1 Associate Professor Libby Miles, PhD Office = Roosevelt 336 (questions only, no submissions) Office hours this spring = Tuesdays 12:30 2:00 and Wednesdays 10:30 11:30 Department of Writing & Rhetoric Main Office = 319 Roosevelt Welcome to WRT 104 Writing to Inform and Explain Tues 11:00 12:15 and ONLINE Swan 305 Course Description: Welcome! This is a very special section of WRT 104: a blended course that takes place partly face to face, and partly online. Together, we are part of something exciting and new, so each of us needs to do our part. This blended course will meet face to face on Tuesdays; the rest of our classwork will be done online, at your own pace, and on your own schedule as long as you meet our Friday deadlines. It will be helpful for you to think of this as a twice a week class, with deadlines on Tuesdays and Fridays. This blended format also allows us to pay attention to the environmental impact of our course. In an effort to switch to a more environmentally sustainable curriculum, then, this course allows those of you who commute to cut down on some driving. It is also a paperless class everything you turn in, you will submit electronically through Sakai. Everything I return to you will also be done electronically, through Sakai. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you practice saving your documents in a format compatible with Word. If you don t, your classmates and I might not be able to read or comment on your work. Additionally, we will be using the URI Common Reading, Colin Beavan s No Impact Man, as a departure point for all of your inquiry and writing projects. You will see how this unfolds as the semester goes on. Blended or not, WRT 104 is a course that will challenge your knowledge and practice of writing, as well as your understanding of yourself as a writer. This course fulfills a General Education requirement for English Communication (ECw) and focuses on writing as the sharing of information. It covers varieties and strategies of expository writing for different audiences and situations. In addition, this course provides extensive practice in writing effectively, reading complex texts, and using information technologies. These three skill areas, required for the general education program at URI, are integrated into the assignments and activities of this course. All first year writing courses at URI require five major projects plus other brief or informal writings; a focus on revision, with peer review and formative teacher response; a class session with a reference librarian who introduces the use of reference databases; the use of research to inform or persuade; and a final portfolio prefaced by a reflective introduction. In completing this course successfully, you will become more confident in using a number of writing strategies; you ll be able to respond effectively to the writing of others; you ll recognize different genres and purposes and be able to
2 Professor Libby Miles Blended WRT 104, Spring 2012 Page 2 adapt to different audiences or demands. Generally speaking, at the end of this class, you ll be better prepared to face any writing task, any situation calling for a written response. Course Objectives: Upon completion of WRT 104 you will have: Gained experience in writing effectively, reading complex texts, and using information technologies; Analyzed a number of rhetorical situations that writers face depending on the discipline, group, or community with whom they are attempting to communicate; Improved your ability to write effectively in various academic and public genres; Discovered, reflected upon, and improved your writing process; Collaborated effectively with your peers to develop, draft, and revise focused, well organized, coherent, polished documents; Sharpened your ability to observe and gather various forms of data as well as to locate and use library, field, and electronic resources to support your ideas; Identified, studied, and taken a stand on selected issues or cultural controversies. Required Texts: Beavan, No Impact Man (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009) (NMI) (Note: all first year students should have this book; additional copies are available from the WRT office, 319 Roosevelt Hall) Bullock, The Norton Field Guide to Writing (2 nd edition, Norton, 2009) Bullock and Weinberg, The Little Seagull Handbook (Norton, 2011) Reynolds, Nedra. Portfolio Keeping, (2 nd edition, Bedford St. Martin s, 2006) The Projects: Using Colin Beavan s No Impact Man as our inspiration and departure point, projects in this class are sequenced so that each one introduces you to a different rhetorical situation: a different purpose, a different audience, a different genre, a different tone, a different style, a different design, and so on. Each one stands alone as a complete project. However, should you choose to continue pursuing the same line of inquiry, the projects will allow you to build up to a more complex and nuanced understanding of that issue. A description of each project follows: Environmental Literacy Narrative. The Norton Field Guide to Writing describes how to write a literacy narrative, but in this class we are going to do ours with a slight difference: your narratives will describe a significant event in which you developed an awareness of the natural world around you, or of your own environmental impact, or of your stance toward environmentalists and other green movements, or of your appreciation of nature. Textual Analysis. Beavan cites a lot of research in his book, No Impact Man. Each of you will delve into one of those sources, read (or view) it, and report your summary and analysis to
3 Professor Libby Miles Blended WRT 104, Spring 2012 Page 3 the rest of the class. We will focus particularly on the use of ethos, pathos, and logos, among others. Annotated Bibliography. Individually, you will search and evaluate a wide range of sources relevant to your environmental inquiry issue. Each writer will complete a full annotated bibliography with a contextual introduction, suitable for sharing digitally with either your classmates or a concerned public for their information and use. Informative Report. Collaboratively, in teams, you will take what you ve learned in your combined Annotated Bibliographies and you will draft a well researched informative report appropriate to an interested audience with a stake in learning what you have to share. Position Paper. After the informative report, you will again work separately. This time, you will shape the information you ve gathered into a well researched and well argued position paper one which also uses the techniques you noted in your textual analysis. Your Portfolio of Polished Writing. At the end of the semester, you will have the opportunity to look back on all you have done, and revise it in light of all you have practiced and learned. Your portfolio will begin with a reflective introduction, and will contain 3 pieces: at least one for an academic audience, and at least one for a non academic audience. About Process Grading: Half of your grade in this class is based on your participation and process within each project. When I comment on your projects, I will do my best to give you a sense of what sort of final grade it might receive if turned in unrevised. The grade you receive, however, will reflect your process: did you do the readings and participate in the online discussion? Did you post to your invention work, and did you help your peers with their invention? Did you complete the assignment in accordance with the instructions? About Collaborative Writing: You will notice that Project 4 is collaboratively written, as a team, rather than as an individual. This mirrors how many writers function in the real world, particularly on complex and research intensive projects. Your behavior in the group setting will be evaluated each team member is responsible for evaluating the contributions of all writers on the team. Your teammates evaluations of you will factor into your grade. Everyone has a role to play, so make sure you play yours with all due diligence. Too many of us have been stuck on teams in which they do most of the work while others sit back and take credit. If that happens in this class, there are consequences. Peer evaluations feature significantly in the process grade for this project. About Portfolio Grading: One quarter of your grade is your final portfolio. It is at this point that your selected projects get a product grade. Please be aware that you may have received a perfect process grade on a particular project, but your produce grade may be hovering in the C range. For this reason, it is extremely important to read the feedback I give you and then to revise accordingly. Know the difference: process grades are different from product grades. About Peer Review: In this course, you will be graded not only on your own participation and process work, but also on how you interact with the other writers in the class. For each project, you will be asked to offer thoughtful, constructive, and thorough feedback to a small group of your classmates. I will give you guidance on this, but it is up to you to give it your very best effort. I value peer review highly, so accordingly it is worth 15% of your final grade.
4 Professor Libby Miles Blended WRT 104, Spring 2012 Page 4 About Reflective Writing: The last 10% of your final grade is on your reflective writing, in two forms. First, you will be asked to complete Taking Stocks from the Portfolio Keeping book throughout the semester. Second, you will also be asked to complete a Project Reflection Memo when you turn in each project. If you take both types of these reflective writing tasks seriously, you will find the introductory cover note to your portfolio will be far easier to compose. About Online Discussions: The course readings and sample projects are an important component of learning effectively in this class. Most of our discussions of these readings will take place in the Forum section of Sakai, and you are responsible for contributing to that discussion. These forums should function like a conversation we would have in class. To contribute well, you need to: Do the reading, re reading if necessary Read what your classmates have already written Choose which thread to reply to, and compose a substantive post on that thread Check in to see if anyone responds to your post, and if you want to reply back You are required to post a minimum of five posts per week to our forums: At least 2 substantive post on the readings, in response to my questions (by Friday) At least 1 substantive idea about your own project in response to my prompt (by Friday) At least 2 thoughtful and respectful responses to classmates (by the following Tuesday) A substantive post is at least 1 well developed paragraph long quite often, it may be longer. Substantive posts should include the page numbers and author credits for any passages you quote. Attendance and Participation: In a blended class such as this, attendance has two facets face toface and online. When we meet face to face, the small class environment of WRT classes makes dedicated attendance and full participation the responsibility of each and every class member. Students who miss classes are responsible for 1) explaining the absence and/or verifying its necessity; 2) getting the assignments from a classmate or the instructor; and 3) if the instructor agrees, making up the missed work. If students notify the instructor in advance, absences for religious holidays, athletic participation, or other university sanctioned events are excused. Other absences (for illness, accident, or personal tragedy) may be instructor approved; however, it is the student s responsibility to contact the instructor via or a phone message to explain the absence within 12 hours of the missed class, or to provide documentation within a week. Absences that are not universitysanctioned or instructor approved will mean a loss of points or a deduction to the final grade. While allowance can be made for an emergency, generally students who miss a total of three weeks of classes will fail the course: that s only three face to face absences for this blended section. As for online attendance, you are expected to regularly engage with the class in between our Tuesday face to face meetings. The idea is for you to log in when it works for you, and do your work on your own schedule, as long as you meet the deadlines. So, you will need frequent access to a networked computer to successfully complete this class. Sakai functions as an important part of the learning
5 Professor Libby Miles Blended WRT 104, Spring 2012 Page 5 environment for us quite literally, we meet here whenever we aren t in the same room and that s most of the time. Our discussions go on here. Our peer workshops and revisions happen here. Access twice a week is a bare minimum for you to successfully complete all requirements for this course. Better, make it a habit to log in four or more times weekly. Schedule them in, if you need to. Do know that I am able to track how much you log on to the course site. While allowance can be made for an emergency, generally students who miss a total of three weeks of discussion posts will fail the course: that s only three missed Friday deadlines. Deadlines and Due Dates: All work produced out of class is due at the beginning of the class meeting on the date specified. Unless special arrangements have been made with me, penalties will be applied to late papers. Sakai is pre set to accept projects up to 1 week late. If, for some reason, you are unable to turn it in during that window, then send me the project through the Messages function do not send it to my , or it will get lost. Keep everything within our Sakai site. Please note that you must complete all assigned writing projects in order to pass the course. Requirements: To pass this course, you must: Complete and turn in all major projects (including invention, drafts, writer s memos, revisions, and project reflection memos) Participate actively, responsibly, and respectfully on the online discussion forums Complete a semester ending portfolio of revised, edited, and polished documents with supporting materials and a reflective introduction; Collaborate effectively in small group, peer response, and team authored work; Submit major and minor assignments on due dates (including homework, reflective statements, post writes, on time submission of drafts, thoughtful revision between drafts, peer review work) Read all assigned material carefully, and post thoughtfully to the online reading discussions. That s the positive way to put it. Just to be clear, there are multiple ways for you to fail yourself in this course I want to make sure you know what they are. These are silly reasons to fail a class, so please don t do any of these to yourself. Not turning in all major projects Not posting in the online discussion for the equivalent of 3 classes/weeks Not being in class for the equivalent of 3 classes/weeks Not collaborating responsibly with your peers on peer review or co authored texts Final Exams / Final Portfolio: On the day set for our final exam, Sakai will be pre set to accept your Final Portfolio. The window will close at the time set by the final exam calendar. We will not meet face to face; simply submit your portfolios to Sakai on the right day, by the right time.
6 Professor Libby Miles Blended WRT 104, Spring 2012 Page 6 Final Grade Distribution: 50% = Process grades on all 5 Projects (note: process grades include your entire working folder, which means homework for all projects, posts, discussions, drafts, and revisions. The collaborative projects will also include the multiplier for team evaluations) 10% Environmental Literacy Narrative 10% Textual Analysis 10% Annotated Bibliography 10% Informative Report (collaborative) 10% Position Paper 15% = Peer review for your colleagues 10% = Reflective writing (the Taking Stocks and the Project Reflection Memo) 25% = Final portfolio (must include a reflective introduction, at least one project written for an academic audience, at least one project written for a non academic audience, and one other project you choose) URI Grade Scale: A 93 C 73 A 90 C 70 B+ 88 D+ 68 B 83 D 63 B 80 F 59 C+ 78 Courtesy: If you must come in late, please do not disrupt the class. Please silence your cell phones and other mobile devices, and do not use them except when relevant and approved for our in class work. Formatting: All projects will be submitted on Sakai, using a word processor compatible with Sakai s uploading functions. While you work, be sure to save all drafts of all projects on a hard drive, disk, and/or online storage space. Each project must be submitted with your name, the date, the course and section number, and my name as well as a title for the project. I will give more specific guidelines applicable to each project as they arise. Academic Honesty: You need to understand plagiarism and its consequences. Please consult the URI Student Handbook about academic honesty and related issues. The penalty for plagiarism is a zero for the assignment and a report to your academic dean, who has the option to fail you for the course; in addition, the charge of academic dishonesty will go on your record in the Office of Student Life. Instructors may require a paper to be rewritten, with or without credit, separately from or for the portfolio. The Little Seagull Handbook and many online resources offer extensive help on matters of plagiarism and how to acknowledge source material. If you need more help understanding when to cite something or how to make clear your references, PLEASE ASK.
7 Professor Libby Miles Blended WRT 104, Spring 2012 Page 7 Writing Center: All writers, all disciplines, all levels, all stages of writing. If possible, call ahead for an appointment ( ). Drop in tutorials are often available. 4 th floor, Roosevelt Hall. Special Needs: Any student with a documented disability is welcome to contact me early in the semester so that reasonable accommodations may be worked out to support your success in this writing course. Please also contact Disability Services for Students, Office of Student Life, 330 Memorial Union, PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS Project 1 Environmental Literacy Narrative When were you aware of becoming environmentally literate? What meaningful encounters with the environment have you had? In this first assignment, describe a significant event in which you developed an awareness of the natural world around you, or of your own environmental impact, or of your stance toward environmentalists and other green movements, or of your appreciation of nature. In other words, you will write a well told narrative pertaining to your environmental literacy, an event that prompted you to think about and understand the environment in a new way, or at least a way that was new to you at the time. The Norton Field Guide to Writing describes how to write a literacy narrative, but in this class we are going to do ours with a slight difference: instead of focusing on examples of how you learned to read and write, you are instead going to focus on how you learned about the environment. The narrative you share might be something that happened to you or to someone you know (a sibling, cousin, or friend), where you observed the event and/or its outcome. It certainly does not need to be about something you learned in school most likely, your environmental literacy narrative will not have to do with school. Ultimately, your narrative should be strong with vivid details and must indicate the narrative s significance or why and how it matters. If you are looking for models to follow, keep in mind that No Impact Man could be considered Colin Beavan s environmental literacy narrative; it shows us how and when he learned to change his relationship with the environment. Your Environmental Literacy Narrative should contain the following: A title A well told story A strong, vivid recounting of the event you are describing A clear statement of the narrative s significance An interesting introduction to hook the reader A conclusion that leaves readers with a sense of closure A purpose for telling this story to this audience
8 Professor Libby Miles Blended WRT 104, Spring 2012 Page 8 A sense of your audience, including the level of explanation and detail your audience might need Appropriate design, using visuals if you like 4 5 pages of text, written in a tone and style appropriate for your audience Project 2 Textual Analysis In writing No Impact Man, Colin Beavan needed to refer to many other writers, and he needed to uncover quite a bit of research to contextualize his year long experiment. For Project 2, you will locate one of his sources, read it, analyze it, and present your insights to another audience one who may or may not have read No Impact Man. You are expected to divide the whole into parts so that you can better understand how the parts work together. You decide who might benefit from this information, and you decide the style and tone that will best help you reach that audience. Your Textual Analysis should contain the following: A title An introduction that motivates readers to keep going (in other words, hook them in with a reason to keep reading) A brief and fair minded summary of the text you are analyzing A main point containing a clear interpretation of how particular appeals are used in the text: ethos, logos, pathos, repetition of words and images, audience, etc. Ample and appropriate support for your main point in the form of specific passages, examples of rhetorical appeals, and other textual evidence, with page numbers A conclusion that leaves readers with a sense of closure A purpose for presenting your analysis to this audience A sense of your audience, including the level of explanation and detail your audience might need Appropriate design, using visuals and excerpts if desired 4 5 pages of text, written in a tone and style appropriate for your audience To find a list of the texts you may analyze, please visit the following site: Click on any of the tabs along the top, and scroll down to find the printed materials. You may choose a chapter from one of the books, or the whole book if it is short. Alternately, you may choose a website or a video if it is complex, substantial, and robust enough to warrant a thoughtful analysis. IMPORTANT: No two students in this class can choose the same text to analyze, so if you have a strong preference, stake your claim early on the Invention Forum.
9 Professor Libby Miles Blended WRT 104, Spring 2012 Page 9 Project 3 Annotated Bibliography So far you have read No Impact Man, you have written your own environmental literacy narrative, and you have read and thoughtfully analyzed one of the sources that Colin Beavan used. For Project 3, you will begin doing your own print and digital research, answering your own inquiry question. Your audience is a collaborative team of like minded others who will want to use the research you find. Part of this project includes a class session at the Robert L. Carothers Library and Learning Commons. There, one of the teaching librarians will introduce us to the tools that will most help us find the print and digital research sources you need to answer your research question. You must complete the Library Pre Activity before our session at the library. Bring the hard copy with you to the Library Tour. Your annotated bibliography should have the following qualities: You need at least 5 credible and reputable articles, located through the URI library system (not google or Wikipedia) Each annotation must include a factually correct summary, which is true to the original research as presented; these will be approximately three quarters of a page long Each annotation will also include a short paragraph evaluating the source, its credibility, and its usefulness for future projects; these will be only a sentence or two Each annotation must be clearly written for your audience Each annotation must begin with a citation in proper APA format Your piece will begin with an introduction to contextualize the research, and to establish what sort of audience will find your annotations useful; these can be as inventive and as interesting as you like Your formatting and document design must be consistent Your project should have a title Standard written English, as appropriate to the audience Your finished product will be approximately 6 pages long, if spaced at 1.5. Project 4 Collaborative Informative Report So far you have read No Impact Man, you have written your own environmental literacy narrative, you have read and thoughtfully analyzed one of the sources that Colin Beavan used, and you have compiled a thoughtful annotated bibliography on a relevant topic that interests you. For Project 4, you will combine the expertise you have gained through your annotated bibliography with the expertise of your classmates. Together, your group will co-author an informative report for an audience that could benefit from the information you have learned.
10 Professor Libby Miles Blended WRT 104, Spring 2012 Page 10 While some research assignments may ask for an argument, this one is not meant to be persuasive. It asks instead for thorough and credible information that your readers can use to understand the scope of the issue. You are expected to remain unbiased and to give equal time to all sides or to represent accurately and fairly the ideas of all sources. Your report should be crisp and concise. Consider using headings, charts, graphs, visuals, etc. to help communicate the information clearly and economically. Please note that you will be evaluating your group members, and that those evaluations will be an important part of your grade. Your informative report should have the following qualities: You need at least 8 credible and reputable sources, culled from your combined annotated bibliographies. Your topic should be tightly focused, while still including all members of the team. Your report should balance direct quotes, summaries, and paraphrases. All information in your report must contain a citation, whether or not you use a direct quote from the source. Your report should not be heavy with personal opinion or persuasion that will come in Project 5. Your group s ethos should be apparent through your careful citations and trustworthy tone. Your report should have a consistent voice. In other words, it should not sound like 3 different people have written it and pasted it together. Take the time to combine and smooth out your voices. Papers must be in Standard written English, as appropriate to the audience. Your finished product will be 8 10 pages long, double spaced. You should use APA citation style, just as you did with your annotated bibliography. Project 5 Position Paper So far you have read No Impact Man, you have written your own environmental literacy narrative, you have read and thoughtfully analyzed one of the sources that Colin Beavan used, you have compiled a thoughtful annotated bibliography on a relevant topic that interests you, and you have collaborated with classmates on an informative report on that topic. For Project 5, you will argue your position on an issue growing from your topic. This means taking a stance and providing support or evidence for your position. Arguing a position demands that you use good reasons and strong appeals (remember the appeals in Project 2?). Remember to provide background information where necessary. Because arguing your position does not mean winning, you may also need to consider other positions. Arguing effectively
11 Professor Libby Miles Blended WRT 104, Spring 2012 Page 11 means engaging with those who are likely to disagree and showing your ability to understand other points of view. Your position paper should have the following qualities: You need at least 8 credible and reputable sources, located through the URI library system (not google or Wikipedia) feel free to use many of the same sources from your annotated bibliographies and your informative reports You need to take a clear and arguable position on your issue You need to explain the issue enough for audiences to understand the complexity of your position, using just enough background information Your argument should be supported with good reasons Your good reasons should be backed with convincing evidence, gathered from your sources You should also use any other appeals you think are useful for reaching your audience Your group s ethos should be apparent through your careful citations and trustworthy tone Papers must be in Standard written English, as appropriate to the audience Your finished product will be approximately 5 pages long, double spaced