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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 finding out what you missed from a classmate and for knowing about—and adjusting for—any calendar changes. Professional protocols and collegiality ask 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
“We Are What We Find, Not What We Search For”
Tuesday January 2nd In class: Introductions, key terms, course goals:

  • Key terms
    • assumption
    • assertion
    • claim + plausible support =
    • argument
    • argument vs. persuasion
    • ethos
    • exigency
    • logical fallacies: your SMH 8f
  • Key methods
    • summary
    • analysis
    • synthesis
    • integration — two forms: mechanical and rhetorical 

Test-driving our Rhetorical Analysis skills: Brooks, “The Retreat to Tribalism”

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.

Thursday January 4th

Reading: TBA
In class:  Summary and analysis workshop; annotating & note-taking with digital texts:

Due: Dialogic Journal Entry #1 — handwritten rhetorical analysis of “A Note From Our New Publisher” — 250-350 words


  • St. Martin’s Handbook: Reading Critically 7a
 Week 2
Summary & Integration
Tuesday January 9th

Reading: Kristof, Why 2017 Was the Best Year in Human History”
(Sunday Review, p. 9) Screen Shot 2018-01-07 at 7.19.07 AM
In class: Summary & Analysis, continued


  • Article summary and annotated copy
  • Dialogic Journal Entry #2: compare & contrast 3-4 different Reading Methods & Strategies with very specific examples
Thursday January 11th

Reading: NYT, Douthat SR (11:20 section)
In classSummary and analysis workshop

Dialogic Journal Entry #3: Describe and annotate three problems that you have experienced or seen — a description of the problem; your proximity to the problem; who the problem affects. Don’t provide a solution or thesis.

 Week 3
Is Reading an Act of Composing?
Tuesday January 16th

Reading:  Sunday NYT: “Without Her.” (SR 1)
In class: Mindful reading and other reading strategies

Due: Dialogic Reading Journal #4 — Video Tutorial: How to Search Academic Search Complete (3:08 video) — watch and test-drive video tutorial by applying it to two of your three annotated problems: comment/reflect on both the video tutorial and what kinds of sources you find, especially in terms of the problems’ potential & possible causes: interesting? Not interesting? Helpful? Not helpful? Include some journal and article titles; no need to be comprehensive — just some notes are fine.

Be prepared to give us a 60-90 second summary & overview of an article from the Sunday paper that you thought was interesting & significant, telling us why it is significant to you and why it should/could be significant to the rest us; we’ll do this in class.

Thursday January 18th

Reading: NYT —

11:20 section: Keep Our Mountains Free. And Dangerous (SR 4-5)

1:00 section: The Heartbeat of Racism Is Denial (SR 1)

In class: Previewing the Contextual Analysis Project
Reviewing critical thinking vocabulary & concepts

Active & Empathetic Listening

Empathetic Listening is a technique that can help you manage and avoid disruptive and assaultive behaviors. The foundation of the technique can be summarized in 5 simple steps.

  • Provide the speaker with your undivided attention.This is one time “multi-tasking” or “rapid refocus” will get you in trouble.
  • Be non-judgemental. Don’t minimize or trivialize the speakers issue.
  • Read the speaker. Observe the emotions behind the words. Is the speaker angry, afraid, frustrated or resentful. Respond to the emotion as well as the words.
  • Be Quiet. Don’t feel you must have an immediate reply. Often if you allow for some quiet after the speaker has vented, they themselves will break the silence and offer a solution.
  • Assure your understanding. Ask clarifying questions and restate what you perceive the speaker to be saying.

Active and empathetic listening

 Week 4
From Text to Context
Individual Conferences: reading journals and inquiry questions
Tuesday January 23rd

Reading: NYT, Mustafa Umar’s “Islam Teaches Us That Life Is a Test. So Is This President” (SR 2)

Due: Inquiry questions for workshopping
In class:

  1. Identifying an issue for research & developing a Research Question 
  2. ExerciseContextual Analysis Proposal & Map
    * Confirm that your completed proposal & map exercise is available on your Digication workspace for our library instruction session on Tuesday, January 30th
  3. Tutorial: How to Search Academic Search Complete (3:08 video)
  4. Exercise: Search Academic Search Complete and locate one article relevant to your topic. * Bring the article to the library instruction session

Background: review in St. Martin’s Handbook

Thursday January 25th

Reading: NYT

11:20 section: “A Golden Age of Drag?” (Arts & Leisure, p 1)

1:00 section: “Does ‘Three Billboards’ Say Anything About America? Well …” — print and digital article titles are wildly different on this one — (Arts & Leisure, p 1)

In class: Workshopping Proposals
Due: Inquiry Question

 Week 5
Argument & Advocacy
Tuesday January 30th

Reading: NYT TBA
In class: Library Workshop — meet in Richardson Library, Room 110: focus on the hands-on searching aspect so that you can get personalized help during the session. 

Due: posted to your Digication:

  • One article from your Academic Search Complete search
  • Contextual Analysis Proposal & Map 

Due: Journal entry #5: How would you characterize your intellectual contributions to our class thus far? Provide specific examples.

Thursday February 1st

Reading: NYT — bring your annotated print copy of “Why Is Hollywood So Liberal?”(SR12)

1:00 section: let’s also have another go at “Does ‘Three Billboards’ Say Anything About America? Well …”

In class: Writing workshop and Stasis Theory & Practice
Due: Contextual Analysis Draft #1: Exploratory — 500 words

Review in St. Martin’s Handbook:

  • 12c Evaluating usefulness and credibility
  • 13: Integrating sources into your writing

Dialogic journal #6: Your Contextual Analysis: what part(s) are you most looking forward to and about which you feel confident? What part(s) concern or worry you? 250 words +/- (Post-library workshop reflection)

 Week 6
Truth-seeking behavior vs. Bullshit: 
Writing with a Method, Perspective, and Authority — Ethos & Exigency
Tuesday February 6th

Reading: NYT as assigned
In class: Contextual Analysis writing workshop

Review Contextual Analysis Scoring Guide

Thursday February 8th

Reading: NYT TBA
In class: Peer Reviews
Due: Contextual Analysis Draft #2 —

 Week 7
Proofreading, Editing, and one-on-one conferences
Tuesday February 13th

Reading: NYT — “Welcome to the Post-Text Future”

Find our WRD 104 Hypothesis Group and try sharing a generative annotation or note; see your email for instructions

Due: Dialogic Journal entry #7: credibility and “little leaps of faith”
In class: Contextual Analysis Writing Workshop

Thursday February 15th

Reading: “Welcome to the Post-Text Future,” continued
Due: Contextual Analysis Draft #3 — Abstract (SMH 33b) and self-assessment scoring guide — moved to next Tuesday, 2/20

Hypothes.is review & discussion

Workshop: Proofreading

  • Are sources integrated with rhetorical and mechanical sophistication?
  • Are paragraphs fully developed and have transitions?
  • Has the essay been proofread for clarity & correctness?
  • Works cited: formatting and accuracy

Due: Dialogic Journal entry #8: Hypothesis test drive: “Welcome to Post-Text”

 Week 8
Persuasive Essays
Tuesday February 20th

Reading: NYT T Magazine — for our Hypotheses annotations and shared reading for Tuesday: “The Power of Wearing Flowers”

In the print version of the Magazine, the essay is titled “Cover Me with Blossoms.”

  • Can you identify the places where the writer is making persuasive efforts on contemporary issues?
  • Please add your own generative and additive annotations, and respond to at least one classmate’s annotation. We’ll look at them in class on Tuesday.

Due: Contextual Analysis Draft #3
In class: Persuasive Writing Workshop

Due: Dialogic Journal entry #9 Hypothesis test drive: “Welcome to Post-Text” part II

Thursday February 22nd

ReadingNYT“The Tyranny of Convenience” — your Dialogic Journal entry #10 will serve as our discussion prompts:

  • Can you identify any connections to other issues we’ve discussed in class over the past eight weeks?
  • How would you characterize the Wu’s rhetorical strategies?
  • What generative questions arise for you from reading this essay?

In class: Persuasive Writing Workshop:

  • Using stasis & common ground to make better arguments:

“A speaker persuades an audience by the use of stylistic identifications; the act of persuasion may be for the purpose of causing the audience to identify itself with the speaker’s interests; and the speaker draws on identification of interests to establish rapport between herself or himself and the audience.” — Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives.

Identification, Burke reminds us, occurs when people share some principle in common — that is, when they establish common ground. Persuasion should not begin with absolute confrontation and separation but with the establishment of common ground, from which differences can be worked out. That is the point of our work with stasis.

  • But also, how can you ask people to care?
 Week 9
Tuesday February 27th Reading: NYT as assigned
In class: TBA
Due: Persuasive Essay draft #1
Thursday March 1st Reading: NYT, as assigned
Preview: Digital Writing Portfolios
 Week 10
Tuesday March 6th


In class: Digital Writing Portfolio Workshop

Due: Final draft, persuasive essay, scoring rubric & audio version

Thursday March 8th

Reading: “A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” – Arthur Miller, 1961

Due: Portfolio Draft
In class
: Portfolio editing workshop

 Finals Week: Portfolio & Self Assessment

Final Exam Week

We will meet during our assigned Final Exam time for the final, official delivery of your WRD104 Reading Journals & Portfolios 

Section #228: Tuesday, March 13th 11:30 AM to 1:45 PM

Section #229: Thursday, March 15, 2018, from 11:30 AM to 1:45 PM