intro to writing

b.y.u. / tu.th

WRTG 150 - section 86
 tuesday and thursday 8:00 – 9:15
location: 285 KMBL

WRTG 150 - section 110
tuesday and thursday 15:00 – 16:15
location: 1001C JKB

instructor: zach t power
email: zpower@byu.edu
office times: (just email me to schedule a time)
office location: 4046 JKB

description: this class is to help you learn the processes of writing, reading, and research with an emphasis on argumentation and rhetorical analysis.

outcomes: according to b.y.u. the outcomes of this course are as follows: Use rhetoric responsibly to compose arguments in a variety of genres for specific audiences and purposes. Critically read texts by first, analyzing how a text functions in a specific situation, community, or public; second, analyzing the nuances of language (diction, figures of speech, tone, etc.); and third, identifying and evaluating the elements of an argument-claims, reasons, assumptions, and ethical, emotional, and logical appeals. Write coherent and unified texts (effective introductions, clear theses, supporting details, transitions, and strong conclusions) using a flexible and effective writing process, including prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. Use style—diction, figurative language, tone, grammar, punctuation, spelling, mechanics—genre, conventions, and document design correctly and for rhetorical effect. Navigate the library to locate primary and secondary sources, evaluate the appropriateness and credibility of those sources, and effectively incorporate and accurately document outside sources in a research paper.

communication: you can communicate with me via email or canvas. i will try to respond within 48 hours. you will receive all the comments i make on your assignments through canvas. if you email me with private questions, i will assume that your email is private enough to be in line with any student federal privacy regulations (such as ferpa). if this is not the case, please let me know so i can respect you and your privacy, and so we can find a secure means of communication.

etiquette: don't be a jerk. also, i don't care if you use electronics in class, in fact i encourage it, because there are so many resources that can help you through and with discussions, and our electronics are such a part of our diurnal discussions that it would be silly for me to try and stop you. of course, if you use them as a distraction, then you are just throwing your college money in the trash, and i’m not going to stop you from doing that either. also, i don’t care if you eat food in class. 

attendance: my policy is this: i don't care. when you signed up for college, you paid for it. and if you want to be absent from class, then that is on you to waste (or spend) your money how you like (i haven't done the math, but you might want to figure out (based on tuition and a multitude of other things you are paying for (rent, food, etc.)) what exactly you are paying for each class period and how much you are losing each time you decide to skip class). at any rate, i also believe in natural consequences. if you miss class, you will miss the crucial information and discussions that really can't be replicated and are provided in order to help you accomplish the learning tasks of the class. you can use electronics as much as you need in the class, but if you use them so much that you aren't paying attention, then you are functionally absent, and all the things i have said above about being absent applies in this case as well. 

makeup: i inevitably have students ask me how they can makeup work, either because they've planned something else or because they didn't expect something else to happen. if you have a university excused absence, then i will help you catch up. if you just miss class, i will not hold private lessons for you to personally catch up. again, you are paying for my expertise at a specifically scheduled time that we all mutually signed up for. i hope you will understand early that my classes are not lectures that can just be read or understood at your leisure (by some powerpoint or another). i don't teach like that, so if you miss class you miss something that can't be replicated.

grading: i will try to grade you as best as i can (although i’m honestly against the pedagogical impact that grading has on students). so i’ll just say this: it’s simple, if you do all the work well, then you will get an A. if you don’t do the work, then I will find some other appropriate grade to give you. to be a tad more specific, if you can write a paper that is genre-appropriate, genuinely interesting, and properly professional, then you’ll get a good grade. i also grade based on your current abilities. it's my job to teach you (that's what i am being paid to do), and if you aren't learning (i.e. improving) then i am not doing my job. i will grade you based on what will cause you to improve yourself. also, i sort of despise people who care more about their grades than they do their learning (although i understand how our school system encourages this kind of mentality). you will get a better grade in my class if you focus on learning and improving your writing skills. that's what you are paying for, and it is rather odd that i have to train people to get what they are paying for. also, if you feel that you were given an unfair grade, then you are always welcome to challenge the grade in an academic manner (or explain yourself, or tell me why you believe that i gave the wrong grade). to be clear, i give you the option of doing this in order to enter into an academic conversation with me, not as a means to allow for fighting or responding with ire. also, i don't give comments on drafts unless you ask me specific questions.

grades: if you ask me what your grade is, i will just point you to canvas where all your grades are. if there are grades missing, then i haven't graded them, and i can't tell you what your grade is on assignments i haven't yet graded. my assignments all add up to a thousand points, nothing is weighted, there are no curve balls, so i've made the math simple for you.

canvas: canvas (or byu.instructure.com) is the platform that you will be using to turn in your writing process drafts and freewrites. you should already have an account created for you by the university. you can send me messages on this platform, and you can turn in assignments under the assignments section. also, a lot of students have trouble signing into canvas because they go to canvas.com and try to create an account. don’t do that. just go to byu.instructure.com.

medium: medium (or medium.com) is the platform that you will be using to turn in your final drafts and your out-of-class medium posts and comments. at the beginning of the semester you will create an account (if you don't already have one). also, i have so many students ask (for whatever reason) how i will know if they have done the posts and comments assignment. don’t worry about me finding you. when you turn in your first assignment (best piece of writing), i will then have a link to your account that i can use to find you. go ahead and take some time to become familiar with this platform, read some pieces, enjoy: "welcome to medium"

style: since all of your final assignments will be turned in on medium, i want to mention that you should adopt the style, the documentation and the citation practices of the platform. in all other ways you should default to the chicago manual of style. in other words, please whatever you do, don’t make your assignments on medium look like assignments for a class. don't title them "best piece of writing" or "rhetorical analysis". those are bad titles in any place, and people won't read your articles if you title them like that (and don't worry about me knowing which assignment is which. if you turn them in on canvas in the right way, then i will know exactly which assignment it is). 

audience: there are a lot of things that i can’t teach you, only because these learning experiences come by way of serendipity. in order to encourage pedagogical serendipity, i want you create an audience on medium. i want you to write everything you write to that audience, or at least try to find them as you write. an audience is not a given, you have to imagine it and then do what you can to appeal to it.

syllabus: i have many students ask me questions that are on the syllabus. if you ask a question that can be answered by reading the syllabus, then i will likely ask you if you read the syllabus. if you did read it, but just can’t find what you are looking for, then i would recommend using the search function on your given device; each device is different, but every mainstream browser has the function built in (e.g. on mac you can press cmd + f, or in safari for ios you can tap the share sheet and scroll over to the "find on page" option).


reading: i recognize that reading for a class is difficult, so let me tell you my thoughts on why i encourage you to do the reading before each class (and why i ultimately assign these readings). they are there to help prepare you for the discussions. if you don’t do the reading, then the conversations in class won’t benefit you in the same way, or at the very least you won’t have an example or text to draw from or base our theoretical discussions on. the readings from the mindful writing book are intended as personal study reading, but i do hope that what you learn and take from these readings will add to your ability to discuss and to your curiosity to investigate the variety of terms and ideas we visit throughout the semester. the readings that i otherwise assign will be used and referenced and analyzed throughout the lessons and discussions.

print reading:
mindful writing fourth edition by brian jackson / buy this book

digital reading:
medium.com / buy a subscription for the duration of the class / (consider it a textbook)

links to other readings:
structure, sign and play by jacque derrida
a sign in space by italo calvino
the world of wrestling by roland barthes
the typography of stranger things by sarah gless
the good, racist people by ta-nehisi coates
i have a dream by martin luther king jr.
why i am teaching a course called "wasting time on the internet" by kenneth goldsmith
why were confederate monuments built? by miles park
the philosophy of bill murray by wisecrack
joyas voladoras by brian doyle
leap by brian doyle
notes of a native son by james baldwin
consider the lobster by david foster wallace
a walk in the pink moccasins by carol lynn pearson
a plea for captain john brown by henry david throreau
resistance to civil government by henry david throreau
let justice roll down by martin luther king jr.
white debt by eula biss
the case for reparations by ta-nehisi coates
objectified by gary hustwit


assignments: all of the major assignments are required: rhetorical analysis, opinion editorial, issue paper, multimodal project and a final writing portfolio. if you don’t complete them, then the department requires me to automatically fail you; just a heads up.

deadlines: there's no such thing as a late assignment in this class. in other words, there are no deadlines and you can turn assignments in whenever you like. on the other hand, there is such a thing as assignments stacking up so much that you never recover and ultimately fail the class because you've left yourself with too much to chew and too little time to swallow or digest (let alone write). and since there are no deadlines, there are, i suppose, no lifelines either (you can turn in an assignment early (though why get ahead of the lectures unless you plan on implementing what you learn after the fact (in which case i personally wouldn't do it early)). i have a schedule with suggested deadlines. if you stick to those suggested deadlines, then you will do great. if you don't, then i don't know what you will do. but again, the core assignments must be completed or i have to fail you. 

submissions: there are three ways to submit assignments: by message on canvas, by the assignment section on canvas, and by medium. you will submit your daily in-class freewrites as a message on canvas (on the side menu click inbox and then create a new message, or in the app you can tap on your inbox and create a new message). you will submit the drafts of the major assignments under the assignment section on canvas. you will submit the final drafts of all the major assignments by posting them to medium and then submitting them to the assignment section on canvas. you will submit all of your daily out-of-class medium posts and comments on medium. if you submit any assignments in the wrong way, then they are not considered "turned-in". if i happen to notice it is turned in the wrong way, then i will do my best to point you in the right direction, but ultimately it is up to you to read and follow the directions here on the syllabus. 

texts, topics, media and substrates: over the years of teaching this course, i have come to realize that students have difficulty in believing me when i say they can pick their own texts, topics, media and substrates for the respective major assignments. i really mean it. if you want to write a rhetorical analysis on mountains (mountains as “text”), by all means, please. if you want to write on permaculture (permaculture as “topic”), then you can. if you want to make street art for your multimodal project (spraypaint as media and wall as substrate), then you certainly can take that risk (but i’m not condoning doing anything illegal). in the first few days of the course we will talk about literacy, language, etc. and these discussions will help you expand your view of what “texts”, “topics”, “media” and “substrates” are. i would encourage you to picks texts/etc. that will benefit you, and one that you want to gain literacy in. for example, if you are a finance major, i would recommend picking finance texts/etc. if you are studying microbiomes, then pick texts/etc. that are or have to do with microbiomes. these assignments are not only there to teach you the basic principles of rhetoric and writing, but can also benefit you by teaching you the basic principles of rhetoric and writing within your own chosen field. i will caution against getting to abstract with the idea of texts/etc. in this class, only because the base assumption i have of students in this class is that they are beginning. again, you can take the idea of texts/etc. to their limits, but there are reasons that only the most seasoned poets peer over the ledges bushes or buildings.

the assignments i will be grading you on are as follows:

in-class freewrites / a few minutes minimum / play / 50 points / messaged on canvas / at the beginning of class you will write non-stop for a few minutes. the only rule that i have with these is that you put the subject of the canvas message as "freewrite" or "free write". please put this as the subject so i don't confuse these freewrites with any of the other messages you send to me on canvas. i also use these as an attendance record (because even though i don't care, the university does). also, please do not send me freewrites for days that you are not present, i will just delete them.

out-of-class posts and comments on medium / 250 and 100 words minimum, respectively / 100 points / posted on medium / before each class you should write two things on medium: one original post, and one comment on a medium article you find yourself. the posts should be a minimum of 250 each, while the comments should be a minimum of 100 words each. the posts you write should dialogue (or discourse) with ideas at large. you can interpret dialogue and discourse as loosely as you like. the comments should also be aware of how it discourses with the author or ideas. by the end of the semester you should have as many posts and comments as we have days of class together (see the schedule for that number). again, there is no such thing as late work, but i advise against letting these stack up. 

best writing / one piece / diagnostic / 50 points / posted on medium then submitted on canvas / in the first week of class, i need you to send me the best piece of writing you have (the operative word here being "have") so far in your life. if you "have" nothing, then you need to write something as best as you can and then accept that it is the best writing that you have. it can be any kind of writing and of any length, so long as it is your best piece of writing. also, this is a diagnostic piece of writing that i use to know what you're best is in order to help you become better than your best. i suppose you could cheat yourself by sending me something of lesser quality, but why would you want to cut your education short like that? also make sure that you post this as an actual online article on medium. don’t let it look like a school assignment.

freewrite draft / about one page / writing process / 20 points each unit (100 points total) / submitted on canvas / these are very loose ideas written down. i don't care what they look like, how they are formatted, whether they are coherent, or really much of anything other than as evidence that you are actively thinking about your paper or project ahead of time. they should be at least a full page of text. they should be typed. 

rough draft / more than half the assignment minimum / writing process / 20 points each unit (100 points total) / submitted on canvas / this should be about half finished. that can be half the word count or half the polish or half of anything, but it should have a steady amount of work done.

formal draft / above the assignment minimum / writing process / 20 points each unit (100 points total) / submitted on canvas / this means it has all the parts but maybe not the polish. it should be mostly done, almost done, but not fully done. this is used for the peer-reviews that we will do in class, so it should be ready for people to look at, with the understanding that it is not finished. 

final draft / above the assignment minimum / writing process / 100 points each unit / posted on medium then submitted on canvas / when your draft is finished, post it to medium and then submit it on canvas. at this point you should consider the essay finished (although i don't think anything could ever be finished (just ask walt whitman about his leaves of grass)).

the details of the four major final drafts you will turn in are outline below: 

rhetorical analysis / 1000 words minimum / posted on medium then submitted on canvas / the purpose of a rhetorical analysis is to analyze the rhetoric of a text (see “texts, topics, media and substrates”). the first thing you will want to do is to select a text. once you have selected a text, you will want to identify the rhetoric being used in that piece. after you have identified the various rhetorical strategies, you will want to analyze them. we will talk at length on what rhetoric is and how to identify and analyze it. another way to approach this is to explain how you and the intended audience felt persuaded, how the author/creator accomplished or produced the experience of persuasion (emphasis on the word how). do not engage with the argument. you are not engaging with their ideas, but their approach to expressing those ideas. focus on their use of genre, context, text, subtext, rhetorical strategies, assumptions, audience awareness, logos, ethos, pathos, kairos, etc. keep in mind that analysis is the ability to unpack a concept, to extrapolate commonly felt meanings from a concept or representation of an idea. the “i” you are writing from is a wide i; you’re speaking from the perspective of the audience, for the audience, to the audience. summary is a necessary part of analysis, only because it conveys details in a reduced form. but if you don’t unpack the ideas, and if you only glance off the top of many rhetorical techniques (as opposed to a select few), then you’ll inevitably be summarizing.

opinion editorial / 1500 words minimum / posted on medium then submitted on canvas / i don't want to hear that you have no opinions, because it simply is not true. none of you live like bartleby the scrivener (see hemingway), so i won't believe it. tony hoagland said,  “if you have nothing to say, it is because your heart is closed" and i believe that. an opinion editorial is a published stance. you are going to need to make a judgement, take a stance, have an opinion. then you are going to write it in such a way that it is publishable in the newspaper or a magazine (thus the term "editorial"). the purpose of this section is to focus on your writing style, to develop a writing style, to have style with your voice and arguments. this is where you apply (and i really do mean the word apply) the rhetorical principles we learned and discussed in the rhetorical analysis section. now you are not analyzing it, you are applying it (although, you can analyze the rhetoric of the subject you are writing your opinion on, but that may be reading too deep into the water). You are not writing a novel, or a poem, or anything that you would find in a book. this is pulp writing, writing that is written in the current moment, and for the current moment. it is meant to be read on the day that it matters, and if you write one well enough, then people may read it after that day as well, because good writing seems to stick around. that's what i call resonance. 

annotated bibliography / 5 sources minimum / 50 points / submitted on canvas / the annotated bibliography is a collection of sources that you comment on. this piece is in preparation to your issues paper (but you won't put it in your issues paper (although you may put the sources in there). you should have already selected a topic for your issues paper before starting on this, afterwhich you will find five sources that are in dialogue with your ideas on your chosen topic. these sources should not speak for you, but you should be using them as a point of discourse or dialogue. let me repeat, do not use these to speak for you; instead, use them as starting points to build off of. the purpose of this section (the issues paper) is to discourse, not sound off to yourself in your own echo chamber. so, next to each of these sources you should write a healthy paragraph that includes the ideas from the source that are pertinent to your paper, as well as your response to those ideas. in other words, a summary and an opinion in response to the source. before this section you will want to complete the library modules found at this place here.

issues paper / 2000 words minimum / posted on medium then submitted on canvas / the issues paper is a longform article that combines the strategies in the rhetorical analysis and the opinion editorial (as well, as, I suppose, the short-lived annotated bibliography). you will want to write an analysis on the issue and on the rhetoric surrounding it, attempting to strip down the issue to its core problems, and attempting to explain how it is an issue. again, the focus of this section is to practice discourse, to research, to recognize the communities involved in the discussion and to build on ideas rather than just say "i am right because other people have said the same thing i am saying". you will offer a publishable opinion, making stances, offering options and suggesting solutions. if you believe life and its constituents are in a state of perfection, then i would like to understand how you have come to that conclusion (because i as much as i want to believe that, life has constantly suggested many alternatives), if you don't believe so, then you will have many discourse communities to engage in. the issues paper should include at least five sources used throughout. if you ask what style you should use for this essay, then i am likely to respond with a suggestion to use MLA style (but what, say you, would i say if you don't ask). you write an argument, not to make a point, but to invite criticism of your ideas, and thus be offered new information and this new learning. if you are worried that you will be criticized, then you are doing well because criticism is what you should be seeking. if you write to protect yourself, you may need to revisit your purpose of writing. writing is not the act of protecting oneself.

multimodal project / 5 minutes minimum / posted on medium then submitted on canvas / the multimodal project is a work that includes more than one medium of expression, though (since this is a writing class) you should favor language as one of those media (and i will accept a very loose understanding of the word language here (and if you are paying attention throughout the semester, then you will likely be ready and willing to be loose and challenge the idea of "language"). i could make suggestions here on the various kinds of media that are available to you to use (hint: all of them), but i find that students are often reactive (which is a softer way of saying uncreative) and will cherry-pick from the list, rather than give it sincere thought. feel free to really push the boundaries of expression here. if you are communicating, then you are doing the assignment right. you are not allowed to write an essay. that is the one thing you cannot do. this project should function in much the same way as the issues paper, only you are not limited to just the use of language only. instead of five sources, you will include five similar projects, and trust me, none of you are at the level of innovation to discover a project that hasn't been done before (and you may take that as a challenge (but really, i've been trying to do it for a while, and i still feel that this is very far off). you will also include a 500 word analysis of the media that you use for expression (media is the plural for medium). you should analyze the media (and probably the substrate too (but we'll talk more about that as the semester progresses) by speaking to why the project benefits specifically from the chosen media, and why the project would falter in its expressive potency were you to express it in any other medium. in other words, you'll need to explain how the medium enhances your argument. you will present or perform your multimodal project for the class. these presentations/performances should be between five and seven minutes long. the multimodal accompaniment essay should not be a rhetorical analysis. it should be a materialities analysis: an analysis of the substrates and media used and their rhetorical impact. i don’t want you to explain the thing, i want you to explain not what it is, but why it is the way it is. if you are playing a guitar, tell me how the guitar has lungs and vocal chords and that’s why people so often song with a guitar. examine the instruments and tools you use. one you are going to make a project. two you are going to find five other people's projects that are like yours. three you are going to write an analysis of the medium of your project.

final portfolio and reflection / four projects minimum / 50 points / submitted on canvas / your final writing portfolio is the link to your medium account. you should add all the writings you want me to see there on your medium account. you will print out and give me the only paper that you give me in the class and that is a reflection on your writing. you must come to the final and turn in this physical piece of paper on the day of the final. i won't accept them early, and i won't accept them from a person who is not you. the final portfolio is your last chance to make changes to your major projects. i will grade the final portfolio based on your ability to implement everything we learned throughout the semester. i also want you to write 1000 words (to accompany your portfolio) on what you learned this semester, and how you are a different writer. i want you to be as personal and real in this essay as you can be (avoid being formal in any sense of the word), but I do want you to be in-depth and employ the strategies you have learned throughout the semester. this paper and portfolio is where you can prove how much you have really learned throughout the semester.


schedule: the schedule is rather simple: you have reading and responding assignments due before class each day, and you have a sequence of topics and subjects that will help you work toward completing the major assignments. 

day one / september 4 / intro to class
due / book purchased / syllabus read /
class / freewrite / introduce people / discuss syllabus / explain platforms / where are you now with writing? / what are your desires for writing / what do you hate about writing? / what are your fears with writing and this class? / the importance of a spirit of inquiry / what is your question to life? / writing as inevitably subjective / writing as expression / breaking the rules of writing / 

day two / september 6 / intro to writing
due / mindful writing preface read / structure sign and play by jacque derrida first three pages read / a sign in space by italo calvino read / medium account created / medium post written / medium comment written / best thing you've ever written posted then submitted /
class / freewrite / language and literacy / what exactly is language / are you literate? / IRL vs. AFK / language as representative / language as sign / ideal vs. real / the death of the author / idea spectrum from abstract to specific / ideas as metaphysical / language as access / eidolon and image / all words are images / literacy and phenomenology / hermeneutics and the complications of interpretations / the trouble with literacy / can you undo your literacy (i.e. tabula rasa) / is there a wrong way to read something / performed vs. authentic literacy / why literate, or why participate in the project of literacy / literacy vs. fluency / what the purpose of literacy: our experience of reading (i.e. living) changes as our literacy (i.e. experiencing) increases / greater literacy leads to greater hermeneutical complexity, leading to greater experience / what are other ways to “read” a text other than making “sense” of it / when did you learn the word love and learn how to use it / doesn’t the thinking without language become a language / peer discussion: take some time with a partner and invent a word / are complex thoughts only had by language (and not other capacities of the human faculties) / words (language) are bodies for ideas / if words are the body, then what do words give body to / literacy is not knowing all the words, it’s knowing how to know all the words / the ability to “read” the world is the ability to experience the world / how has literacy changed over time (e.g. beowulf in the original old english) / what use is literacy if it is not shared / radical literacy: taking literacy to its limitations / language is claimed & language as claiming / why claim language, why fight over terms / language and identity / self-sustained literacy / meta-literacy / can you undo your literacy / what is reading if there is no understanding /

day three / september 11 / rhetorical analysis and reading
due / mindful writing chapter 15 (examples one and two) read / the world of wrestling by roland barthes read / the typography of stranger things read / medium post written / medium comment written / freewrite draft assignment description read / rhetorical analysis assignment description read /
class / freewrite / introduce rhetorical analysis assignment / what is rhetoric / what is analysis / is a wave rhetorical? / rhetoric is trying to control how people interpret things / analysis as understanding, as looking, as dividing, as connecting, as inquiry to the “truth” underneath the thing, as the joy of discovery, as observing, as interpreting, as critique, as perspective, as taking things beyond themselves / what do you analyze in your personal life / analysis as not reducing, not stereotyping, not assuming / rhetorical analysis as rhetor’s relationship with audience / rhetorical analysis as not summary, not engaging with the opinion / rhetoric as persuasion of the mind / rhetoric as not biological, not physical coercion / what are you persuaded by? / why are you persuaded / what are you disuaded by / why are you disuaded / can you write or speak without being rhetorical / can you write or speak without an audience / rhetoric and self-persuasion (how you use rhetoric to persuade yourself / do we lose our identity when we are persuaded, when rhetoric works / what are the ethics of rhetoric / rhetoric and manipulation vs. motivation / is rhetoric deceitful / can you be persuaded if you don’t perceive the rhetoric / why is it important to develop the ability to perceive and analyze rhetoric / rhetorical attempts and failures / biological rhetoric (raspberries particularly developed to be eaten by birds who will fly and spread the seeds) / rhetoric as poking/provoking/referencing/inciting the things already in us, the things we identify with / analysis as infinitely cross-sectioning a thing / is there a “correct” way to analyze something / what is a “perfect” analysis / analysis vs. myopia / analysis as assumption that there is more … / juxtaposing (identity by negation) as method of analysis / analysis: you could spend the rest of your life studying a single piece of paper / analysis of totality (e.g. radical humility before you use a pencil you must thank everything that allowed that pencil to be and be here now) / why do we analyze / analysis as a method of gaining power over something / analysis as a form of gratitude to the existence of a thing /

day four / september 13 / rhetorical analysis and reading
due / mindful writing chapter 15 (examples three and four) read / i have a dream by martin luther king jr. read / good racist people by ta-nehisis coates read / medium post written / medium comment written / text for rhetorical analysis selected / rhetorical analysis freewrite draft submitted /
class / freewrite / ethos / the "i" / ethos as representative (image) of ethics / what values does an ethos represent / "dad makes fun of his son for looking like marilyn manson" / ethos as character or personality / what are the persuasive elements of an ethos / ethos as appeal to values within an audience / ethos as awareness that you are being perceived / ethos as fashion or style / ethos and credibility / how to render ethos in writing / style as a vehicle for values / ethos as culture / ethos as belief / ethos and authenticity / ethos doesn't occur in isolation / ethos as social appeal / ethos as negotiation between the "i" and the "we" / ethos seen in how various poets read their own poems: allen ginsberg, t.s. eliot, charles bukowski, ocean vuong, anne sexton, steve roggenbuck, mark baumer / with what do you sense someone’s ethos / what are the ethics of ethos / ethos and cultural appropriation / peer discussion: talk about someone you hold in esteem / how do you come to trust an ethos / ethos as signaling to audience you hold the same values, belief, culture / ethos as finding a commonality / how does anti-ethos or ironic ethos work (e.g. a modest proposal by jonathan swift / ethos and commonality / ethos and irony / are you a “good judge of character” (good judge of ethos) / ethos and reciprocated values / giving people the “benefit of the doubt” / ethos and character / ethos and caricatures / why is someone’s character persuasive / discuss: who do you trust and why / can you accurately assess your own character / the danger of ethos: exhibited character is not always actual character / discuss: are you a “good judge of character,” and what do you use to judge others’ character / “like a girl” commercial by always (as a rhetorical analysis of the ethos of “girl”) / ethos and emulation / ethos as social association / smoking ads from 50’s with doctors recommending cigarettes / ethos and association (is your character/values determined by those you spend time with) / ethos and credibility (and types of credibility) / “don’t judge a book by its cover” / ethos: values, morals, beliefs, customs, reputation, attitude, character, etc. /

day five / september 18 / rhetorical analysis and reading
due / mindful writing chapter 1 and 2 read / why i'm teaching a course called "wasting time on the internet" by kenneth goldsmith read / medium post written / medium comment written / rhetorical analysis rough draft submitted / 
class / freewrite / discuss paper with instructor / logos / what is logic and what is logical / how to persuade with logic / logic as reasoning, and reasoning as various / what are the various approaches or structures in a logical sense / logos as assumption, as sequence and order, as ... / premises and syllogisms / false syllogism dog / one plus two equals four (numbers as epistemai, operations as reasoning) / fallacy can be in the epistemai or the reasoning / does everything has logos / is a sunset logical / numbers as a language (with the same complications as all language) / how 1.999… = 2 / "alternative facts" / logic and tautology (i.e. circular reasoning / how do we render logos in writing / what is a "fact" / is it possible to make sense of the world / radical logic as rendering the entire world simultaneously (e.g. pixar rendering machines) / logic as only possible through assumption or metaphor (and metaphor as an indirect dealing with the world) / logic as only intially possible by reducing or translating the world into “workable” epistemai or “knowable parts” (the world is not meant to be entirely filtered by the human brain, or how can we believe that the human brain is even capable let alone trustworthy in doing so) / logic as incapable of dealing directly with the world / logic and the heisenberg uncertainty principle / logic as -isms / logic working with respective but irreconcilable systems (e.g. newtonian physics vs. quantum physics, or algebra vs. calculus) / flat earthers / logic and the insane / logic and common sense / attempts to become more literate in logi / why or how to privelege one logic over another / logic and radical individuality / how do you settle on your own pattern of thinking (i.e. logos) / how are logi changed / is a fact still a “fact” when it is spun (and can facts be without spin) / epistemai as variants and reasoning as operants (i.e. what we work with and how we work with them) / what is logic used for (truth?) / what do you do with “truth” / is it true if its not whole / how do we identify fallacies / can you tell a complete and utter lie (something with absolutely no truth to it) / how do we arrive at different conclusions with the same set of information / can you appeal to multiple logics simultaneously / peer discussion: create some false syllogisms or logical fallacies / literacy in logi or -isms / logic as translating the world into agreeable terms / deception as a misunderstanding between logics /

day six / september 20 / rhetorical analysis and reading
due / mindful writing chapter 3 read /  why were confederate monuments built? by miles parks read / medium post written / medium comment written / rhetorical analysis formal draft submitted / 
class / freewrite / discuss paper with peers (thus a discussion on how to engage with other writing: content editing, copy editing, proofreading) / pathos / pathos as emotional persuasion / emotional truths / humor or jokes as pathos / volksgeist and zeitgeist / laughing as evidence of emotional persuasion (or pathos) / pathos as appealing to emotions already existing in audience / tone as attitude toward audience / stance as attitude toward subject / tone vs. stance / emotion as expression / what is emotion / sympathy / empathy / pathetic / nostalgia or emotion and time / emotional resonance / comedy and pathos (visceral, laughter) / emotional literacy / words carry emotional weight / emotional truth vs. factual truth (memoir) / evocation vs. provocation (evoke as familiar emotion vs. provoke as unfamiliar emotion) / emotions as relative (how do we recover emotion from relativity) / with what do we emotionally feel the world / “raw emotion” / emotional charged words and words with lack of emotional charge / how do you “create” emotion / are apples emotions (peachy) / empathy vs. apathy / narratives as emotional structures / the heart as the antennae for emotion / squirrel problem by zachary schomburg / i.q. vs. e.q. / how many emotions are there / how many emotions have we not yet discovered / emotion as associative / advertising as brands’ methods to emotionally charge their products / emotion and trolling / emotion and stimuli / permanent emotions vs. ephemeral emotions / evidences of emotional persuasion: laughing, crying, gasping, smiling, etc. / emotional capability (actors and actresses) / how emotionally capable is your language and/or writing / individual vs. communal emotion / emotions as relative vs. emotions as consistent (-most- people laughed) /

day seven / september 25 / rhetorical analysis and reading
due / mindful writing chapter 4 read / "the philosophy of bill murray" by wisecrack watched / medium post written / youtube (not medium) comment written (find your own appropriate word limit) / rhetorical analysis final draft posted then submitted / 
class / freewrite / reflect on rhetorical analysis / kairos / kairos as persuasion by awareness / kairos as appeal to place and time / people as things of time and place / kairos and appropriateness / kairos and situation / place as multifaceted / walk around campus and inspect the kairos of given contexts / should the weather change how you say things / kairos and quality time / kairos and weather / “political climate” / discuss: if you moved social media content between social platforms how would/should the content change / kairos and place / place determines audience and audience determines place / place and meaning / kairos and volksgeist / kairos and zeitgeist / kairos and temperament or spirit of people / opportune: what makes something “opportune” / discuss: what is the zeitgeist now / kairos as literacy in timeliness (wit) / kairos as literacy in place / should the weather change me (should a writing “climate” change my writing) / place afford different opportunities / place determines appropriateness, decorum, propriety, etc. / place is one layer to meaning / discuss: how can you be kairotic with your medium posts / kairos and circumstances / kairos and “asking mom/dad when she/he is in a good mood” / rhetorical velocity / opportune: why is it more powerful to talk about something in the moment / finding the right place vs. making the right place (creating opportunities) / finding the right time vs. making the right time (creating opportunities) / place and constraint / kairos and busking / anachronisms and anatopisms / kairos and digital place / discuss: where and when are you more likely to be persuaded / kairos and familiar places / kairos and trying to persuade someone to skydive while on the ground vs. while on the plane / text and context (i.e. with a text, place and time are always with a text) / place and possibilities / skateboarding as a reclamation of place (skateboarding as kairotic action) / place and jargon / kairos as persuasion by opportunity / kairos as persuasion by context / kairos and marriage proposal stories /

day eight / september 27 / visit library day / HBLL 2231
due / medium post written / medium comment written /
class / (whatever the librarians have planned) 

day nine / october 2 / opinion editorial and expression
due / mindful writing chapter 13 (examples one and two) read / kairotic piece of graffiti created / medium essai on personal graffiti written / medium comment written / opinion editorial assignment description read /  
class / freewrite / introduce opinion editorial assignment / what is an opinion / opinion as a claim to truth / how do you select truths / why is truth a human desire / why do you feel the need for truth / opinions as an expression for a desire for truth / opinion is the social aspect of seeking truth / positivism vs. agnosticism / why make an opinion / do all opinions matter / opinions and free speech / is speech "free" / can an opinion be full or complete / can you have an opinion on facts / opinions and belief / opinions and assumptions / opinion and experience / what is fact / all experience filtered through the fallible body / why do we argue / when is something elevated to the station of fact / what allows you to form an opinion / opinion and naïveté / are all facts compatible / when does an opinion cease to matter to us / opinion and beauty / why form an opinion; why not just live the truth / opinion as placeholder for “truth” / opinion: polarity, perspective, judgement, belief, view, standpoint, position, stance, etc. / “i think” vs. “i feel” / how are opinions formed / can you form an opinion in a vacuum / opinion as evaluative / opinion as axiology not ontological / hard vs. soft opinions / when does an opinion become a fact / is it an opinion if no one disagrees with it / does it come down from fact when someone contests it /

day ten / october 4 / opinion editorial and expression
due / mindful writing chapter 13 (examples three and four) read / joyas voladoras by brian doyle  read / leap by brian doyle read / medium post written / medium comment written / topic for opinion editorial selected / opinion editorial freewrite draft submitted / 
class / freewrite / style / what is style / how do you render style in writing / language is there for you, you are not there for language / style as beauty / beauty and truth / what is beauty / aesthete vs. athlete / writing style vs. style guides / writing style: attitude, voice, stance, tone, etc. / how are people creating a writing style if we are all using the same words / when you realize it is more than functional, style can begin to happen (clothes, language, etc.) / tools of style: sentence, paragraph, section, title, diction, grammar, syntax, pronouns, repetition, variety, etc. / style guides and waking dreams / style guides and waking dream / style guides and suspension of disbelief / style guides: MLA, APA, AP, Chicago, Turabian, in-house style guides, etc. / style guides as writing etiquette manuals / writing style as found by praising sentences / writing style as expressive vs. style guides as functional / the child that squirms as mom puts shirt on vs. the teenager who uses shirt as method of expression / discuss: what is your style (what is your writing style) / discuss: what are some praise-worthy sentences (what are your favorite quotes) / how do you personally apply rhetoric / style happens when you don’t see the rules as constraints but as foundations / discuss: invent a punctuation mark / departing from the rules should be intentional / style guides: uniformity allows for uninterrupted continuance / style guides and school uniforms /

day eleven / october 9 / opinion editorial and expression
due / mindful writing chapter 5 read / a walk in pink moccasins read / medium post written / medium comment written / opinion editorial rough draft submitted / 
class / freewrite / discuss paper with instructor / argument / do we read opposing opinions / why do we look at the counter-argument / what is an argument / how is an argument constructed / argument as discussion / arguing as an attempt at empathy / argument vs. contention / argument as proactivity / argument as vivification of the self (horton hears a who) / what are the mores of arguing / argument as expression / why not just leave the world silent, why speak, why make a case for something, why make arguments / to be or not to be (the violence of argument) / what are the ethics of argument / what can we persuade people of, and what should we persuade people of / argument and vulnerability / argument as clarifying / argument: what’s at stake / argument as anti-erasure / argument: intention vs. contention / how are arguments defended / counter-argument vs. other-argument(s) / valid vs. invalid arguments / what to do with invalid arguments /

day twelve / october 11 / opinion editorial and expression
due / mindful writing chapter 6 read / consider the lobster by david foster wallace read / medium post written / medium comment written / opinion editorial formal draft submitted / 
class / freewrite / discuss paper with peers / structure / what are the inherent structures of writing / structure as a mode of style and expression / form follows function / how is language naturally structured / what are the possible structures for language / genre as a constraint of structure / "kurt vonnegut on the shape of stories" / what are the building blocks of writing that determine the structures of writing / poems for the illiterate / corbusier and form follows function / 

day thirteen / october 16 / opinion editorial and expression
due / mindful writing chapter 7 read / white debt by eula biss read / medium post written / medium comment written / opinion editorial final draft posted then submitted / 
class / freewrite / reflect on opinion editorial / style / structure / argument / opinion / 

day fourteen / october 18 / annotated bibliography and seeking /
due / mindful writing chapter 16 (example one and two) read / personal reading selected and read / medium post written / medium comment written / annotated bibliography assignment description read / issues paper assignment description read / library modules one thru five completed (here) / 
class / freewrite / introduce annotated bibliography assignment / introduce issues paper assignment / discourse / abstract technologies / ideological technologies / discourse as negotiation over the construction of language / discourse as conversation of meanings / a short history of ideological technologies: romanticism, modernism, post-modernism, etc. / postmodernism has been gentrified / how to continue to innovate with ideological technologies / 

day fifteen / october 23 / annotated bibliography and seeking / room 2231 in the HBLL
due / mindful writing chapter 16 (example three) read / personal reading selected and read / medium post written / medium comment written / topic for issues paper selected /
class / library instruction day / bring your own laptops

day sixteen / october 25 / annotated bibliography and seeking
due / mindful writing chapter 16 (example four) read / personal reading selected and read / medium post written / medium comment written / annotated bibliography submitted / 
class / freewrite / reflect on annotated bibliography / research / what is research / research as innovation of thought / research as a cornerstone for building not a confirmation of biases / research as mind-blowing / what is validity / was frederick douglass peer-reviewed / is using snapchat research / is all knowledge virtuous / is all knowledge valuable / how do you determine the "value" of knowledge / research and antithetical views / research and the necessity of archive / archive and memory / emotional research / logical research / research as a conscious act / is deception knowledge / 

day seventeen / october 30 / issues paper and engaging
due / mindful writing chapter 8 read / personal reading selected and read / medium post written / medium comment written / 
class / freewrite / community / discourse communities / universities as examples of discourse communities / community as a human need / sub-communities and meta-communities / what makes a community a community / discourse as bridging and de-centering communities / communities' dependence on word and identity / how does the individual (writer) change a community / how does the community (research) change the individual / no person is isolated, or community as inevitable / neurons as image of community-based understanding of knowledge / community helps us understand the relational aspects of language / 

day eighteen / november 1 / issues paper and engaging
due / mindful writing chapter 9 read / personal reading selected and read / medium post written / medium comment written / issues paper rough draft submitted /
class / freewrite / discuss paper with instructor / engaging / [conversation on engaging] / making the classroom as discourse community / 

day nineteen / november 6 / issues paper and engaging
due / mindful writing chapter 10 read / personal reading selected and read / medium post written / medium comment written / issues paper formal draft submitted /
class / freewrite / de-constructing / building on other ideas / analysis vs. synthesis / scarequotes / how to take an idea apart / to destroy is to make / what are the hazards of de-construction / pieces vs. the whole / the uncertainty principle / schroedinger's cat / particle-wave duality / de-construction as one method of engaging / active reading / severing from the whole / what is the rubble of ideas / what are the pieces of ideas / de-construction / show the "beyond the veil: psychonaut" picture / class activity: get in groups and de-construct an idea (example what do we mean by "gun" "control") / how do we break things down? / what are the different methods of breaking something apart in pieces? / what are the dangers of doing so? / watch "this is water" in class / talk about thrall / phillandro castille's girlfriend gets shot / you should be reaching ideas that don't have words yet. you should be sensing the boundary of your knowledge and then challenging it.

day twenty / november 8 / issues paper and engaging
due / mindful writing chapter 11 read / personal reading selected and read / medium post written / medium comment written / 
class / freewrite / discuss paper with peers / spend time talking with other students about your paper /  

day twenty-one / november 13 / issues paper and engaging
due / mindful writing chapter 12 read / personal reading selected and read / medium post written / medium comment written / issues paper final draft posted then submitted /
class / freewrite / criticism / 

day twenty-two / november 15 / multimodal project and embodying
due / [provided reading] read / medium post written / medium comment written / multimodal project assignment description read /
class / freewrite / introduce multimodal project assignment / reflect on issues paper / bringing all the ideas of discourse, research, community, engaging and de-constructing together / 

no class / november 20 / november 22

day twenty-three / november 27 / multimodal project and embodying
due / [provided reading] read / medium post written / medium comment written / media and substrate for multimodal project selected / multimodal project freewrite draft submitted / 
class / freewrite / design / there is meaning built into substrates that can enhance what is being recorded. substrates are the backbone of record making. what are the various elements of language design. how do you design a language. your design is limited by your tools. design is what allows you to access substrate. what is your own personal design theory.

day twenty-four / november 29 /  multimodal project and embodying
due / [provided reading] read / medium post written / medium comment written / multimodal project rough draft submitted / 
class / freewrite / discuss project with instructor / do a freewrite on any substrate you want. / substrates, adstrates and superstrates.  / there is a relational aspect to this.  / benjamin: art in the age of mechanical reproduction / what is an original? / "have you 'seen' the mona lisa" / what is the authentic piece? - vox "the next rembrandt" algorythmic creation of a rembrandt / is this shakespeare poem an original shakespeare? if not, then why do we value the constitution as an original document and not walt whitman's poems? / the original movie vs. the reboot (ghostbusters, etc). / bansky - the wall as a substrate has meaning, but so does the context of the substrate.  / would you buy a painting? / would you buy a website? / would you buy an instagram? / would you buy a tweet? / why so or why not? / would you buy an ipad with an original piece of art? / would you buy a music album  / why won't you do a freewrite on the wall, brady? / why did no one come up and do a freewrite on the chalkboard? / if you bought the mona lisa, what would you do with? / can i write on the desk? / when told to write on any substrate one student asked: / "can i see your arm really quick?"/ chris burden "shoot" - body as substrate

day twenty-five / december 4 / multimodal project and embodying
due / [provided reading] read / medium post written / medium comment written / multimodal formal draft submitted / 
class / freewrite / discuss project with peers /

day twenty-six / december 6 / multimodal project and embodying
due / [provided reading] read / medium post written / medium comment written / 
class / freewrite / technology / magical realism bot / https://twitter.com/MagicRealismBot?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor / microsoft tay ai / postmodernism essay generator / http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/ / freshman essay generator / http://www.essaysoft.net/essay-generator.html / monet and the invention of the paint tube (compare to caravaggio) / the invention of vanta black / obama generated video speech / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkoi7sZvWiU / rogue one generated characters / hyperrealism

day twenty-seven / december 11 / multimodal project presentations / group one
due / multimodal project final draft presented by group one /
class / present multimodal projects

day twenty-eight / december 13 / multimodal project presentations / group two
due / multimodal project final draft presented by group two /
class /present multimodal projects

day twenty-nine / section 86 19 december 7–10 / ??? / final /
due / final portfolio and reflection
class / final portfolio readings / food /

key terms:

  • writing

  • audience

  • title

  • argument

  • context

  • paragraph

  • clarity

  • continuity

  • tone

  • style

  • logic

  • narrative

  • organization

  • persuasion

  • thesis

  • structure

  • opinion

  • explanation

  • evaluation

  • summary

  • analysis

  • genre

  • order

  • introduction

  • conclusion

  • editorial

  • issue

  • problem

  • specificity

  • grammar

  • syntax

  • punctuation

  • counter-argument

  • meaning

  • irony

  • focus

  • bias

  • prepositions

  • articles

  • verbs

  • nouns

  • concrete

  • abstract

  • reference

  • terms

  • premise

  • syllogism

  • claims

  • evidence

  • expectations

  • em dash

  • en dash

  • dash

  • hyphen

  • research

  • investigation

  • interpretation

  • topic

  • perspective

  • information

  • judgement

  • questions

  • appeal

  • emotion

  • ethos

  • pathos

  • logos

  • kairos

  • metaphor

  • diction

  • reason

  • support

  • voice

  • expression

  • text

  • subtext

  • context

  • metatext

  • placement

  • timing

  • protasis

  • apodosis

  • generalization

  • hyperbole

  • stereotype

  • foil

  • independent clause

  • dependent clause

  • conjunction

  • phrase

  • dialogue

  • construct

  • transitions

  • framing

  • contradiction (contra-diction)

  • non-sequitur

  • assumptions

  • solution

  • citation

  • quotation

  • symbolism

  • arrangement

  • concept

  • personality

  • perspective

  • parralellism

  • consistency

  • usage

  • redundancy

  • literality

  • figurality

  • comparison

  • sequence

  • statements

  • idiom

  • pun

  • description

  • detail

  • pronouns

  • referrants

  • discovery

  • emphasis

  • objective

  • subjective

  • colloquialisms

  • sentence

  • situation

  • juxtaposition

  • source

  • circumstance

  • position

  • contrast

  • pacing

  • fallacies

  • straw-man

  • rhetoric

  • cliche

  • method

  • criticism

  • media

  • cognition

  • reading

  • literacy

  • evaluate

  • ethics

  • language

  • drafting

  • revision

  • editing

  • credibility

  • document

  • outline

  • community

  • public

  • discourse

  • participation

  • invention

  • exclusion

  • conflict

  • composition

  • reflection

  • provocation

  • awareness

  • patterns

  • process

  • mechanics

  • review

  • collaboration

  • understanding

  • comprehension

  • exigency

  • analogy

  • testimony

  • libraries

  • archive

  • meta-literacy

  • rhetor

  • scope

  • authority

  • technique

  • body

  • observation

  • impact

  • author

  • speaker

  • fact

  • implication

  • imagination

  • intention

  • content

  • form

  • utility

  • definition

  • effect

  • affect

  • sense

  • mode

  • subject

  • tension

  • attachment

  • reaction


class content: being in college (being human) means you will have to deal with some heavy/tough stuff. if any objectionable content is presented in class you are welcome (even encouraged) to express yourself. that all said, I will be as conscious and respectful as I can.

words required by b.y.u.:

Honor Code: In keeping with the principles of the BYU Honor Code, students are expected to be honest in all of their academic work. Academic honesty means, most fundamentally, that any work you present as your own must in fact be your own work and not that of another. Violations of this principle may result in a failing grade in the course and additional disciplinary action by the university. Students are also expected to adhere to the Dress and Grooming Standards. Adherence demonstrates respect for yourself and others and ensures an effective learning and working environment. It is the university’s expectation, and every instructor’s expectation in class, that each student will abide by all Honor Code standards. Please call the Honor Code Office at 422–2847 if you have questions about those standards.

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct: In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university. University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post.  Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692.  Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day). BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

Student Disability: Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the University Accessibility Center (UAC), 2170 WSC or 422–2767. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified, documented disabilities. The UAC can also assess students for learning, attention, and emotional concerns. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the UAC. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures by contacting the Equal Employment Office at 422–5895, D-285 ASB.

Academic Honesty: The first injunction of the Honor Code is the call to “be honest.” Students come to the university not only to improve their minds, gain knowledge, and develop skills that will assist them in their life’s work, but also to build character. “President David O. McKay taught that character is the highest aim of education” (The Aims of a BYU Education, p.6). It is the purpose of the BYU Academic Honesty Policy to assist in fulfilling that aim. BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating, and other academic misconduct.

disclaimer: The syllabus is subject to change.