ENG 252 Advanced Composition syllabus, updated Fall 2011 #252ac

Course: ENG 252 - Advanced Composition (#252ac)
Semester: Fall 2011
Teacher/Guide: Dr. James Schirmer (@betajames)
Email: jschirm@umflint.edu
Office: 320D French Hall
Hours: Monday/Wednesday by appointment)

Writing Center: 559 French Hall
Writing Center Phone: 810.766.6602 (call ahead to make an appointment)
Writing Center Website: http://www.umflint.edu/departments/writingcenter/

Course Description:
As what constitutes composition (advanced or not) expands due to technological influence, the kinds of writing in which we engage also change. Everyday writing can often take on greater importance, informing other kinds of composition. This course endeavors to garner greater understanding and awareness of our past, present, and future practices of writing. The what and why of writing is as of much focus here as the how.

Course Objectives:
Upon completion of this course, you will have:

  • Read self-selected texts in preparation for advancing notions of writing
  • Developed a broader understanding of what signifies as composition
  • Practiced the application of said understanding through evaluative and reflective writing
  • Prepared one or more substantial compositions for peer/public viewing 

Required Texts:
All texts will be available online or provided via email.

Course Contributions: 
The grading contract outlines many parameters for the course, but not all. Below is more information about unique contributions to be made to the course by all students.

Presence: I expect you to come to class on time, prepared, having completed the assigned reading and writing, and ready to contribute thoughts to class discussions, to listen with attentive respect to the thoughts of your peers, and to participate in all in-class group work.  I strongly urge you to attend every class, as most of the work done in class is necessary for successful completion of the course.

Posterous: Contrary to assumptions about writing, authorship is more of a collective process than an individual endeavor. To better illustrate this, you are required to create and maintain a Posterous blog for the duration of the course. Particular requirements for blogging are as follows: 

  • Blog entries of 400-600 words are due twice a week by session start.
  • Blog comments of 40-60 words are due thrice a week by 5pm every Friday.

Further guidelines are provided here.

Twitter: To create and sustain further conversation this semester, all students are required to maintain active presence on Twitter for a minimum of four weeks. One post (or tweet) per day is required, but there is freedom regarding content. Students are welcome to post original thoughts, "retweet" classmates' updates, @ (reply to) classmates' updates, and share course-relevant links with the course hashtag. Posts unrelated to course content are okay, but these will not count toward the requirement. I am very active on Twitter, so I encourage all students to check my profile (as well as those I follow) for potential models of engagement. Further guidelines are provided here

Sequences: For particular course themes, there are some longer assignments. These provide opportunities for not only greater attention and focus but also practice and preparation for later projects and beyond. They are as follows: 

 

  • Personal writing history 
    Reflecting on our relationships with writing can help us understand how and why we write and, by extension, how our own writing strategies are similar to and different from those around us. By putting such reflection into the form of an autobiography, we have a chance to get to know each other better in a unique way.
  • Media representations of writing 
    Given that what constitutes composition/writing expands, (in)accurate portrayals of composers and the act of composing persist. While some might offer evidence of future ways, others suggest more traditional methods. How various and sundry media present and represent composers and composing can often have as much influence on our thinking as what, where, and when we write. 
  • Distraction-free writing 
    Given the relative wealth of “distraction-free” writing programs available online, each purports to be unique in promising to deliver the same, basic thing: increased focus on the task at hand. Both the programs themselves and their descriptive pitches enable and frame the act, purpose, and value of writing in different ways. Some are very process-oriented; others are more expressive. Many exhibit stark, monochromatic styles, harkening back to simpler times. So, let’s see if any of these programs fulfill their promises.
  • Writing studies project
    You have the choice of putting together a critical or a creative piece for a semester-end project. This will involve several project drafts throughout the final quarter of the semester. Critical projects must be at least 2400 words; creative projects will need to be significant digital documents (produced for this class alone) accompanied by process notes that help contextualize the work.  

 

Class Facilitation: Student groups are responsible for facilitating class once during the semester. It should last 60 minutes with each group providing readings for the rest of the class prior to the facilitation. Student groups will meet with me at least one week prior to their facilitation to finalize readings and discuss approaches. 

Facilitation readings should be given to the instructor in time to allow for copies to be made (or files to be uploaded). Facilitation readings should be relevant to and provide insight on some aspect of the course. 

A facilitation can take whatever format is comfortable for the student group presenting (discussion questions, in-class activities, online activities, etc.). The introduction and subsequent discussion of topics for facilitation will be based on students' interests and finalized as a class. 

On Technology Usage:
Because the core of this class involves how technology changes writing as well as our sense of self and culture, we will engage a range of computer tools and web-based applications. No prior skill is needed, however, only a willingness to engage and learn. I am more than willing to take extra time; all you need to do is ask.

The tools we will be using in and outside of class are web-based, so you will not need any special software. I do, however, have some recommendations (not requirements) that I will provide at the appropriate intervals. Furthermore, you should have an email address that you check regularly for this class. While I prefer to contact students via university email, I am open to other email addresses.

While technology makes life easier, it can also be difficult (computer crashes, deleted work, unavailable Internet connections, etc.). So, plan accordingly. "The computer ate my homework" or "the Internet was down" are not reasons to forgo the work assigned. It is in your best interest to leave extra time, especially in the first few weeks, to ensure that technology does not get in the way of your coursework.

How to Reach Me:
The best way to reach me though is by email, but you can find me on Twitter. I am online almost every day. If you email or @ me and do not receive a response within 24 hours, please feel free to email or @ me again (as I might not have received your first message) and give me a reminder. I promise not to consider this harassment.

If you are more comfortable with face-to-face communication, let me know and we can set up an appointment.


Final Note:
Should any aspect of class confuse/concern/trouble you, don't hesitate to contact me.

ENG 111 College Rhetoric syllabus, updated Fall 2011 #111cr

Course: ENG 111 College Rhetoric (#111cr)
Semester: Fall 2011
Teacher/Guide: Dr. James Robert Schirmer (@betajames)
E-mail: jschirm AT umflint DOT edu
Office: 320D French Hall
Hours: Monday/Wednesday by appointment
Mailbox: 326 French Hall

Writing Center: 559 French Hall
Writing Center Phone: 810.766.6602 (call ahead to make an appointment)
Writing Center Website:  http://www.umflint.edu/departments/writingcenter/

Course Description: 
English 111 is designed to equip students with the ability and knowledge to write college-level essays that are clear, argumentative, and persuasive. Skills gained in this class will be important beyond the classroom as the ability to communicate effectively is a requirement of most professional careers.

This course is formatted to help students feel more comfortable in their writing.  We will explore and discuss different strategies and steps involved in composition that will allow each student to find the system that works best for them.  Writing is not only a product but also a process; therefore, revision will be emphasized and fostered with instructor, peer, and personal comments.  All aspects of effective essays, such as finding a target audience, creating coherent organization, and establishing purpose will be explored.   

Much of our class time will have a writers' workshop environment. When we share our writing with each other, we'll work to give friendly and helpful feedback. Because we are practicing writers, too, we'll all be able to relate to the demands of writing good essays for a college-level audience. 

In addition to writing, we'll read other writers in order to help us understand the various components of successful essays. The readings should also help in generating ideas for composed pieces and develop and reinforce critical reading and thinking skills. 


Required Texts:
Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. "They Say / I Say": The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. New York: Norton, 2006.
The First Year Writing Program: A Survival Kit: http://www.umflint.edu/english/pdf_files/Kit15.pdf

All other reading materials will be provided online.

Course Contributions: 
The grading contract outlines many parameters for the course, but not all. Below is more information about unique contributions to be made to the course by all students.

Presence: I expect you to come to class on time, prepared, having completed the assigned reading and writing, and ready to contribute thoughts to class discussions, to listen with attentive respect to the thoughts of your peers, and to participate in all in-class group work.  I strongly urge you to attend every class, as most of the work done in class is necessary for successful completion of the course.

Blogging: Contrary to assumptions about writing, authorship is more of a collective process than an individual endeavor. To better illustrate this, you are required to create and maintain a Posterous blog for the duration of the course. Particular requirements for blogging are as follows: 

  • Blog entries of 400-600 words each are due twice a week by session start.
  • Blog comments of 40-60 words each are due thrice a week by 5pm every Friday. 

Further blogging guidelines are provided here.

Tweeting: To create and sustain further conversation this semester, all students are required to maintain active presence on Twitter for a minimum of four weeks. One post (or tweet) per day is required, but there is freedom regarding content. Students are welcome to post original thoughts, "retweet" classmates' updates, @ (reply to) classmates' updates, and share course-relevant links with the course hashtag. Posts unrelated to course content are okay, but these will not count toward the requirement. I am very active on Twitter, so I encourage all students to check my profile (as well as those I follow) for potential models of engagement. Further guidelines are provided here

Sequences: For particular course themes, there are some longer assignments. These provide opportunities for not only greater attention and focus but also practice and preparation for later projects and beyond. Clicking on each assignment title will take you to the official assignment sheet. 

  • Pop Up Scholarship (800-1200 words)
    Given a greater familiarity with the discursive particulars of academic writing, we should now have the ability to engage in a dialogue with a text, not only noting its unique, stylistic features but also amending/changing the text itself. This assignment emphasizes Mikhail Bakhtin’s work on dialogism and that “all discourse is a response” (Ewald 88). It also stresses the creativity of the reader in the act of making meaning, encouraging an abandonment of “the notion that the text is the sole, even primary, repository of meaning in written discourse” (88).
  • Reverse-Engineered Scholarship (800-1200 words)
    This assignment asks that you begin at the end, that you start with a finished piece of writing and work backward. It is similar to the other “Scholarship” assignments in that it asks you to pay attention to particulars of a piece of written work. While Pop Up and Mashup consider audience, grammar and syntax, organization, and source materials, Reverse-Engineered Scholarship focuses on argument, idea development, and the method or process of how we write. 
  • Mashup Scholarship (800-1200 words)
    Beyond one-to-one dialogue with a text is, of course, dialogic multiplication, the cacophonous implementation of many texts together. This means realizing and showing how well a variety of works relate to each other in terms of argument and meaning, thereby mirroring Girl Talk, Danger Mouse's The Grey Album, Wugazi’s 13 Chambers, and Jonathan Lethem's "The ecstasy of influence." Like "Pop Up Scholarship," this assignment emphasizes reader as well as writer creativity, encouraging a plagiarism of sorts to promote better understanding of textual construction.
  • The Big One (at least 2000 words total) 
    Having reflected on how we use technology and put together documents revealing knowledge of scholarly argument and discourse, it is important to put those abilities to a larger, cumulative test. Intended as a demonstration of what should be acquired in ENG 111, this assignment asks for process-oriented engagement with a focused topic, one realized through an unorthodox composition and resulting in more traditional pieces of academic work.

Class Facilitation: Student groups are responsible for facilitating class once during the semester. It should last 60 minutes with students providing readings for the rest of the class prior to the facilitation. Student groups will meet for instructor approval at least one week prior to their facilitation to finalize readings and discuss approaches. 

Facilitation readings should be given to the instructor in time to allow for copies to be made (or files to be uploaded). Facilitation readings should be relevant to and provide insight on some aspect of the course. 

A facilitation can take whatever format is comfortable for the student group presenting (discussion questions, in-class activities, online activities, etc.). The introduction and subsequent discussion of topics for facilitation will be based on students' interests and finalized as a class. 

On Technology:
Because an increasing amount of writing occurs in an online format, we will engage a range of computer tools and web-based applications. No prior skill is needed, however, only a willingness to engage and learn. I am more than willing to take extra time; all you need to do is ask.

A majority of the tools we will be using in and outside of class are web-based, so you will not need any special software. I might, however, have some recommendations (not requirements) that I will provide at appropriate intervals. Furthermore, you should have an email address that you check regularly for this class. While I prefer to contact students via university email, I am open to other email addresses.

While technology makes life easier, it can also be difficult (computer crashes, deleted work, unavailable Internet connections, etc.). So, plan accordingly. "The computer ate my homework" or "the Internet was down" are not reasons to forgo the work assigned. It is in your best interest to leave extra time, especially in the first few weeks, to ensure that technology does not get in the way of your coursework.

How to Reach Me: 
The best way to reach me is by email < jschirm AT umflint DOT edu >. You can also find me online via Twitter. I am online almost every day. If you email or @ me and do not receive a response within 24 hours, please feel free to email or @ me again as a reminder. As I might not have received your first message, I promise not to consider your second message harassment.

If you are more comfortable with face-to-face communication, you are welcome to schedule an appointment. My office is 320D French Hall.

Final Note: 
Should any aspect of class confuse/concern/trouble you, don't hesitate to contact me.

syllabus #345tw

Course: ENG 345 Technical Writing
Semester: Winter 2011
Teacher/Guide: Dr. James Schirmer
E-mail: jschirm@umflint.edu
Office: 320D French Hall
Hours: Tues/Thurs by appointment
Mailbox: 326 French Hall

Writing Center: 559 French Hall
Writing Center Phone: 810.766.6602 (call ahead to make an appointment)
Writing Center Website: http://www.umflint.edu/departments/writingcenter/

Course Description
ENG 345 focuses on technical communication, which is a form of communication wherein analysis of audience and purpose provides practical information toward education and/or facilitation. Therefore concerned with the production of clear and concise informative documents, including instruction manuals, user guides and a variety of technical reports, this course provides ample opportunity to learn about and practice the creation of such documents in the context of self-selected topics.

Prior or concurrent election of ENG 112 is the lone requisite for this course.

Course Objectives
Upon completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Recognize technical communications as encompassing a diverse body of potential work
  • Identify several persuasive techniques available for use in technical communications
  • Analyze a technical communication for a variety of strengths and weaknesses
  • Construct several types of technical communication in at least one specialized area
  • Assess yourself and peers as technical communicators

Required Texts
Gentle, Anne. Conversation and Community.
McMurrey, David A. Technical Writing: Online Textbook.

All other reading materials will be available online or provided via email.

Course Contributions 
The grading contract outlines many parameters for the course, but not all. Below is more information about unique contributions to be made to the course by all students:

PRESENCE: I expect you to come to class on time, prepared, having completed the assigned reading and writing, and ready to contribute thoughts to class discussions, to listen with attentive respect to the thoughts of your peers, and to participate in all in-class group work.  I strongly urge you to attend every class, as most of the work done in class is necessary for successful completion of the course.

BLOGGERY: Contrary to assumptions about writing, authorship is more of a collective process than an individual endeavor. To better illustrate this, you are required to create and maintain a blog for the duration of the course. Particular requirements for blogging are as follows:

  • Blog posts, minimum of 2 per week, are due Monday/Thursday by 11:59pm. 
  • Blog comments, minimum of 3 per week, are due Wednesday/Friday by 4:59pm.

Further guidelines (including length requirements) are here

FACILITATION: Student groups are responsible for facilitating a 60-minute session once during the semester. Assigned reading should be part of the facilitation (and given to the instructor in time to allow for copies to be made (or PDFs to be loaded)). Facilitation readings should be relevant to and provide insight on some aspect of technical communication. The facilitation should begin with a group-led pecha kucha presentation, but what follows that is for each group to decide. In other words, the bulk of the facilitation can take whatever format is comfortable for the student group presenting (discussion questions, in-class activities, online activities or chats, etc.). The introduction and subsequent discussion of facilitation topics will be based on students' interests. Once decided, student groups will meet with the instructor at least one week prior to their facilitation to finalize readings and discuss approaches.

SEQUENCES: For particular course themes, there are some longer assignments. These provide opportunities for not only greater attention and focus but also practice and preparation for later projects. The sequences are as follows:

  • Technology Autobiography - due Week 2
    Reflecting on our relationships with technology helps us understand how we learn new technologies and, by extension, understand how our own coping and learning strategies are similar to and different from those around us. By putting such reflection into the form of an autobiography, telling stories of our lives with technology gives us a chance to know each other better in a unique way. 
  • The "Zero Gravity Toilet" Assignment - due Week 4 / Week 15 (revision)
    While not a regular occurrence, technical communications sometimes appear in other media, namely film and television. As in 2001: A Space Odyssey's "Zero Gravity Toilet Instructions" and Saturday Night Live's "Happy Fun Ball," technical communications in other media are often implemented for humor and/or realism. Such communications can be indicative of not only technical writing principles but also cultural values. Composing technical documentation of a fictional product or service provides an early, unique opportunity to exercise present knowledge. A required, semester-end revision of said documentation should further reveal how much has been learned.
  • Group Project - due Week 8
    Most technical communications have some element of collaboration. It is an opportunity to not only work closer with colleagues but also to use one of the specific online communicative technologies listed in Gentle's Conversation and Community. In working together toward the production of a technical document and doing so in some kind of online format, we should garner firsthand experience and knowledge of what Gentle observes.
  • Final Project - due Week 14
    Having reflected on how we use technology and put together some introductory examples of technical documentation knowledge, it is important to put those abilities to a larger, cumulative test. Intended as a demonstration of what should be acquired in ENG 345, this assignment asks for process-oriented engagement with a focused topic for technical communication.

Further details and guidelines are here

TWITTER: To create and sustain further conversation about technical communication, you are required to maintain active presence on Twitter. 5 tweets per week are also required, but there is freedom regarding content. I encourage you to post original thoughts, "retweet" classmates' updates, @ (reply to) classmates' updates and share relevant links. Posts unrelated to course content are okay, but will not count toward the post requirement. I am very active on Twitter, so I encourage all students to check my profile (and those I follow) for models of engagement.

----

On Technology Usage
An increasing amount of technical communication occurs online, so we will engage a range of computer tools and web-based applications. No prior skill is needed, only a willingness to engage and learn. If we need to take extra time to engage and learn, all you need to do is ask.

A majority of the tools we will be using in and outside of class are web-based, so you will not need any special software. I might, however, have some recommendations (not requirements) that I will provide at appropriate intervals. Furthermore, you should have an email address that you check regularly for this class. While I prefer to contact students via university email, I am open to other email addresses.

 While technology makes life easier, it can also be difficult (computer crashes, deleted work, unavailable Internet connections, etc.). So, plan accordingly. "The computer ate my homework" or "the Internet was down" are not reasons to forgo the work assigned. It is in your best interest to leave extra time, especially in the first few weeks, to ensure that technology does not get in the way of your coursework.

How to Reach Me
The best way to reach me is by email <jschirm@umflint.edu>. You can also find me online via Twitter <twitter.com/betajames>. I am online almost every day. If you email or @ me and do not receive a response within 24 hours, please feel free to email or @ me again as a reminder. I promise not to consider this harassment. If you are more comfortable with face-to-face communication, you are welcome to schedule an appointment Tuesday/Thursday. My office is 320D French Hall.

Final Note
Should any aspect of class confuse/concern/trouble you, don't hesitate to contact me.