Course Outline

Course Outline

Post to the Blog

All assignments will be posted on the blog. All work will be submitted on the blog. No paper will be exchanged.

  1. The Assignments page, when it exists, will be a good place to look for links to every assignment and deadline.
  2. Every assignment, major or minor, is identified with a number, beginning with A01.
  3. Exercises are not assignments; they are usually begun in class, often completed in class, and are not always numbered. They’re required, but they’re not letter-graded except as Pass/Fail.


DDeadlines and Penalties

Unless otherwise indicated in the official assignment, the deadline for “weekend assignments” is Sunday just before midnight. The deadline for “midweek assignments” is noon Wednesday.

Weekend Assignments:
For example, if an assignment is due before class MON SEP 19,
the deadline for publishing your draft is 11:59PM SUN SEP 18.

Midweek Assignments:
For example, if an assignment is due before class WED SEP 21,
the deadline for publishing your draft is 11:59AM WED SEP 21.

Penalties for late posting are as follows:

  • Early posts are eligible for early feedback before the first draft is graded.
  • On-time posts published before midnight or noon on the due date: Full Credit
  • 0-24. Posts published within 24 hours of the deadline: 10% Grade Penalty
  • 24-48. Posts published 24-48 hours late: 20% Grade Penalty
  • 48+. Posts published more than 48 hours late: Maximum grade 50 for a perfect essay (can’t pass regardless of quality)


AAssignments, Daily Class Agendas, and Deadlines

Week 1

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

Week 2

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

  • A02: Visual Rhetoric
    • Like the First Assignment (A01: Stone Money), A02 will be the first draft of the Visual Rhetoric essay that will become part of your Portfolio. In two weeks, after receiving a grade and feedback on your A02, you’ll be posting A04: Visual Rewrite, which will receive its own grade. A04 is the post you’ll continue to revise until you’re satisfied it belongs in your Portfolio.
  • A Sample Analysis: Thai Life Insurance
    • Here we examine just 10 seconds of a 2-minute long-form commercial produced by the Thai Life Insurance company to promote the universal human good of doing small selfless gestures for others. How in the world is that supposed to sell life insurance?

Week 3

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

  • Feedback Please Category
  • Card Hypothesis Puzzle
  • Check your Categories, please

My Agenda for today was ambitious. Understandably, we did not adequately cover the four items below this line. I’ve revised the material these links will open to reflect a more reasonable deadline plan than my first. You have two exercises to accomplish before class Wednesday and one assignment for midnight Sunday.

  1. Purposeful Summaries Lecture/Demo
    • I covered the DNA and Haiti examples fairly well, but if you need clarification on Purposeful Summary, review the text of this lecture and compare the source material of any story to its Summary. The examples will illustrate how background material is shaped through summary to serve the new author’s purpose. For these examples, I’m that author. When you perform your own work, you’ll be that author not just quoting, but employing the material of other authors for your own purpose.
  2. A03: Purposeful Summaries Assignment
    • I have revised the assignment for better use of your time.
      • Part 1 (Due before class WED SEP 20) is to revise your Stone Money post with Purposeful Summary.
      • Part 2 (Due before midnight SUN SEP 24) is to write new Purposeful Summaries of articles you select.
    • Click through to the Assignment for details.
  3. Cows and Chips Lecture/Demo/Exercise
    • I have revised this post to avoid confusion. It contains lecture material, demonstrations of the “Cows and Chips” technique in action, examples of advice I have given other student authors for enlivening their posts with livestock, and the details of a simple assignment (Due before class WED SEP 20) to improve your Stone Money post.

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

  • Housekeeping
    • If you haven’t dropped me a Reply to inform me that you’ve updated your Stone Money post with Cows and Chips, or with Purposeful Summaries, do so now, please.
    • I have responded to all my “Feedback Please” requests. If you’d like to be next to receive feedback on your first or second assignments, add one to the Feedback Please category.
  • Purposeful Summary
  •  Assignment A03

Week 4

Link to the Daily Class Agenda


Exercise E03 for WED SEP 28

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

  • Housekeeping.
    • I’m so so so so very sorry.
    • Feedback Please for Stone Money in particular
    • Professor Conferences by October 19.
      • Provide an Agenda to your Professor on the Chart when you make your appointment
      • Text your Professor to alert him to your new appointment.
      • Thank you.
  • Revision—Moving Image
    • Internet Tip: “The Wayback Machine”

Week 5

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

  • Housekeeping
  • Brief Exercise: Looking for Hidden Claims
    • Brief ExerciseConsider these obvious and hidden claims:

      When Caleb was finally screened for the severity of his TBI, Brannan says he got the second-worst score in the whole 18-county Gulf Coast VA system, which serves more than 50,000 veterans.

      — “finally screened” means that according to Brannan or the author or both, Caleb should have been screened long before. It suggests that the VA was negligent in delaying his testing.
      — “the severity of his TBI” clearly contains the claim that he in fact has some degree of TBI. The fact that he hadn’t until then been screened for it means nobody knew for sure that he did, but the author makes that claim.
      — “Brannan says” means that the author has not independently verified Caleb’s score or where it ranked against all other screenings.
      — “the second-worst score in the whole 18-county Gulf Coast VA system” is offered as Brannan’s claim that her husband is suffering more than almost anyone. Considering her vested interest in promoting this perspective, we have to be at least a little suspicious of the ranking.
      — “which serves more than 50,000 veterans” gives the impression that Caleb was hurt worse than 50,000 other veterans. But let’s be clear. Many of these 50,000 will not have served in combat at all. Many will not have had active engagement with enemy troops on the battlefield. Many of those who did see active fighting will not have been near explosive devices. So we’re not comparing him to 50,000 TBI sufferers.

  • How to Open Lecture/Demo
  • How to Open In-Class Exercise

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

  • A05: Visual Rewrite
    • Quick Review of the Assignment Requirements
  • A06: Proposal+5
    • Preview of the Assignment
    • Advice on Topic Selection and Prep
  • Sneak Preview of your Thesis Proposal
    • In your Reply to today’s Agenda, write the clearest and most complete version of your Counterintuitive Research Proposal.

Week 6

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

Agenda. Link to Agenda.
Coursework. Safer Saws Lecture.
Work Due. A06: Visual Rhetoric Rewrite

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

Research Tips

  • I Can’t Find Any Sources!

Week 7

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

Week 8

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

Agenda: Link to Agenda

  • Additional Claim Types
    • Cause-and-Effect
    • Evaulative
      • Comparative
      • Quality
      • Contrast
    • Persuasive
      • Dissuasive
      • Warning
    • Ethical or Moral
    • Proposal or Imperative
    •  Insinuation, Implication
    • In-class Claims Exercise
  • The Opposite of a Black Sneaker
  • White Paper: Why We Still Have Polio

Week 9

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

  • Deadline Reminder
    • I gave a somewhat passionate assessment in class today of the state-of-the-class at this halfway point in the semester, but it was largely addressed to students who were not in attendance. So, for you few, here’s the message you missed:
      • What we’ve done ’til now has been and felt preliminary. The non-Portfolio arguments will not be a major part of your grade. The Proposal and its collected sources reflects no necessarily permanent commitment to a thesis. The Purposeful Summaries. The Claims analysis. All of it is useful, probably, to writing majors, but none of it seems essential to how we’ll live the rest of our lives. I acknowledge that.
      • 90% of students get along with that agenda, putting in enough effort to satisfy the requirements and hoping for the best. And then.
      • The middle of the semester comes knocking. And the consequences seem real and immediate. The Proposal that two weeks ago was a vague pledge to “donate when I get my tax refund” is suddenly an overdue bill, and the Definition Argument can’t be accomplished until that Proposal is nailed down to something like a firm commitment to a very clear Hypothesis, if not an actual THESIS.
      • About half of my students are usually ready for this drastic rise in the sea level. The other half feel as if they’re suddenly drowning.
      • Right on cue, students who aren’t ready to post their first short argument miss a class. Maybe two classes. They ignore emails and texts from their professor, figuring that he’s too busy to pester them more than once.
      • Once the deadline for the Definition Argument is past, it no longer feels like a yoke around their necks. It’s easy to let it slide for a few days. A week. It’s already worth no more than 50/100 points, or even 00/100 points after the penalties, so “what’s the point?”
      • For some, this slide is irreversible.
      • For others, it’s something to ignore, avoid, pretend does not exist. For these in-betweeners, interaction with the professor is something to dread. Coming to class late, leaving early, or sneaking out to avoid confrontation, seems like a reasonable survival technique.
      • I get it.
      • I put things off.
      • I do them when I absolutely have to.
      • I do them poorly sometimes because I haven’t left myself enough time.
      • But here’s the thing: I’m an idiot.
      • You don’t have to be.
      • The people I have to report to are humans too, and they’d be happy to work with me if I acknowledged my miscalculations, my thoughtless procrastination, my dread at confronting the problem.
      • Don’t be like me.
      • Be an enlightened version of me.
      • Reach out to me. This me. The “your real professor” me. I’d be happy to work with you if you acknowledge your miscalculations, your thoughtless procrastination, your dread at confronting the problem.
      • Don’t think you’re too late, or too far behind, or too confused to catch up, or too fill-in-the-blank.
      • You can turn this sucker around.
      • I will push you up that hill like nobody else who ever had your back.
      •  . . .
      • But I won’t pull you up.
      • You have to take the first step.
    • If you haven’t posted a Definition Argument, for godssake post one now before you suffer an insupportable late penalty. Post anything that looks like a Definition Argument. Ask for very specific feedback. Get into the game. Pretend it’s essential to you. It might not feel like it right now, but I am your biggest supporter and fan. Until you let it slide.
    • Don’t. Let. It. Slide.
    • Very few of the 50% who start to fade at the Midterm do well at the end of the course. Beat those odds. Right now.
  • Argument Workshop
  • White Paper (Take Two)

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

Week 10

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

  • Define Walking
  • Similarly Define your own Argument Term
  • Exercise: Critique a Draft Causal Argument
    • Read the Draft Causal Argument by Prof2020
    • Choose and Reply to your favorite critique of this first draft
    • Add your own Critique in a Reply
  • Exercise: But Enough about You
    • Start a New Post titled “Enough About You—Username”
  • Exercise: Robust Subjects and Verbs
    • Start a New Post titled “Robust Subjects—Username”

Week 11

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

  • Rebuttal Workshop in Preparation for Rebuttal Essay Deadline

Week 12

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

Some Live Feedback on Grammar and Rhetoric:

Taking helmets out of football is a very counterintuitive idea itself.

Taking helmets out of football is counterintuitive.

It may seem as if this will hurt the players, but in fact it will help protect the players.

It may seem that playing unprotected will hurt players, but in fact it will help them.

No helmets will make keep players from taking risky, hard hits, and cause them to have more caution when playing the game.

Playing bareheaded will keep players from tackling head-first, sparing them from head, neck, and brain injuries.

They all will be protected from severe concussions, spinal cord injuries, and developing CTE later in life.

They will be protected from severe concussions, spinal cord injuries, and late-developing CTEs.

There is however, some opposition to this counterintuitive idea.

There is, however, some opposition to this counterintuitive idea.

Many people feel as if there would be no change to the amount of head injuries sustained in a football game.

Many people feel there would be no reduction to the number of head injuries sustained in a football game.

They feel as if players will still hit hard, and make risky plays.

They feel players will still hit hard and make risky plays.

Today football helmets are evolving more and more everyday.

Football helmets are evolving more and more every day.

Risk compensation is when protective equipment prompts individuals to act more aggressively which increases the potential for injury. If you give an individual better protective equipment, they are going to have an increase in aggression, causing more injuries. Helmets may have been upgraded, and made to absorb hits, but they still do the same damage.

Week 13

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

End-of-Semester Schedule and Deadlines

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

Week 14

Link to the Daily Class Agenda

Portfolio Readiness Doublecheck

Week 15

Portfolio Conferences

Portfolio Conferences