WRT 105: Analysis, Argument, and Academic Writing: Syllabus

Home | Syllabus | Schedule | Project 1 | Project 2 | Project 3 | Invention Portfolio

Fall 2007
TR 7-8:20 | UC118
Section U002 | No. 22430

Project 3: Argument Remake

"If arguing is a cultural practice and one upon which the success or failure of its practice deeply effects your ability to live well, we contend that abstracting arguing from its cultural contexts and turning it into a set of de-contextualized exercises in logic is likely to persuade students that such arguments are recipes for failure in everyday life, because they have little or no relevance to their lives. In the practices of everyday life, arguing is a habit of mind, not a text" (240). Harkin and Sosnoski, "Arguing Is A Cultural Practice"

The focus in our third unit of the semester shifts from analysis to argumentation. We are not so much leaving analytical practices behind as building on them to make assertions of our own. In the weeks ahead, we will read, annotate, and analyze identifiable rhetorical situations and look carefully at arguments planned and performed to elicit a foreseeable effect or set of effects. While reading and discussing arguments that have been made by others, we will also formulate positions of our own, articulating such positions in formal academic prose. Meanwhile, we will also translate our formal arguments into new media remakes. That is, working with a suite of digital technologies, you will re-deploy your argument in a markedly different form, recombining it with sound, images, and other materials as you see fit. Project 3 will assume two shapes: one formal, presented as conventional academic discourse, the other somehow different, reconstituted by some of the new and emerging digital technologies we will be working with in the weeks ahead. Project 3 is an exercise in translation, transformation, and the differing rhetorical effects available in distinctive modes of presentation.

This unit allows you a fair amount of room to play and to experiment. We will meet for each class session in HBC227, so you will have computer access during each meeting and a reasonable amount of in-class time to work on the project itself. Still, it will be to your advantage to make decisions about your project and its focus(es) early on. Such decisions might shift and move in the weeks to come, yet these preliminary decisions will also guide your productive efforts when time is set aside for in-class development of the project.

We will read from Critical Encounters with Texts and Writing Analytically in the interest of exploring some of the provisions for the project. You are encouraged to work with outside texts (from Bird Library or from the internet) as you refine your stance(s). We will also frame this unit using five stases or, that is, five sticking points that arguers often must resolve if they are to be effective in mobilizing an audience. This assignment doesn't predetermine the arguments you can make. But you should be thinking about possibilities early in the unit and gathering materials that will help you articulate the argument, both in the written portion of the assignment and in the digitally re-made portion.

Possibilities for the digitally re-made portion of the project are as follows:

  • A YouTube Ask-the-Candidates question posed to either GOP or Democratic candidates (or both). (iMovie)
  • A collection of annotated images that make a visual statement (Flickr, Tabblo, Photoshop, iMovie)
  • An audio recording or podcast (Garageband, Audacity)
  • A comic strip or series of political cartoons (Comic Life, Bubblr)
  • A diorama (materials vary)
  • A poster or collage (materials vary)

This is just a preliminary list of possibilities. Certainly there are other modes you could work in, so we can add to this list if you have specific interests and ideas. Your choice for the re-make should take into account not only your own preferences, but it should also consider the nature of the argument you make and the means adequate for transforming it.

Assignment Details
The written portion should be a minimum of 1800 words, 12 point font, and double spaced. The written portion must also make use of at least two sources. Parameters for the digitally re-made portion will vary depending on the apparatuses you use to refashion the written portion. Both pieces of this project are due on Thursday, December 6, our final class session of the semester. For the written portion, please use MLA citation within the body of your essay and on a Works Cited page, and please include an appropriate title for your essay.

Invention Portfolio (IP) Contents
May include but are not limited to:

  • Collecting fragments: possible arguments
  • Paraphrase x3
  • Implied and explicit (stated) arguments
  • Argument Remakes and Image-work
  • Project III Planning Statement (i.e., proposal, with project checklist, 1 p.)
  • 10 on 1
  • Draft of the essay (min. 3 pp.)
  • Reader report (peer review)
  • Cover letter

Evaluation Criteria

[1] Did the writer apply the 10 on 1 method while formulating an argument grounded in analysis and an understanding of rhetorical principles of audience and occasion?

[2] Did the writer demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the topic(s) of argument while incorporating the stases framework?

[3] Did the writer compose beginning and ending paragraphs that work as a frame for the rest of the essay?

[4] Did the writer provide details, not generalizations, and new ideas, not clichés?

[5] Did the writer provide a title that provocatively and productively focused the reader’s attention?

[6] Did the writer edit for grammar, style, and usage effectively?

[7 ] Did the writer cite texts appropriately and properly using MLA citation format?

[8] Did the re-make successfully translate the gist of the formal argument into a new format?

Contact Information
Derek Mueller
Office: HBC 002
Fall '07 office hours: Thur., 8:20-9:20 p.m. (after class)
Phone: (315) 443-1785