Shelley Reid .


English 3203:
Advanced Composition & Rhetoric

Oklaholma State University, Spring 2004

Required for English Education students

Jump to Schedule (on this page) or see Course Assignments (next page)


Officially speaking, this class is designed to provide space and time and motivation for you to further develop your abilities in writing and the processes that surround writing:  reading, thinking about and responding to reading, anticipating the effects that contexts and audiences will have on writing, organizing ideas, drafting, reading drafts, revising, re-revising, editing, polishing, and starting the whole process again.  Less officially, but perhaps more importantly, this class provides a space to practice three crucial things:  Writing from Home, Writing for Change, and Trying Something New.


TextsThe Writer on Her Work Vol. II (Sternburg), Available Means (Ritchie & Ronald), and Nuts & Bolts (Newkirk), at the OSU Bookstore.  You should also purchase Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference if you don't have a copy handy, or have a similar reference book (such as Keys for Writers).

Etc.:Please buy 2-3 basic pocket folders (no plastic, no three-hole brads) to keep your writing in, and be sure to have back-up storage (disks, keychain drives, etc.) for your documents.

Note: The drafting and revising processes of this class assume that you are taking advantage of your access to word-processing and that you always have a back-up copy of your work.

Basic Weights & Measures

(See the Assignment Descriptions for full details)

Midterm Portfolio, 20% (40 pts.):  You will draft and revise three short essays (3-5 pp.) during the first half of this semester.  For each one, you will complete an early and a revised draft, along with additional assignments to be collected in a pocket folder.  Essays will be evaluated and thoroughly responded to but not given a letter grade.  Essays will be returned to you to keep as you build your portfolio. 

In addition to the essay drafts themselves, much of the work you do in the process of writing each essay -- your efforts in the drafting process, your revisions and explorations, your reflective analyses of your writing processes and products, and the assistance you give your peers -- will be "counted" significantly in this part of the grade, as we work on developing useful and replicatable processes to assist you in future writing. 

This portfolio, including a short reflective essay explaining what you have discovered/learned so far, will be collected near the mid-semester point, at which time it will be given a letter grade based on completeness, revisions completed and/or planned, awareness of writing processes, and essay "quality." 

Writer's Workout Assignments, 25% (50 pts.):  Eight assignments throughout the semester, each about two pages long, will ask you to practice specific skills or help you take small, focused steps toward a larger project.  As with fitness workouts, timeliness and intensity will usually produce the best results; the final WW grade will depend on number of assignments completed, number completed "on time," and the depth of the reflective analysis demonstrated—the "mental grappling" or "sweat equity" factor.

Reading & Writing Community Assignments, 20% (40 pts.):  Because good writers are always reading, and because writing is about communicating with real, live people, not just some dusty professor, you'll respond to short, open-note quizzes every week and post 7-10 times to a web-based "fishbowl" discussion forum with your class peers.

In addition, your generally constructive interaction with other members of the classroom community -- including your role in class discussions, your responses to other students' ideas and work, your participation in small-group discussions, and your completion of in-class exercises and workshops -- is expected.  Any serious breach of classroom courtesy may result a significant penalty to the "community" grade.

Final Portfolio, including "Change Essay," Revisions, and "Final Exam," 35% (75 pts.):  Your take-home final exam will be to write the introduction and/or conclusion to your final writing portfolio, which will include your best short writings, your "Change" essay, a revision/expansion of two of your first three short essays, and other pieces of writing that seem relevant. 

Attendance is required.  This is a hands-on, minds-on, laboratory-like class; missing more than four classes even for a Very Good Reason may lower your final grade (see next page). 

The 1.5 Point Rule: At the end of the term, your score is your grade: 180-200 = A, 160-179 = B, 140-159 = C, 120-139 = D.  I do not "round up"; there is no "extra credit."  However, if you are within 1.5 points (no more) of a higher grade, and I have seen clear evidence of you "going the extra mile" throughout the semester -- making great improvement as a writer, taking extra care with peer reviews, breaking a sweat with your revisions, enlivening class discussion or peer groups with your wit and/or insight, etc. -- I reserve the right to give you the higher grade.  There is no persuading me to do this with pleas or sad stories at the very end of the term or after the grade is recorded; my decision, once made, is non-negotiable.

Some Notes on Plagiarism

In informal or collaborative situations, the ideas shared among students take on a collective "ownership"; suggestions offered may be freely taken.  In the case of a draft workshop or informal writing -- e-mail posts, in-class exercises, peer responses -- consulting with other students may be strongly encouraged.  Nonetheless, unless the assignment is designated as a team effort, the final assignment should demonstrate your own thought processes and original presentation of ideas and arguments. 

In non-collaborative situations -- quoting from published or interviewed sources, or presenting data gathered by researchers other than classroom peers -- standard rules for plagiarism apply.  You are expected to give credit, use quotation marks, and include full citation for any phrases, ideas, or facts that you discovered somewhere outside your own mind.  Failure to meet academic guidelines for using published sources may result in a grade penalty, even if the error was unintentional.

Generally, any act of representing someone else's work -- another student's work or ideas or words from a published source -- as being your own is a form of fraud, and may result in an assignment grade of F, and/or in a course grade of F, and/or in a formal complaint of academic misconduct or dishonesty, depending on the severity of the event.  If you're ever in doubt, ask for help, and always give credit where credit may be due.



English 3203 and the Space-Time Continuum

Absence Policy and Late-Work Policy

Space:  Your active, psychophysical presence is required in this class.  When you listen to views not your own, write notes to yourself about topics you hadn't yet considered, work with others' ideas and writing, and voice publicly your reactions and analyses for others to learn from, you increase your own depth and breadth of learning immeasurably.  In a collaborative, workshop-based class, as with band practice or team sports, being there is crucial. 

Therefore, missing more than 4 class meetings will lower your final score; each additional absence will invoke a 2% penalty.  Missing more than 9 classes may result in your being dropped from the class (or failed for the term).

Absences due to Rare, Uncontrollable Natural Disasters (severe, extended illness; immediate-family emergencies; alien abductions) may be "excused" if you provide me with a written description of the problem within one week of your return to class.  (The flu is not "rare," and neither a doctor's appointment nor a job interview is entirely "uncontrollable" in its scheduling.)  If you begin to accumulate absences of any sort, you should see me to make sure you're getting what you need to from the course. 

Time:  Lateness is allowed for (since past and present and future are, of course, all occurring all the time) but as in most places in our unremittingly linear society, it will not be without consequences.  Note:  The quickest way to come to hate a writing class is to fall behind in it.

Individual "late" penalties for assignments are inappropriate for this class, in which we emphasize the complexity of the writing process and the need to keep working on a piece of writing, and in which individual letter-grades are rare occurrences.  Most assignments have some temporal leeway built into them; if you miss a single deadline, the world will not come to an end, and you need not apologize.

However, because falling behind is really the kiss of death in any writing-intensive environment, there are some consequences to turning in work after the official deadline:

Missing out on a grade bonus:  Both portfolios carry an on-time grade bonus option.

Earning a lower grade overall:  In the WW assignments and Fishbowl discussions, grades are partially determined by number of on-time completions (check the grading rubrics in the assignment descriptions). 

Missing out on a peer review opportunity:  If you do not have a draft for a scheduled workshop, you will miss out on the advice of your peers, and may miss the opportunity to provide feedback to your peers (part of the Process Assignment grade)—you may have to schedule peer review opportunities outside of class.

Forfeiting your right to speedy feedback:  Work turned in late generally goes to the bottom of the responder's work stack—neither peers nor the instructor will feel compelled to rush through a response to work that didn't meet the original deadline.

Assignments coming in late due to Rare, Unusual, Natural Disasters -- accompanied by a written explanation -- may be "excused" from any specific penalty.

Note:  Computers are now so common that their quirks cannot be considered "Rare, Uncontrollable Natural Disasters."  Assignments that are late because of a crashed disk, a crowded lab, a jammed printer, or an untimely pushing of the wrong button will earn sympathy but will still count as "late." 

Pleaseback up your files, print often while in process, and print your final assignments before the Last Minute to lessen the risk of computer-generated angst.

Continuum:  Special cases will receive special consideration.  Overwork, as you know from your own and your friends' experiences, is not a special case.  Alien abduction is a special case.  Between the two lie a variety of cases that can be discussed.  Don't panic -- but do plan ahead when possible, and contact me as soon as possible if you run into trouble.


OSU Disability Policy

If any member of English 3203 thinks that he or she has a qualified disability and needs special accommodations, he/she should contact the Office of Student Disability Services, 315 Student Union, and request that they notify me.  In addition, the student should talk with me to confirm the exact accommodations required for this class.  I will work with the student and SDS to provide reasonable assistance to ensure a fair opportunity to perform in this class. 

Course Schedule, Spring 2004

Reading assignments are from The Writer on her Work (WoW), Available Means (AM), Nuts and Bolts (NB), and A Writer's Reference (Hacker); occasional articles are placed on reserve at Low Library (Resv) and can be accessed & downloaded through the library's web site.

Reading assignments have been chosen specifically to show how writers write from home and for change; many also show how writers take risks and try something.  Readings about teaching strategies also reveal strategies for writing or revising. Always try to read like a writer learning the craft.

Reading & Thinking Quizzes (RTQs) are closed book, open-notebook.  They do include any headnotes from assignments in AM; they do not include the Weekly Hacker readings.  Reading and writing assignments are due at the start of the scheduled class period unless otherwise noted. 



Class topics

Student Leaders

Reading Due This Class

Writing Due This Class


Writing Block (WB); Introducing writers


RTQ #1
Places and readers

WoW:  Hogan, 77-81

Handout:  Paige, 11-14


E-mail writer profile


RTQ #2

Anything and everything

Little green ball, jello, & some people

Course Info. Packet & Syllabus

WoW: Atwood, 150-156

AM: Day, 237-240

Online: Macrorie

Bring a list of 3-5 questions about the asgts. or syllabus



No Class: MLK Holiday





WB; Paragraph workshop

Reading as a writer


WoW:  Hampl, 21; Williams, 119; LeGuin, 210; + one essay of your choice

Online:  Lamott

3 Writer Paragraphs (2 copies of each)


RTQ #4

The Rhetorical Triangle vs.

The Five Paragraph Essay


AM:  Silko, 462

NB:  Qualley, 101

Writer's Workout #1



Peer Wksp: praise, suggest, & try

Resv.  Daiker

Draft: Writer Essay (x2)



Places and Rhetorics

WoW: Erlich, 175-179

AM: Woolf, 241




Revising Writing: Trying something


Resv.: Calkins "Drafting"


Class topics

Student Leaders

Reading Due

Writing Due




RTQs continue regularly

WB Writing for change; prewriting

AM:  Mairs, 391 or P. Williams, 409

Writer Essay: Folder for Initial Review


Peer Wksp:  Evidence & theories

Draft: Place Essay (x2)


Conventions v. expressions,

grades v. responses


Resv:  Elbow, "Ranking"

"Change" essay topics list: 3-5 possible topics;



WB  Scope & angle: How much?

NB:  Rule, 43-66


Place Essay: Folder for IR


Peer Wksp:  Giving the right help

Draft: Anything Essay (x2)


Structures & strategies


AM:  Lamm, 454

Resv.: Wiley




WB You say I'm a dreamer: rhetorics of reason and passion

AM:  Fell, 66 or Anthony, 151, &

AM: Dworkin, 330 or Jordan, 366

Anything Ess.: IR Folder


Reality Research: Beyond notecards




Meet in Low Library


Hacker, skim R1, R2, R5, R6

"Change" Essay Topic

(e-mail Thurs. if possible)




WB The power of language

AM:  Lorde, 301

Resv:  Orr

Bring all drafts


Beginnings & endings: reaching out

Bring all drafts


Revision Wksp 1


Draft(s) + question set



Other side of the red pen:
assigning writing

NB:  Wheeler, 67-100

Resv.:  Fulkerson

Sign up:  WW7


Reading Block; Immodest proposals

Midterm Portfolio


Designing writing assignments:

Warmups (2):

Think about: WW4


Class topics
(RTQs continue regularly)

Student Presentations

Reading Due

Writing Due



WB Proposal mania

NB: Chiseri-Strater, 179-202

WW#4: Prop. (x5, 4anon)


Meet in Low Library




Working with sources:  good, bad, & ugly




Resv:  Elbow, "Contraries"





WB Two steps forward, one step back— scope & audience

NB Ballenger, 129-150

Resv.:  Gregorian


Beyond the library: real people



AM:  Ginsberg, 471


Change Wksp 1:  Early ideas



Change: 3 parags: arg. and/or recommendations




WB Structures for argument

AM: Woo, 306

Resv.: Calkins, "Teaching Adolescents"



Rhetorics of difficulty & resistance



Resv:  Sudol & Sudol, "Another Story"



Engaging writers




NB:  Newkirk, 1-15

Revision Proposal:  Which 2 texts to revise, why& how




WB Politics of writing/instruction

AM:  Walker, 314

Resv.:  Brooke



Change Workshop 2:  Big picture


Draft: Change Essay (x3)


What about style & editing?




NB:  Harrigan, 151-178


Class topics

Student Leaders

Reading Due

Writing Due





Revision Workshop


Hacker: Review G5, G6, E1, E3, E6, E7

AM:  Steinem, 489

Revision Draft  (x2)
 + coversheets for peers


Press corps 1:  Live audiences

Stylin' with the Gurus



Hacker: Review P1, P2, P3, P4, W1, W2, W3, W5

Resv:  Devet

Grammar Guru Exercise (bring 5 copies)

Optional:  3-minute spiel


Press corps 2:  Live audiences




Optional:  3-minute spiel



WB Change Essay: Workshop 3 Complete draft workshop

Change Essay Draft 2: title, works cited, full length, all sources, 2 copies


Change Essay: polishing wksp1

Press corps 3:  Live audiences


Optional:  3-minute spiel


Change Essay: polishing wksp2


WW#9: post to Blackboard



WB Portfolio ideas:  Intro essays, organizations

WW#8 & Compl. folder


Polishing, presenting, planning ahead



Author interview; ideal writing classes

Final Portfolios Due by Monday, May 3rd, 4:00 pm.  Late portfolios will earn a 5%-per-day grade deduction.






Last updated 2008.Email Shelley Reid