Overview: These days everyone has something to say. From Jerry Springer's "Final
Thoughts" to Bill Maher's "New Rules," commentaries demonstrate
concise, detailed language composed for specific audiences. This speaking intensive
course will examine the various genres of commentary (including but not limited
to): humor/satire, news/current events, documentaries, political/social, editorials,
and reflections. We will analyze written, spoken and visual rhetoric by applying
the concepts found in media literacy and cultural theory. We will read articles,
essays and watch media clips that present information in unique ways.
The format of this course centers on your responses, both verbal and written, to selected media presentations, readings, and life observations. We will address various themes/issues and along the way we will talk about how you develop your own writing style, your own voice, how you develop ideas and change them in regards to how you understand your audience.
Learning Goals for English 102
At the completion of this course, the student will be able to:
Communicate effectively and clearly through speaking and writing
Interpret and evaluate argumentative discourse
Construct cogent, logical and critical arguments
Communicate those arguments clearly, coherently and effectively
Locate, synthesize, and evaluate relevant information
Demonstrate an understanding of the aims and methods of intellectual discourse
Weigh evidence and evaluate the arguments of differing viewpoints
To understand, practice, and actively engage in the steps of the writing process
To critically read and analyze academic discourse
To use rhetorical strategies for organizing and developing thesis statements and presentations
To explore individual voice and style in speaking and writing
To write thoughtful responses to articles and prompts
To Learn about the research process, documentation, formatting, and grammar
To actively participate in group collaborations and presentations
Course Materials and Requirements:
America Now - Robert Atwan (6th ed. ISBN: 0-312-41756-X) Required
A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking – Dan O’Hair (ISBN: 0-312-40078-0) Recommended
Additional reading materials on E-reserve via Blackboard – you are required to bring printed copies for in-class discussion (and yes, I will check for these).
It is very important for this class that you are able to use the Internet. You need to get your UNCG login and email (or other email) set up and the address to me by the 2nd class meeting. I would like for us to use the course web site (http://blackboard.uncg.edu) and email as much as possible.
2 formal essays (4 pages each) that you present to class (25%)
2 individual presentations (25%)
Class participation (50%) consisting of: class discussion, “hot topics,” group work, quizzes, and in-class writings in response to media presentations/discussions.
Hot Topics: Twice in the semester you will bring in some type of media (brief clips of music, TV or movies, articles that appear in newspapers, magazines, online journals… you get the drift) that relates to the day’s readings. You will spend roughly five minutes presenting the material to the class. Bring in something that grabs you; something you think others might find appealing, appalling, or interesting; and something that should definitely spark discussion.
Classroom Behavior: This course is primarily discussion based. This means that participation is MANDATORY. A lack of participation will significantly affect your grade. Come to all classes prepared to talk about the reading materials. When a majority of the class has not done the reading, class discussion is curtailed and a quiz results. Also, be prepared to give extensive feedback to your fellow students on their writing and on their oral presentations. Class etiquette is extremely important for this course. We will be having several small and large group discussions, as well as presentations. It is extremely rude to carry on another conversation while someone else is talking, whether it is me or one of your classmates. If you can’t possibly pay attention, you should leave, and I reserve the right to ask students to leave the class at any time (and I will record this as an absence).
Have courtesy and respect for yourself, your fellow classmates, and your instructor. I shall endeavor to earn your respect and hope you will do me the same courtesy by complying with some simple rules: NO SEXUAL HARASSMENT, AND NO PERSECUTION OF ANYONE BASED ON PHYSICAL HANDICAP, RELIGIOUS BELIEF, PERSONAL BELIEF, GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, OR RACIAL BACKGROUND. I would also appreciate it if you try not to speak out of turn. Allow the person speaking to complete their thought before you begin to talk (this not only shows respect, it shows you are listening). This is not the 13th-grade of high school so conduct yourselves properly.
Attendance Policy: Because this class is heavily based on in-class discussion, group work, and writing, your attendance is required at every class session. Missing more than two classes (a week’s worth of class) will lower your grade by a ¼ of a letter grade per absence. If you miss more than four classes, you will not pass this course. Please try to be on time for class. Two tardies (of 5 minutes or more) will count as one absence. If you are late, please enter quietly. Talk with me in advance if you are worried about missing a class or meeting a deadline.
Also, if I am 20 minutes late for a class you are free to leave (please keep in mind that this is solely up to your instructor and not in the academic handbook).
The University Speaking Center:
Visits to the Speaking Center are strongly encouraged. Located in McIver Underground – enter through the glass enclosed stairwell. Hours of operation: Monday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday – Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to noon. Call 256-1346 to schedule an appointment.
The Writing Center: The Writing Center is located in 101 McIver and is open Monday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., and Sunday evenings from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. You can call 334-3125 for an appointment, or just drop in.
Academic Misconduct: Using someone else’s words or ideas as your own
on any assignment is plagiarism. It is a violation of the Academic Integrity
Policy as defined in the Student Handbook on-line. Plagiarism is grounds for
failing an assignment or possibly failing the course.
(Check the Academic Integrity policy on-line: http://studentconduct.uncg.edu/policy/academicintegrity.)
Special Accommodations: The Americans with Disabilities Act provides for special considerations for individuals with certain disabilities, including learning disabilities. Students with documentation of special needs should arrange to see me about accommodations as soon as possible. You must first register with the Disabilities office on campus before such accommodations can be made. Please contact me and/or the office of Disability Services at 334-5440.
Last day to drop course with refund: Aug. 19th
Fall Break: Oct. 10-12
Last day to drop without academic penalty: Oct. 7th
Last day of class: Dec. 5th
Essay Due Dates
Send the rough draft via email on the due date and have a complete hard copy with you for our conference.
First Draft Final Draft/Presentation
Essay #1: Sept. 6 Sept. 29 – Oct. 6
Essay #2: Nov. 1 Nov. 22, 27 and Dec. 1
Late work will not be accepted without prior notification (and I do not mean the afternoon before the assignment is due).
Week 1: Aug. 16, 18 Intro to class.
Readings: Introduction (Roman numerals are good for something!)
Week 2: Aug. 23, 25 Dealing with anxiety
Readings: Melix “From Outside In,” and King “Write or Die,” (all on e-reserve)
Week 3: Aug. 30, Sept. 1 Is the world for sale?
Readings: Is America a Nation of Shoppers? (ch. 5), What Should We Drive? (ch. 11), and “The Singer Solution to World Poverty” (er)
Week 4: Sept. 6, 8 Essay one due: No class - conferences
Week 5: Sept. 13, 15 Media Myths Start presenting “hot topics”
Readings: Is Our News Media Reliable? (ch. 10) and Do Words Matter? (ch. 6)
Week 6: Sept. 20, 22 Body Image
Readings: Body Image: Is it a Serious Issue? (ch. 2), and Schlosser “What We Eat”
Week 7: Sept. 27, 29 Body Image cont.
Readings for 27th: Sanders “Looking at Women” (er) magazine day
29th: Presentations of essay one
Week 8: Oct. 4, 6
Presentations of essay one continued
Week 9: Oct. 13
Fall Break Oct. 11th!
13th: something fun – TBD
Week 10: Oct. 18, 20 Gender Studies
Readings: Do Gender Differences Make a Difference? (ch. 4), Same-Sex Marriage: What Is Its Future? (ch. 13) and Sullivan “Pursuit of Happiness” (er)
Week 11: Oct. 25, 27 Diversity
Readings: Do We Really Value It? (ch. 9), Can We Transcend Racial Conflict? (ch. 12) and Staples “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space” (er)
Week 12: Nov. 1, 3
Essay two due: No Class – conferences
Week 13: Nov. 8, 10 “These colors don’t run”
Readings: How Should We Define Patriotism? (ch. 7), What Is an American Identity? (ch. 8)
Week 14: Nov. 15, 17 Fear! Fear! Fear!
Readings: What Are We Afraid Of? (ch. 3) and “U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security: Get Ready Now” (er), The Dialogue of Democracy: Whose Voices Get Heard? (ch. 14) and West “The Moral Obligations of Living in a Democratic Society” (er)
Week 15: Nov. 22
Presentations of essay two
Nov. 24 – Turkey Break!
Week 16: Nov. 29, Dec. 1 Last week of class!
Presentations of essay two cont. and wrap up
This weekly schedule is tentative and is subject to change. I will provide you with the necessary handouts if that should happen.