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Course Description

WRT 195 Studio 2 for Transfer Students (3 credits)
Combines salient features of WRT 105 and WRT 205, with an emphasis on analysis, argumentation, and critical, research-based writing. Students complete at least one sustained research project.

Course Overview

WRT 195 is an introduction to academic writing for transfer students that focuses on practices of analysis, argument, research, and delivery. Our engagement in these interdependent practices will also converge with critical, reflective inquiry and rhetorical education--that is, an ongoing consideration of the gravity of our compositions on those who will take them up, read them, and experience them, now and in the future. As we compose a range of objects in traditional and new media, we must reckon with (and speculate about) the many ways our work shape the worldviews of our readers, compel them to action, or otherwise leave a lasting impression.

Anne Wysocki and Dennis Lynch begin Compose, Design, Advocate by noting, "we propose a 'rhetorically designed process' for helping you determine the most effective strategies, arrangements, and media to use in different communication contexts" (10). You will find that this course is laid out as a progression through a series of activities that will, with rising difficulty, require you to experiment, to plan, and to choose from among a variety of arrangements, stylistic options, and presentational modes. Initially, our efforts will focus on analysis (i.e., breaking down; recognizing and accounting for the non-obvious) and summary (i.e., reducing, by careful selection, elaborate texts and media). Your experiences with written analysis and summary will serve as the groundwork for a researched argument project in the middle weeks of the semester. We will cap the term of study with media translation as we re-make researched arguments into aural and/or visual presentations.

The course will open with a series of inquiries into the role(s) of Google (and perhaps other web-technology frontrunners) in shaping our experiences of the world via the web. In the coming weeks, we will extend and fine tune this list of opening provocations:

Course Goals for WRT 195

  1. Students will compose a variety of texts as a process (inventing, drafting, revising, editing) that takes place over time, that requires thinking and rethinking ideas, and that addresses diverse audiences and rhetorical contexts.
  2. Students will develop a working knowledge of strategies and genres of critical analysis and argument.
  3. Students will learn critical techniques of reading through engagement with texts that raise issues of diversity and community and encourage students to make connections across difference.
  4. Students will include critical research in their composing processes.

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 one-third 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

Compose Design Advocate

Wysocki, Anne, and Dennis Lynch. Compose, Design, Advocate: A Rhetoric for Integrating Written, Visual, and Oral Communication. New York: Longman, 2007. ISBN 0-321-11778-6. (required)

The Longman Guide to Revising Prose

Lanham, Richard. The Longman Guide to Revising Prose. New York: Longman, 2006. ISBN 0-321-41766-6. (recommended)

Brief Thomson Handbook

Blakesley, David, and Jeffrey L. Hoogeveen. The Brief Thomson Handbook. New York: Longman, 2008. ISBN 1-4130-1016-4. (recommended)

These texts are available at both the University Bookstore and Follett’s Orange Bookstore.

Supplemental readings may be available to you as PDFs posted at http://drop.io/writing195. I will provide a password for the Drop.io account on the first day of class. You should download the PDFs for reading on the screen or printing. Plan to spend as much as $20 on printing and photocopying over the course of the semester.


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 individual or group 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: Multiliteracy Memoir, 10%
Project 2: Googlization Summaries, 20%
Project 3: Researched Argument, 30%
Project 4: Translation, 20%
Invention Portfolio to accompany each project, 20%
The Invention Portfolio includes participation in the activities of the class. All work listed here will be assigned a letter grade corresponding to a 4.0 scale. Each of the numbered projects will be described fully in a separate prompt that I will circulate at an appropriate time in the semester.

Late Work

All work must be submitted on the date due to be considered for full credit.

Course Policies

Attendance and Participation

Writing studios are courses in language learning, and language is learned in communities; therefore, it is essential that you attend class and participate. Participation, involvement, and engagement with the activities of the class will be factored into your overall grade as a portion of the portfolio assessment. 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, our syllabus 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 vital. 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

While you can expect a fair amount of leadership and direction to come from me, you should also make arrangements early in the semester to communicate with your peers. In other words, you are strongly encouraged to identify one or two (perhaps more) peers in the class with whom you can discuss readings and assignments, work through questions brought up in the class, and approach when you find something unclear. In short, my hope is that we all will prefer climate in which conversation flows both between the instructor and students and also between and among students when questions come up. Finally, you should always be proactive about asking questions when you have them, either by raising questions during class or contacting me or one of your peers privately.

Special Needs and Situations

Students who need special consideration because of any sort of disability or situation should make an appointment to meet with me at your earliest convenience. You should also refer to the Office of Disability Services for additional information.

The Writing Center

At the Writing Center (101 HBC; 443-5289) experienced, professional writing consultants will help you succeed on individual assignments and ultimately become a better writer. They work one-on-one to help you understand assignments, discuss your responses, revise your drafts, develop proofreading strategies, and more. Appointments are available in 25- or 50-minute sessions, and can be reserved up to seven days in advance via their online scheduling program: WC Online . Drop-in appointments are welcome Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Beginning this fall, the Writing Center also offers consulting appointments by email and by IM. On-site and online appointments are free 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.

Computers, Multimedia, and Technology

Most of the work you do for this class will be handed in typewritten, using a word processing application. Use an easily readable font, such as Times New Roman, size 12 point. Include one inch margins and follow the page layout following MLA. Finally, we will be interacting with a variety of sites on the internet 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.


To communicate by email we will use our syr.edu accounts, accessible via Mymail. You may call and leave a phone message, but it is best to use email to contact me about your coursework, to set up an appointment to meet with me on campus, or to ask a question. With rare exceptions, I will respond to all email inquiries within 48 hours.

Contact Information

Derek Mueller
Office: HBC 002
Fall '08 office hours: Thur., 11-Noon
Phone: (315) 708-3940
Class listserv: wrt195@listserv.syr.edu


"Google has been my best friend lately." -Anonymous student commenting on research-in-progress

googol n. - A fanciful name (not in formal use) for ten raised to the hundredth power (10100). -Oxford English Dictionary

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