Instructor:  Richard Colby
Email: richard.colby@du.edu
Office: Anderson Academic Commons 380X
Office Phone: 303-871-7702
Office Hours: Tuesdays 10am-2:30pm

Course Description

WRIT 1122 teaches writing strategies vital for success in rhetorical situations that involve well-educated readers, primarily in public/civic matters.  The course features rhetorical analysis and practice, effective use of readings and source materials, and strategies for generating, revising, and editing texts produced to meet specific situations.  The course provides sustained practice in writing, with systematic instructor feedback, that results in at least four finished and polished papers, totaling some 20-25 pages by quarter’s end.

Goals of WRIT 1122

  • Demonstrate practical knowledge of the concept “rhetorical situation,” through the abilities both to analyze and to write effectively in different kinds of situations.
  • Demonstrate proficiency with basic elements of rhetorical analysis (such as logos, ethos, and pathos) in a range of texts, and the application of that facility in their own writing.
  • Demonstrate the ability to produce writing that effectively provides evidence and reasoning for assertions, for audiences of educated readers.
  • Demonstrate the ability to incorporate and attribute or document source material in rhetorically effective ways.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use feedback to revise their own writing and the ability to provide useful feedback to others.
  • Demonstrate the ability to edit and proofread their writing.

In this section of WRIT 1122, we will look at the rhetoric or art of persuasive communication of games, gamers, and gaming. You don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy this class. After all, this is a writing class—we are using this focus to give us a shared topic from which to draw upon as we work on improving writing and your understanding of rhetoric. You don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy this class, so don’t be intimidated if all you have ever played is Super Smash Bros. or Bejeweled. After all, this is a writing class—we are using this focus to give us a shared topic from which to draw upon as we work on issues such as audience, purpose, kairos, ethos, logos, pathos, exigence, and a myriad of other rhetorical and discourse tools.

Course Requirements

Required Course Text and Materials

  • The course readings are all available online
  • Laptop that you should bring to class every day.

Assignments

Assignment 1: Game Advertisement Rhetorical Analysis

In this assignment, you will analyze the rhetorical features and effectiveness of a game advertisement (either print or video).  This analysis will look at how ethos, logos, and pathos work within the rhetorical situation to “sell” the game/gaming to gamers.

Assignment 2: Game Review

As with any commercial media, reviews abound for games.  Some analyze the cultural implications of a game, others engage in academic nuance about the human condition, but most stick to the rather predictable good/bad dichotomy.  Whatever the case, they are all arguments. In this assignment, you will pick a commercial game that you have played or can play through in a short amount of time and review it for a very specific audience that will be determined by chance.

Assignment 3: Political/Ideological Remix

Language, work, school, games—everything is bound by an ideological frame.  And ideologies lead to politics.  Here, you will be rewriting the rules of a popular or common game so as to persuade an audience about a political or ideological issue.

Assignment 4: Card-based Advergame

Bogost discusses three types of advertising: demonstrative, illustrative, and associative.  Consider this framework as you invent a card game that advertises a product, institution, or service. You will turn in instructions and your “cards” for your advergame.

Assignment 5: Reacting to… Edugame

Learning, especially as it is framed by school, is based on the dual theories of behaviorism and constructivism.  In this assignment, you will be designing a “Reacting to…” role-playing game.

Assignment 6: Final Game Project

This major group project will provide you with an opportunity to practice some professional types of writing while synthesizing many things you have learned in the course.  In groups of three, you will be writing a proposal, creating a proof-of-concept, and creating a 20 minute presentation about a persuasive game that your group will invent. These can be a board, card, or computer game.

In-class Writing

You will be asked to write something almost every day.  Some of these writing assignments will be written in small groups, some will be written before class, and some will be written at the end of class.  This work will usually be focused on the class readings and discussion.  Sometimes I will collect these, but usually they will be posted to our course website.  Our website/blog is a public space—anybody can stumble across it.  Therefore, remember audience and your own ethos when writing.  You should bring your laptop to class every day.  I will use these writings as a measure of your class participation as well as your attendance.

Attendance and Participation

Daily attendance is expected. It is important that you be present for class activities because your contributions will shape the evolution of learning in this class. Extended periods of absence will thwart collaborative efforts and impair your learning.  In other words, you have to do more than just show up—you have to actually be engaged with the course.  Engagement is visible in a number of ways, including participation in classroom discussion, online discussions, and other conferences and discussions outside the classroom, peer review feedback, group project contributions, and general efforts to improve not only your own learning but the learning of the entire class.

I understand that life sometimes gets in the way of school obligations.  Illness, emergencies, skiing injuries, narcolepsy, and alien abduction, among other things, might prevent you from attending class on time.  My attendance policy is that you can miss two class sessions, no questions asked.  My advice is that you save those two sessions for when you need them.  If you miss more than three sessions, you will have to see me during my office hours so that we can discuss your situation.  In the event of excessive absences (20% of class meetings or more), you will be encouraged to drop the course.  It is your responsibility to communicate special circumstances to me as I cannot drop you from the course.  If you just stop showing up, you will receive an F in the course.   Occasionally, true emergencies arise.  Please discuss missed class sessions with me as soon as possible; we will work together to accommodate your situation.  If you do miss class, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed.

Policies

Computer Diversions

I fully expect that you will bring your laptop to class every day.  However, I need you to focus on work and use your computer for that purpose.  Facebooking, Surfing, chatting, gaming, downloading, and other such activities during class when you are not instructed to specifically do these things can be detrimental to your learning and the learning of those around you.

Late Work

All work— rough drafts and final copies— must be turned in on-time. I will not accept late work unless you have made a previous arrangement with me. If you are unable to turn in an assignment for emergency reasons, inform me personally and as soon as possible. Please email me if you foresee a problem with getting your work in on time.  The decision of whether or not I accept late work, regardless of excuse, is solely mine.

Lost Work

You are responsible for maintaining a copy of each draft of your work. All of your work will be returned after it has been evaluated.  It is your responsibility to keep a copy for this class.  Additionally, in future writing classes and majors, you may be expected to demonstrate a portfolio of your work, so keep the writing you do for this class organized.  Occasionally, essays are stolen, lost, or destroyed, so you should keep an additional copy of each essay and a back-up in a safe place.

Revision Policy

Knowing how to revise your writing is an important aspect of being a successful writer; therefore, we will work on developing revision skills in this course. Take advantage of our class time, my office hours, and the Writing Center to get the help you need for your essays.  If at any time you would like comments on a draft or a piece of a draft, you can email me at least 72 hours before a final draft is due with “Assignment # RFC” in the subject heading, and I will give you some feedback.

I allow two revisions per project on assignments 1, 2 and 5 after they receive a grade. In other words, if you get a grade that you do not like, you can revise that project twice for a new grade. However, you must contact me prior to revising so I can keep track.  You cannot revise a project that already has a grade without first emailing/talking to me.

Submitting papers

All papers should be submitted via email to richard.colby@du.edu.  Please name the FILE your last name and the assignment number (e.g. jones2.doc).  In the SUBJECT heading of your email, you should write “Assignment # RFC/FD/REV” where RFC = Request for Comments, FD = Final Draft, REV = Revision.  For example, a final draft for the second assignment should have the SUBJECT “Assignment 2 FD.”

Plagiarism

There are many types of plagiarism and each has negative consequences on learning.  We will discuss various forms of academic dishonesty, but it is my expectation from the beginning that you are responsible for your own work, that you collaborate fairly, and that you give credit where credit is due.  More on the DU Student Honor Code can be found at http://www.du.edu/ccs/

Grading System

Paper/Project/Assignment Grade scale

I give essays and projects a letter grade.  The letter grade corresponds to a number when computing a final grade (see table 1).  For example, if you received a B on a 10-point essay, that earns you 8.4 points towards your final grade.  I realize that there are potentially tenths of a point gained and lost here, but this is not a course where partial credit or tenths of a point matter.  A written draft or project either does what it needs to do or doesn’t—there is little value in itemizing instances of ethos, counting comma errors, or otherwise quantifying the results.  Each assignment has its own grading criteria that are communicated to you through the assignment sheet, classroom discussion, lecture, instructor feedback, and peer review.  If you are ever unsure about criteria for a particular assignment, please contact me as soon as possible.

Points
Description Grade 5 10 15 20 25 30
Superior work that exceeds all criteria A 100% 5.0 10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 30.0
A- 90% 4.5 9.0 13.5 18.0 22.5 27.0
Excellent work that exceeds some or most criteria B+ 87% 4.4 8.7 13.1 17.4 21.8 26.1
B 84% 4.2 8.4 12.6 16.8 21.0 25.2
B- 80% 4.0 8.0 12.0 16.0 20.0 24.0
Acceptable work that meets all criteria C+ 77% 3.9 7.7 11.6 15.4 19.3 23.1
C 74% 3.7 7.4 11.1 14.8 18.5 22.2
C- 70% 3.5 7.0 10.5 14.0 17.5 21.0
Acceptable work that barely meets all of the criteria D+ 67% 3.2 6.4 9.6 12.8 16.8 19.2
D 60% 3.0 6.0 9.0 12.0 15.0 18.0
Work that does not meet one or more of the criteria NC or R 0% 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

Table 1: WRIT Grading Scale

I do not give F’s on papers.  During the regular course of the term, if you fail to meet the minimum requirements of a project, you will receive an R, which means “Must Revise.”  You do not have to see me to revise an R, but it will always be due one week after you received the grade from me unless other arrangements have been made.  The last regular week of the term (the week BEFORE finals week) is the last time you can turn in any revised paper.  At the end, any R’s in my book are automatically computed as NC, which means you will receive No Credit and 0 points for that project.

Project Grade Breakdown

Project %
Attendance/Participation (in-class writing, blog posts and group work) 20
Advertising Rhetorical Analysis (Assignment #1) 10
Game Review (Assignment #2) 10
Political/Ideological Remix (Assignment #3) 10
Card-based Advergame (Assignment #4) 10
Reacting to… Edugame (Assignment #5) 10
Final Project (Assignment #6) 20
Final Portfolio 10

Resources

Office Hours

If you need to see me in person, we can schedule an appointment for on campus.  I also will be available in my office on Tuesdays from 10am to 2:30pm.

ADA Statement

The University of Denver is committed to equal access and participation for all persons, including those with disabilities.  Appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities are provided on an individualized, collaborative, and flexible basis.  However, it is the responsibility of students with disabilities to request accommodations after first contacting Disability Services, working with them to determine appropriate accommodations.  The DSP office is located under the Bookstore in the Driscoll Student Center South: http://www.du.edu/studentlife/disability/ or phone 303.871.2278.

DU’s Writing Center

One of the most useful resources offered in helping you achieve excellence in writing is the DU Writing Center.  Any DU student may make an appointment for a consultation. Although there are occasional walk-in appointments available, it is best to schedule an appointment in advance.  Consultations in the Writing Center last 45 minutes, and can help you with any stage of the writing process.  For more information, visit: https://www.du.edu/writing/writingcenter

University of Denver Libraries, Anderson Academic Commons (Penrose Library)

You will find that the library offers access to many online databases the provide access to thousands of articles for research and scholarship.  The room marked Research on the second floor (the floor you are on when you walk in) offers individual consultations with a Reference Librarian who can help you narrow down a research topic and find the best sources for your writing.  In addition, the library maintains a sizeable collection of both print and online books, journals, and government documents (3 million to be exact).  Visit the library’s Services website at: http://library.du.edu for more information.

Formatting and Style

Unless otherwise stated, rough drafts and final versions for essays should be typed (word processed) and formatted as follows:

  • Modern Language Association (MLA) format for citations and presentation.  I will provide a detailed example and instructions for following this format.  We will also be discussing this and other formats in class.
  • As per MLA format, work for this class should be typed, double-spaced, and one-sided, with 1” margins on the left, right, top and bottom of the page.
  • As per MLA format, your essay should have your last name and the page number in the upper right hand corner of every page.
  • Each project should have a title, but not a separate title page.
  • You should use a 12-point serif font, preferably Times, Times New Roman, or Courier

You will be responsible for keeping all your drafts, specifically those drafts that have written comments on them from peers, others, and myself. Not all projects will follow MLA format, but more information regarding these will be communicated within the assignments.

Success in WRIT 1122

While writing is difficult and sometimes frustrating work, you will ultimately find that it is richly rewarding.  I want you to remember that everyone struggles at getting words on paper.  I want to be a resource to help that process be more useful to you in the future.  I’m not here to weed out the weak or “make” you into better writers.  Ultimately, it is entirely under your own power to succeed in 1122 and writing in general.  I encourage you to take advantage of all the resources at DU.  I especially encourage you to talk or email me often with your writing concerns and questions.