Sample Weekly Schedule

CO300 Weekly Schedule, Fall 2010, Ed Lessor

Unit I Critical Reading/Analysis/Critical Response/Alphabetic and Visual Argument
Week I
Mon: Introduction to the Course.  Discussion of Multimodalism in Upper Division Composition. Discussion of the difference between CO 300 and CO 150. Introduction to Mature Reasoning.
Class Notes: We do an icebreaker that involves the students interviewing each other about a recent argument that they have had. They then get to “grade” each other for maturity. This is the first attempt to work with the official criteria for mature reasoning as spelled out in Aims. (Mature reasoners are: 1. Well Informed  2. Argue with the Audience in Mind 3. Self-Critical and open to Constructive Criticism 4. Know the Rhetorical Context of the Argument.
Wed: Read Chapter I of Aims. “Understanding Argument”. Discuss Rhetoric versus mature reasoning.
Class Notes: Today we do an in-class activity on applying the criteria for mature reasoning. I either bring in some letters to the editor from local papers, or have the students go to the opinion section of theDenver Post online. Working in groups of 3 or 4 they each read and “grade” a post for maturity. We discuss these as a class. For extra fun, use an opinion column such as Anne Coulter.
Fri: Read Chapter 2 of Aims. Write a one page summary of the essay by Martin that begins on page 24. This assignment should be done in your class notebook.
Class Notes: We do an in-class activity on rhetorical context for argument. We begin with a discussion of the rhetorical context of an essay that we have read for the homework. The Martin essay on tattooing in Chapter 2 of Aims works great for this. In groups of 3 or 4 we then play a game in which each group challenges another by changing an aspect of the rhetorical context (who, to whom, when , where, why). The group that has been challenged must change each of the other components of the rhetorical context to account for the new writing situation. For example: What happens when Martin is a tattoo artist rather than an adolescent psychologist? We then create WordPress blogs, and wrap up with a discussion the theory and practice of blogging.
Week II
Mon: From ART (Advanced Rhetorical Reader) read, “Thinking about Multimodality.” (Pages 313-333.) In a one page post to your class blog, give your response to three of the main ideas presented in the essay.
Class Notes: The critical questions at the end of this reading are a great stepping stone for a discussion of some of the fears and resistances that students bring to multimodal practice in the classroom, so we go over these first. Students then practice posting comments on the blogs. By the end of the class everyone should have created a link to the main class blog.
Wed: Read the essay by Bitzer from ART.  (Pages 1-16) Make a list of terms that you are unfamiliar with—find definitions for each of these. In your notebook write a short outline of what Bitzer would consider a “rhetorical situation.” Play the “rhetorical situation” game.
Class Notes: First we work through some of the tougher language of the reading. We then split into groups and create potential “rhetorical situations.” Each group challenges the others to determine if the situation that they have proposed is a “rhetorical” one according to Bitzer.
Fri: From ART read the essay by Swift that begins on page 303. Write a one page academic summary of the essay. Your summary should include: the main claim, the reasons, and key evidence from the essay.  You do not need to respond to the essay here–just try to paraphrase the argument in a concise manner. Bring a hard copy of this homework to class.
Class Notes: Students seem to find some relief from this essay after the more theoretical approach by Bitzer. We discuss exigence/audience/constraints for the example essay. This is a great time to work with the concepts of compound and cyclical exigence and how constraints can be a positive force shaping discourse as well as a limitation.
Week III
Mon: No Class                      Labor Day
Wed: Look online for a current issue that you feel might be interesting for the class to explore. In one page, answer the following questions:What is the issue? Where did you find the issue? Why are you interested in writing about this issue?  Why should other members of the class be interested in writing about this issue? Why would Coloradoans be interested in this issue? Why would U.S. citizens be interested in this issue? What would be some of the challenges involved in writing about this issue? Post this homework to your class blog before the beginning of class.
Class Notes: We use the blog comments feature to engage in mini-debates about what issues have exigence for the class given their current “rhetorical” situations.
Fri: From the “Class Files” tab of the Writing Studio read “Topical Essay 1.” In your notebook write a short summary of the argument, and outline an agree/disagree claim to the essay. Begin discussing Toulmin analysis.
Class Notes: The focus is on close critical reading of the example essay. We break it down according to Toulmin and begin crafting critical responses to the ideas of the essay.
Week IV
Mon: Read Chapter III of Aims: Analyzing an Argument: The Toulmin Method. Read the Toulmin essay from ART.            Discuss interpretive response. Discuss analytical response.
Class Notes: We start with small groups and synthesize a close reading of the essay. We then work through responding to the subtext of the essay, and how the essay is crafted. It is very helpful to come in with a handful of prepared interpretive claims for the specific essay—this is a difficult concept for many of the students to grasp.
Wed: From the “Class Files” tab of the Writing Studio, read “Topical Essay 2.” Write a one page interpretive response to the essay. Bring a hard copy to class.
Class Notes: We do Mini-workshop for the interpretive response. I spend part of the time working through a class sample and part of the time having them break down their own arguments. I am particularly focused on making certain that they are responding to assumptions and implications of the text, that they make actual claims about these, and that they support their claims with close explication of the text. Time permitting we search for visual arguments online.
Fri: Read Chapter Four of Aims: Reading and Writing about Visual Arguments. Read “Topical Essay 3”. In your notebook do a Toulmin analysis of the essay. Use this analysis to outline an analytical claim about the essay.
Class Notes: We do a Mini-workshop for the analytical claim. The key factor that I stress here is that they support their claim with evidence from the text, and that they push beyond merely showing that the analytical effect can be construed from their reading of the essay. How does that sloppy transition impact the overall meaning of the argument that the writer is attempting to make?
Week V
Mon: Read the essay by Blair that begins on page 17 of ART. Take notes on the key concepts. Be prepared to discuss the basic requirements for a visual argument as postulated by Blair. Gather visual arguments and post to the class blogs.
Class Notes: We discuss Blair by putting together a short list of his minimum requirements for a visual to be considered an “argument.” We then work through some activities from “ix visual arguments” and “i-claim.”  We then practice analysis of sample visual arguments.
Weds: Write a one page analysis of “Practice Visual 1”. Use the guidelines from our previous class discussion. (Materials Tab) Mini-workshop for visual arguments.
Class Notes: We work through a handout on the analysis of visual argument. [See copy of this in the “Activities” file of the Instructors’ Website].
Fri: Drafting day. Bring your materials to class and work on your draft of the Rhetorical Analysis paper. Print out the Final Option Artifacts that you intend to work with.
Class Notes: I try to give the students some time to work on the assignments while I am present in the room. I find that I get a lot more questions by circulating around while they are actually working on their tasks then I do when I have required conferences.
Week VI
Mon: Workshop for the Unit I paper. Bring two copies of your draft for your peer review group.
Wed: Unit I Essay Due:   Your portfolio should include: one polished draft of the Rhetorical Analysis Essay, two workshop drafts of the Rhetorical Analysis Essay with peer comments. Please place these materials in a pocket folder.
Class Notes: I have them do a process memo that they turn in with this portfolio. I ask them to narrate their process, ask about revisions, and ask about strengths and weaknesses of the project. We then jump right in and begin talking about the Inquiry Unit.
Unit II Inquiry Argument/Research Tools/Alphabetic and Audio Arguments
Fri: Read Chapter 7 of Aims: Arguing to Inquire. Take notes as though preparing for Reading Exam 2. (Note: this chapter will not be covered on Reading Exam #1) Discuss topic and issues—basic research.
Class Notes: In a tech class I have them explore some topical media such as political cartoons or opinion columns. We then discuss the differences between topics and issues and generate lists of potential issues to explore in this unit.
Week VII
Mon: Reading Exam I. Use the Exam Review Sheet to help prepare.
Wed: Begin Posting Blog Source Reports. Have 2 posted by today. Read Chapter 5 of Aims: Writing Research Based Arguments.
Class Notes: We discuss invention work for topics and issues. Continue discussion of research techniques. This is often a good class to do a “topic and issue” fair. [See copy of this in the “Activities” file of the Instructors’ Website].
Fri: Continue posting Blog Source Reports. Have 4 posted by today. Discuss source evaluation tutor.
Class Notes: We go over the CARS source evaluation tutor which is one of the supplemental materials from theAims online resources. I often have them make a very tight summary version of the tutor and then go online and evaluate a source that I have chosen for them. I usually choose two sources—one hard left and one hard right. I have them evaluate both sources and then make notes on how much easier it is to see the flaws in the source that they disagree with. Both sources are usually quite poor sources: Coulter and Alter columns work well for this.
Week VIII
Mon: Bring a Draft of Inquiry Part I: Research Question and Initial Opinion Statement.
Class Notes: We do a full day dialog activity in class. In order to get a sense of the Exploration and Dialog components of Inquiry, the students use the “Questions for Inquiry” from Aims to put a great deal of pressure on their Initial Opinion Statements. This serves as the workshop for Part I of the Inquiry paper.
Wed: Library Research Day. Meet at the Library to continue your research.
Class Notes: I use the library tutorials for basic research strategies. We then have a round table discussion in class on databases and internet searches. I then have the entire class go to the library at least once during the semester.
Fri: Blog Source Reports Due.  Discuss format for Part II. Discuss drafting strategies.
Class Notes: This is a hands-on day. We go over strategies for working with multiple sources and creating grids for comparisons, doing strategic Toulmin workups, etc.
Week IX
Mon: From ART read “Sound Matters,” by McKee. (Page 203.) Discuss the affordances of audio. Compare audio to alphabetic texts.
Class Notes: I bring in some audio for today. NPR is a great source for this. On the Media and This I Believeare both great sources for short interesting audio arguments/essays. I download the alphabetic transcripts as well—we do an activity in which we switch back and forth from reading to listening. The students then try to articulate the “affordances” of each mode.  [See copy of this in the “Activities” file of the Instructors’ Website].
Wed: Audacity Lab Day. Bring to class your headphones and a flash drive with 2G of free memory.
Class Notes: We watch a couple of tutorials and I give them directions for downloading the software and some free sound samples—then they jump right into it! This is my scariest day!
Fri: Workshop Annotated Bibliography. Have four completed entries for this workshop. You need only bring one copy of your draft at this time.
Class Notes: The Bibliography workshop is very quick. We then go on to work with more audio samples and troubleshoot audio production issues.
Week X
Mon: Choose an anchor source. Do a one page source dialog by applying some of the “Questions for Inquiry” to your source. (Materials Tab of the Writing Studio, or page 181 of Aims.) Bring a hard copy to class.
Class Notes: We do an activity designed to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the anchor source. Each student should leave with a clear strategy for drafting Part II of the Inquiry Argument.
Wed: Workshop Part II of the Inquiry Essay: Source Exploration and Evaluation. Bring two copies for your peer review group.
Class Notes: This is the major workshop for Unit II.
Fri: Bring one copy of your Audio Reflection. If you produced an audio version, make certain to bring your headphones to class.
Class Notes: The Audio Reflection serves as the reflective writing for this Unit. We do a short workshop with the focus on citing specific ideas from Parts I and II of the essay. This is a final trouble-shooting session for audio production. (I usually give them some extra time to turn in the Audio component.)
Week XI
Mon: Unit II Portfolio Due: Your portfolio should include: Final Draft of Part I, Final Draft of Part II, 2 Workshop Drafts of Part II with peer comments, Final Draft of Part III, Final Draft of Annotated Bibliography.
Unit III Advocacy Campaign
Wed: Read Chapter 8 of Aims: Making Your Case: Arguing to Convince.
Class Notes: It is important to spend some time discussing the differences between Inquiry and Convincing modes of argument. Just as the class begins to accept that argument can be about dialog and exploration we shift back into competitive mode. I do an activity designed to demonstrate the importance of audience here as well. When we discuss the “Case Model” for a Convincing Argument, we project four sample audiences: People Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Health and Fitness, National Geographic. Using the same sample topic: Global Warming (if they can’t come up with a better one!), we brainstorm how each component of the case might morph given the different potential audience.
Fri: Read Chapter 9 of Aims: Motivating Action: Arguing to Persuade. Discuss the differences between the three modes of argument.
Class Notes: I spend some time here bringing the focus back around to ethos and pathos—the convincing case relies primarily on logos. We take a bit of time here to discuss the dangers of inappropriate uses of pathos—and how emotions can be used in a positive and legitimate manner to persuade action.
Week XII
Mon: From ART read Ede and Lunsford, “Audience Addressed/Audience Invoked.” Answer the discussion questions in your notebook.
Class Notes: We do an audience activity with sample magazines. There is a creative component at the end of this that allows the students to imagine a day in the life of the reader of the magazine that they are working with—this goes well with the Ede and Lunsford essay as they can see the connection between the demographically real magazine reader and the invoked reader that they are describing through their projections. [See copy of this in the “Activities” file of the Instructors’ Website].
Wed: Bring a draft of your Mission Statement.  Discuss sample mission statements.
Class Notes: Sample Mission Statements from Animal Rights groups work well here. Teasing out the differences between statements by PETA, the SPCA, and the Humane Society reveals quite a difference in intention and potential audiences for the different groups.
Fri: Reading Exam II: See your study guide sheet.
Class Notes: I have instituted two objective reading exams worth 10% points each this semester. Our new reliance on the readings from ART has given me the sense that we should both hold the students accountable for the reading as well as reward those that are keeping up with this work.
Week XIII
No Class Fall Break
Week XIV
Mon: From ART read the Essay by Murray on page 233 and the essay by George on page 105. Answer the discussion questions in your notebook.
Class Notes: These are two very accessible readings that serve as a kind of pep rally for the upcoming peer workshop work.
Weds: Bring a hard copy draft of your Audience Analysis (Assignments tab).
Class Notes: We do a short workshop on the Audience Analysis and then begin our discussion of sound argument and logical fallacies.
Fri: Revise your Audience Analysis based on our discussion from Wednesday. We will do an in-class activity today. Participation points will be awarded!
Class Notes: We do an activity designed to create an active working knowledge of a handful of logical fallacies. Each group writes an argument based on an assigned fallacy—we then use these as introductions/definitions for the chosen fallacies. This is usually a lot of fun. We end the class by discussing the thesis statement in some detail. [See copy of this in the “Activities” file of the Instructors’ Website].
Week XV
Mon: Bring in three draft versions of your thesis statement.  Discuss finding and arranging reasons.
Class Notes: We do a mini-workshop on the thesis statement with the targeted audience in mind. We then discuss finding and arranging reasons and supporting evidence.
Wed: Bring a draft list of ten reasons that might support your Targeted Convincing Argument. Discuss gathering and evaluating evidence.
Class Notes: We do a small group activity on choosing and arranging reasons and then discuss evidence for each of the reasons. We then discuss effective and ineffective introductions and conclusions.
Fri: Bring a draft of your Introduction and Conclusion. Bring sample evidence that you intend to use to support your reasons for the Targeted Convincing Argument.
Class Notes: We focus the first part of the class on the Supporting Persuading Essay—some of the students have let this drift a bit by now. We discuss potential strategies and make certain that the chosen modes align with the issues at hand. For example, I had a student working on Drone warfare who wanted to do a tri-fold brochure on the issue. After a bit of discussion he realized that this might seem a bit too commercial for that particular issue, so he switched to a visual argument with a rationale.
Week XVI
Mon: Bring your drafting materials for the Supporting Persuasive Revision. If you worked with audio or video, remember to bring your headphones to class.
Class Notes: The final week is basically for work shopping and drafting. I use this time as a chance for final conferencing as well.
Wed: Workshop Targeted Convincing Essay: Bring two copies for your peer review group.
Fri: Workshop Supporting Persuasive Essay. Bring headphones if required. Bring two copies of the printed material for the assignment.
Class Notes: I always take participation points during workshops—this helps with some of those end-of-the-semester absences.
Finals Week
Wed: Your portfolio should include: Final version of the Mission Statement. Final version of the Audience Analysis. Final version of the Targeted Convincing Argument. Two rough drafts of the Targeted Convincing Argument with peer review comments. Final version of the Supporting Persuasion Argument.