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Course Calendar

Please note that this calendar is designed to be flexible: we may make changes along the way, depending on your interests and the needs of the class. Should you miss a class, you are responsible for knowing about—and adjusting for—any changes by getting notes and other materials from a classmate. Professional protocols and collegiality call for you to alert us if you’ll be missing on a day when we’re having a workshop or when you are scheduled to present materials.

 Week 1 Introductions, key concepts, & course goals St. Martin's Handbook, Chapter 1: Expectations for College Writing
Thursday, September 6th

In class: Introductions, key concepts, & course goals

Due: Course Survey


  • Key rhetorical contexts: purpose, audience, and occasion; reader-based writing that accomplishes something
  • Key terms: rhetoric, ideology, analysis, assumption, assertion, claim, argument, context, critical thinking
  • New York Times [+subscription info]
  • St. Martin’s Handbook:
  • 1d Becoming an engaged reader and active listener
  • 7a Reading print and digital texts
  • 8b Thinking critically about argument
  • Digication and my example
  • Digication getting started video

Advice: For most of us, college is the only time in our lives when we get to read and write and talk about ideas. Don’t squander it while you’re here.

Tuesday 9/11

In class: NYT Page A1 and Sunday Review section

Due: Two reading journal entries:

#1: Handwritten summary of Jamison’s Mark my Words. Maybe. Is this an argument? A claim? Is it persuasive? What is the essay about?

#2: For Dialogic Reading Journal Summary #2 and class discussion: "Teenagers Aren't Losing Their Minds" — Sunday Review, page 6

Let's brainstorm "My Generation Photo"

Week 2 Summary & Analysis
St. Martin's Handbook, Chapter 8
Thursday 9/13

In class: NYT, as assigned

Due: Rhetorical Precis, posted to Digication

9:40 section: "In Life’s Last Moments, Open a Window." SR 7

1:00 section: "The Kids Who Still Need Football." SR 3

Background: St. Martin’s Handbook — 

  • 8e Identifying elements of an argument
  • 8f Identifying fallacies
  • 13b ”Working with quotations”; note how some of the signal verbs are rhetorically active verbs (“claims”) and some are not (“says”). Can you tell the difference? Samples.

For class discussion, we'll focus on p. A1 and the Sunday Review section — come prepared to discuss.

Tuesday 9/18

In class:

NYT, as assigned In class: For class discussion, we’ll focus on p. A1 and the Sunday Review section — come prepared to discuss.

Due: Rhetorical précis #2 — "I Came of Age During the 2008 Financial Crisis. I’m Still Angry About It," Sunday Review, p. 3.

 Week 3 Reading and writing rhetorically: ethos, pathos, & logos
Thursday 9/20

In class: NYT, as assigned

Due: Rhetorical précis #3 — your choice:

  • Lepore, "The Hacking of America"
  • Jauhur, "Why Your Cardiologist Should Ask About Your Love Life"

Everyone should read the front section and the Sunday Review section; you image titleshould also be seeking out sections that tend to interest you more than others — Sports, Business, Arts, Style & Fashion — try to note stories, trends, and writers that interest you.

In class: We will begin class by going around the room and hearing an informal 60-90 second overview of an interesting article that you read in the Sunday NYT — any section, any topic — why it was important and relevant to you, and why it should be important and relevant to us. It’s a great way to get a tour of the Sunday paper, and to find out what people are interested in.

Page One: Inside the New York Times — no longer on Netflix, but is available via Hulu and Amazon Prime — free trials are available for both.

Tuesday 9/25

Due: Rhetorical Précis #4 on whatever essay appears on p.1 of the Sunday Review, above the fold

In class: TBA

St. Martins Handbook PART TWO—Critical Thinking and Argument

7. Reading Critically

8. Analyzing Arguments

 Week 4 Planning and drafting a rhetorical analysis & scheduling required individual conferences — schedule and sign-up TBA
Thursday 9/27

Reading: "The Patriarchy Isn’t Going Anywhere" SR 1

In class: Writing Center Presentation; moving from summary to rhetorical analysis; rhetorical analysis test-drive

St. Martins Handbook PART TWO—Critical Thinking and Argument

7. Reading Critically
8. Analyzing Arguments

Tuesday 10/2

In class: Rhetorical Analysis writing workshop

Peer reviews: St. Martin's Handbook: 4b

Due: Rhetorical Analysis draft #1

Annotated copy of a persuasive NYT essay for your Rhetorical Analysis: post a photo on your portfolio and bring the paper version to class

Previewing: good editorial reviews and feedback

Use your SMH 4b.:

  • Read "Understanding the role of the peer reviewer" — read carefully — it's just a few paragraphs, but they are good paragraphs
  • A summary of the draft: use the examples from Compliments | Constructive Criticism table — 2-3 from each column
  • Apply our assessment criteria that we brainstormed yesterday
  • Provide editorial feedback — no proofreading — in 2-3 fully developed paragraphs
 Week 5 Advocacy and Argument: Op-Ed Project … and why you’ll want to be in a good writing group the next several years
Thursday 10/4

Reading: class choices: 

9:40 section: "My Friend Wrote a Book Before He Died. Could I Read His Handwriting?" SR 7

1:00 section: "A History Lesson in Optimism" SR2

Come prepared to lead a discussion on these articles.

Due: Rhetorical Analysis, draft #2

In your final draft for Tuesday, add to your Rhetorical Analysis page:

  • The peer review I received (paste it in)
  • The peer review I gave (paste it in)
  • If you have a Writing Center Report, add it there — you'll get credit for those
Tuesday 10/9

In class: NYT, Sunday Review, Page 1 — "A Year of Reckoning" and "Advice From a Young Activist."

Rhetorical Analysis assessment criteria Due: Rhetorical Analysis, draft #3

Preview Persuasive/Op-Ed Essays & Letters to the Editor:

  • Last names A-L: submit by Thursday 11/1
  • Last names M-Z: submit by Tuesday 11/6
 Week 6 Writing workshops: advocacy and argument
Thursday 10/11

Reading: NYT, as assigned

Due: Op-Ed Inquiry Question, posted to Digication

In class: Op-Ed Inquiry Question Workshop

Remember to post your one-sentence Advocacy Project Inquiry Question today — at this brainstorming stage, questions we might pose tend to be pretty obvious:

  • What is your proximity to this issue? 
  • How does it affect you? 
  • How would you characterize the issue’s exigency? 
  • How would you characterize the issue's stasis?
Tuesday 10/16

Reading: The Case of Jane Doe Ponytail — in the print version, annotate and highlight what you think are the "rhetorical" strategies in the essay. And it's fair to ask yourself along the way, is it rhetorical? Why or why not? What genre of writing is this?

When reading the digital version, try to note as many typographic choices that the NYT designers made as you can — jot them down somewhere.

In class: Persuasive Writing Workshop

Due: Op-Ed inquiry question & your 250-word exploratory essay; yellow-highlight your best, or most interesting, or most compelling, or most intense sentence.

  • Connect & Analyze
  • Contextualize
  • Imagine & Design
  • Act & Socialize in an Op-Ed Essay
 Week 7 Advocacy and Persuasion
Thursday 10/18

Due: Op-Ed project 2nd draft, begining again, with your highlighted sentence from your first, exploratory draft

What's in your self-editing toolkit? Brainstorming, revising, editing, proofreading

  • SMH: Levels of revising, editing, and proofreading: Chapter 4, especially 4b ("stages"), 4.g,  4.h, and 4.i.
  • [P] [I] [E] paragraphs
  • SMH: Paragraph transitions: 5.e-f
  • SMH: Intro/Conclusions — "special purpose"– 5.g
Tuesday 10/23 Reading: NYT Obituaries








  • Can you identify 2-3 conventions for Times obituaries? All genres have their own conventions — lyric poems, academic essays, science-lab reports — and obituaries do, as well. What are they?
  • Which obituaries stood out for you? Why?

Due: Op-Ed Draft #3, and made available to Peer Reviewer; mark-up 2-3 [P] [I] [E] paragraphs 

In class: TBA

  Due TBA: Phenomenological-reading peer reviews: we'll wait and use this process in your next project What we're looking for is your experience reading the essay — how it made you feel, not making corrections or arguing back. A phenomenological-reading peer review is a description, so we expect to hear you saying things like,






  • "This made me feel …"
  • "I felt swept right up in the rhythm of that paragraph …"
  • "I'm confused here. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to get from this"
  • "That made me laugh"
  • "This made me a little sad"
  • "This reminds me of …"
  • "My essay is on a similar topic, and this made me think about …"
 Week 8 Editing and Proofreading
Thursday 10/25

Reading: NYT TBA

Background: St. Martin's Handbook:

Due: Op-Ed, final draft

Preview: Remix the New York Times

Tuesday 10/30

Reading: NYT "The People of the Migrant Caravan" (SR 3) by Ioan Grillo.

In class: Remixing the New York Times workshop

Due: Remix worksheet — in class; bring 2-3 good, generative questions

 Week 9 Remixing the New York Times
Thursday 11/1

Reading: NYT "The People of the Migrant Caravan" (SR 3) by Ioan Grillo, continued

In class: Remixing the New York Times workshop

Due: Remix "draft" #1 — can be messy & rough — photo, sketch, etc.

Tuesday 11/6

Reading: NYT 

Prepare a 60-90 second verbal summary overview of any article, from any section and prepare to:

  • Tell us why it's interesting and relevant to you  
  • Tell us why it could or should be interesting and relevant to us (that one might be harder than the first one!)

We'll go around the room and get a good tour of the Sunday paper. 

In class:

  • Remix Workshop
  • Portfolio preview

Illinois General Election Day

 Week 10 Conclusion and portfolio development
Thursday 11/8

Reading: NYT TBA

Due: Remix final with user's manual; Remix Statement of Goals and Choices (SoGC)

In class: Digital Portfolio Workshop

Tuesday 11/13

Reading: NYT, as assigned

In class: Digital Portfolio Draft Workshop

 Finals Week

Our scheduled exam time, when we will meet for the final, official delivery of your WRD 103 Digital Writing Portfolios and Dialogic Reading Journals: 

  • Section # 127: Thursday, 11/15, 8:30am-10:45am
  • Section #133: Thursday – 11/15, 11:30am-1:45pm

You can locate final exam times for all of your classes here