iwa module syllabi sum 09

individual module syllabi

This page contains the syllabi for each of the three modules. Click on the below links to be brought to that module’s syllabus:

Issues in Writing

After only a brief introduction to the course, you can see already that the discipline of Writing Arts is rich and varied; it encompasses creative writing, professional writing, academic writing, media studies, computer-aided writing, and much more. The Issues in Writing module will function a bit as a “sampler plate;” we will examine some “big picture” concepts that are recognized by most practitioners and scholars as central to most types of writing. The module will give you a taste of what writers and scholars of writing think, preparing you for the breadth and depth provided in your later WA courses.

Over the next four weeks, we will explore issues recognized by practitioners across the discipline as key, and by the end of the module you will have working knowledge of the following: Creativity, Collaboration, Rhetorical Situation, Rhetorical Analysis, Genre, Plagiarism

Required Materials

  • Readings will be available on available the readings page of the course Web site and through the Campbell Library Databases.
  • Please print out copies of the readings and bring them to class with you so that you may refer to them easily.

Reading and Class Preparation

You are expected to complete all readings by the dates they are due. Our class meetings will consist of whole-group discussions of the texts, small group exercises, and individual writing assignments. If you routinely fail to participate or prepare, you will be marked absent; this will be determined at my discretion.

Etiquette and Professionalism

Professionalism is required. Listen respectfully when others are speaking. Do not check cell phones or text messages. Lack of professionalism may result in being marked absent or in a lower final grade. When you email me, please be sure that your subject line is clear and that your message is specific and to the point.


Unless otherwise specified, all assignments should be typed, double spaced, and stapled, with a heading and title. Margins should be no larger than one inch and fonts should 12 point and standard. If you need to email an assignment, please attach the assignment and paste it into the email window. Explain briefly what you are sending. Plan to turn in all sources and materials used for each project except for required course readings.

Late work

I expect all assignments to be handed in on time. Late work may be accepted for partial credit. If you need an extension, you must discuss it with me prior to the due date.

Evaluation and Grades

There will be three writing assignments in this module (each 33.3% of your final grade); detailed information will be provided for each one. In addition to the quality of your written work, the evaluation of each project will include your in-class participation.

For each assignment, you will receive a detailed rubric and written feedback from me. While the rubrics will address each specific assignment, an overall description of the features of work at each grade range follows:

A: Sophisticated, Insightful, and Controlled

At this level, the writer demonstrates intense intellectual engagement with course material. This may mean selecting challenging topics or taking an unconventional or “risky” approach to an assignment rather than going a “safe” route. It means being successful at risk-taking. “A” level writing has a clear purpose and a sustained focus. It demonstrates the complex thinking of the writer. It is grammatically controlled and stylistically nuanced. It exceeds all of the expectations of the assignment/audience. “A” writing is the best writing in the class. A+= 98, A=95, A-=91

B: Effective and Successful

“B” writing is clear, focused, and grammatically controlled. Risk-taking is evident. There may be errors, but not enough to interfere with clarity of message. “B” writing may not be as sophisticated as “A” writing, but it demonstrates above-average competence and engagement. It fulfills the expectations of the assignment/audience.  B+=88, B=85, B-= 81

C: Competent

“C” writing shows evidence of engagement and fulfills some of the expectations of the assignment/audience. Usually there are problems with content, organization and/or coherence. Distracting, sentence-level errors may be present.

C+= 78, C= 75, C-= 71

D: Ineffective

Writing at this level shows problems with purpose, content, and organization.

D+=68, D= 65, D- 61

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History and Materiality of Writing

The story of writing is a tale of adventure that spans some twenty thousand years and touches all aspects of human life. -Albertine Gaur

The technological past matters.

-Jim Porter

Writing, for many, defines the shift from pre-historical to historical time. This is due, in part, to one of writing’s greatest features: it creates a record whereby one person can communicate with other people across time and space. Thus, history was “invented” and sustained via the written word. By situating the sociohistorical contexts for writing and the material means for doing so, this module provides a sense of writing’s roles and possibilities through time, and thus provides an appreciation for where writing comes from and what sort of assumptions and perspectives today’s writers operate within.

Because writing is inseparable from the technologies used to produce it, the history of writing and the technologies of writing are discussed together in this module. We will not only look at how aspects of writing change over time due to sociocultural shifts, but the role technology played in those changes. In a sense, the Technologies and the Future of Writing module taught by Dr. Wolff is just the most recent entry in the history and materiality of writing.

Course Objectives

The primary goal of this module is to increase your understanding of how the written word is and has been created. We can begin to survey this in our brief time together, but our knowledge must remain partial and rather eclectic. Still, by the end this, we will have discussed the following:

  • Oral and written uses of language differ from one another and the ways in which they do so
  • Writing is not a natural process and one must be taught to learn to write rather than it being naturally acquired
  • Different systems of writing facilitate different ways of thinking and conceptualizing, thus affecting how we perceive and interact with the world.
  • The abilities to read and write have always provided power to those who have had them throughout history and have often been used to keep those who do not have them from gaining power
  • Technologies used to write are constantly changing and affect how and what we are able to write
  • Similarly, conventions of writing are often driven by the technology
  • Just as how we write today is not how we have always written, how we read today is not how we have always read
  • New technologies have frequently been decried for how they are ruining the established and better way of doing things
  • The cutting-edge technologies of today will one day become technologically obsolete, replaced by different technologies
  • The turn to visual rhetoric brought about by the computer is really a return to visual rhetoric of earlier times

Evaluation and Grading

Anything turned in to me, unless otherwise noted, should be typed and double-spaced. When referencing a text, use page numbers.

Breakdown of Grades

Each of the four days: 14% or 16% for 60% of module grade

Big Assignment: 40% of module grade

Types of Assignments and Scoring Systems

Your browser may not support display of this image.Definition of writing (Possible points: 0 or 1)

  • 1 point:  You turned it in.
  • 0 points:  Not turned in.

Summaries (Possible points 0-3 per summary)

  • 3 points:  Very well done. Demonstrates all or most all of the characteristics of a summary.
  • 2 points:  OK. Demonstrates most of the characteristics of a summary, but lacking in one or more areas.
  • 1 point:  Needs work. Lacking in several areas. Weak overall summary.
  • 0 points:  Not turned in or not acceptable writing for some reason.

Responses (Possible 0-10 points per response)

I see the reading responses as an opportunity for you to explore the assigned reading(s). A good response will not simply summarize. Instead, a good response should:

  1. Show that you’ve done the reading.
  2. Provide insight into the reading(s).
  3. Make connections to other classes or your personal life, if applicable.
  4. Further develop readings and their ideas.
  5. Explore some problematic claim or issue raised in the reading.
  6. Come up with new ways to look at the reading.
  • 10 points  Full of perspicacity, either in response, interpretation or questions asked. Made me think.
  • 8-9 points  Interesting and solid, but could be more perspicacious.
  • 7 points:  Okay, but I’m expecting more.
  • 6 & ↓ pts.  Not acceptable.

Big Assignment (Possible 40 points)

This paper will be based on the materials and discussions of the course with the possibility for you to do outside research. You will have the choice of a variety of topics, some more traditionally academic, some more experimental. More to follow.

37-40 A 32   B- 27 D+

36 A- 31   C+ 25-26 D

35 B+ 29-30  C 24  D-

33-34 B 28   C- 23 and below  F

Overall scoring for module (possible 100 points). Counts as 1/3 of overall course grade.

A   93 and above   B-   80-82    D+   67-69

A-  90-92    C+  77-79    D     63-66

B+ 87-89    C    73-76    D-    60-62

B   83-86    C-   70-72    F      59 and below

Late Work

All work is due at the beginning of the class for which it is assigned. Anything not turned in by the time class starts automatically loses ½ credit. The work is meant to get you thinking about the reading to further our class discussion. If you haven’t done the writing, you aren’t really ready for the class discussion. If you are having problems printing your response, email it to me before class begins. Doing so will assure that it is not late.

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Technologies and the Future of Writing

In this module we will be considering the relationships among technology, writing, and the construction of virtual spaces. Complimenting out readings, will be introduced to four writing spaces that are becoming important to writers, readings, and teachers:

  • a collaborative professional blog using WordPress;
  • an evolving Netvibes ecosystem;
  • an evolving Diigo social bookmarking space
  • personal portfolio on Blackboard

Specifics requirements for each of these writing spaces will be described in greater detail on a separate assignment page. Students will also write a short paper that discusses contextualizes their use of the spaces in terms of the readings.

Module Units
The module will be broken into four, one-day units:

Writing Spaces
In this section we will consider what Jay David Bolter calls writing spaces—online and in-print areas where texts are written, read, and manipulated. We will look at how new media technologies are changing the way people write, compose, and think about both. Our readings will focus on the genre of blogging. We will begin to compose collaborative educational/professional/personal blogs using WordPress.com—a free, open source blog host.

Technological Literacy
Readings will challenge us to rethink our perceptions of technology and the evolving relationship between technology and literacy. Students will be introduced social bookmarking.

Ownership and Identities
In this section we will look at how identities are constructed in electronic spaces and how electronic spaces are forcing us to rethink questions of ownership. Students will be introduced to Netvibes, a powerful RSS reader.

The Future of Writing
Readings will focus on the literacy of comics and video games, and we will consider what it means to compose in the age of YouTube. Students will learn how to connect to their personal portfolios in Blackboard, and will think about how to organize their education as a Writing Arts major at Rowan.

Final grades for the module will be based on the following percentages:

  • Portfolio (10pts)
    • Organizational Quality, or how well you set up your portfolio
  • Blog (26pts)
    • Repetition, or how often you posted and if over a series of days;
    • Variety, or the variety in the types of posts;
    • Identity, or how closely it aligned with the identity discussion in your paper
  • Netvibes (26pts)
    • Variety, or a variety of different kinds of widgets;
    • Total, if you had the required at least 20 widgets and 3 tabs;
    • Identity, or how closely it aligned with the identity discussion in your paper
  • Diigo (26pts)
    • Tag Quality, or the quality of the tags you composed for each of your bookmarks;
    • Folksonomy Quality, or how well the tags create a vocabulary for your identity and interests
    • Identity, how closely it aligned with the identity discussion in your paper
  • Class Participation and Collaboration (12pts)

Late work will result in a 3 point reduction from the appropriate project area. Tardiness is equal to .5 of an absence; you are late if you arrive at class after the sign-up sheet has made its way around the room. The grades you receive at the end of the module will correspond to the letter grades on the overall course syllabus.

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