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3210 Advanced Composition

Thematic Title: Writing in and for a Digital Age

CourseDescription: In this section of English3210we will spend the semester investigating what it means to write in and for a digital age. As a class, it will be our shared goal to discover and communicate informed answers to the following overarching questions:

Unit 1 we will familiarize ourselves with some of the many issues scholars address when they address these questions. Topics covered in readings, screenings, and in-class discussions will include new forms of literacy, remix ideas and practices, changing definitions of authorship, and students' expectations for and rights to writing education. The end-unit assignment will be a source-based position statement.

Unit 2, asking how do writers change, grow, and (learn to) flourish in relation to different writing resources, we will learn about writing with cameras. This hands-on unit does not require students to have any prior experience working with digital video cameras or editing experience. The end-unit assignment will be a short, 2- to 3-minute digital video composition.

Unit 3, each student working either individually or in pairs or small groups will design a capstone project that in some way address the question, "How can writers combine different forms of writing to communicate meaningfully and powerfully with others." Students interested in the Freedom Project, Marquette's Civil War commemoration, will be welcome to address intersections between writing and Freedom Project issues and themes. (For more information about the Freedom Project visit <http://www.marquette.edu/library/services/freedom-project/>.)

Materials:There are no books to purchase for this course. Instead, assigned readings, videos, and audio recordings will be available through D2L or Ares. Everyone who has a laptop, iPad, or tablet should plan to bring it daily to class.In addition, everyone will need12GB (minimum) of memory (e.g., free gigs on a laptop hard drive, space on an external hard drive or flash drive, cloud storage).

Access: Because so many aspects of this course involve online resources, students should have regular and consistent access to the Internet. In addition, students should be prepared to use and work regularly at Raynor Memorial Libraries, especially (but not exclusively) in the Digital Media Studio.


Thematic Title: Ethnography of the University: Developing an Inquiry State of Mind

Description: This course asks you to become an author of our campus community—through writing about your own experiences, researching university life, and submitting proposals for change that could enhance the university in some important way. This structure—what we’ll call “ethnography of the university”—is designed to give you practice in written, oral, visual, and multi-modal communication; in applying theory and research on writing and methodology; and in experimenting with different genres of writing for different audiences.

• Specifically, you’ll design and implement an in-depth research project motivated by a driving question or problem you identify through previous projects, including a narrative inquiry and qualitative sketch, and you’ll do a range of field research—e.g., making observations and conducting interviews—which involves writing and rhetorical awareness. The class will culminate in a research showcase in which we’ll invite other members of the campus community to see the original research you’ve conducted and to take notice of the proposals you develop.

• As you engage in this range of writing and research, you’ll create a portfolio and compose a carefully crafted cover letter (twice during the semester, at midterms and finals), reflecting on your agency and growth within the process. These reflective moments provide opportunities to assess your work and to set new goals for future writing and research, this semester and beyond.

Readings: Although much of your work will be writing, researching, and responding to your colleagues’ texts, we’ll also read the book-length ethnography My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student by Rebekah Nathan (Penguin, 2005). Additional methodological articles and writing center resources can be accessed online.

Assignments: The course is centered around your original research project, culminating in a substantial and revised paper, presentation, and research poster, which build on related assignments, including a formal proposal, narrative inquiry, and qualitative sketch. Additional assignments include midterm and final portfolios, reflective cover letters, peer review notes, and informal reading responses.


3220 Writing for the Professions

Description: In this course, students practice workplace writing and explore possibilities for future careers.This course builds self-awareness, professionalism, habits of mind, and strategies for writing efficiently and effectively. Specific workplace genres are taught in relation to these larger concerns, not as isolated skills to master. Learning goals include:

• developing rhetorical flexibility and critical understandings for workplace writing;

• translating academic writing skills into professional writing skills;

• building knowledge and experience in relation to communication practices in the working world; and

• exploring how we, as humans, construct personal and social meaning through work and through writing.

Throughout the semester, we’ll work toward these goals through three primary means:

• Guest speakers will share with us their expertise and sample texts they create as part of their professional lives. Some speakers connect directly to class projects; others point toward internships and future career possibilities.

• Together, we will read scholarship in composition and rhetoric that addresses the work lives of writers and the need for rhetorical flexibility in modern workplaces.

• Each class member will create an online portfolio, which includes a master resume, targeted resume, cover letter, and other materials appropriate to a particular job announcement or position description. We’ll revise the content and form of this portfolio throughout the semester, working toward final materials ready to share with future employers, graduate admission committees, and others.

Readings: Much of our reading will be workplace texts gathered from speakers to our class, resources provided online, and own writing and that of peers. We will also read scholarly articles on issues related to writing in the workplace and professional and technical writing. These will either be provided through our d2l course website or through a coursepack that can be purchased at the campus bookstore.

Assignments: Assignments include the online portfolio with components that will be revised and polished throughout the semester; an opening business letter; a collaborative midterm exam; and a final essay that draws on a number of sources to develop an argument about writing and work. Additional assignments include reflective cover letters, peer review notes, and informal reading responses.


4220 The Art of Rhetoric

Course Description: This semester we will explore the Greek goddess of persuasion, Peitho (translated, “I believe”). Two questions will drive our discussions: (1) What is rhetoric? and (2) How does knowledge of rhetorical theory enhance our abilities both to analyze texts/people/culture and to compose our own texts? We will begin by reading Virginia Woolf’s _A Room of One’s Own_ to identify rhetorical concepts and tactics. Then we will examine 4 Units: Cultural/Political Rhetorics, Literary Rhetorics, Visual Rhetorics, and Pedagogical Rhetorics.

Reading: We will read and discuss classical rhetorical theories (the Sophists, Plato, Peitho, Aristotle, & Quintilian) and contemporary rhetorical theories (K. Burke, J. Berlin, J. Royster, and G. Anzaldùa). We will focus on these theories in terms of their usefulness for (1) analyzing others’ texts and (2) composing our own texts. We will use concepts/tactics from rhetorical theories to analyze authors as diverse as William Shakespeare, William Butler Yeats, Sherman Alexie, and Marjane Satrapi as well as contemporary cultural artifacts/events like a presidential speech.

Assignments: Informal position papers; formal argument papers; paired presentation of final papers in class conference activity during last two weeks of classes.


4250 Creative Writing: Fiction

Description: A course in writing fiction, organized as a lecture/workshop.  In addition to writing exercises covering the basics of the craft, students will produce 30-40 pages of fiction by the end of the semester.  They will also discuss each other’s works and write critical responses to a number of short stories.

Text: Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway and Elizabeth and Ned Stuckey-French


4260 Creative Writing: Poetry

Description (including outcomes): Creative Writing (Poetry) is open and accessible to all, from absolute beginners to experienced graduate student writers.  The workshop format allows every student to find a voice in a supportive, rigorous atmosphere.  Students in this course explore the work of living American poets while developing a portfolio of their own work.  Learning and practicing the art of contemporary poetry will benefit anyone who wants to write—and think—in innovative ways about themselves and their world. 

Readings:  Mostly web-based; students are required to buy one book of poetry during our field trip to Woodland Pattern Book Center.

Assignments:  Weekly readings from the work of contemporary American poets; weekly prompts and exercises; and a final portfolio of revised work.


4931 Topics in Literature/Writing: Learning to Write

In this three-unit course, we will examine how—in history, theory, and practice—students learn to write.

Unit 1 will focus on the personal, asking everyone in class to examine his or her own educational experiences in relation to different theories of teaching and learning. Readings will include Victor Villanueva's critical autobiography, Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color.The end unit assignment will be a critical, source-based reflection essay composed in the medium of each student's choosing (i.e., print, video).

In Unit 2 we will turn to history and learn about some of the many traditions that inform contemporary American writing education. Readings will span ancient times through the eighteenth century, offering less a survey than a series of snapshots we will remix and apply in Unit 3. Our primary readings will come from the 5th edition of James Herrick's The History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction.The end unit assignment will be a take-home exam.

In the final unit, wewill read, research, and respond back to scholars who study writing education. Specifically, we will be reading and responding to chapters of the scholarly anthology, Rhetorical Education in America. During this unit, students will work in small groups to teach one book chapter to the rest of class. The end unit assignment will be a research project culminating in a public research display.


4954 Seminar in Writing: Fiction

Description:  “Tragedy is when I cut my finger.  Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”  So says that great theorist of narrative craft, the filmmaker Mel Brooks.  Of course, most of life (and most of the fiction that tries to reflect the complexity of life) falls all along the spectrum between (and including) those two poles.  Life is both tragic and comic. Or as the Yiddish proverb has it, “Man plans.  God laughs.” This workshop will give students an opportunity to develop narratives that reflect that complexity.  To paraphrase the Czech writer Milan Kundera, most people would rather believe a simple lie than a complex truth.   This is a course in learning how to write complex truths by making stuff up. In this seminar, which will be run as a workshop, students will develop proficiency with those techniques (many of which they first encountered in ENGL 4250) that will help them do that.  They’ll also add additional techniques to their repertoire, examine narratives from technical (as well as critical) viewpoints and develop fluency in discussing fiction writing from the practitioner’s viewpoint, with the ultimate goal of writing better prose and better narratives.

Readings:  The Story Behind The Story, Barrett and Turchi, eds. + student work

Assignments:In addition to a few writing exercises, students will produce 30 pages of prose fiction by semester’s end (and will do significant revision of those pages.) They will also write and present a number of brief craft-oriented analytical responses to the assigned readings and to the work of their peers.

Description: This workshop course will give students an opportunity to increase their proficiency with the techniques and strategies first encountered in English 4250.  In addition, they will examine narratives from a critical and technical perspective, with the goal of writing better narratives.  By the end of the semester, they will have written and revised 30-40 pages of prose fiction (along with brief critical responses to the readings).

Assignments: Exercises in fictional techniques, at least one complete short story, and critical responses to readings and workshop fiction.


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