relevant material—more on this later
Late papers will be penalized one-half letter grade per day (five points), beginning the day of the deadline—not per class session. This means that if your paper is due on Tuesday (within the first ten minutes), and you turn it in at the end of class, you would have already lost five points. If you wait to turn it in during class on Thursday, the paper would have lost fifteen points. Saturdays and Sundays do not count toward late points. Late papers should be signed in to 311 McClung Tower between 8:00-4:30 on a week day.
Revision: We will be doing a lot of drafting and revision exercises in class, and you will be turning in a folder of materials representing your process for each paper. You are also allowed to revise two papers for a better grade. If you wish to revise you must meet with me and resubmit your assignment in a folder with all previous drafts. We’ll discuss a deadline during our conference. Your new paper grade will be an average of the two grades.
Note on my approach to grading & conferencing your papers:When I comment on your paper drafting during a conference, I look for a few major issues and do not mark every single error that I see in the way that an editor would—I perform emergency triage rather than cosmetic surgery. Strong writing requires multiple revisions, and not every problem can be solved with one revision following one conference. Similarly, when I grade your papers, I highlight primary concerns in the margins and in my end notes in hopes that you’ll absorb the lessons for revision or from one paper to the next. If you have questions about this process or about the grades that you receive on papers, you should come see me for further explanation.
What the class will look and feel like on a daily basis (guidelines for behavior):
This is not a lecture class—it is discussion-based. Participation is not limited to speaking up during class discussion, though certainly everyone will contribute verbally over the course of the semester; participation also includes eye contact and body language that communicate attentiveness and engagement (not laying your head on your desk, etc.). I will also call on students regularly to help our conversations maintain a healthy pace.
Using cell phones in class is strictly forbidden: turn your cell phones off before coming to class, including the vibrate setting, and keep them put away. Leave your Beacons and other newspapers in your bags, away from your desks.
Laptops are not necessary for in-class work, so please refrain from using a laptop. Please do not use your phone for reading assigned texts. E-readers and tablets are acceptable as long as you’re using the comment feature to annotate and as long as they are flat on your desks where I can see them. Otherwise, students should always have hard copies of texts (either the books or printed readings from Blackboard) on hand during class with annotations.
E-mail is the best way to reach me, but please do not expect an instant return of messages, especially at night or on weekends. I will get back to you within 24 hours on a regular work day. I do not check my e-mail on Saturdays, but I do on Sundays. Please use the subject line English 101 for e-mail. And please use appropriate e-mail etiquette, including a salutation (Dear Professor Gentry or Dear Ms. Gentry), standard English, and complete sentences.
I will also sometimes e-mail you with updates or links for readings & post announcements to Blackboard (which then get sent to you via e-mail). I will give you 24 hours before I hold you accountable for information in an e-mail, but you will be held accountable, so make sure that you check your e-mail regularly.
Unforeseen obstacles: You have been given my contact information for a reason. If unexpected confusion arises, it is your responsibility to do everything you can to get the information you need prior to class, first by checking your syllabus, then by contacting me.
This class has an attendance policy. Missed classes will lower your grade, and after a certain number of absences you will not pass the class. Please read the following carefully:
You will be allowed 5 absences during the semester, which you should reserve for emergencies, as I make no distinction between excused and unexcused absences.
You will lose 1/2 a letter grade (5 points) for each absence over those 5, regardless of how that final grade affects your scholarship, financial aid, or college career.
If you find yourself with a long-term health problem or a documentable emergency, please see me as soon as possible.
If you miss seven or more classes for any reason, including emergencies and serious illness, you will receive the grade of “NC” and will need to re-take the course. I will take attendance at every class meeting.
Arriving in class 10 minutes or more late or leaving at all early counts as 1/2 absence. This means that two late arrivals and/or early departures equals 1 absence.
If the 10 minute late rule ever gets abused, I reserve the right to change it to 5 minutes or to the start of class.
Quizzes/in-class writing missed due to late arrivals cannot be made up.
Quizzes/in-class writing missed due to absence cannot be made up.
Missing an in-class conference counts as 1 absence.
Keep up with your own absences. I won’t notify you when you have exceeded the allotted number of absences, but I am happy to let you take a look at the attendance record in my gradebook.
Academic Integrity & Plagiarism
You are expected to abide by UTK’s Honor Statement:
An essential feature of the University of Tennessee is a commitment to maintaining an atmosphere of intellectual integrity and academic honesty. As a student of the university, I pledge that I will neither knowingly give nor receive any inappropriate assistance in academic work, thus affirming my own personal commitment to honor and integrity.
~From Hilltopics All work you turn in must be your own; appropriating others’ work, cutting and pasting from the internet, failing to properly acknowledge sources, turning in work that was substantially written or rewritten by a friend, family member, or tutor, providing false attributions of source material, falsifying data, or other forms of plagiarism or academic dishonesty will result in failing the assignment and other penalties, up to and including failure of the course and possible additional university action. All plagiarism and academic dishonesty is reported to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and the Dean’s Office of your College. Plagiarism is serious; we’ll talk about what it is and how to avoid it throughout the semester.
UTK’s policy on plagiarism is stated in Hilltopics:
Plagiarism is using the intellectual property or product of someone else without giving proper credit. The undocumented use of someone else’s words or ideas in any medium of communication (unless such information is recognized as common knowledge) is a serious offense, subject to disciplinary action that may include failure in a course and/or dismissal from the University.
Some specific examples of plagiarism are:
copying without proper documentation (quotation marks and a citation) written or spoken words, phrases, or sentences from any source;
summarizing or paraphrasing without proper documentation (citation) ideas and phrases from another source (unless such information is recognized as common knowledge);
borrowing facts, statistics, graphs, pictorial representations, or phrases without acknowledging the source (unless such information is recognized as common knowledge);
collaborating on a graded assignment without the instructor’s approval;
submitting work, either in whole or in part, created by a professional service and used without attribution (e.g., paper, speech, bibliography, or photograph).
In addition to the types of plagiarism listed above, I consider recycling work from another class to be academic dishonesty and doing so will result in failing the assignment. As a UTK student, you are held to all the standards and regulations stated in Hilltopics, and I recommend that you read it (http://dos.utk.edu/hilltopics/).
Places Where You Can Get Help (Resources & Services):
The University Libraries
The University Libraries are staffed by knowledgeable and helpful professionals and should be one of your first research resources throughout your time at UTK. Here are the two tips for letting the Library make your life easier: you can chat with a reference librarian to ask a quick question (about almost anything) and you can request a book for pickup at Hodges rather than weeding through the stacks (see http://www.lib.utk.edu/). One of your homework grades during the semester will be to complete one of the Library’s online tutorials, accessible at www.lib.utk.edu/instruct/tutorials .
Disabilities: If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a documented disability or if you have emergency information to share, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 100 Dunford Hall at 974-6087. Doing so will ensure that you are properly registered for services. http://ods.utk.edu Enhanced InSite Information
If you purchased a NEW copy of The Writer’s Harbrace, 5th edition, which is packaged with Enhanced InSite, please activate your code now, even though our class may not be using this program. If you lose the code without activating it, you will not be able to get another code for free next semester if your next composition instructor requires InSite. So, please activate your InSite code NOW. (InSite gives you access to an e-book version of Harbrace, plus other writing
resources, for at least four semesters. If desired, you may buy an access code separately, if you bought a used Harbrace.)
The Writing Center & English 103
The Writing Center provides free, one-to-one help to all writers. The trained tutors offer constructive feedback during any stage of the writing process. While the Writing Center is not a proofreading service, the tutors will help students with anything related to their writing, including grammar, brainstorming, organizing, polishing final drafts, and more. No appointment needed—just walk in. Web: http://writingcenter.utk.edu; Email: email@example.com; Phone: 865-974-2611; Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/UTKWritingCenter .
Pendergrass Library, Ag Campus (A113 - Study Room E): Wednesday 12:00- 2:00 pm
All English 101 & 118 students are encouraged to enroll in English 103, a 1-credit elective (S/NC grading) open to any student who would like individualized help with writing assignments. Enroll via MyUTK through August 28. Students who wish to enroll during the week of August 31–September 4 may do so by obtaining an “Add” slip from the Writing Center.
The Counseling Center’s mission is to promote students’ psychological, educational, and social well being. They provide a variety of services, including crisis intervention, individual counseling, workshops, and more. If you or someone you know could benefit from their assistance, contact them anytime. Location: 1800 Volunteer Blvd. (in the Student Health Building). Phone: (865) 974-2196. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop by Monday through Friday from 8-5. http://counselingcenter.utk.edu/ . You may also call the VolAware Student Hotline at 974-HELP (4357).
Key to the Schedule of Assignments, below:
Harbrace = Writer’s Harbrace Handbook (5th ed.)
All readings not in RC or Harbrace are to be found under “Course Materials” on Blackboard, either as a PDF, Word document, or an external web link.
For worksheets & assignment sheets, see Bb: “Assignments”
Print before you read so that you can annotate. You annotate to practice your analysis skills as well as to prepare for class discussion and quizzes. Bring these annotated, printed readings to class for discussion. Sometimes I will collect copies of your text to give quiz credit for printing & annotating.
Readings should be completed in advance of the calendar day on which they appear below.
I reserve the right to change the schedule of assignments as the need arises. If I do, I’ll give you plenty of notice and post the revisions on Blackboard.
Due: deadlines are in bold. If you’re absent from class, you’re still responsible for deadlines.
Assign: new assignments are italicized. If you’re absent from class, it’s your responsibility to consult Blackboard for the assignments that will be posted there.
Anytime you are not assigned to write about a reading out of class, you should assume that you will be writing on the reading in some form during class for a quiz grade.
Schedule of Assignments: Unit 1: Understanding Rhetorical Analysis and Persuasion
(Everything’s an Argument! Multi-Media & Multi-Genre Texts) Week One:
W 8/19 Introduction to the course
Assign: Email diagnostic, pg. 6, #1 of “For Informal Writing” from RC (This is at the end of Chapter one, which you’ll be reading for Friday. This assignment is the only one that you will turn in via email.)
F 8/21 Introduction to the course
M 11/30 Due: Final Position Paper for Public Audience
Exam Time:Due: Optional Revisions of Academic Arguments: 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, December 9
Extra Credit: To replace a quiz grade, you may complete a rhetorical analysis worksheet at any time during the semester by evaluating the visual rhetoric of a public space or the oral rhetoric of a public event. You may do this twice. It’s best to check ahead of time to be sure that your choice fits the criteria for the assignment, though occasionally you might stumble across an event that you want to take notes on in order to type up the formal assignment later, in which case, just check with me between the note-taking observations and your final write-up.
Public space possibilities include individual exhibits at the McClung Museum on campus or the Knoxville Museum of Art near campus or the gallery in the Art & Architecture Building or the galleries downtown that are open for visitors on the First Friday of every month; the UT Agricultural Gardens or any other garden organized and hosted by a sponsor (Ijams, the Knoxville Botanical Gardens); sports venues such as Neyland Stadium or Thompson Boling Arena; any that you propose to me.
Public rhetoric possibilities include the Issues Committee speakers, presentations at Sex Week, sermons or speeches delivered at a community or institution of faith, outdoor protests or performances, readings at the Writers in the Library series, or any other event that you propose to me.