English 250: Rhetorical Grammar
three credit hours
MW from 1:00pm to 2:15pm in H&SS 106
Course Goals and Objectives
The USCA Undergraduate and Graduate Programs Bulletin includes the following course description for AEGL 250—Rhetorical Grammar:
This course will enable writers to gain more confidence in their writing (1) by understanding the many, varied structural and stylistic choices of the English language, (2) by increasing their ability to talk consciously about their writing choices as they revise their papers, and (3) by recognizing the rhetorical effects their choices may have on their readers. Special attention will be given to audience expectations, sentence rhythm and cohesion, coordination and subordination, punctuation, modifiers, and diction.
Accordingly, the successful student in AEGL 250—Rhetorical Grammar will be able to identify the conventions of written English for a variety of audiences and purposes and make strategic stylistic and grammatical decisions based upon that knowledge.
ext. 3706 on campus
MW 3:00pm to 4:00pm
TTh 11:00am to 12:00pm
And by appointment
Required Course Materials
- Kolln, Martha. Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects. 8th New York: Pearson Education, Inc., 2017.
- up to ten dollars ($10) in printing
Recommended Course Materials
- a collegiate level dictionary
- a handbook similar to those required in introductory English composition courses (e.g. Easy Writer)
Due Dates: All drafts are due at the beginning of class on the announced due date. Drafts not turned in then will be considered late. Late assignments will result in the loss of two points per day on the subsequent portfolio assessment regardless of their reason for being late. I will not accept any drafts more than five days late. Unless arrangements are made with me beforehand, I expect you to turn in all of your drafts personally. If you know you will not be able to turn in a draft on the announced due date, see me at least twenty-four hours before the draft is due. We will see about arranging an extension. I will not grant an extension without seeing some completed work.
Academic Honesty: Plagiarized work will receive at least a failing grade and may constitute failure for the semester. See the Departmental and Institutional Policy Sheet (enclosed) for more information.
Attendance/Participation: Students are obligated for all assigned material whether they are present or not. Punctual and regular attendance is necessary for the successful completion of all courses. During the fall and spring semesters, a student’s unexcused absences must not exceed twice the number of scheduled class sessions per week.
There are two possibilities for an excused absence:
1.) Medical emergency
The student must provide documentation to me in a timely fashion.
2.) Participation in a university-sanctioned activity
The student must meet with me during the first two weeks of class to discuss which days will be missed.
For absences of any kind beyond the number allowed by department policy, the student is responsible for providing sufficient justification to the instructor, who will determine if an exception can be made to the accepted policy.
Students who miss a scheduled conference with me will be marked as an “unexcused” absence unless the student provides documentation in a timely fashion.
Every third time a student is late for class will be considered an “unexcused” absence unless the student provides proper documentation in a timely fashion.
Format: All submitted drafts must be word processed, double spaced, and printed on one side of the paper only. Each draft should have one-inch margins, left justified and right ragged. Place your name, date and course and section number in the upper left hand corner. All drafts should have a nifty title.
Your Work: For research, assessment, and possible classroom use, I reserve the right to copy portions of your drafts. If I use portions of your draft in class, your work will remain anonymous. If you do not want me to use any of your work, please let me know.
Classroom Deportment: Show respect for your fellow students and our classroom. Come to class on time and prepared. Stay seated at all times. Turn off all electronic devices and remain quiet while others are talking. If you have an emergency that requires you to keep your cell phone on, let me know before class. If you have a medical condition that requires you to use the bathroom during class, see me before class. Otherwise, I expect students to remain seated and in the classroom. If you leave the classroom during a lecture, I will close and lock the door and you will be marked late in the class. If you are otherwise disruptive, I reserve the right to mock and insult you mercilessly. If insults do not work, I reserve the right to remove you from class for the day or the entire semester.
Electronic Devices: Unfortunately, I have been forced to employ a “zero tolerance” policy for electronic devices. As the Departmental and Institutional Policy document notes, electronic devices are prohibited while class is in session unless specifically allowed during announced classroom exercises. Please leave any phones, tablets, or laptops in your backpack. If you have an emergency that requires you to keep your cell phone on, let me know before class. If you would like to use your laptop or tablet to take notes, make an appointment to see me.
Otherwise, if I see an electronic device (smart phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) or a periphery item associated with electronic devices (ear buds, headphones, etc.), you will be asked to leave class, you will be marked absent, and you will not be able to “make-up” any work we complete in class.
Electronic Communication: Under normal circumstances, I check my email account several times per day and am happy to provide feedback to you. That said, I reserve the right to ignore and immediately delete any email that does not follow the guidelines below for courteous and professional email:
- Use your school email account; I will delete email from other accounts.
- Include a clear and informative subject line; I will delete email without a subject or with vague subjects such as “question.”
- Include a proper salutation (e.g. “Hi Professor Fornes”), your class and section number
- Do not ask me for information that has already been introduced in class, such as information located on this syllabus or on assignment sheets.
- Do not share some over-used excuse for missing class; frankly, I probably don’t care. If an emergency or something unusual comes up, it will be best to discuss it face-to-face.
If you leave a voicemail, I will probably listen to it, but I will almost certainly not return your call.
Self-Assessments of Drafts: My overall comments on each draft will be developed as responses to your own self-assessment of the draft. To that effect, each draft submitted must include your personal self-assessment of that draft. Here are some questions to guide your self-assessments, but please tell me as much as you can about the drafting, your drafting process, etc. The more specific information you provide, the more specific feedback I can provide.
- What do you think works about the draft?
- How did you plan, organize, draft, revise and edit the draft? How was your writing process similar to or different from other drafts you’ve written?
- If you had more time to revise the draft, what would you change? What would you add?
- Why did you choose to open the draft the way you chose to open it? What about your introduction do you think will make the casual reader continue to read your draft? What do you not like about your introduction?
- What is your thesis sentence? How did you keep the draft focused on the thesis?
- What is your organizational strategy? Why did you shape the paper the way you chose to shape it?
- Why did you choose the sources that you chose to include in your paper?
- How did you decide whether to summarize or directly quote your source material? What went into that decision?
Include the self-assessment as the front page of each draft. The Mid-Semester and Final Portfolio include reflective cover elements and will not require a self-assessment.
The Course Web Site
The course blog is our online meeting area and will contain announcements, links to course resources, and facilitate our discussion. You should check the web site daily, including weekends. Periodically, I will develop specific blog prompts and require students to reply to the prompts–and other students’ replies–using the “comment” feature. You must include your full name in your reply to receive credit. All replies to blog prompts are due before class on the announced due date and should be about 150 words in length. Late and/or poorly developed replies will affect your participation grade (see below).
Your participation grade will be assessed primarily through your comments to the blog prompts as described above. Each comment will be evaluated according to the following scale:
5 Points—The comment displays an active and critical engagement with the topic with well-chosen and attributed quotes and summaries of the readings and/or class discussion (including previous student comments). The comment is free of sentence level errors and grammatical errors or contains so few that the casual reader does not notice them.
4.5 points—The comment displays an active engagement with the topic with quotes and summaries of the readings and/or class discussion (including previous student comments). The comment might include some sentence level errors and grammatical errors but they are either so infrequent or unimportant that they are barely noticeable.
4 Points—The comment displays adequate engagement with the topic and normally includes at least some summary of the reading and/or a reference to the class discussion (including previous student comments). The comment may contain some sentence-level and grammatical errors but they are not distracting.
3 points—The comment does not display adequate engagement with the topics, often relying on cliché or “common sense” to avoid critically engaging with the ideas. The comment includes distracting sentence-level and grammatical errors.
1-2 points—The comment provides little more than an “I agree,” “I think this is interesting,” or similar off-hand responses that contain little or no thought. The comment is riddled with editing and proofreading errors.
Comments posted late but before the subsequent portfolio assessment cannot receive more than three points.
Exams (Exam #1=20%, Exam #2=15%)
We will have a mid-semester and final exam based upon specific class lectures and discussion. The final exam will not be cumulative in nature.
The Course Portfolio (Mid-Semester=20%, Final=35%)
This class employs a portfolio approach to gathering, organizing, and evaluating your work. Your Mid-Semester Portfolio (15%) and the Final Portfolio (40%) will constitute over one half of your course grade, so make sure that the portfolio process is clear to you. You will turn in a hard copy draft of each paper assignment on the announced submission dates. For most assignments, I will review your work, provide feedback, and return your drafts for revision before each portfolio is assessed. My comments on all drafts will be directed toward what you need to do to improve each one for inclusion in the upcoming portfolio assessment. Although I will provide written and oral comments over the course of the semester, I will not grade each draft. At the mid-point of the semester, we will schedule a mid-semester portfolio review, and we will discuss and evaluate your work to that point. We will discuss the portfolio and my comments over the course of the semester, but please let me know if you have any questions.
If you would like to know about your progress in the course separate from a portfolio review, please schedule a conference with me and bring all of your written work to the conference.
Short Analysis Papers
During the first half of the semester, you will complete two short analysis papers of between 750 and 1,000 words. These papers will apply specific elements of the course to your personal writing and be self-reflective in nature. We will discuss each of these papers as a class. Your final portfolio will include a third short paper that will serve as a reflective cover paper for the semester.
You will complete a longer research project that will include a research proposal (500+ words) and a final researched paper (2,000 words). We will discuss teh specific requirements for the final Research Paper as the assignment approaches.
Evaluation of Written Work
The assignments in this class are organized to present an introduction to the relationship between grammar and rhetoric while providing practice in writing the academic essay. Thus, the mid-semester and final portfolios will be evaluated as follows:
An “A” portfolio represents superior work that rises substantially above the requirements of the assignments. The written work establishes a sense of professionalism that consistently and clearly articulates a sense of purpose and audience. “A” work reflects the ability to think, collaborate and communicate in an impressively academic and critical manner. “A” work demonstrates clear, consistent structures, well-considered language and stylistic choices and no noticeable errors.
B (80-85) to B+ (85-90)
A “B” portfolio represents accomplished work that exceeds the requirements of the assignments. The written work establishes a professional, clear, and consistent voice in support of its purpose and audience. “B” work reflects the ability to think, collaborate and communicate in an effectively academic and critical manner. “B” work demonstrates accomplished structures, language and stylistic choices and very few noticeable errors.
C (70-75) to C+ (75-80)
A “C” portfolio represents competent work that meets the requirements of the assignments. The written work establishes an adequately professional voice in support of its purpose and audience. “C” work reflects the ability to think, collaborate and communicate in an academic manner. “C” work demonstrates effective structures, language and stylistic choices and, although it may contain some errors, the errors are not distracting.
D (60-65) to D+ (65-70), F <60)
A “D” or an “F” portfolio represents poor or unacceptable work that does not meet the expectations of the assignments. The written work fails to establish an academic voice and/or does not communicate a sense of purpose or audience. “D” or “F” work does not demonstrate choices in structure nor language, and sentence-level errors are distracting.
Mid-Semester Portfolio 20%
Final Portfolio 35%
Exam #1 20%
Exam #2 15%
B (80-85) to B+ (85-90)
C (70-75) to C+ (75-80)
D (60-65) to D+ (65-70)
This sheet is the policy sheet for this class. If there is something in here with which you have a problem, see me. Otherwise, consider this sheet our contract and use it for reference.
DEPARTMENTAL AND INSTITUTIONAL POLICIES Revised 8/18/2015
Prerequisites Students must complete both ENGL 101 and 102 with a grade of C or better in order to fulfill USCA general education requirements and before taking other English courses. Any additional course-specific prerequisites will be listed elsewhere on your syllabus.
Attendance Students are obligated for all assigned material whether they are present or not. Punctual and regular attendance is necessary for the successful completion of all courses. During the fall and spring semesters, a student’s unexcused absences must not exceed twice the number of scheduled class sessions per week. For Maymester, unexcused absences must not exceed one class session; for summer school, unexcused absences must not exceed fifteen percent of the total number of scheduled class sessions.
There are two possibilities for an excused absence:
1.) Medical emergency
2.) Participation in a university-sanctioned activity
Documentation for an excused absence must be provided to the instructor in a timely fashion. For absences of any kind beyond the number allowed by department policy, the student is responsible for providing sufficient justification to the instructor, who will determine if an exception can be made to the accepted policy.
Academic Responsibility The Department of English adheres to the USCA Academic Code of Conduct (see the USCA Student Handbook for a full version).
The following statement should appear on all major examinations and assignments:
On my honor as a USCA student, I have completed my work according to the principle of Academic Integrity. I have neither given nor received any unauthorized aid on this assignment/examination.
Plagiarism is a failure to acknowledge scholarly indebtedness. The written work offered for evaluation and credit is assumed to be the student’s own unless acknowledged otherwise. Such acknowledgement should occur whenever one quotes another person’s actual words; paraphrases or summarizes another’s ideas, opinions, or theories; and borrows facts, statistics, or other illustrative material, unless the information is common knowledge.
Plagiarism occurs when a student (1) submits words, sentences, ideas, conclusions and/or examples from a source without acknowledging the source and/or (2) submits another person’s work in place of one’s own work. Questions about what constitutes plagiarism, including the submission of papers written for other courses, should be directed to the instructor of record.
Learning Disabilities If you have a physical, psychological, and/or learning disability that might affect your performance in this class, please contact the Office of Disability Services, B&E 130, (803) 643-6816, as soon as possible. The Office of Disability Services will determine appropriate accommodations based on documentation.
The Writing Room USCA provides a Writing Room (H&SS 112) to work with students at any level and in any discipline. The Writing Room is staffed by friendly USCA students who come from a variety of disciplines and who are formally trained to provide constructive feedback during all phases of the writing process. Students are welcome to drop in but appointments are recommended. The Writing Room maintains daytime, evening and weekend hours. Specific hours of operation are posted each semester.
Workshops and Review Sessions Students may be instructed to attend Writing Room workshops or review sessions conducted by professional tutors. Attendance at such activities, which are meant to supplement the educational experience in the classroom, does not necessarily ensure an improved grade; however, failure to follow through on these referrals may have an adverse impact on the course grade.
Writing Proficiency Portfolio Your instructor values good writing in this course. Please remember that the written work that you produce in this class can be included in your writing portfolio to be submitted in your junior year. For further information on the portfolio requirement, please consult the WPP website (accessed from the A-Z index on the USCA homepage) or visit Dr. Matthew Miller, Writing Assessment Director.
Each student is strongly encouraged to purchase a portfolio kit in the USCA Bookstore and to begin building his/her rising junior portfolio for eventual submission during the first semester of his/her junior year.
Classroom Deportment Please be advised that according to university regulations, “it is the instructor’s right to eject from the class any student who disrupts or disturbs the proceeding of the class.” Furthermore, “if the student who has been ejected causes similar disturbances in subsequent meetings of the class, he/she may be denied admittance to the class for the remainder of the semester and assigned a grade of F.”
Portable Electronic Devices The use of any portable electronic devices, including cell phones, pagers, MP3 players, iPods, etc., during class is not allowed for any reason unless prior approval has been given to a student from the instructor or unless required for the course. If you are planning to have any of these devices in class, they must be turned off and stowed away for the duration of the class period.