|WRT 205: Writing Studio II: Critical Research: Syllabus|
|Course Description and Rationale|
Foremost, Writing 205: Critical Research is a course designed as an introduction to research-based academic writing. We'll begin this term by exploring just what "research" means in our present context--a surrounds consisting of institutional dynamics, your unique interests and academic pursuits, and an endlessly shifting, complex terrain of informational contour, from print texts to digital media and the numerous emergent, blended forms tugging us in multiple directions. When we say "research," what do we mean? How does the term change when we partner it with "writing" as in "research writing"? How do information environments variously reconstitute keywords such as these?
Marshall McLuhan speaks of the force of the "habit of data classification" as it is being replaced by "mode[s] of pattern recognition." As a form of response, counter-force or resistance to this force, our early-term work will attempt to find traction among these terms, particularly as we work together to assess the internet's vibrancy against the conventions of the age old medium of print. What patterns do these mediums share? Throughout, we'll discuss methods of accessing and connecting information from divergent genres and sources; starting with the ordinary practices of searching and browsing, both in traditional spaces such as the library and through the computer interface, we'll extend our conversations to RSS and aggregation--two of the latest turns in reading the web.
We'll do a fair amount of reading and writing in WRT205, all the while asking questions about the research methods represented in the texts we read and employed in the texts we write. Later in the term, we will choose from among the methods demonstrated by scholars writing about the science of networks--Barabási, Gladwell, Buchanan, and Brown and Duguid. We'll apply similar methods as we undertake our own research projects extending our explorations of network theory, the power of links and the social formation of knowledge.
Finally, we will pause regularly throughout the course to reflect on what all of this means for our continuing roles as readers, writers and researchers, both in the academy and beyond. Specifically, discussing the tempo and rhythms of writing regularly in interconnected spaces will, if all goes as planned, guide us toward lasting habits of mind.
|Course Goals for WRT 205|
|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 may annotate readings, keep a record of ideas and responses, register observations, take notes on class discussions, experiment with different styles and organizational choices, and engage in a variety of drafting and revision activities, all of which will unfold both in and out of class, both on the course weblog and on paper. All these activities are important and will have an impact on your development and success as academic writers.
Writing well depends upon reading well. The course essays will provide you with ideas and arguments, facts and data. 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, particularly writing by integrating and reiterating the ideas previously explored by others.. Writing and reading are interdependent practices, and you will move between the two regularly throughout the course.
|Course Texts and Materials|
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 semester. Supplemental readings will be available to you as PDF files, which you should plan to download and print or, alternatively, read on the screen. Whatever the case, plan to spend as much as $10 on printing and photocopying over the course of the semester.
You will receive many different kinds of feedback during this course. Some 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:
1. An Inventory of Effects 15%
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 later in the semester. With each project, your work will accompany an invention portfolio--a collection of all drafts, notes, provisional outlines and idea maps, and so on: the paper stuff that best represents your process. The collection will also include all of the brief in-class work and short homework assignments. In simple terms, it will be turned in incrementally, so the assessment of your invention portfolio will be distributed across the three projects. Active engagement in our in-class conversations is also a part of the inventive work in WRT205.
The course weblog is a space in which you will post regular entries--a minimum of eight total entries throughout the semester. Early in the term, I will provide you with loose deadlines (two entries, for example, are due before the end of week four). You are welcome to post more frequently. We'll cover all of this much more thoroughly in the early weeks of the semester, but in general, substantive entries can range anywhere from 200-600 words (more or less depending, of course, on the case). As you write in the course weblog, you should be mindful of linking--directing readers of your entry to the sites/sources that influenced your thinking. For each entry, you should plan to register two comments. Such comments can be conversant with those who comment on your entries or they can comment on the posting done by others. At times, weblog entries will follow a brief prompt for writing, evaluating a source or reporting on a research tool.
Attendance and Participation
The Rule of Ask Three
Special Needs and Situations
Use of Student Writing
The Writing Center
Computers, Multimedia and Technology
We will also use Orangemail for communicating outside class. While to may call and leave a phone message, it's best to use email or AIM to contact me about your coursework, to set up an appointment to meet with me outside class, or to ask a question. With rare exceptions, I will respond to all email inquiries within 48 hours.
Additionally, we will be reading and engaging 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 Mozilla, Netscape or Internet Explorer. We will run through basic technological literacies in the early weeks of the course.
Computer technology provides us with an impressive range of tools and applications for composing. Such technologies present us with numerous choices as well as the potential for multimedia enhancements and greater compositional neatness and efficiency. Nonetheless, the usual warnings about saving your work apply. When relying on computer technology, take appropriate steps to ensure that your work is backed up and plan extra time, as needed, for integrating multimedia features in your work.
| Derek Mueller
Office: HBC 002
Spring '05 office hours: Tue., 3:30-4:30 p.m. and by appt.
Phone: (315) 443-1785