Basic Course Information:

Institution: St. Thomas University

Class Structure: HyFlex; T & R, 75 minutes

Gordon Rule Requirement: Minimum of 6,000 words must be written

Course Description:

This course’s catalog description is “Oral and written communication of impressions and judgments upon assigned readings in the essay and allied genres. The course emphasizes the building of an active vocabulary and on correct sentence and paragraph structure. Writing a research paper is required. This course meets the requirements of the State of Florida ‘Gordon Rule.’”

But what does that mean in a practical sense?

Well, this course will focus on helping you improve your writing, reading, thinking, communicating, and researching skills through multiple composition projects, class lectures and discussions, and small classwork and homework activities. You’ll have a lot of flexibility in choosing what to research and write about. At the end of the semester, you’ll write a research paper and present your research to the class.

Course Goals:

Upon successful completion of this course you will have the ability to do the following: 

  • Apply prior knowledge and skills that you already have into new writing experiences
  • Structure your writing (sentences, paragraphs, sections) in ways that fit the genres you are composing
  • Understand how to write for different audiences and purposes
  • Develop your own ideas for critical and creative writing projects
  • Analyze and compose written, oral, visual, and multimodal texts 
  • Research various topics and writing practices and integrate that research into your writing
  • Better understand your identity as a writer and understand how society, history, and culture influence your writing
  • Assess your own writing and the writing of others through self and peer assessment
  • Compose a research paper using the MLA citation style
  • Create exploratory and argumentative thesis statements and support them with researched and textual evidence
  • Independently use all elements of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing
  • Articulate and present your ideas to others using digital communication and composition tools
  • Collaborate with your peers to complete small and large projects

Instructional Techniques:

This course will rely heavily on our Canvas class website. We will go over the elements of our website in detail at the beginning of the course so you can quickly gain familiarity with it. Classwork and homework assignment instructions and resources will be detailed on our site. Assignments will be submitted using Canvas and feedback will be returned using this tool as well. We will rely heavily on Zoom for digital, synchronous class discussions. I will create instructional materials using different modes of communication, such as videos, written text, infographics, and more. As students, you will attend one class per week in person and one class per week on Zoom. Your in person class day will be assigned to you by the university. If you have chosen to take the course fully remotely, you will attend class on both days via Zoom.

Required Materials:

  • Access to the Internet
  • Laptop or Desktop (smartphone should be a last resort, as the screen is very small and I’ll be screen sharing on Zoom)
  • Headphones (for Zoom calls)        
  • Notebook and Pen
  • Zoom Account
  • Access to Google Suite (Docs, Slides, Forms)

Major Assignments:

5% Writer Autobiography (1-2 pages)

Answer the question: “How has your experience with writing influenced you as a person and as a student?” I have a whole blog post about this assignment. Find it here.

15% Exploratory Research Project (3-4 pages)

Each student can pick what topic they want to research and write about. The thesis can simply be exploratory; they do not need to make an argument. Students must cite at least two academic sources in this paper.

20% Primary Research Project (5-6 pages)

Each student can pick what topic to research and write about. For the primary research, they can choose to interview 3 people or survey at least 15 people. They can use the same topic as the first project or decide on a completely new topic. At least two academic sources must be cited.

25% Argumentative Research Paper (7-9 pages)

Each student can pick what to research and write about. They cannot use the same topic as a prior paper. They need to make an argumentative thesis statement and cite at least 3 academic sources to support their argument. They can do primary research, but it’s not required of them.

10%  Research Paper Presentation

In 4-5 minutes, students will present their final research paper to their classmates. A visual element to their presentation is needed: slides, infographics, etc. Q&A will follow the presentations.

25% Participation                             

The participation grade consists of small class activities, small homework assignments, verbal discussion, and online discussion.

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