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Updated 4/19/12

COMM 202 / p. 1 COMM 202 Writing for Communications Fall 2010 Section 1: MWF 10:00-10:50 a.m. (Walker Science 107) Section 2: MWF 12:00-12:50 p.m. (Dana 302)

Prof. Nancy Clare Morgan Dana 110A 704-688-2731 (office) 704-517-6206 (mobile) Office hours: MW 1:00-2:30 and by appointment

Required Materials: Kessler, L., & McDonald, D. (2008). When words collide: A media writer's guide to grammar and style. Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN: 0-495-05025-3 Zinsser, W. (2006). On writing well: The classic guide to writing nonfiction, 30th anniversary edition. New York, NY: HarperCollins. ISBN: 978-0-06-089154-1

Additional Suggested Resources: Queens Center for Academic Success: The Writing Center Hale, C. (1999). Sin and syntax: How to craft wickedly effective prose. New York, NY: Broadway Books. LaRocque, P. (2003). The book on writing: The ultimate guide to writing well. Portland, OR: Marion Street Press. Marius, R. (1998). A writers companion. New York, NY: McGraw Hill. Provost, G. (1985). 100 ways to improve your writing. New York, NY: Penguin Group. Strunk, W., & White, E.B. (2000). The elements of style. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Truss, L. (2003). Eats, shoots & leaves: The zero tolerance approach to punctuation. London, England: Profile Books. Grammar Girl Purdue Online Writing Lab

Updated 4/19/12 Course Goals:

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Today everybody in the world is writing to everybody else, making instant contact across every border and across every time zone. On one level the new torrent is good news. Any invention that reduces the fear of writing is up there with air-conditioning and the lightbulb. But, as always, theres a catch. Nobody told all the new computer writers that the essence of writing is rewriting. Just because theyre writing fluently doesnt mean theyre writing well. William Zinsser, On Writing Well This course is designed to help students write well. Students will build and strengthen the foundations of excellent writing, including an improved understanding of process, grammar, rhetoric, style and citation. Through study, discussion and numerous exercises in crafting written messages for the communication field (e.g., corporate documents, documents for media settings, communication scholarship, and researching and writing the APA research paper), students who complete this course will be better equipped to succeed in any written project, academic or professional. This course fulfills the writing-intensive requirement for Communication majors. Any undergraduate interested in joining the School of Communication as a Communication major must pass this class with a C- or above. This class will be graded on a combination of participation, effort, and demonstrated writing ability. Participation (Attendance / In-class exercises / Preliminary writing assignments) 20% Project I (Radio essay / podcast) 30% Project II (Research-based term paper) 30% Project III (Final portfolio) 20% ***All writing assignments must be submitted by the time class begins on the assigned due date. Assignments may be submitted on paper, through Moodle, or via email ( Please note, however that typical email issues failed connections, no attachment, etc. will not be excused unless there is a university-wide email outage. Late assignments will be penalized 1/3 of a letter grade each late day. Projects I, II, and III will be penalized a full letter grade for each day past the due date.***

Updated 4/19/12 Project I (Radio essay / podcast)

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Digital media is continuing to grow as a medium for academic research (as well as business marketing). This assignment is designed to provide you with hands-on experience working in the digital medium of podcasting. You will learn and experience planning, organizing, writing/composing, creating verbal transitions, and using special/editing effects. Using audio recording and editing techniques, you will create an audio file (podcast) in the style of NPRs This I Believe essay project. First you will write and edit a 500-word essay on the topic This I Believe We will complete exercises to get you started, as well as look at a variety of examples from the NPR archives. Then, you will create a 3-minute podcast of your essay. The goal is to present a quality, edited, and unified recording. Consider using music or other sound effects, as well as photos, for interest. Please supply me with a CD of the podcast (labeled with author, title and date) as well as a copy of your essay. We will present these podcasts during class before fall break. How to Create a Podcast I suggest you use either Audacity (freeware from or GarageBand (Mac) for sound editing in mp3 and other file formats. Both programs are very user friendly and have helpful tutorials. See or h_Audacity. You can even use a combination of programs. For instance, you could use Audacity to record on your home computer (or you can use a digital recorder; see below), and if you save your file as an MP3, M4A, or other compatible sound file, you can do your editing with GarageBand. You can record your audio using one of several different tools: an MP3 player, a digital camcorder, your laptop, or even your PDA. Just be sure that whatever you record with has the ability to easily transfer your audio to your computer (for example through a USB cable). Note: The SoC Convergence Lab (Dana 110) has several Mac computers with Garage Band available for your use. There are also 8 sets of headphones with microphones available to check out for your use from Queens in Dana 006. You can use these to record directly onto your computer. Here is an additional website that might be helpful:

Updated 4/19/12 Project II (Research-based term paper in APA style)

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This course also requires that students complete a research-based term paper, adhering to APA style. This may seem tiresome, but it is important. APA style will be required on every research paper you write in the School of Communication. Better to test the waters now than risk failing Capstone as a second semester senior. (Yes, it happens.) Whether you go on to graduate school or a career as a journalist / corporate communications specialist, you will be required to follow a specific set guidelines be it APA, MLA, AP or Chicago. Learning to write within a style is a critical skill, no matter where you go or what you write in the future. At the very least, as I hope I remember to point out on the first day of class, you will certainly always need to be clear, organized and grammatically accurate in your writing. Consider learning APA style to be a vigorous exercise in writing well. You can begin acquainting yourself with the APA Publication Manual and the rules in it today, because there is no way to learn it all the night before the final draft of your term paper is due. APA Style: Purdue OWL: Each student will be required to use at least five sources in at least four of the following categories: primary, secondary, scholarly journal, popular journal, and peer-reviewed journal. With the help of a library liaison, students will learn the basics of research, finding and vetting a variety of sources, and compiling information to support an original argument. We will spend two class sessions on research methods the second of which will be in the library so you can search for sources with the help of Melinda Livas. During the months of October and November, students are required to meet with peer tutors in the writing center to discuss one of the following: getting started / brainstorming a topic, organizing / outlining, or proofreading your own work. These papers will be graded on the strength of the thesis statement, supporting evidence, and conclusion. Please keep in mind the following elements of a strong term paper: A topic in the communication field which interests you and the reader An original thesis within that topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow Valid, respected sources which support your thesis Strong writing which has been checked vigorously for grammatical and spelling mistakes A flow that guides the reader through your argument and persuades her of your thesis, preemptively answering counterarguments and leaving little-to-no room for doubt A conclusion that draws the paper to a close, hits all the salient points, and reinforces your thesis Adherence to the rules of APA style The term paper will be graded separately and will not be included in the final portfolio.

Updated 4/19/12 Project III (Final portfolio)

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Because this class is concerned with improving students writing, and because improvement in any discipline requires practice, students will be required to complete a writing assignment every week. Some weeks, the professor will collect and review the writing assignments. Some weeks, students will be asked to share their assignments with the rest of the class for peer review. Some weeks, as noted on the syllabus, the professor will collect final drafts of a project for a separate grade. Students are expected to revise and edit every piece over the course of the semester, in accordance with topics covered in class (e.g., simplicity, word choice, sentence structure, consideration of audience, structure, and flow). At the end of the semester, students will be required to collect a hard copy of every assignment (without exception) into a final portfolio for submission. The checklist for the portfolio will be distributed before Thanksgiving break and may include the following: Letter of introduction Six-word memoir Book jacket copy Peanut butter and jelly This I Believe radio essay (final draft) Press release News story Grading Information: All written assignments will receive letter grades that will be converted to a numerical score for final grade computation. The addition of a + or to the letter grade will give you a better indication of your numerical score. The grading scale is as follows: A 100 90 B 89 80 C 79 70 D 69 60 F 59 and below For a better sense of criteria for grading papers, please refer to the remarks below, published by the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University (used with permission). Note that four topics recur: thesis, use of evidence, design (organization), and basic writing skills (grammar, mechanics, spelling).
From a list by Lewis Hyde, edited by Sue Lonoff, with thanks to Richard Marius's writing handbook.

The Unsatisfactory Paper. The D or F paper either has no thesis or else it has one that is strikingly vague, broad, or uninteresting. There is little indication that the writer understands the material being presented. The paragraphs do not hold together; ideas do not develop from sentence to sentence. This paper

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usually repeats the same thoughts again and again, perhaps in slightly different language but often in the same words. The D or F paper is filled with mechanical faults, errors in grammar, and errors in spelling. The C Paper. The C paper has a thesis, but it is vague and broad, or else it is uninteresting or obvious. It does not advance an argument that anyone might care to debate. "Henry James wrote some interesting novels." "Modern cities are interesting places." The thesis in the C paper often hangs on some personal opinion. If the writer is a recognized authority, such an expression of personal taste may be noteworthy, but writers gain authority not merely by expressing their tastes but by justifying them. Personal opinion is often the engine that drives an argument, but opinion by itself is never sufficient. It must be defended. The C paper rarely uses evidence well; sometimes it does not use evidence at all. Even if it has a clear and interesting thesis, a paper with insufficient supporting evidence is a C paper. The C paper often has mechanical faults, errors in grammar and spelling, but please note: a paper without such flaws may still be a C paper. The B Paper. The reader of a B paper knows exactly what the author wants to say. It is well organized, it presents a worthwhile and interesting idea, and the idea is supported by sound evidence presented in a neat and orderly way. Some of the sentences may not be elegant, but they are clear, and in them thought follows naturally on thought. The paragraphs may be unwieldy now and then, but they are organized around one main idea. The reader does not have to read a paragraph two or three times to get the thought that the writer is trying to convey. The B paper is always mechanically correct. The spelling is good, and the punctuation is accurate. Above all, the paper makes sense throughout. It has a thesis that is limited and worth arguing. It does not contain unexpected digressions, and it ends by keeping the promise to argue and inform that the writer makes in the beginning. The A Paper. The A paper has all the good qualities of the B paper, but in addition it is lively, well paced, interesting, even exciting. The paper has style. Everything in it seems to fit the thesis exactly. It may have a proofreading error or two, or even a misspelled word, but the reader feels that these errors are the consequence of the normal accidents all good writers encounter. Reading the paper, we can feel a mind at work. We are convinced that the writer cares for his or her ideas, and about the language that carries them. The sure mark of an A paper is that you will find yourself telling someone else about it.
Copyright 2002-2006 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

Updated 4/19/12 Attendance Policy:

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Attendance is mandatory. If you are ill enough to infect others or cannot make it through 50 minutes of class without vomiting or passing out, please contact me ahead of time and bring a note from student health when you return. Three or more unexcused absences will negatively affect your class participation grade. Three or more consecutive unexplained absences will be reported to the dean. Please keep in mind that explanations / excuses for absences are covered by the Honor Code.

PRELIMINARY SCHEDULE FOR CLASS SESSIONS AND ASSIGNMENTS: Week 1: August 25, 27 Why are we here? Reading assignment (Moodle / handouts complete by August 27): Metcalfe, J., The self-appointed Twitter scolds. The New York Times, April 29, 2010. E8. A man, a plan, and a Sharpie: The great typo hunt. NPR / Talk of the Nation, August 9, 2010. Somaiya, R., What not to say when your company is ruining the world. Newsweek, June 2, 2010. ***SECTION 2 (12:00-12:50pm) WILL MEET IN SYKES 326 ON FRIDAY, SEPT. 27*** Writing assignment (due August 30): Letter of introduction Week 2: August 30, September 1, 3 Principles of Good Writing Reading assignment (complete by August 30): Zinsser: Introduction, Chapters 1-3 Kessler: Chapters 1-2 In-class exercise (September 1): Editing the cover letter Writing assignment (complete by September 3): Rewrite letter of introduction LABOR DAY Week 3: September 8, 10 Simplicity Reading assignment (complete by September 8): Kessler: Chapter 10 Jacket Copy Sells Books. Publishing Trends, May 2009. Very Short Stories. Wired, November 2006. Six Word Memoirs. Smith Mag. In-class exercise (September 8):

Updated 4/19/12 Six word memoirs Writing assignment (complete by September 10): Book jacket copy

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Week 4: September 13, 15, 17 Who are you? And for whom are you writing? Reading assignment (complete by September 13): Zinsser: Chapters 4-5 Kessler: Chapter 11 In-class exercise (September 15): Peanut butter and jelly Writing assignment (complete by September 17): Revise Peanut butter and jelly ***REQUIRED TRAINING: GARAGE BAND (9/15, 4:30-5:30, Dana 110)*** Week 5: September 20, 22, 24 Whittling down the complex assignment Reading assignment (complete by September 20): Zinsser: Chapters 14, 20 This I believe: A public dialog about belief, one essay at a time. NPR. ***Guest lecture (September 20): Jenn Goddu, Director, The Writing Center*** In-class exercise (September 22): Brainstorming and Mapping Writing assignment (complete by September 24): This I believe 1st draft Week 6: September 27, 29, October 1 Making a connection Reading assignment (complete by September 27): White, E.B. (1941). Once more to the lake. Harpers Magazine. Baldwin, J. Why I stopped hating Shakespeare. The cross of redemption: Uncollected writings. New York, NY: Pantheon. In-class exercise (September 29): Reading aloud / peer review Writing assignment (complete by October 1): This I believe 2nd draft Week 7: October 4, 6, 8 Low-hanging fruit, and other original sins Reading assignment (complete by October 4): Zinsser, Chapters 6-7 Orwell, G. (1946). Politics and the English language. Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays. London, England: Secker and Warburg. In-class exercise (October 6): Podcasts

Updated 4/19/12 Writing assignment (complete by October 8): PROJECT I DUE (Radio essay) Week 8: October 11, 13 Preparing for the long-term Reading assignment (complete by October 11): Zinsser, Chapters 21-23 In-class exercise (October 13): Cubing Writing assignment (complete by October 18): Research paper topic FALL BREAK

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Week 9: October 18, 20, 22 APA Stylistics, or Goodbye I Reading assignment (complete by October 18): Zinsser, Chapter 15 Kessler, Chapters 5, 12 In-class exercise (October 20): Research tutorial (with Melinda Livas, Information Fluence Librarian) ***BOTH SECTIONS WILL MEET IN EVERETT LIBRARY ON FRIDAY, OCT. 22*** Writing assignment (complete by October 25): Outline and preliminary bibliography Week 10: October 25, 27, 29 Ive done my research. Now what? Reading assignment (complete by October 25): TBD Writing assignment (complete by October 29): Research paper 1st draft Week 11: November 1, 3, 5 You mean were still working on this? Reading assignment (complete by November 1): TBD In-class exercise (November 3): Abstracts Writing assignment (complete by November 5): Research paper 2nd draft Week 12: November 8, 10, 12 If you have thoroughly mastered the material Reading assignment (complete by November 8): TBD Writing assignment (complete by November 15): PROJECT II (Research paper) Week 13: November 15, 17, 19 You want what Ive got Reading assignment (complete by November 15):

Updated 4/19/12 Zinsser, Chapter 12, 16 In-class exercise (October 13): Interviews Writing assignment (complete by November 19): Press release THANKSGIVING BREAK Week 14: November 29, December 1, 3 Read all about it (please?) Reading assignment (complete by November 29): Zinsser, Chapter 25 Writing assignment (complete by December 3): News story Week 15: December 6, 8 Writing Well Reading assignment (complete by December 6): TBD Writing assignment (complete by December 8): FINAL PORTFOLIO DUE

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Disability Accommodations If you are a student with a verified disability and you require accommodations, please provide me with the necessary memorandum that was given to you by Student Disability Services. Contact: The Coordinator of Disability Services: Sandy Rogelberg, 704-337-2508. Honor Code The Honor Code, which permeates all phases of university life, is based on three fundamental principles. It assumes that Queens students: a) are truthful at all times, b) respect the property of others (this includes written works, thus, plagiarism is a Honor Code violation), and c) are honest in tests, examinations, term papers, and all other academic assignments. It is a violation of the Honor Code for a student to be untruthful concerning the reason for a class absence. If you believe that you have witnessed a violation of the Queens Honor Code, I encourage you to speak with me confidentially. All members of the Queens community adhere to the Honor Code, these expectations are outlined in the Honor Code Booklet, University Closings / Cancelled Classes In the rare occasion when it is necessary to close the university announcements will be made on TV and radio, and will be posted on the Queens web site, The best way for the Queens community to receive fast and accurate information about closings is to sign up for QALERT. QALERT: Receive campus emergency notifications via voicemail, text and/or e-mail, sign up at Remember, you must register as a new user each academic year, even if youve signed up in the past. The system is wiped clean every August, and you will receive a message before that happens. For more information, e-mail NOTE: If classes are meeting but you feel that you cannot find a safe way to get to class, you should notify me as soon as possible. Intellectual Property Policy Queens University of Charlotte faculty and students adhere to the Queens Intellectual Property Policy and U.S. Copyright Law. See Faculty Handbook,, and the Queens University of Charlotte website at Important Dates: Classes begin Last day to ADD Labor Day Last day to DROP Fall Break Last day to WITHDRAW Thanksgiving Break Final papers due Classes end Reading Day Examination period

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