The purpose of this portfolio is to provide a sense of who I am as a teacher, including my pedagogical values,
concerns, and practices. Furthermore, given that I have a limited amount of space, I have chosen to include a wide
variety of examples that highlight my teaching strengths. I believe these strengths include the ways I use
technology to enhance my courses, including the visual rhetoric of course materials, as well as the amount of care
and thought I put into my teaching. To these ends, I have included the following materials:
Statement of Teaching Philosophy....................................................................................................................................... 2
Teaching Experience and Courses Taught.......................................................................................................................... 4
Sample Syllabi............................................................................................................................................................................. 5
I’ve included two sample syllabi including course schedules, one for a first year writing course titled, WRA 110
Writing: Science and Technology, and another for a graduate seminar I developed, Introduction to Contemporary
Rhetoric and Composition Studies.
Sample Course Assignment................................................................................................................................................... 14
I’ve included the Remix Assignment, the fourth and final major assignment for WRA 110 Writing: Science and
Technology. The student evaluations reflected that several students enjoyed this assignment. I believe this was at
least in part because they were encouraged to be creative and take risks. Students also seemed to engage with the
discussions of copyright and intellectual property that accompanied this assignment. One of the challenges I had
with presenting this assignment in previous courses was making clear the relationship between the assignment
and writing. This handout not only links the assignment to the institution’s shared learning outcomes for firstyear writing, but reflective piece also prompts students to think about what writing skills they gained from
creating a remix. Moreover, this assignment shows how I believe it is important to make explicit why we are doing
an activity in any given course.
Sample Lesson Presentation................................................................................................................................................. 16
I often use Keynote presentations in my courses. I believe the visuals help students stay attentive, and creating
these presentations also helps me to organize lesson plans. This particular presentation is for a lesson introducing
students to rhetoric and the rhetorical appeals.
Sample Summative Feedback............................................................................................................................................... 21
I’ve included three examples of summative feedback for the first major writing assignment for WRA 110 Writing:
Science and Technology. Each student had already turned in two drafts of this assignment and received feedback
from me as well as their peers. Michigan State University grades on a four point system, and I’ve included
examples of my feedback for students who received a 2.5, 3.0, and 4.0.
WRA 150 Advice for a Future Class..................................................................................................................................... 22
At the end of one semester, I asked my students to come up with some advice for a future first year writing class
that I would teach. I believe the list they came up with is effective as it reflects not only writerly issues, but also
how to enjoy the class and how they understood me as an audience to their writing.
Sample Course Evaluations................................................................................................................................................... 23
Observations and Letter of Support by Faculty Mentors............................................................................................. 24
While I include pieces that reflect my wider teaching experience, I have also chosen to highlight one course in
particular, WRA 110 Writing: Science and Technology. I am especially proud of this course because I had a lot of
control over the course design, and it was where I believe I effectively used my experiences from previous
semesters to improve on my teaching. For instance, I worked on things like the clarity of course handouts and
daily lessons, as well as student engagement by incorporating readings and activities that I thought students
would find engaging. I believe I was successful in these areas and that this is reflected in the materials included
Statement of Teaching Philosophy
My teaching is informed by a blend of personal experiences and theoretical approaches stemming from cultural
rhetorics, computers, and writing, and the digital humanities. Among these experiences are those I’ve had as a
student. It is often assumed that graduate students were “good” undergraduate students--that they were the ones
who sat at the front of the class interested and engaged, who read the things they were assigned to read, who
actively participated in class discussions, and got good grades. I was not that student. Instead, I remember
showing up to class just to fall asleep after the first fifteen minutes. Several times, I stopped attending class
halfway through the semester, sometimes emailing the professor right before the final, asking for a way to pass
the class. I remember how I hated going to campus because it felt like it was more trouble than it was worth. I
remember how my day job doing professional writing at a small copy company felt more rewarding than sitting
in classes. Eventually, I found myself on academic probation and subsequently suspended from school. When I reenrolled, I took 18 credits of upper-level English courses and passed each with nothing below an A-. Eventually, I
became the first in my family to earn a college degree.
I share these experiences because they have shaped the way I relate to students as well as the way I teach today.
These experiences teach me that how a student does in one class sometimes has little to do with his or her
intellectual abilities, or whether or not s/he “belongs” in college. They help me to understand that students learn
in different ways, that students enter classes with varied concerns, and that one student’s learning trajectory may
not line up with another’s. I have come to understand that one’s ability to navigate the post-secondary institution
is not based on anything “natural,” but on when and if someone helped prepare him or her to do these things. I
have found that cultural rhetorics theory helps me to understand these experiences as informed by issues of race
and class, issues that I keep in mind as I relate to my students. A cultural rhetorics approach allows me to
understand learning as something that happens in everyday, mundane situations, not just in formal learning
environments, and I therefore work to facilitate learning in multiple spaces: in hallways, in offices, on campus
sidewalks, and online.
I furthermore understand that cultural knowledge is inextricably bound to the technologies that surround us.
That is to say, technology affects the way we understand things like authorship, knowledge production, what
constitutes a text, and how effective writing happens--ideas that are crucial for understanding writing as it
continues to change shape over time. Thus, I understand writing broadly, and I believe that students should
develop not just digital media literacy, but multiliteracies, including sophisticated understandings of cultural
literacies. To these ends, I have not only integrated a wide range of technologies in my classes, including Google
Docs, Tumblr, iMovie, and ELI, but I also developed and taught a hybrid first-year writing course in which
students explored the cultural implications of digital technologies. For instance, the first major assignment for
this course was a personal narrative reflecting on the impact of the internet and Web 2.0 on students’ lives, a task
that got students thinking about how cultural habits are shaped by technologies, which are in turn informed by
issues of access.
I take a similar approach that is attentive to cultural issues when I teach professional writing. I believe that
professional writers, too, have an ethical responsibility to take into account the rhetorical repercussions of the
documents they produce. Thus, I ground my professional writing pedagogy in research methodologies and
rhetorical theory, both of which I use to help students think systematically about how meaning is constructed.
For instance, when I taught WRA 202 Introduction to Professional Writing, the required course for the
Professional Writing major, I worked with Stuart Blythe to create two major projects in which students worked
with the MSU Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), thus creating a real context for the work they
would produce. For the first project, the students conducted usability testing to provide the office with
recommendations for revising their official forms, and they presented these recommendations to the Director of
the OISS. For the second project, students were tasked to develop research-based communication strategies for
helping the office communicate with its growing population of international students from China. Beyond issues
of research and document production, this project encouraged students to think about issues of cross-cultural
communication in a professional context, and the misunderstandings that can ensue when non-Western cultures
are interpreted through a Western lens.
Central concerns of the digital humanities like collaboration and open access also line up with the way I run a
classroom, and I believe they are approaches that are relevant to undergraduate students and graduate students
alike. Because I wouldn’t be where I am today without being open to learning from my peers and colleagues, and
because I understand all meaning as collaboratively produced, I emphasize collaboration both among students
and with me as the instructor. In every class I teach, students are expected to work together, in small and large
groups. For example, I use peer review workshops throughout each of my courses, I make all students’ paper
submissions available to the entire class, and students are expected to share, discuss, and give suggestions for
revising their peers’ papers and projects. I have also assigned a collaborative web writing project for which
students worked in small groups to develop research-based digital public service announcements on a topic
relevant to a local audience. For major projects, students and I often collaboratively create a grading rubric based
on the topics we’ve discussed in class, the genre and purpose of writing that is being assigned, as well as where
students are in the development of their writing skills, thereby getting students to think explicitly about the
criteria they consider important for effective writing. And I often collaborate with students to foster engagement
by using ideas from their blogs, reading responses, and other writings as prompts for discussion, and as examples
for illustrating key course concepts.
Through an approach that integrates issues of culture and technology with an emphasis on cultural rhetorics,
multiliteracies, research methodologies, rhetorical theory, and collaboration, I ultimately aim to equip students
with the skills necessary for writing persuasively, and thinking about the rhetorical production of knowledge in
nuanced and critical ways.
Teaching Experience and Courses Taught
Graduate Instructor. First-Year Writing, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures,
Michigan State University, 08/2010-05/2012.
Developed course syllabi, lesson plans, and assignments; provided feedback on writing; graded writing
assignments; assigned and submitted final grades.
WRA202 Introduction to Professional Writing
Spring 2012 (One section)
Required for the Professional Writing major, this course is designed to introduce students to the concept
of professional writing as a career and as a program at Michigan State University. The course used basic
principles of rhetoric and composition applied to professional writing. Topics included page design, field
definition, research tools and practices, genres and conventions, and professional style.
WRA110 Writing: Science and Technology (Hybrid)
Fall 2011 (One section)
First-year writing course with science and technology theme. Major assignments included weekly blogs,
digital literacy narrative, rhetorical analysis of a technology or website, collaborative multimodal writing
project, and remix assignment. Syllabus, course schedule, and readings available at http://
WRA150 Writing, Rhetoric, Literacy (Hybrid)
Summer 2011 (One section)
First-year writing course with literacy theme. Major assignments included analysis of music in students’
lives; rhetorical analysis of cultural artifact; research-driven public service announcement; remix
project, and reflective papers throughout.
WRA150 Writing, Literacies, and the Rhetorics of Popular Music
Fall 2010, Spring 2011 (Two sections)
First-year writing course with popular music theme. Major assignments included analysis of music in
students’ lives; rhetorical analysis of cultural artifact; research-driven public service announcement;
remix project, and reflective papers throughout.
Instructor. General Education, Remington College: Honolulu Campus, 01/2006-04/2008.
Designed curriculum for ten-week courses; developed course syllabi, lesson plans, and assignments; provided
feedback on drafts; graded writing assignments and portfolios which documented students’ writing progress as
well as quizzes and exams when applicable; assigned and submitted final grades.
English Composition II
Writing course using a variety of genres alongside literary analysis of poetry in order to encourage
English Composition IB
Writing course focusing on continued development of grammar and organizational structure in a variety
English Composition IA
Basic writing course focusing on grammar and organizational structure in a variety of genres, including
the personal narrative, a comparison essay, and the research paper.
Writing: Science & Technology (Hybrid)
Banner image by Flickr user Alejandro Peters and used under a Creative Commons license.
Fall 2011 Syllabus
WRA 110, Section 743
M 12:40-2:30 pm
214 Bessey Hall
Ofﬁce: 274 Bessey Hall!
Ofﬁce hours: T 1:30-3:30 pm & by appointment!
Phone: 517-355-2400 (WRAC Department--message only)
QUICK CONTACT INFO
274 Bessey Hall
The purpose of this course is to prepare you for the kinds of writing you will have to produce
academically, professionally, personally, and publicly. To help you achieve these goals and become a
more effective and reﬂexive writer, we will be focusing on the subject of digital technology; more
speciﬁcally, we will be examining and discussing such issues as:
digital cultures and the different ways digital technologies shape the way we understanding
ourselves as well as the way we write;
the different ways digital technologies shape science, research, and ethics; and
remix culture, copyright, and its impact on creativity.
We will be reading, discussing, and writing a range of alphabetic and multimodal texts pertaining to
digital technology, engaging in rhetorical analysis, and doing lots of writing.
Ballenger, B. (2011). The curious researcher: A guide to writing
research papers (7th ed.). New York: Pearson/Longman.
Aaron, J. E. (Ed.). (2010). The Little, Brown Compact Handbook:
Special Edition for Michigan State University. New York:
Additional readings will be posted on our course website.
- The Curious Researcher
- The Little, Brown
- computer w/word
- internet access
- ELI subscription
Other Required Materials:
• Computer with a word processor
• Internet access
• ELI subscription: To participate in peer review and other activities, you will need to sign up for
ELI at http://elireview.com (one-year access for $25).
Blogging Requirement .................................................................................................................! 20%
Due every Wednesday and Sunday at midnight.
For this class, you will need to register for and maintain a free tumblr blog. Every week you will have
two blogging assignments: one that is approximately 500 words (roughly two double-spaced pages)
due on Sunday, and another that is two to three paragraphs due on Wednesday. I will provide
prompts to which you will respond.
Paper 1: Life in the Machine (4-6 pp.) .........................................................................................! 10%
Includes three versions, peer review, & cover memo.
For your ﬁrst paper, you will write a personal narrative reﬂecting on the impact of the internet and
Web 2.0 on you and your life. The goal of this narrative is to share some deeper insight with your
audience (in other words, to help them to better understand something, to cause them to look at
something a different way, to help them to better understand themselves, or to simply inform or
Paper 2: Rhetorical Analysis (4-6 pp.) .........................................................................................!15%
Includes three versions, peer review, conference, & cover memo.
For your second paper, you will do a rhetorical analysis of a cultural artifact to shed new light on the
meanings of that artifact. In other words, you are being asked to select a cultural artifact and
consider: What ideas are embedded in this artifact? And, how are these messages conveyed?
Through what rhetorical means?
Project 3: Collaborative Web Writing Project .............................................................................!20%
Includes organized notes, annotated bibliography, peer review, presentation, & cover memo.
For your third writing project, you will work in small groups to create a digital public service
announcement, or PSA. This PSA can come in the form of a movie, audio essay, or website. The
audience of your PSA should be a local community. This assignment should also help you learn
about the discipline you plan to pursue as a major here at MSU (or a discipline you ﬁnd interesting)
by focusing on a controversy or major research project currently driving that discipline as it applies
to your local community.
Project 4: Remix Assignment ......................................................................................................! 15%
Includes proposal, peer review, presentation, & cover memo.
For this project, you will use cultural artifacts that already exist to craft an argument. These cultural
artifacts might include any of the papers or projects you’ve previously written for this class, or they
might include other artifacts to which you have access. Your product might take the form of a video,
a photo essay, a comic, a PowerPoint presentation, a Prezi, a webpage, a collage, a brochure, a
poster, a song, an essay, or something else.
Participation ..................................................................................................................................! 20%
Includes in- & out-of-class discussions, other smaller assignments.
introductions | speed mingling | go over syllabus, course expectations, & teaching philosophy | quick
rundown on navigating ANGEL | writing the professional email | introduce blogging assignment
Getting Set Up
Send me a properly-formatted email, with attachment.
Set up your Tumblr account.
Email me your Tumblr URL.
Hack Tumblr to allow commenting function.
READINGS: Web Writing Style Guide 1.0 (pp. 2-4, 6-11), Preface of The Curious Researcher (TCR)
(pp. xxiii-xxx), “The Machine is Us/ing Us”, & “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”
- BLOG POST 1: Introduce yourself to the rest of the class (and whomever else might stumble upon
your Tumblr site), making sure to go beyond the kinds of cursory remarks typically made on the ﬁrst
day of class. Due Thurs 9/1.
- BLOG POST 2: Write a response to “The Machine is Us/ing Us” or “Digital Natives, Digital
Immigrants.” Make some connections between the ideas in the text and your life. Due Sun 9/4.
LABOR DAY--NO CLASS
Writing from Experience: Invention Strategies
Follow your classmates and me on Tumblr (I will post everyone’s URLs to ANGEL).
Sign up for ELI at http://elireview.com
READINGS: Introduction of TCR (pp. 1-21), Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier
ELI: Write & Respond
BLOG POST 3: Tell us about your ﬁrst week of college. If this is not your ﬁrst year, tell us about your
ﬁrst week of this academic year. What are some goals you’ve set for yourself this year? Due Wed
- BLOG POST 4: Watch Digital Nation. Then describe yourself as a technology user. What is the most
pressing technology-related issue in your mind? How, if at all, has technology affected your reading/
writing habits? What are some of the pros and cons of multitasking? Due Sun 9/11.
discuss readings | introduce Paper 1 | discuss invention strategies | do invention activity
- READINGS: “What Is Academic Writing?”
- ELI: Write & Respond
- BLOG POST 5: Share a link to something funny you recently saw online. Make sure to include your
own comments situating the link for your audience. Due Wed 9/14.
- BLOG POST 6: Tell us about a memory you have learning a new technology. Due Sun 9/18.
- Optional reading: “So You’ve Got a Writing Assignment. Now What?”
- First Version of Paper 1 due Monday, September 19, at noon.
peer review philosophy & procedures | discussion about grammar | brief rundown of ELI | assign
groups for peer review | ﬁrst round peer review for Paper 1 (focus on identifying a central purpose)
READINGS: "‘I need you to say 'I'": Why First Person Is Important in College Writing”
ELI: Rubric for Paper 1
BLOG POST 7: Talk about your peer review experiences. Due Wed 9/21.
BLOG POST 8: Due Sun 9/25.
Second Version of Paper 1 due Monday, September 26, at noon.
revision strategies | including details, imagery, & examples
- READINGS: Chapter 1 of TCR (pp. 23-49) & Backpacks vs. Briefcases: Steps Toward Rhetorical
- ELI: Second round peer review for Paper 1 due Wednesday, September 28
- BLOG POST 9: Share a link to something interesting you recently read online. Make sure to include
your own comments situating the link for your readers. Due Wed 9/28.
- BLOG POST 10: Due Sun 10/2.
- Final Version of Paper 1 due Monday, October 3, at noon.
Writing from Observation: Introduction to Rhetorical Analysis
introduction to rhetoric: What is rhetoric? What does this have to do with writing? | talk about
rhetorical analysis | discuss reading | introduce Paper 2 | invention workshop | examine and discuss
examples of rhetorical appeals
- READINGS: “Wampum as Hypertext: An American Indian Intellectual Tradition of Multimedia Theory
- ELI: Write & Respond
- BLOG POST 11: Due Wed 10/5.
- BLOG POST 12: Due Sun 10/9.
- First Version of Paper 2 due Sunday, October 9.
ﬁrst round of peer review for Paper 2
ELI: Rubric for Paper 2.
BLOG POST 13: Due Wed 10/12.
BLOG POST 14: Due Sun 10/16.
Second Version of Paper 2 due Sunday, October 16.
- READINGS: Chapter 2 of TCR (pp. 51-100), “The Truth Wears Off: Is there something wrong with the
- ELI: Second round of peer review for Paper 2 due Wednesday, October 19.
- BLOG POST 15: Due Wed 10/19.
- BLOG POST 16: Due Sun 10/23.
- Final Version of Paper 2 due Sunday, October 23.
Writing from Research: Finding & Assessing Sources
introduce Project 3 | get into groups | discuss “The Truth Wears Off” | rhetorical analysis of
department websites | invention activity | library & online research | talk about scheduling interviews
- READINGS: Chapter 3 of TCR (pp. 101-141) & A Student's Guide to Collaborative Writing
Technologies, Reading Games: Strategies for Reading Scholarly Sources
- ELI: Write & Respond
- BLOG POST 17: Find an academic article that you might use for Project 3. First, summarize the
article in no more than one paragraph. Then talk about how you will (or will not) use the article in
your research. If you did not ﬁnd the article useful for your project, explain why. Due Wed 10/26.
- BLOG POST 18: Find a piece of writing that is typically done in your major/ﬁeld of study and
describe some of the genre conventions within that piece of writing. Remember to give examples to
support your claims. Due Sun 10/30.
Writing from Research: Integrating Sources
notetaking strategies | talk about organized notes assignment | annotated bibliographies
- READINGS: Chapter 4 of TCR (pp. 143-184), Annoying Ways People Use Sources, You Suck at
PowerPoint!, & An “A” Word Production: Authentic Design
- ELI: Write & Respond
- BLOG POST 19: Due Wed 11/2.
- BLOG POST 20: Due Sun 11/6.
- Organized Notes for Project 3
Visual Rhetoric & Design
discuss readings | introduction to iMovie | APA/MLA formatting: in-text citations & References/Works
READINGS: Chapter 5 of TCR (pp. 185-220).
ELI: Rubric for Project 3.
BLOG POST 21: Due Wed 11/9.
BLOG POST 22: Due Sun 11/13.
Annotated Bibliography for Project 3
Work on presentation for Project 3.
Project 3 Presentations
Remix: What is Remix?
READINGS: “Where Music Will Be Coming From”
ELI: Write & Respond.
BLOG POST 23: Due Wed 11/16.
BLOG POST 24: Write about one or two of your classmates’ presentations. Due Sun 11/20.
Final Version of Project 3 due Monday, November 21 at noon.
NCTE CONVENTION--NO CLASS
- Introduce Project 4; read assignment description.
- READINGS: “Recording Industry Begins Suing P2P File Sharers Who Illegally Offer Copyrighted
Music Online” & Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativity
- ELI: What is remix? Invention for remix assignment
- BLOG POST 25: Provide and discuss two examples of remix. Due Wed 11/23.
- BLOG POST 26: Write a proposal for Project 4. Due Sun 11/27.
- Working Version of Remix Assignment
Remix: Copyright & Creativity
discuss readings | discuss remix project proposals | peer review for remix assignment
READINGS: RiP!: A Remix Manifesto and Bound by Law: A Copyright Manifesto
ELI: Write & Respond. Rubric for Project 4.
BLOG POST 27: Due Wed 11/30.
BLOG POST 28: Due Sun 12/4.
Presentations of Project 4
- READINGS: Clip from The Ister
- ELI: Write & Respond.
- BLOG POST 29: Response to remix project presentations. You may focus on one or two. Due Wed
- Final Version of Project 4 due Tuesday, December 6.
- Optional: Read the Executive Summary (pp. 2-7) of The Horizon Report: 2011 Edition
Wednesday, December 14, 10:00-12:00 pm
- BLOG POST 30: Final reﬂection & thoughts for this semester. Due Wednesday 12/14.
Barton, M., Kalmbach, J., and Lowe, C. (Eds.). (2011).!Web writing style guide 1.0.!Writing spaces.![pp.
2-4 & 6-11]
Wesch, M. (2007).!The machine is us/ing us.!
Prensky, M. (2001).!Digital natives, digital immigrants.
Kessler, S. (2011). "The Google Gap: College Students Aren't Good At Searching." Mashable.
Dretzin, R. (2010).!Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier. Frontline.
Lennie, I. (2010). What is academic writing?!Writing spaces.!
McKinney Maddalena, K. (2010).!"I need you to say 'I'": Why ﬁrst person Is important in college
Carroll, L. B. (2011). Backpacks vs. briefcases: Steps toward rhetorical analysis.!Writing spaces.!
Haas, A. (2007).!Wampum as hypertext: An American Indian intellectual tradition of multimedia theory &
practice.!Studies in American Indian Literatures, 19(4).
Lehrer, J. (2010).!The truth wears off: Is there something wrong with the scientiﬁc method?!The New
Barton, M. and Klint, K. (2011) A student's guide to collaborative writing technologies.!Writing spaces.!
Rosenberg, K. (2011).!Reading games: Strategies for reading scholarly sources.!
Stedman, K. (2011).!Annoying ways people use sources.!Writing spaces.!
JESSEDEE. (2010).!You suck at PowerPoint!!
Noodlor. (n.d.). A quick & comprehensive typeguide.
Walls, Douglas. (2008).!An "A" word production: Authentic design.!Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric,
Technology, and Pedagogy, 13(1).
Kelly, K. (2002). Where music will be coming from. New York Times Magazine.
Recording Industry Association of America (2003).!Recording industry begins suing p2p ﬁle sharers who
illegally offer copyrighted music online.
Lessig, L. (2007).!Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativity.!TEDTalks.
Gaylor, B. (2009).!RiP! A Remix Manifesto.![Motion picture]. Canada: EyeSteelFilm.
Aoki, K., Boyle, J., and Jenkins, J. (2006).!Bound by law: A copyright manifesto. Duke Center for the
Study of the Public Domain.
Barison, D. and Ross, D. (2004).!Clip from The Ister.![Motion picture]. United States: Icarus Films.!
Steve Jobs: One Last Thing.!(2011).!PBS Presents.
Bush, V. (1945).!As we may think.!The Atlantic.
Hinton, C. E. (2010).!So you've got a writing assignment. Now what?!Writing spaces.!
Kays, T. (2011). Distraction-free writing tools.
Priego, E. (2011). How Twitter wil revolutionise academic research and writing.
Boyd, D. (2005). Cultural Divide in IM: Presence vs. Communication
Boyd, D. and Marwick, A. (2011). Why Cyberbullying Rhetoric Misses the Mark. The New York Times.!
Marwick, A. and Boyd, D. (2011). The Drama! Teen Conﬂict, Bullying, and Drama in Networked Publics. A
Decade in Internet Time: Symposium on the Dynamics of the Internet and Society.
Bunn, M. (2011). How to read like a writer.!Writing spaces.!
Jones, R. (2010). Finding the good argument OR why bother with logic?!Writing spaces.!
Driscoll, D. L. (2011).!Introduction to primary research: Observations, surveys, and interviews.!Writing
Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., and Haywood, K.,! (2011).!Executive summary. The 2011
horizon report.!Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
Introduction to Contemporary Rhetoric and Composition Studies
Office: 274 Bessey Hall
Office hours: T 1:30-3:30 pm & by appointment
This course is intended to be a preliminary introduction to the field that will address both notions of rhetoric and
composition as a disciplinary structure and discipline as a rhetorical construct (Mailloux). In other words, academic
conventions, being rhetorical constructions, are not intuitive, and literacy in disciplinary conventions is necessary for
pushing the field in new directions (Berkenkotter, et al.; Hyland; Powell, “Blood”; Villanueva). Thus, there are four main
goals of this course:
to acquaint you with the discipline of rhetoric and composition studies by introducing you to a few historical
accounts of the field and by providing an introductory overview of some contemporary themes and debates
within the field;
to help you begin thinking about what it means to do work in rhetoric and composition as an academic discipline
as well as how you might situate yourself in the field; and
to facilitate your professional development.
In other words, the goal of this course is to facilitate what I will call literacy in professional “field speak,” in order to
provide you with a sense of the interpretive frame through which work in rhetoric and composition studies is done, as
well as for equipping you with the tools necessary for pushing at the boundaries of the field. Through this course, you will
gain a sense of the diverse topics and approaches available to pursue in rhetoric and composition, which may provide you
with direction toward more focused studies. In the process, you will find yourself becoming more and more a member of
an intellectual community with a keen understanding of what this intellectual community looks like.
Crowley, Sharon. (1998). Composition in the University: Historical and Polemical Essays. Pittsburgh: University of
King, Thomas. (2003). The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative.
Mailloux, Stephen. (2006). Disciplinary Identities: Rhetorical Paths of English, Speech, and Composition. New York: Modern
Language Association of America.
North, Stephen. (1987). The Making of Knowledge in Composition: Portrait of an Emerging Field. Boynton/Cook Publishers.
Sánchez, Raúl. The Function of Theory in Composition Studies. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Villanueva, Victor. (1993). Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color. National Council of Teachers of English.
*Additional readings will be posted on our course website.
This course will encourage you to use multiple modes of discourse, including in-class discussion surrounding readings and
relevant issues, written responses to readings, in-class presentations and discussion facilitation on a week’s set of
readings, production of professional documents, website development, and course projects, which may take a variety of
forms. To be more specific, assignments for this course will include:
weekly written responses to the course readings,
one discussion presentation on a specific week’s readings,
one methodology presentation,
a curriculum vitae,
a professional website,
two journal readaround reports,
and course projects, including project proposals.
Weekly Response (20% of final grade)
The weekly response assignment is based, along with personal experience, on the basic premise of Janet Emig’s seminal
essay, “Writing as a Mode of Learning,” where she quotes Lev Vygotsky, who says, “writing makes a unique demand in that
the writer must engage in...‘deliberate structuring of the web of meaning’” (125). In this way and through this assignment,
you will be able to give focused attention to the comprehension and structuring of the week’s readings, enabling a fuller
understanding of the texts and themes as well as richer in-class discussion. This assignment could also create a space for
you to document day-to-day interactions and observations that pertain to issues raised in the course that you may wish to
return to in the future. You might also be asked to consider in your responses how an argument is being made in any given
Methodologies Presentation (15% of final grade)
You will, in small groups, select an object of inquiry on which you would like to focus. For each object of inquiry, I will
compile of set of readings on which students will give a 20-minute in-class presentation.
Field Map (5% of final grade)
This low-stakes assignment is designed to encourage you to think about the field spacially, and to visually situate yourself
within the field.
Readaround Reports (10% of final grade)
To become better acquainted with the conventions, characteristics, and prevailing themes of a couple of the field’s major
journals, you will read around in the last five years of the following journals: College Composition and Communication and
College English, with the option to focus on another journal in lieu of College English. Through these readaround reports, you
may also encounter readings relevant to your course projects due at the end of the semester.
Course Project (30% of final grade)
You should design a project that is pertinent to the course topic, yet useful to you, wherever you are in the program. For
instance, you might create an annotated bibliography of works with an accompanying position paper pertaining to some
specific strand of thought, methodology, or area of study that you found interesting; a conference presentation-length
paper; or a traditional or collage essay pertaining to some topic you found compelling.
Professionalization Documents (20% of final grade)
While thinking about your disciplinary positioning and professional development rhetorically, you will design and revise
two professional documents: your curriculum vitae and professional website.
Unit I: Situating Ourselves These readings are designed to encourage you to think rhetorically about
disciplinarity, the field as a rhetorical and discursive construct, the rhetorical work of official narratives,
and what it means to do work in an academic institution. Within the first couple of weeks, we will discuss
the question, “What is rhetoric?”
Week King, T. The Truth About Stories
Powell, M. “Blood and Scholarship: One Mixed-Blood’s Story”
Villanueva, V. “On the Rhetoric and Precedents of Racism”
Chow, R. “Against the Lures of Diaspora”
Hyland, K. “Disciplinary Cultures, Texts and Interactions”
Weekly Response 1
Unit II: Histories of the Field This section is intended to provide background in a few canonical
accounts of the field’s history.
Week Bender & Wellbery. “Rhetoricality: On the Modernist Return of Rhetoric”
Nystrand, M., Greene, S. & Wiemelt, J. “Where Did Composition Studies Come From? An
Miller, T. “Where Did College English Studies Come From?”
Weekly Response 2
Week North, Stephen. The Making of Knowledge in Composition
Weekly Response 3
Week Crowley S. Composition in the University: Historical & Polemical Essays
Weekly Response 4
Unit III: (Multi)literacies and Technologies This section is designed to help you become
acquainted with a few of contemporary debates in the field including those pertaining to (multi)literacies
and SRTOL, technology and its link to culture, and the role of digital media as it pertains to literacy.
Week Brandt & Clinton. “Limits of the Local”
Kanae, L. Sista Tongue.
Smitherman, G. “Retrospective on Students’ Right”
Villanueva, V. Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color
Weekly Response 5
Week Bolter, J. “Introduction: Writing in the Late Age of Print”
DeVoss, D. & Porter, J. “Why Napster matters to writing”
Haas, A. “Wampum as Hypertext”
Stiegler, B. Introduction to Technics and Time I
Wesch, M. “The Machine is Us/ing Us (Final Version)”
Weekly Response 6
Week Digital Rhetoric Collective. “Teaching Digital Rhetoric”
Grabill & Hicks, “Multiliteracies Meet Methods”
The New London Group. “A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies”
Selber, S. Selections from Multiliteracies for a Digital Age
Weekly Response 7
Unit IV: Methodologies Here, you will continue to read a variety of contemporary issues and debates
in the field, this time pertaining to methodology, i.e., multidisciplinary approaches, positivist and
empirical epistemologies, cognitive methods, and rhetorical hermeneutics.
Week Cassirer, E. Selections from The Logic of the Cultural Sciences
Latour, B. “Drawing things together”
Weekly Response 8
Week Object of Inquiry Packet of Readings: Histories & Rhetorics; Society, Cultures, & Groups;
School, Curriculum, & Pedagogy; Individuals, Learning, & Development; Texts, Artifacts, &
Week Haswell, R. “NCTE/CCCC’s Recent War on Scholarship.”
Berkenkotter, C. “The Legacy of Positivism in Empirical Composition Research”
Charney, D. “Empiricism Is Not a Four-Letter Word”
Weekly Response 9
Week Flower & Hayes. “A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing”
Cooper & Holzman. “Talking About Protocols”
Responses in CCC Counterstatement
Dobrin, D. “Protocols Once More”
Lauer, J. “Heuristics and Composition”
Berthoff, A. “The Problem of Problem Solving.”
Responses in CCC Counterstatement
Kinney, J. “Classifying Heuristics”
Vitanza, V. “A Tagmemic Heuristic for the Whole Composition.”
Weekly Response 10
Week Mailloux, S. Disciplinary Identities
Optional: Leff, “Rhetorical Disciplines and Rhetorical Disciplinarity: A Response to Mailloux”
Weekly Response 11
Week Sánchez, R. The Function of Theory in Composition Studies
Weekly Response 12
Unit V: Continuing the Conversation Here, you will begin situating yourself in the field, and
consider ways of continuing some thread(s) of conversation within the discipline.
Week Last five years of College Composition and Communication
Readaround Report I
Week Last five years of College English or other journal in the field
Readaround Report II
Week Finals Week
Writing: Science & Technology (Hybrid)
Project 4: Remix Assignment
For this project, you are assigned to do a remix. In other words, you should use cultural artifacts that
already exist to craft an argument. These cultural artifacts might include any of the papers or projects
you’ve previously written for this class, or they might include other artifacts to which you have access.
Your product might take the form of a video, a photo essay, a comic, a PowerPoint presentation, a Prezi,
a webpage, a collage, a brochure, a poster, a song, an essay, or something else. Whatever form you
choose to use, your project should have an argument, and it should include elements of critique and
analysis. In other words, your project should have a central purpose, it should be responding to
something--like an artifact, theme, or idea, and it should be original. This is your opportunity to be
creative, so take advantage of it--don’t be afraid to take a risk!
This assignment engages the following shared learning outcomes for First-Year Writing:
- Use writing for purposes of reﬂection, action, and participation in academic inquiry.
- Work within a repertoire of genres and modes to meet appropriate rhetorical purposes.
- Exercise a ﬂexible repertoire of invention, arrangement, and revision strategies.
- Engage in reading for the purposes of reﬂection, critical analysis, decision-making, and inquiry.
- Read in ways that improve writing, especially by demonstrating an ability to analyze invention,
arrangement, and revision strategies at work in a variety of texts.
- Demonstrate an understanding of reading as an epistemic and recursive meaning making process.
- Apply methods of inquiry and conventions to generate new understanding.
Include a 1-2 page (single-spaced) cover letter that prepares your audience to enter into your text as an
engaged reader. In this letter, you should reﬂect on your writing process, discussing your invention,
arrangement, and revision decisions for this assignment. For example, you might consider:
- What are some of your writing strengths that came through for this assignment?
- What skills would you like to take away from this assignment?
- What are some things you learned/realized in doing this project that you would like to remember for
- What did your writing process look like in creating this project?
- How did you select your topic or object of analysis?
- Why did you select the format/medium that you did?
- Why did you choose to arrange the project in the way that you did?
- Why did you choose to focus the project in the way that you did?
- Why did you take a particular stance in this paper?
- How did your writing process help you improve in areas listed on the shared learning outcomes for
Tier I Writing (see syllabus)?
Note that a good cover letter will do more than simply describe what you did and when you did it; it will
reﬂect on and analyze these decisions, providing reasons, and explaining why and how you did what you
Summary of Requirements!
! Use one or more cultural artifacts that already exist to craft a new argument.
! Make sure that there is a clear central purpose.
! Provide support for that central purpose.
! If you!re using a computer to do your remix, make sure your ﬁle is accessible--either available
online via an accessible site like youtube, or saved as a jpg, pdf, doc, docx, rtf, mp3, etc. Check
with me if you!re not sure. Also, as stated in the syllabus: Follow ﬁle naming guidelines
! Reﬂective cover memo.
Schedule of Activities !
Introduce the project. Talk about remix.
Read “Recording Industry Begins Suing P2P File Sharers Who Illegally Offer
Copyrighted Music Online” & Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativity
ELI: Remix Project Proposal, Due Monday 11/28 at noon. Be sure to touch on
what, how, and why.
Discuss readings, review and discuss remix project proposals.
Read RiP!: A Remix Manifesto and Bound by Law: A Copyright Manifesto
Final Version of Remix Assignment due Tuesday, December 6.
What is rhetoric?
A brief overview
Where have you heard the term
1. HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
What does it mean?
WRA110 Writing: Science & Technology // October 3, 2011
the good man
2. SOME DEFINITIONS
Aristotle, in On Rhetoric:
“the faculty of observing in any given
case the available means of persuasion”
“the use of language as a
symbolic means of inducing
cooperation in beings that by
nature respond to symbols”
“the production of
spoken & written
• “the practice of oratory;
• the study of strategies of
• the use of language, written
or spoken, to inform or
• the study of the persuasive
effects of language;
• the study of the relation
between language &
• the classiﬁcation & use of
tropes & ﬁgures;
• and of course, the use of
empty promises & half-truths
as a form of propaganda.”
“In this global context of
the systematic, organized use & study of
discourse & discourse strategies in
interpersonal, intercultural contexts,
reﬂecting & reinforcing rhetoricians’ own
ideology, their own norms of discourse
production & discourse consumption, &
their ability to persuade, to adjust, & to
“When we use the word ‘rhetoric,’ we are
evoking a shorthand that encompasses
thousands of years of intellectual
production all over the globe – a set of
productions that we have only just begun
to understand. When I say that I study
American Indian rhetoric, “rhetoric” means
a system of discourse through which
meaning was, is, and continues to be made
in a given culture.”
Dr. Malea Powell
Michigan State University
Visual/digital rhetoric is often devalued or
misvalued as “easier” than classical rhetoric, but it
actually introduces “a system of ongoing dialogue
and negotiations among writers, audiences and
institutional contexts, as it focuses on multiple
modalities available for making meaning using new
communication and information
Mar y Hocks
Georgia State University
rhetoric is perhaps most commonly known
as “the art of persuasion.”
In more contemporary, academic contexts,
rhetoric is understood as practices of
meaning making or communication more
3. BASIC PRINCIPLES
appeals to ethos
appeal to logic
appeal based on the character of the rhetor
appeal to emotion
appeals to pathos
appeals to logos
“Some studies suggest that teens who choose milk
instead of sugary drinks tend to be leaner, and the
protein helps build muscle.”
In small groups...
1. Watch the Season 10 American Idol
commercial and identify the rhetor,
text, target audience, and context.
2. Discuss how the rhetor uses appeals to
ethos, pathos, & logos.
• Read “Wampum as Hypertext: An American
Indian Intellectual Tradition of Multimedia Theory
• ELI Write & Respond
• Blog Post 11: Open!
• Blog Post 12: Will post questions related to the
• First version of Paper 2 due next Sunday, 10/9
Sample Summative Feedback
WRA 110 Writing: Science and Technology (Hybrid)
Paper 1: My Life in the Machine
Feedback for student who received a grade of 2.5
Hi [Name Withheld],
There are some great ideas in this paper. For instance, I especially like how you stop and consider if Facebook
might be making it more difﬁcult to make new friends at MSU. It’s also interesting to see how students who didn’t
use computers as much prior to college are adjusting when they get to college.
My main suggestion would be to think more about your purpose in terms of what this paper is doing for your
target audience. What are you persuading us of? Are you teaching us something new? Helping us to see
something from a different angle?
Feedback for student who received a grade of 3.0
Hi [Name Withheld],
For me, the most compelling sentences in the paper come in the last paragraph: “People could think that so much
time spent with the internet can be a sort of escape from the !real world" but for me it has done the opposite. It
has actually allowed me to grow and gain many real life friends.”
This is an excellent central purpose, and it is stated in such a way that it clearly shows what commonly-held belief
the paper is responding to. But, it took a long time for me (your impatient reader :) to get there. My suggestion is
to try doing more showing rather than telling. In other words, rather than telling us what happened in a
straightforward way, show us using lots of details, imagery, and examples. Tell us a compelling story!
Excellent job on the reﬂective cover memo. Both the ideas are well-developed and the memo is well-written--it’s
organized, focused, and nicely-developed. Are there aspects of the memo that you could bring into the paper?
Feedback for student who received a grade of 4.0
Hi [Name Withheld],
Loved this story! It is not only emotionally moving, but it’s also very clearly organized, with lots of details and
speciﬁcs. Excellent idea to include dialogue, especially for that ﬁrst phone call you had with your birth mother. I
also like how you’ve revised the ending--it deﬁnitely helps clarify a central purpose for the story.
I thought your cover memo could include a little more reﬂection--the ﬁrst paragraph does a great job of this, but
the second paragraph seems more descriptive than analytical. For example, you could add: why did you arrange
your paper this way you did? Why did you conclude the paper the way you did? What did you learn about yourself
as a writer and did you come to these realizations?
Also, don’t forget to label the images you include (for example, Figure 1. Facebook logo) and refer to them in text.
Keep up the great work!
WRA 150 Advice for a Future Class
At the end of my WRA 150 Writing, Literacies, and the Rhetorics of Popular Music course in Spring 2011, I asked
the students to provide advice for my future first year writing class, based on the experiences they’d had that
semester. A full list of the advice they provided is included below. Not only am I happy with the advice they gave,
but I’m especially glad that the students encouraged my future students to have fun with the class, and that they
let them know that I’m responsive and open to varying opinions. I provided this list to the next group of students
I would teach, at the beginning of the following semester.
Avoid Pandora discussions--it will never end!
You need to be creative in specific projects, especially the remix project.
Come ready to talk, and don't be shy.
Have fun with it--it will make it go faster.
Use a lot of details in papers.
Take advantage of making your own rubrics.
Ask questions, email the instructor, because she will answer.
Get to know people in your class--it's a lot easier to argue with people that you know.
Do the readings, at least to an extent, or you won't be able to participate.
Set phone reminders for blogs!
Don't talk about Fight Club, or Justin Bieber.
Be open in your blog--they're not really interesting if you're not open.
Don't be afraid to say something in class--there's not much you're not allowed to say in this class.
Read other people's blogs--when people are being open you wanna know what they're actually saying.
Sample Course Evaluations
Below is a summary of quantitative data from students’ anonymous end of semester evaluations. Students
respond to twenty questions on a four-point scale, where 1.0 is excellent, 2.0 is good, 3.0 is fair, 4.0 is poor, and 5.0
is unacceptable. Questions pertain to student evaluation of the instructor, interaction between instructor and
student, course content, course organization, and overall.
WRA 202-001, Spring 2012:
WRA 110-743, Fall 2011:
WRA 150-740, Summer 2011:
WRA 150-007, Spring 2011:
WRA 150-034, Fall 2010:
Below are select comments from students’ anonymous evaluations of WRA 110 Writing: Science and Technology.
Do you have any comments or suggestions for organizing the course?
• I really loved this instructor. She is very effective in her teaching strategies and is very concerned with her
• Jennifer Sano-Franchini is a very good professor. She highlights the important parts of discussion and helps
bring new ideas into play. Her review process helps with constructive feedback and improving ideas.
As a result of this course, have your writing practices changed? How?
• I have started to review my papers more than I used to in high school.
• Yes, I now use a recursive writing review process. I also try to look at things from every aspect and find a
deeper purpose to something I’m writing about.
• I write now with the reader in mind, making my essays more interesting.
• Yes, my writing has gotten a lot better. I am better with research, and staying with a central purpose and
audience. This class helped me a lot.
• Yes, I began to write with a lot more voice. I began to write more freely.
What aspects of the instructor’s feedback on your work were most helpful?
• She was very encouraging when my topics were different from others and how to convey them easier to my
• Small group conferences were a huge help for major assignments.
• I really liked that our instructor took extra time and attention to our personal work before we turned in
projects as well as helpful feedback when we got our grades.
• How she would get me HONEST feedback, so I could use it as constructive criticism.
• I really enjoyed meeting in small groups for our projects. It helped to get one on one feedback on my papers.
What concepts, class readings, discussions, assignments, etc. did you find most interesting and/or
• I found the technology aspect interesting.
• I learned a lot at all our discussions of rhetoric, articles we read and our blogs. It was all relevant and I overall
really liked the class and the instructor.
• I LOVE TUMBLR! I think that was so cool integrating that into class.
• The remix project. Fun and creative. Also, the collaborative web writing project. Good to experience group
• I really enjoyed the remix project. It was a fun and interesting project and I wanted to keep doing it.
What other feedback do you have to help improve the course?
• Maybe one more day to meet in the week.
• More work.
• Less websites. It is hard to keep track of all the assignments due on the various websites.
• Teach more rhetoric.
Observations by Faculty Mentors
Observation of WRA 202 Introduction to Professional Writing by Jeff Grabill
On Thursday March 15, I observed Jennifer Sano’s WRA 202 (Introduction to Professional Writing) class. On this
day, she planned to discuss how to write a recommendation report, the key deliverable of the major project of the
Class began with a short lecture focused on what to include in a recommendation report and key issues to
consider with the report for this particular project. I found this portion of the class effective. The presentation of
content about the recommendation report was solid, focused on audiences for the report, the requirement that
reports such as this make arguments, and how to think about arrangement to support the rhetorical aims of their
After this 10 minute lecture, Jennifer put students in small groups to write a paragraph based on what they had
discussed regarding recommendation reports. She asked students to post that paragraph into a discussion forum
in MSU’s learning management system to share their paragraph with the class. Students were engaged
throughout this activity and seemingly very productive. Students even shared ideas across groups during the
time that they composed their paragraphs.
After about 40 minutes of writing and small group time, Jennifer called the class back together and asked them to
read what they shared via the LMS’s discussion board. Her goal was to use this time to facilitate discussion and
review of the paragraphs. What was impressive about Jen’s work at this point is that she had clearly read and
digested each post from each group—on the fly. She knew their projects, she knew these specific documents, and
so she was able to respond herself and also facilitate the class discussion in a highly effective way. Her work here
is exceptionally difficult in my view and so impressive.!
Arts & Letters
Department of Writing,
Rhetoric, and American
434 Farm Lane Rm 235
East Lansing, MI
MSU is an affirmative-action,