Examples of student work are available for this course.
There are a number of different kinds of assignments in this class, abbreviated in the schedule outlined in the calendar section and presented throughout the semester in class, by email, and on paper.
C - A “Casual” Assignment
There are by my count six of these during the semester. They are short writing assignments, generally no more than one or two paragraphs. Most often, the assignment will ask for a brief analysis of the reading for class that day. They sometimes call for well-edited prose, but sometimes demand only sketches of ideas in note form. These assignments are usually ungraded, may be submitted by email or in writing or both, and are sometimes not submitted at all. They serve a number of purposes, including focusing and directing your work outside of the classroom, helping you to prepare for discussion, and “policing” you to make sure that you are doing the reading. C assignments are requirements of the course, and even when such an assignment is not to be submitted, I may check during class to see that you have completed the assignment diligently. Inadequate or missing C assignments will significantly lower your “class participation” grade. Consistent failure to complete C assignments adequately will result in a failing grade in the course.
A - A Formal, Written Assignment
This course assigns three essays during the semester, each divided into a draft (AxD) and a revision (AxR). These essays are the bulk of the written work in the course, and constitute a substantial portion of your final grade. In general, drafts are not given an independent grade, but a lazy or incomplete draft will result in a penalty on the revision. You will find that the easiest and most effective way of generating an excellent revision is by preparing a complete and careful draft. The aim of this policy is to ensure that you discover your most creative and risky ideas by giving you the freedom to write a draft without the threat of a bad grade, but to ensure that your revisions are better by making the draft a requirement. As some of our class time will be devoted to group critique of drafts, you must bring your finished draft to class when it is due or be marked absent for the day. Finally, I frequently share part or all of a draft with the class. If you submit anything in this class that you do not wish for others to see, please let me know and I will respect your privacy .
S - A Spoken Assignment
There are three of these throughout the semester, the final one being the most significant. Lots of class time is devoted to the presentation of these “speeches,” so you are responsible for making sure that this time is not wasted. Furthermore, our schedule is tight, so those who are unprepared when it is their turn to speak will likely miss their chance and receive a 0 for the assignment.
D - In-class Debate
There are three debates during the semester. Each student will participate in one debate. Specific topics will be presented during the class meeting that precedes the day of debate. On that previous day, debaters will be chosen and grouped into teams.
C - Rhetoric Casual Assignments (PDF)
A1 - Rhetoric of Truth (PDF)
A2 - Rhetorical Analysis (PDF)
A3 - Rhetoric of Technology (PDF)
S - Speaking Assignments (PDF)
D - Debate Topics (PDF)
The student work presented in this section appears courtesy of the authors and shows the writing revision process for the course. Each paper is identified by its author and the assignment; for example, “A2R” is the second assignment, revision phase, while “A3D” is the third essay assignment, draft phase. The files themselves contain the student essays, exactly as electronically submitted to the instructor. Prof. Evens’ commentary is presented on the final page of each paper.