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Professional Writing Syllabus

Professional Writing Syllabus

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Published by Matthew Vetter
Syllabus for English 3840j- Writing, Reading, and Rhetoric in the Professions, an undergraduate course taught by Matthew Vetter.
Syllabus for English 3840j- Writing, Reading, and Rhetoric in the Professions, an undergraduate course taught by Matthew Vetter.

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Published by: Matthew Vetter on Jan 09, 2013
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Spring 2013Ellis 203T, Th: 12-1:20Ellis 205
Welcome to English 3840j -
Writing, Reading and Rhetoricin the Professions
. I lookforward to working with youthis semester as you attemptto learn more about howwriting works in general andin your chosen profession. Idesigned this course with theunderstanding that texts arevery much influenced by thesocial, material, political, andeconomic conditions of theenvironments in which theyemerge. The psychologicalassessment written by amental health counselor, forexample, has very differentgoals and appears within adifferent set ofcircumstances
as defined bythe professionalcommunity
than does thepatient report written by anE.R. nurse. This makes itdifficult to talk about whatmakes all forms or instancesof professional writing
“good” because “good” can
change from profession toprofession and situation tosituation. Accordingly,instead of studying arbitraryrules about good writing ingeneral, in this course youwill study how writingactually works and what youneed to know about yourprofession to be a successfulwriter in that particularcommunity. This processentails studying some writingtheory
through which
you’ll gain the terminology
and metaknowledge tounderstand how writingworks and how to transferthat writing knowledge todifferent writing tasks. In
particular we’ll be focusing a
lot of time and energy onconcepts of genre anddiscourse community,concepts that will help youunderstand how writing isalways influenced by
environmental factors. We’ll
also do some more practicalwork, like creating a resumeand cover letter. I will askyou to read and write quite a bit in this course, but I also
expect that you’ll gain some
valuable knowledge aboutwriting in your field.
Required Texts and Course Resources:
Course Text:
Readings in Professional Writing,
English 3840j
availablefrom Copy Catz (13 W. Union St.)
Writing, Reading, and Rhetoric
in the Professions
Matt VetterOffice: 343 Ellis HallPhone: 740-593-2799Office Hrs: T, TH 1:30-3& b at.
English 3840j
Introduction & Course Goals
 Lorem Ipsum
Course Work:Major Projects
This course is divided into 4units with major assignmentsfor each. Over the course of the
semester, you’ll produce:
Professional Profile Package
 including a resume and coverletter targeting a specific jobopening in your field, alinkedinprofile created fromyour resume, and a reflectiveessay;A
Genre Analysis
essay inwhich you utilize rhetoricalgenre theory to analyze textualartifacts from your chosenprofession to learn more abouthow genres help to createknowledge and socialstructures in your field;An
of yourProfessional Community whichmakes claim(s) about howwriting works in yourprofession and how itinfluences and is influenced bysocial, economic, political, andmaterial agents;A
Web Portfolio
showcases the work you’ve
done over the course of thesemester and which can later beused as a professional presence.It should include one majorrevision of either Essay 2 or 3 aswell.At the beginning of thesemester, each of you willcreate an individual blogusing Wordpress. Think ofthis blog as a class journalaccessible not only to you, but to your classmates andthe instructor (me) as well.Throughout the course,
you’ll compose numerous
posts on the blog in the formof reading responses andother informal writingassignments. For the mostpart, every time we have a
reading, you’ll also have
some kind of reading
response due. You’ll also
post proposals and otherprocess work for your majorprojects on the blog.
Everyone’s individual blog
will be listed on the maincourse blog
where I’ll also
post informal writingassignment prompts, courseinformation, major projectassignments andannouncements. At the end
of the course, you’ll turn
your blog into a WebPortfolio where youshowcase your resume and best work.
Course Blogs andInformal
Grades are problematic,especially in writing courses.Traditional ways of gradinglead to a lot of stress andanxiety, for teacher andstudent. But grades can alsohinder learning when we become so focused onassessment that we lose sightof our main objectives:practicing, discussing, andlearning about writing. Myown approach to grades is tovalue effort rather than skill.I believe that all studentsshould have an equalopportunity to succeed in mycourse, regardless of theliteracies they bring witht
hem. As a teacher, I’m
trying to level the playing
field but I’m also trying to
get you to work throughmultiple difficult tasks inorder to challenge you tolearn. The most practical
way (that I’ve found) to
accomplish all of this is to
use what’s called
a gradingcontract.
*I use
to communicate important information about the class. You are responsible forchecking your school account regularly. You should also check the
course blog
often forannouncement and informal writing assignments.*Your work in this class is
always public
. Don’t submit writing you can’t let other students see.
Drafts of papers must be polished and ready for classmates’ feedback on the assigned dates to get
: Cheating
—whether by claiming another’s ideas or work as your
own (fraud) ormaking up or falsifying info. (fabrication)- will result in a course grade of F and a report toCommunity Standards. You are at all times responsible for handling sources ethically byacknowledging the author and source of directly borrowed ideas and language in your writing.*ADA:
Class Accessibility
: Please let me
know as soon as possible if you need an accommodationin order to work successfully in this class. This classroom strives for full accessibility, and it is notnecessary for you to have an official accommodation letter from Disability Services in order torequest changes to the classroom that will better serve your needs as a student, although you areencouraged to explore the possible supports they can offer if you are a student with adisability. Both able bodied students and students with disabilities are encouraged to suggest anyimprovements to the learning environment.
We’re all in this together!
 *Everyone in our class, including me, must remain
civil and courteous
at all times. We will oftenhave opportunity to share our opinions and beliefs, but no racist, sexist, heterosexist, or any othernegative communication harmful to an individual or group will be tolerated. Whether somethingThis course utilizes a grading contract to maximize learning and facilitate productive discussionabout the essays you write. The gist of the contract is that I guarantee a grade of at least a B toeveryone who meets the terms of the contract, and in return, you promise to fulfill your side of thatcontract with an emphasis on doing your best to learn what we are trying to learn. Students whoviolate the contract (1 major violation or 3 minor violations) will see their promised grade reduced by a full letter grade. At the end of the course, you will have the opportunity to raise your grade bya full letter by producing a superior portfolio of writing gathered from the work you accomplishedall semester.
If you have violated the contract, superior writing can still raise your grade (if you’re
down to a C, you could still get a B). The grading contract, then, largely makes grading automatic,up-front, and, I hope, less stressful, which should allow us to worry less about grades and moreabout learning how to best take advantage of writing in school, work, and life.
The Grading Contract
Course PoliciesGrading Contract
*Flashdrive to save and organize your
work. (Remember that you’ll be collecting everything foryour final portfolio. I’ll ask you to bring these on days when we meet in the lab.)
 *Notebook to take notes and do in-class writing in. (Bring to class every day.)

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