For Teachers: GTA Materials, CO150 Common Syllabus for 2011-2012

These materials represent the common 2011-2012 CO150 syllabus that new Graduate Teaching Assistants are using to teach the course in the current academic year.

Assignment 1: Academic Summary and Analytic Response

Overview: Throughout your academic career you will be asked to summarize and respond to the texts you read, and this assignment will ask you to do so in a way that focuses on rhetorical aspects of an article. To prepare for this assignment we will critically examine the rhetoric of the internet and social media as discussed in a series of texts that address issues such as privacy, freedom of speech, and cyberbullying. While we will consider the content of each of these texts, our primary concern for this assignment will be how the author conveys the central message to his/her potential audiences. As we read and discuss these texts, we will practice various strategies for summarizing and analytically responding.

Assignment 2: An Open Letter: Applying Ideas to a new Context

Overview: Every one of us has been in a conversation where we heard an idea or an argument we loved so much we couldn’t wait to share it with someone. In this assignment we will expand this type of conversation by spreading ideas between contexts. First we will read and listen to ideas and arguments, analyze them, and explore a new context that might benefit from the idea. We will convince an appropriate audience through an open letter that the new idea is worthy of their consideration.

Assignment 3: Stakeholder Analysis and Annotated Bibliography: Identifying Conversations

Overview: A first step before making a reasoned argument (Assignment 4) is to listen to the conversation. In our daily lives, issues are often framed for us as dichotomies, with two sides, a “right or wrong” or a “for or against.” A nuanced look at any issue, however, will reveal that there are as many sides as there are stakeholders involved. In academia, it is our responsibility to embrace an issue’s complexity before solidifying our opinions. One way to accomplish this is to create an inquiry question within the scope of a current debatable issue. These questions guide us as we research an issue and analyze the major stakeholders in the issue.  In this assignment, you will choose an issue and an inquiry question within the course theme of the internet and social media. Your exploration will result in a synthesis of the major stakeholders in order to present a fuller and more accurate representation of the issue than a surface glance allows.

Assignment 4: Contributing Your Reasoned Argument to the Conversation

Overview:  We began looking at various conversations surrounding the Internet and Social Media, reading and thinking critically about each text.  Once we immersed ourselves in the ongoing conversations, we began thinking how to take the arguments we heard and shift them to a different context, hence taking our critical thinking skills to new levels and beginning to consider the importance of perspective.  Finally, you have asked an inquiry question, guiding you through research of a particular, debatable issue and its various stakeholders.  With a specific stakeholder as your audience, you are now ready to contribute your own, reasoned argument to an ongoing conversation within the theme of the Internet and Social Media.  The argument you write for this assignment will be an academic, source-based argument for one of the specific stakeholders you’ve examined.  You may use some of the sources you’ve already gathered, but you should continue to find new sources to support your evolving argument.  Consider including the field research done in the previous assignment, or conduct additional field research.  Furthermore, your argument should add something unique or new to the conversation rather than just repeating someone else’s argument.

Assignment 5: Semester Self-Reflection

Overview:  This assignment asks you to post a final forum response that reflects critically on the reading, writing, and thinking you’ve done this semester and how your awareness of the rhetorical situation has shaped your writing and learning processes.  This final forum post will tell a story, or a narrative, of your progress through the course and explore how you will use the knowledge and skills you gained in CO150 in the future.