|WRT 105: Analysis, Argument, and Academic Writing: Syllabus|
|Course Description and Rationale|
WRT 105 is an introduction to academic writing that focuses on the 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 later in your careers and civic engagements.
As Rosenwasser and Stephen claim in Writing Analytically 4th edition, “Analysis is a form of detective work that begins not with the views you already have, but with something you are seeking to understand…[A]nalysis typically pursues something puzzling; it finds questions where there seem not to be any; and it makes connections that might not have been evident at first” (41). You analyze when you think carefully enough to recommend a course to a friend, or prepare a memo for the local library, or decide who you will vote for in a local election, or come to understand better the geopolitical situation produced by the presence of U.S. service personnel and contractors in Iraq. Analysis involves breaking things down into smaller components in an effort to better come to terms with complexity and interrelationships.
Effective argument depends upon analysis--and moves into inventing and delivering claims to a specific audience about how the world is or should be. Argument here goes beyond two-sided pro/con debates on abortion or gun control and extends into situated social practices such as when you are working together as a sorority to plan the next event, or persuading your parents that body piercing makes social statements, or taking a stand in an education class on the value of anti-racist pedagogy, or proving that homosexuality is a threat to the U.S. military. Evidence for your arguments comes from analysis, from conversation with others, from your personal experience, and from research in the library and on the web.
|Course Goals for WRT 105|
|Work of the Course|
You will devote time, thought, and energy to a variety of informal and formal reading and writing activities and practices. During the course you may annotate readings, keep a record of ideas and responses, register observations, take notes on conversations held in and out of class, experiment with different styles and organizational choices, and engage in a variety of drafting and revision activities. All of these activities are important and will have an impact on your development and success as writers in various academic disciplines.
Writing well also depends upon reading well. Readings you begin to identify and assemble during the first weeks of the semester will provide you with ideas and arguments, facts and data that will ground your work later on. Readings, along with the assignments, will prompt thought as you develop provisional claims and look for ways to qualify your ideas. Readings will enlarge the context for our class discussion. And they illustrate choices other writers have made as they composed, particularly writing by integrating and reiterating the ideas previously explored by others. Writing and reading are interdependent, integral practices, and you will move between the two regularly throughout the course.
|Course Texts and Materials|
(available at both the University Bookstore and Follett’s Orange Bookstore)
1. The Brief Thomson Handbook, Blakesly and Hoogeveen
You will receive many different kinds of feedback to your writing during this course. Some responses will come from fellow students and some will come from me. All forms of feedback, including responses you receive from scheduling independent appointments in the Writing Center, are important; they tell you in various ways how your readers are responding to your writing. This will also help you learn how to assess your own work.
The breakdown is as follows:
Project 1: Jumpstart: Experts Beyond Experts,
Invention Portfolio to accompany each project, 30%
Each of the numbered projects will be described fully in a separate prompt that I will circulate at an appropriate time in the semester.
Attendance and Participation
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 course grade will be affected by absences. If you miss the equivalent of three weeks of classes or more without any official documented excuse you will not be able to pass the course. I don’t anticipate any of you will be in that position, however, so let’s all agree to do the work, come to class, learn a lot, and make the course a meaningful experience.
Communication with Peers; Communication with the Instructor
Special Needs and Situations
The Writing Center
Computers, Multimedia and Technology
Finally, we will be interacting with a variety of sites on the internet at times during the course. Please let me know if you have not had any experience using a browser such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari. When using a computer, save your work frequently, always make backup copies, and plan your projects with extra time allowed for unanticipated challenges.
| Derek Mueller
Office: HBC 002
Fall '07 office hours: Thur., 8:20-9:20 p.m. (after class)
Phone: (315) 443-1785