ENGL 320: ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW



Introductory Survey. In class on the first day, I'll ask you to take a few minutes to tell me about your background and experience in Composition and to give me some idea of subjects that interest you. I will use the information to help
tailor the course to your concerns and interests. Ungraded.


Informal Presentation. Working alone or with a partner, prepare a 1-2 page handout that does the following: presents the main arguments of each of the readings; compares and/or contrasts the assigned readings for the week; relates the readings to ideas and issues raised in the previous weeks or to outside reading of your own; poses questions for class consideration.  Using this handout, I'll ask you to lead the discussion or make some sort of informal presentation for about 15-20 minutes of the class. (5%)


Six Short Critical Responses.  Each week, I will ask you to explain key concepts and/or apply specific critical methods. The purpose of these entries is to help you work through material that may be unfamiliar to you. Ideally the entries should focus primarily on one chapter, one essay, or one concept. In other words, I'd like you to engage critically with some specific aspect of the readings.  You may, for instance, try forming a question or two in response to a reading (with some attempt at answers), or you might instead write a critique, or an endorsement, or a connection to something else you've read, a connection to your own teaching practices, etc. The format is informal but analytic (a conversational style is fine). Your response should be about 750-1000 words (3-4 pages).   Since these responses will inform discussion, please bring four copies: one for me and one for three other readers.  Each short response is worth 5% for a total of 30%.  You do have the option to revise two of  these.


Review of Current Theory/Annotated Bibliography. Research, review, and comment on five year's worth of composition scholarship on a specific topic of your choice.  Topics might include (but are certainly not limited to) basic writing and literacy issues; computers and writing;  rhetorical or stylistic studies of literary texts; rhetorical or stylistic studies of non-fiction texts; historical studies of curricula, writing programs, movements; history of rhetoric in a specific context (e.g., the historical construction of authorship, of subjectivity, etc.). Almost anything is possible. (Please see the attached bibliography for a few possible topics and starting points.)  This review of current theory should take the form of an extended preface followed by an annotated bibliography.  The preface (about 3-4 pages) should provide background, a description of your focus, a brief statement of your research methods and a summary of your conclusions or observations.  The annotated bibliography (about 6-7 pages) should consist of at least 10 items of recent scholarship, each  followed by a detailed descriptive paragraph. (If you prefer to submit this project as a bibliographic essay or as some other form of researched essay, just talk with me first.) The research must go beyond the readings for this class.  Please plan ahead.  You may need to go to another library (such as the U of Pittsburgh)  for your research.  (10+ pages; 30%)


Final Paper. Revise and develop one of the short responses (of your choice) into a paper, or respond to a call for papers for a conference.  The extended response or conference paper should be about 2,500 words (10+ pages).  It will be worth 35% of your final grade and is due finals week, along with your complete portfolio.

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