English 103 Rhetoric and Writing

Cameron Eigner
Office: Robert Bell 397
Office Hours: TBA
Office Phone: 765-285-8580 ext. 0021

Required Materials:
Everything’s an Argument, Andrea Lunsford, John Ruszkiewicz, Keith Walters
BallPoint volume one, available online at: http://goo.gl/nMnnb

Contacting Me: E-mail is my preferred method of communication. I have my office phone listed, but seriously, don’t call it. E-mail gives me an easy way to track what you have asked (and more importantly, what I have responded), meaning it’s simple for me to double check what I have told you. This works in your favour.

Course Description:

Introduces and develops understanding of principles of rhetoric; basic research methods; elements, strategies, and conventions of persuasion used in constructing written and multi-modal texts.

Prerequisite: appropriate placement. Not open to students who have credit in ENG 101 or 102.

Course Goals:

• Understand that persuasion—both visual and verbal—is integral to reading and composing
• Understand how persuasive visual and verbal texts are composed for different audiences and different purposes
• Develop effective strategies of invention, drafting, and revision for different rhetorical situations and individual composing styles
• Compose texts in various media using solid logic, claims, evidence, creativity, and audience awareness
• Integrate primary and secondary research as appropriate to the rhetorical situation
• Develop strategies for becoming more critical and careful readers of both their own and others’ texts
• Demonstrate a professional attitude towards their writing by focusing on the need for appropriate format, syntax, punctuation, and spelling
• Take responsibility for their own progress
• Develop the ability to work well with others on composing tasks.

As the brilliant writers of BallPoint have oft-stated, writing is hard. Effective writing is a skill that goes beyond the letters on the page; rather, effective writing is also strongly linked to organization of information and critical thinking. This course will help you develop habits that encourage thoughtful composition and execution in writing. We’ll look at and dissect examples of well-made writing, both from your fellow students and from professional writers. By the end of the course, you will hopefully have a new appreciation for the complexity of text.

Assignment Overview:

Informal Writing
100 points possible

We will be doing weekly writing assignments via Blackboard. These will typically be responses to readings or other prompts. Occasionally you will be asked to submit larger assignments, a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of an example essay, for instance. Likewise, formative elements of the larger projects (outlines and other planning documents) may take the place of typical weekly writings. These are meant to be informal forays into writing; they are meant to keep us writing week to week, rather than to assess.

Project 1:
Rhetorical Analysis: 3-4 pages
100 points possible

The rhetorical analysis is one of the most important tools new writers should become familiar with. Rather than writing about a topic, a rhetorical analysis examines how a topic is presented, and what impact that has on a reader. We will discuss the purposes of pathos, logos, and ethos when it comes to evaluating writing. We will also discuss exigency and kairos as they relate to context. A rhetorical analysis looks primarily at the intended audience of a text, moving from there into how the author tries to persuade that audience. For this assignment, students will be given a selection of essays. They will be able to choose which one they analyze.

Project 2:
Definition Essay: 4 pages
150 Points Possible

How we define things has a significant impact on the way we live our lives. This essay will encourage students to work with different types of definition, examining how changes in definition influence the way we see the world. For this assignment, students will select their own topics, then look at how different definitions complicate them. Students will be tasked with finding new definitions using library research.

Project 3:
Argument of Fact: 4 pages
200 points possible

When most people think of doing research, they envision themselves gathering loads of information and smacking it all together. An argument of fact takes a slightly different approach. Rather than looking to cover the entirety of a topic, this essay will focus on small details that may have been misrepresented. Students will examine three sources, then use them in conversation with one another to demonstrate how some information is incorrect, inadequate, or overstated.

Project 4:
Evaluation essay: 5 pages
200 points possible

This essay will assess the quality of a student-chosen artifact as it stands in the broader category of things related to it. For example, one might choose to evaluate the statue of liberty as she relates to statues, landmarks, or national treasures. This essay will culminate in a group presentation. All students will have unique topics, but they will be grouped together based on similar essay interests.

Grading System:

Project 1: 100 Points
Project 2: 150 Points
Project 3: 200 Points
Project 4: 200 Points
Informal Writing: 100 Points
Attendance/Participation: 50 Points
Total: 750 Points

705-750 A
704-669 A-
668-641 B+
640-623 B
622-600 B-
599-578 C+
577-555 C
554-525 C-

NOTE: In order to fulfill the University's Core Curriculum requirement in Writing Program courses, students must earn a minimum grade of C to pass; a grade of C- is not considered acceptable. Writing Program courses may be repeated as many times as necessary to meet the requirement but:
• The first and all other grades will show up on the transcript.
• All grades except the first will be used to compute the GPA.
• A grade of W will not replace a previous grade.
• Course credit hours apply only once to graduation requirements.
• Students who do not successfully complete ENG 104 before earning 90 credit hours will not be 
able to take the Writing Proficiency Exam. These students will instead need to take an additional writing course [WP 393] after completing ENG 104.

Late Paper Policy:

I will only take late assignments if there are appropriate circumstances for missing the deadline. That your printer didn’t work or that your hard drive crashed or that you overslept (a 5pm class, no less) does not qualify. My definition of “late” includes things that are sent to me by e-mail during or after class on the same day. Do not e-mail me papers. I expect you to be in class on the days assignments are due.

Classroom Expectations:

Please come to class prepared. I cannot stress this enough. Do the reading assignments, do the writing assignments, and come to class ready to discuss them. Much of the work we do revolves around your participation.

I also expect everyone to be respectful. Sometimes discussions will be organic and free-flowing, but at least part of the time, that won’t be appropriate. It’s very difficult for anyone to listen to two people talking at once: don’t talk when other people are talking.

Some instructors hate cell phones. I happen to love mine. However, out of respect for you, I won’t spend our class periods playing around on it. I can only ask that you do the same. I won’t throw you out of class if your phone rings, it happens to everyone sometimes, but try to remember to silence them before we begin. Phones are so ubiquitous now that they aren’t as disruptive as they used to be. They are still disruptive, though.

I would like to request that iPads, laptops, and other devices remain put away unless I’ve specifically asked you to take them out. I know that some students use them to take notes, but I think for the purposes of this class, the risk of distraction outweighs the benefits of whatever notes you may or may not be taking.

Attendance and Tardy Policy:

Every class period is important, but I know that things come up from time to time. Whether you get sick, or if you just need to take a mental health day, know that you only get three miss days. After that, you will lose 45 points (5% of your total grade) per missed class. After 6 absences, per university policy, you will fail the course. This is beyond my control: know that if you miss the equivalent of three full weeks, including the days I grant without penalty, you will fail.

Tardiness is obnoxious. Don’t be tardy. We’re all adults. Tardiness is a nuisance, but it won’t become a factor in your grade unless there is a serious problem. If you foresee yourself having a serious problem, perhaps because of a conflict from another class halfway across campus, let me know in advance. It’s for my benefit just as much as it is for yours.

A note about conferences: If you miss a scheduled conference, you will be marked as having missed the entire week of class. There are no exceptions to this rule: you have an entire week where you don't have to come to the classroom. You can manage the 15 minutes you're required to meet with me. Please show up on time for your CHOSEN time slot. If you come late and hope there will be time later, you may be disappointed in the outcome.

Academic Honesty and Plagiarism:

Don’t use someone else’s words or ideas without attribution. Do cite your sources, even if you haven’t used their wording directly (paraphrased). I have very strict guidelines of what to do with source material when you hand in your assignments, and I will be checking them.

Be aware that it’s also possible to plagiarize yourself. It might not make much sense, but the takeaway is this: absolutely do not re-use papers, either from high school or your other classes. You may write about the same topics, but the papers must be original.

Both of these are violations of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities as defined in the student handbook (or at www.bsu.edu/sa/dean/stucode/) and will be treated as such. If you are concerned about inadvertently violating this policy, please see me before completing the assignment.

Disability Statement:

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible. My office location and hours are TBA.

The Writing Center:

Want extra feedback on your papers? The Writing Center is a community of Ball State students who value writing. Come and collaborate with one of our trained peer tutors on any project for any major. The Writing Center is a comfortable, supportive environment for writers from all communities and backgrounds. We are located in RB 291. Our hours are M-Thurs 10am-8pm and Fridays from 10-2. To make an appointment go to ballstate.mywconline.com.

Here is the tentative weekly schedule. Refer to it often. I will do my best to keep it up to date should anything change.

Week 1 Introduction, Rhetorical Analysis
Week 2 Sample Essays from Everything’s an Argument
Week 3 Paragraph breakdown of sample essays, Planning documents due
Week 4 Peer Review, Essay 1 due
Week 5 Introduction to Definition Essay
Week 6 Types of Definition and Topic Generation
Week 7 Conferences about Essay 1 & 2
Week 8 Peer Review, Essay 2 Due
Week 9 Introduction to Argument of Fact, What is a Fact?
Week 10 Example Essays from Everything’s an Argument
Week 11 Conspiracy Discussion, Sourcing Information
Week 12 Conferences about Essay 2 & 3
Week 13 Peer Review, Essay 3 Due
Week 14 Introduction to Evaluation
Week 15 Types of Evaluation, Topic Approval, Group Creation
Week 16 Peer Review, Essay 4 Due
Finals week:
Group Presentations

Available Syllabi

English 104 Spring 2013