105 Syllabus Arakelian

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Fall 2013
[Life Science Building 126]
[MoWe 3:45PM - 5:05PM]
Practices of academic writing
Instructor: [Geghard Arakelian]
E-Mail: [[email protected]]
Phone: [443-1220]
Office: [HBC 005]
Office Hours: [Tue 3-4 p.m.]
Course Description and Rationale
WRT 105 is an introduction to academic writing. In this class, writing
is both the primary subject of inquiry and the primary activity. You
will write, revise, edit and reflect on your writing with the support of
the teacher and peers. You will also engage critically with the
opinions and voices of others, as you develop a greater
understanding of how your writing can have an effect on yourself and
your environment. As the primary subject of readings and discussion,
writing will be explored as it relates to different contexts, discourses,
cultures and textual media. You will inquire into literacy and writing
with your classmates and work together to build your understanding
of that topic through discussion and writing.
But what does all that exactly mean? In most writing courses,
learning how to write typically involves reading popular fiction and
then writing an essay about what you have read. In this case, we will
examine the act of writing itself and what it means to be a writer. It
can get political, even philosophical; we will debate, muse, and
collaborate on our findings.
The course will engage you in practices of analysis and argument,
practices that carry across disciplinary lines and into professional
and civic writing. These interdependent practices of critical inquiry
are fundamental to the work you will do at Syracuse University and
in your careers and civic engagements.
Critical inquiry is not a staid and dull endeavor. It takes imagination
to understand more fully the things that surround us. It requires
imagination to acknowledge and make meaning out of difference, to
grasp the complexity of issues and experiences, and to avoid the
impulse to reject the unfamiliar. Finally it takes imagination to
understand and adapt to how languages and conventions change
from one cultural context to another: writing is culturally adaptive.
We develop such an imagination by being willing to look closely and
critically at the world around us, and to ask questions of what we see,
experience, and assume.
Analysis, as Rosenwasser and Stephen claim in Writing Analytically
6th edition, “is a form of detective work that typically pursues
Course Materials
In addition to the
required texts listed
below (both available at
the SU Bookstore), you
should also be prepared
to provide copies of your
work for everyone in the
class (or in your peer
response group) at
various times during the
 Downs and Wardle:
Writing about
Wysocki and Lynch:
The DK Handbook
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something puzzling, something you seek to understand rather than something you believe you
already know. Analysis finds questions where there seem not to be any, and it makes connections
that might not have been evident at first” (53). You analyze when you think carefully enough to
recommend a course to a friend, or explore why a particular college sports team is so dominant, or
decide who you will vote for in the local election, or come to understand better how language and
discourse shape our identities.
Argument involves inquiry and analysis and engages others in ongoing conversations about topics of
common concern. Evidence for your arguments comes from analysis, from discussion with others,
from your personal experience, and from research in the library and on the web. In addition to being
persuasive, arguments can be a means of sharing information, posing important questions, or even
raising consciousness about issues.
Course Goals for WRT 105
By engaging with issues of diversity and community and considering issues of power and
difference that shape every rhetorical act, students will compose texts that are ethically
responsive to different perspectives.
2. Students will practice critical techniques of reading and will compose texts that draw on the
ideas, positions, and voices of others.
3. Students will practice analysis in all areas of writing, reading and research: from topic
invention, to source evaluation, to deepening their understanding of issues.
4. Students will develop knowledge of basic rhetorical principles and the ability to draw upon
those concepts as observers, readers, writers, and citizens.
5. Students will develop varied invention strategies, such as drafting, brainstorming, observing,
and researching.
6. Students will develop an awareness of the role of research in invention and argument and a
working knowledge of introductory research methods, such as primary research and use of
library resources.
7. Students will explore how various genres and writing technologies affect rhetorical reception,
production, and circulation and will develop abilities to understand genre and technology as
responsive to rhetorical context.
8. Students will develop an understanding of generic conventions and will compose essays that
encompass a variety of genres, including analysis, argument, and synthesis.
9. Students will assess the reliability of sources and will summarize, synthesize, and integrate
source materials into their writing.
10. Students will learn and enact rhetorical and ethical source use, including proficiency using
MLA/APA citation conventions.
11. Students will develop revision and editing strategies for organization, prose style, and technical
Work of the course
You will devote time, thought, and energy to a variety of informal and formal reading and writing
practices. During the course you might be asked to annotate readings, keep a record of ideas and
responses, jot down observations, take notes on class discussions, experiment with different styles
and organizational choices, and engage in a variety of drafting and revision activities. All these
activities are important and will have an impact on your development and success as academic
writers (and your final grade).
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As you will see in the grade breakdown below, your final grade comes from not only the formal
assignments, but also the invention work and reflective writing included in each unit. I will collect
this invention work on a regular basis and grade on a √, √+, √- scale. You will get a zero for work you
do not complete or that you don’t submit on time. The work should be referenced in your reflective
writing at the end of the semester, and easily accessible to me as a submission on Bb.
A note about the importance of keeping up with your reading assignments: writing well depends
upon reading well. The course texts will provide you with ideas and arguments, facts and statistics.
They will prompt thought as you agree or disagree or qualify those ideas. They enlarge the context
for our class discussion. And they illustrate choices other writers have made as they composed.
Writing and reading are interdependent practices, and you will move between the two regularly
throughout the course.
Feedback and Grading
You will receive many different kinds of feedback during this course. Some will come from fellow
students and some will come from me. Both are important; they tell you in various ways how your
readers are responding to your writing. This feedback will also help you learn how to assess your
own work.
The grade for the course is based on a 500-point scale. There are three units in the course; each will
lead toward with a written assignment worth 100 points. There is also a final culminating portfolio,
which includes one piece of writing you’ll choose to revise from the semester, selections from your
invention work you wish to highlight, and reflective writing about your work.
Unit 1 Assignment: Blogging about 21st c. literacies
Unit 2 Assignment: Analyzing discourse and identity
Unit 3 Assignment: Inquiring into “academic” writing
Culminating Portfolio: Revision and Reflection
100 points (due week 5)
100 points (due week 10)
100 points (due week 14)
200 points (due on final day of course)
You must complete all of the primary assignments to pass the class. Also, failure to turn in a
completed portfolio at the end of the term will result in failure of the class.
Unless you talk to me before the due date, I will only accept late papers under extenuating
circumstances. I also reserve the right to deduct points for late work.
Let’s all just agree to do the work, come to class, learn a lot, and make the course a meaningful
Course Policies
Writing studios are courses in language learning, and language is learned in communities; therefore,
it is essential that you attend class and participate. Absences and lack of preparation for class will
affect your classmates' work as well as your own. The work you do in class, the work you do to
prepare for each class, is as important as any polished assignment you turn in for a grade. In addition,
each unit calendar is only a projection and may be subject to occasional changes and revisions as it
seems appropriate, necessary, or just interesting. That is another reason why your attendance is
If you must miss a class, you are responsible for work assigned. Please realize, however, that class
time cannot be reconstructed or made up, and that your performance, your work, and your final
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course grade will be affected by absences. Because presence and participation are essential to your
learning and performance in the class, you will be dropped a full letter grade at your fourth and
another at your fifth absence. If you miss six classes (three weeks) you will fail the course. If you are
absent you are responsible for any missed work and any modifications of the syllabus and/or
Student Writing
All texts written in this course are generally public. You may be asked to share them with a peer, the
class, or with me during classroom activities or for homework. You will also be asked to sign a
consent form requesting the use of your writing for professional development, teacher training, and
classroom instruction within the Syracuse University Writing Program.
Our course is loaded on blackboard, a University on-line teaching support system. I will teach you
how to access our section of WRT 105 on blackboard, and will then expect you to be able to locate,
download, and link to a range of course materials with some regularity throughout the semester. I
will also contact you regularly via the blackboard course listserv, which has already been created
using each student’s “syr” email address. Please check your syr account at least once daily throughout
the fall. The url for blackboard is: http://blackboard.syr.edu. Once you access the main page you will
be asked for your user ID and password. The following is from the student help page of blackboard:
Once a student registers for a course that is using Blackboard, a student account is
set up for them and they are automatically enrolled in the appropriate course(s).
Users login to Blackboard using their NetID and password. Your NetID is the portion
of your SU email that appears before the @syr.edu. Your NetID password is also
your Blackboard password. If you do not know what your NetID and password
are, visit the ITS website at http://its.syr.edu/netid/to obtain this information.
You can also obtain this information by calling 443-2677, or by going to the Student
Computing Support Center in your dormitory.
Special Needs and Situations
If you believe that you need accommodations for a disability, please contact the Office of
Disability Services (ODS), http://disabilityservices.syr.edu, located in Room 309 of 804
University Avenue, or call (315) 443-4498 for an appointment to discuss your needs and the
process for requesting accommodations. ODS is responsible for coordinating disability-related
accommodations and will issue students with documented disabilities Accommodation
Authorization Letters, as appropriate. Since accommodations may require early planning and
generally are not provided retroactively, please contact ODS as soon as possible.
Syracuse University and I are committed to your success and to supporting Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This means that in general no individual who is otherwise qualified
shall be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination
under any program or activity, solely by reason of having a disability.
You are also welcome to contact me privately to discuss your academic needs although I cannot
arrange for disability-related accommodations.
Computer Use
We will also be using email for contact outside class. Use email to contact me about your coursework,
to set up an appointment to meet with me outside class, or to ask a question.
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While computers save us great amounts of time over typewriters and make corrections much
simpler, they are also susceptible to crashing and freezing. Save your work frequently, always make
backup copies, and plan your projects with extra time allowed for those inevitable glitches.
The Writing Center
Experienced writing consultants at the Writing Center (101 HB Crouse Hall, on the Quad) can teach
you how to succeed on individual assignments and ultimately become a better writer. They’re
prepared to work one-on-one with you at any stage of your process and with any kind of writing
you’re attempting while attending SU. Whether you need help understanding an assignment,
brainstorming ideas, revising subsequent drafts, or developing editing strategies, face-to-face and
online appointments are available for 25- or 50-minute sessions throughout the semester and can be
reserved up to seven days in advance via their online scheduling program, WCOnline. In addition,
drop-in appointments are welcome Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and brief
concerns or questions can be emailed to consultants via the eWC. For more information on hours,
location and services, please visit http://wc.syr.edu. This is a free resource to all students and highly
recommended for every assignment you work on in this class.
Academic Integrity
All writing submitted for this course is understood to be your original work. In cases where academic
dishonesty is detected (the fraudulent submission of another's work, in whole or part, as your own),
you may be subject to a failing grade for the project or the course, and in the worst case, to academic
probation or expulsion. For a more detailed description of the guidelines for adhering to academic
integrity in the College of Arts and Sciences, go to: http://academicintegrity.syr.edu
Religious Observances
SU’s religious observances policy, found at
http://supolicies.syr.edu/emp_ben/religious_observance.htm, recognizes the diversity of faiths
represented among the campus community and protects the rights of students, faculty, and staff to
observe religious holy days according to their tradition. Under the policy, students are provided an
opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirements that may be missed due to a
religious observance provided they notify their instructors before the end of the second week of
classes. For fall and spring semesters, an online notification process is available through
MySlice/Student Services/Enrollment/My Religious Observances from the first day of class until the
end of the second week of class.
General Course Calendar Overview *by Week
*This calendar overview is provided as a way to understand the work we will be doing each week. A
more detailed version of the course calendar with particular readings and required homework
assignments will be distributed.
Unit 1: Blogging about 20th Century Literacies: Project due [insert date]
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Week 1
Introductions to the course, to each other, to the unit 1 inquiry and assignment.
First shared reading and work on definitions of “literacy.”
Work with Joe Harris’ “Coming to terms” --understanding the writer’s “project” and
the concept of a “flashpoint.”
Introduction to concept and uses of critical summary
Introduction to the blog sites and discussion of the qualities and characteristics you
think make for smart, engaged and engaging, thought provoking, and rhetorically
sensitive posts.
First critical summary of shared text.
Consider making an appointment with a writing consultant before the essay is due
on the week of 9/23. Consultants can help you during any stage of the writing
Week 2
9/3- 9/6
(Labor day
Week 3
Week 4
Share first critical summaries and continue to build list of keywords, concepts based
on our discussions and readings as we attempt to arrive at a definition of literacy/ies
Look together at a handout devoted to “response” (from Writing Analytically) and
introduction the concept of the “Intellectual ‘I’.”
Using DK Handbook we will consider “local/immediate context,” “larger context,”
“audience” “purpose” and “medium,” & how these aid the “Intellectual ‘I’”?
Read a second shared text, and write critical summaries with a carefully selected
Upload a total of 6 literacy artifacts to your blog site. Review your literacy artifacts
and come ready to discuss your choices. In-class writing related to artifacts.
Discussion of artifact choices and tie back to our conversation about the “intellectual
Upload 3 more artifacts to blog site. Freewriting specific to blog artifacts.
Final shared reading and critical summary using a carefully selected flashpoint.
More discussion of shared readings, focused on how the writer’s situate their
experiences in relation to larger contexts, definitions and complications regarding
definition of literacy, and connections across readings.
In class brainstorming and pre-writing toward a draft of your blog article (using your
critical summaries and freewrites) you’ll be annotating and borrowing from them as
you pre-write. Work with the concept of “what it means to have an idea” from
Writing Analytically.
Work with pp 216-218 (“Responding to the Writing of Your Peers”) in The DK
Handbook. Generate guidelines together for peer review.
Peer Review of drafts using guidelines developed in class.
Consideration of audience: who, outside of WRT 105 class, might serve as an astute
reader of your blog entry? We will brainstorm a list of outside readers.
Make appointment for office hours.
Revisit your notes on/annotations of shared readings. Keep in mind strategies
discussed in class thus far for handling context, borrowing from/developing genre?
And other helpful to the revision process?
Revise blog entry based on peers’ feedback and your new appreciation for the shared
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Week 5
Share your draft with someone outside the class and keep good track of feedback.
Upload three more literacy artifacts to your blog site.
Taking stock: how have your peers’ responses to your draft impacted your
understanding of the blog assignment? How has re-reading the shared texts deepened
your sense of how to effectively work with them? How do visuals enhance (or not)
your blog entry? How did your outside reader impact your consideration of audience?
Continue revising blog entry and your critical summaries.
Unit 1 portfolio due.
Introduction to the Unit 2 Analysis assignment and unit inquiry. Together we will read
the introduction to Chapter 4 “Discourses: How Do Communities Shape Writing?” in
WAW and begin to develop ideas about discourse communities and writing.
Unit 2: Analyzing Discourse and Identity: Project due [insert date}
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Read and annotate Gee’s “Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics” (481 in WaW)
Read Swales pgs. 471-473 (in WaW) and using Swales 6 characteristics write a
paragraph identifying a possible discourse community you belong to.
Using Gee’s definition of discourse community as “identity kit,” work to develop
definitions of the concept and examples from our experiences; brainstorm possible
discourse communities that you belong to.
Introduction to the Jason Collin’s article—discuss his discourse community.
Read and annotate Collins article:
Using the locating moments heuristic, make note of the moments of tension in the
article and then brainstorm possible places of tension on your own discourse
Workshop on locating moments of "tension" between discourse communities (Where
& how do we find moments of tension?); Practice analysis together with shared
example. (Collins' article).
Find 3 artifacts that represent your discourse community and/or moments of tension
between communities. Write 500 words that describe how these artifacts characterize
your community and represent tension between communities
Practice presenting and contextualizing artifacts for analysis. (Students bring in
examples and present their initial thinking about why artifacts might work)
Read and annotate Ann Johns article “Discourse Communities and Communities of
Practice” (498 WaW). Respond to #2, 3 and 4 on page 518-519 in WaW.
Practice notice & focus and other analysis strategies (Seems to be about x 101-103 in
WA; Reformulating binaries 96-97 in WA; Data analysis 574-575 in WaW) with
students' chosen artifacts. Brainstorm ideas for useful additional source materials.
Intro to library resources and searching.
Practice making preliminary “good enough” claims and interpretations about what the
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Week 9
Week 10
data you are analyzing might help a reader see. Write a 250 word focused freewrite
from the ideas generated in class about what the data you have collected thus far
might imply.
Do some library search work to locate an article that can help you further develop
your ideas about your inference and developing
Use guiding questions about discourse community (from Swales) to think about larger
contexts and the "so what?" factors of the analysis thus far.
Discuss and develop ideas about useful source material for your unit 2 project.
Read and annotate a source that will help you further develop/complicate your
inference and ideas about the tensions between
Critical summary of source material and practice synthesizing sources.
Try out the rhetorical sourcing exercise to compose a moment from your essay where
you are bringing a source (primary or secondary) into conversation with your ideas
about discourse communities and identity.
Refining and further developing claims. Drafting, peer review and asking "so what?"
Create full rough draft of the unit 2 project.
Review reflection questions and evaluation criteria.
Full Draft workshop--how to be taken seriously as a writer? (locating claims, evidence
and links, thinking through style choices.
Finalize and polish portfolio and reflection.
Portfolios and unit reflections turned in.
Multi-modal workshop: bring in five items that represent your discourse community.
Using those items you will physically and visually construct your discourse
community and a moment of tension.
*Place an image of this work on instagram with a twitter hashtag and comment. The
hashtag can belong to a twitter feed that we can create for the blog from unit 1. Using
instragram and twitter will 1: link it to the blog, 2: makes it go live/viral. People can
comment on these--taking your project beyond the classroom.
Unit 3: Arguing about academic discourse: Project due [insert due date]
Week 11
Week 12
Introductions to the third assignment
Read and annotate Casanave’s “The Beginnings of Change….”
Discussion of Casanave reading and next assignment.
Collect five artifacts from your various courses that serve to shape your writing in those
classes. These artifacts will be collected into a group archive on which you will draw to
develop, and provide illustrations for, your assignment.
Group discussion of artifacts, with attention to various stakeholders and your project’s
Read McCarthy, Lucille. “A Stranger in Strange Lands: A College Student Writing across
the Curriculum.” Write critical summary on blog.
Discussion of reading with reference to archives. Discussion of memos.
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Read Penrose and Geisler, “Reading and Writing without Authority.” Write critical
summary on blog.
Write a memo in which you describe your plans for the third assignment. (You should be
thinking about the medium you will use, the artifacts, your audience, and how you want
to accomplish your goals). Post it to Blackboard.
Discussion of reading. Discussion of memos. Group work (with archives). Develop lists
of things you feel new students should know about writing. Compare and contrast
claims about “academic writing” within the class and in the readings.
Group presentations of advice/ discussions.
Week 13
Post projects to Blackboard. Read your groupmates’ work and come to class prepared to
discuss it.
Revise your digital project.
Unit 3 projects due [insert date here}. Discuss Culminating Portfolio and reflection
Fall break. Work on culminating portfolio, revision project and reflection
Share reflections and provide feedback to peers.
Workshop culminating portfolio and reflection
Week 14
Fall Break
Week 15
(Final day
of classes
is 12/6)
Revision and Reflection: Culminating Portfolio due on final day of class[insert due date]