Welcome to Current Theories of Rhetoric and Composition!

Welcome to ENGW 4341: Current Theories of Rhetoric and Composition. During the semester, this site will serve as an online syllabus, a repository for assignment descriptions, and a place to share resources related to student research projects. There isn’t much here right now, but this site will expand as the semester progresses. Each Friday, I will post an update about the coming week, so if you ever have questions about what you should be reading, when assignments are due, etc., just check this website.

In addition, we will be developing another website, RhetorClick.com, to collect and share our research with students of rhetoric and composition at other universities. If you visit the site, you’ll see that another group of students (my ENGW 4341 students from last spring) have gotten the ball rolling, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. During the next 16 weeks, you and your classmates will revise and polish the content that’s on the site right now, add the findings of your individual research, and organize it all into a website that will serve as useful resource to anyone working in the fields of rhetoric, composition, and new media. A daunting task for a small group of undergrads? Definitely. But I have no doubt that you’ll rise to the challenge!

On Tuesday (1/17), we will review the course policies, get to know one another, and, in the words of Donald Rumsfeld, attempt to diagram your “known knowns” and “known unknowns” about rhetoric and composition. (Given that it’s the first day of the semester, we’ll leave what Rumsfeld called the “unknown unknowns” for another time.) After I gather your input in class on Tuesday, I will finalize the course calendar and bring it to class on Thursday so we can finalize the assignments for leading class discussions and taking notes.

Between now and Thursday, here’s what you need to do:

  • Read “On Distinctions between Classical and Modern Rhetoric,” by Andrea A. Lunsford and Lisa S. Ede [PNR 397–411]. I will serve as the discussion leader for this first reading, but I will be looking for two volunteers to take notes on our class discussion. UPDATE: Trevor and Rhiann will take notes on Thursday.
  • Create an account on RhetorClick.com and add a brief biography to your user page. (See my user page for an example.) For your username, please use your first name, your full name, or some combination thereof. Don’t forget to write down your username and password! (This site is public, so if you are concerned about your privacy, I suggest using only your first name. If you want to use a pseudonym for your username, please contact me to explain your situation.)
  • Create a Google Docs account, if you don’t have one already. (If you have a Gmail account, this will work for Google Docs, too. Whatever email address you use, it should be one that you check regularly.) In Google Docs, create a new document named “Full Name 4341 Reading Responses” (e.g., “Quinn Warnick 4341 Reading Responses”), then click the “Share” button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and type my email address (email hidden; JavaScript is required) into the “Add people” field. Make sure the “Can edit” option is selected and the “Notify people via email” box is checked, then click “Share & save.”

Please complete these tasks before you come to class on Thursday. If you encounter any technological problems along the way, please let me know.

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