Syllabus Approach Resources

Composing With Narrative

Syllabus Approach Leaders and Document Coordinators:

Syllabus Approach Description:

Beginning Spring 2017, ICaP will pilot the Composing With Narrative syllabus approach, one that merges Composing Through Literature and Composing With Pop Culture. While the specific details of the CWN approach are still pending, the current Syllabus Approach Leaders offer the following theoretical rationale of the reconfigured approach:

At its core, the Composing with Narratives syllabus approach believes that clear, effective writing can be strengthened through extensive, critical exploration of cultural artifacts and narratives. As cultural texts demand a high level of attention to detail, clear, logical thought, audience awareness, and an understanding of narrative and subjective bias, they encourage an unrivaled space for reflection and interpretation. Moreover, such texts provide opportunities to explore diverse audiences, situations, and contexts, to effectively compose and critically respond in a range of forms for different purposes while, relatedly, providing constructive feedback grounded in the shared experience of common narratives, and conducting evidential research coextensive with TA research experience. From considering the rhetorical situation of advertisements that sell a capitalist narrative to presenting summaries of banned books, and from exploring racism, sexism, classism, and more in texts to composing a research paper synthesizing television series, books, movies, and music videos with theory, this syllabus approach has been designed so that the interrogation of cultural artifacts and narratives serves as the vehicle to bolster student writing, promote critical reading and thinking, and develop research skills commensurate with ICaP goals, means, and outcomes. By the end of CWN courses, students will not only command the skills required to analyze written and visual texts but to also communicate their ideas efficiently and effectively in clear, well-developed, and rhetorically savvy prose.

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Composing with Pop Culture
Syllabus Approach Leaders and Document Coordinators:

Syllabus Approach Description:

Note: This syllabus approach will be officially archived Spring 2017.

Composing with Popular Culture is a 10600 syllabus approach that gives students the opportunity to rhetorically and critically engage with popular culture texts. Instructors in this approach emphasize the production and analysis of multimedia, multimodal, and multigenre texts, combining the inquiry and research methods of traditional academic approaches with the participatory meaning-making practices advocated by fan studies theorists like Constance Penley, Camille Bacon-Smith, Henry Jenkins, and Rhiannon Bury.

Assignments encourage students to rhetorically situate popular culture texts through a variety of perspectives, including critical, participatory, audience, and genre. Through the utilization of a variety of new media tools, students are encouraged to reach, impact, and interact with actual audiences and rhetorical situations while simultaneously experiencing the historically access-restricted role of being a cultural producer. Our goal is ultimately to use the sites of popular culture to focus on teaching composition as a reciprocal and dynamic process of participation between composer, audience, and culture(s). We encourage students to see culture as a network of texts that creates both knowledge and identity by virtue of interacting with (and contributing to) it in a rhetorically-grounded manner.

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Digital Rhetorics
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Syllabus Approach Description:

The Digital Rhetorics Syllabus Approach aims to situate students within digital discourses while they investigate the applications of digital spaces in their classes, their work, and their lives. If we see and understand these digital spaces and the information, connections, and productions contained within as inexorable from the real world, then students must become literate within these spaces or risk lacking the tools to work and compose effectively. These concerns will shape the entirety of the course, while also directing the students' writing, reading, and projects. While the course is grounded within textual composition, writing concerns, and rhetorical appeals, students will also focus on questions of access, literacy, play/invention, genre/medium, and fair use/ownership. These questions will apply both to the students themselves and their audiences as they work with digital rhetorics on and offline, with new technology, and with digital spaces such as sites, forums, wikis, blogs, and YouTube.

During the course, we establish digital rhetorics as an umbrella term for the way in which we interact with information today. This course does not aim to study digital rhetorics as a type of cultural studies separate from ourselves, but instead as the very grounding of our ability to find, interpret, and use information in the digital age. With more and more information being stored and created digitally, students need to develop a research literacy that will help them not only understand these issues, but overcome and utilize them as well. This does not mean simply covering these concepts during class lectures, but rather putting these ideas into practice.

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Documenting Realities
Syllabus Approach Leaders and Document Coordinators:

Syllabus Approach Description:

Documenting Realities asks students to engage, analyze and explore the ways in which the world around them is documented. This syllabus approach asks students to critique the various methods that society uses to document and present the world, and participate in the process as they document their own realities. Students analyze familiar methods of documentation, including web, print, and video media websites, television, newspapers, and magazines, from a critical and rhetorically informed perspective. They are also challenged to consider the effectiveness of less obvious media that purport to document reality, such as art, film, and music. Using a genre approach to writing, this syllabus asks students to adapt their writing to a variety of rhetorical situations and audiences, allowing them to better understand the multifaceted purposes to which writing can be directed.

While this approach allows for both the analysis and creation of various documentary methods and media, instructors have the freedom to focus upon methods and media that interest them or lie within their area of expertise. Instructors also have the option of choosing one overarching theme for the entire course, such as an environmental, ethnographic, or multicultural approach. Frequently courses focus on an exploration of current local, national and/or international events of importance. Students learn to cultivate their critical thinking skills through a variety of assignments and class discussion topics.

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UR@
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Syllabus Approach Description:

UR@ sees the act of composition as a process of locating oneself within and engaging with interdisciplinary discourse in order to move through networks of relations within and across spaces. In short, this approach encourages students to locate themselves in relation to contemporary cultural domains and engage with various media, such as film, music, text, and web text. While incorporation aspects of traditional composition, this approach also provides space for play, which enables movement and flow, invention and discovery, all necessary components of creative composition. In addition, UR@ acknowledges that the shifting landscapes of technology requires an agile and sophisticated command of new compositional strategies.

In UR@, students explore the interconnectedness of contemporary literacies, stretch this interconnectedness through play, and write in as many genres and media as possible: students understand (read and interpret), play (investigate and experiment), and then compose (write and design). The ways in which particular instructors enact this third element and the ways in which students play emphasize UR@'s flexibility and dynamism.

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Writing About Writing
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Syllabus Approach Description:

The Writing About Writing approach has been archived. No new syllabi will be enrolled in Spring 2018.

In this approach, you'll find yourself learning and writing about writing. You'll read research on the ways that writing works and do your own investigations, too. You'll become a developing expert on how writing works in various communities including your own academic field or discipline. Although Writing About Writing courses can be taught in a variety of ways, this approach, as taught by instructors at Purude, typically includes the following units: Literacies, Rhetorical Situations, Discourse Communities, and Academic or Disciplinary Discourse. If you have no idea what these terms mean, don't worry. By the end of your Writing About Writing course, you'll be using them like a pro!

If you're in a Writing About Writing course, you'll see that this approach:

  1. Believes that you learn something about a topic when you read and write about it. That's why this course asks you to read about writing and write about writing. If you're going to be in a writing course for a whole semester, why not learn the most you can about how to write!
  2. Positions you, the student, as an expert. By drawing on your past experiences and highlighting literacies outside the university, the approach values the experiences and expertise of all course participants. You might know a whole lot more than your teach about some kinds of writing—maybe you know more about html coding or blogging—but your teacher brings his or her expertise, too.
  3. Offers you the opportunity to find out straight from the source what researchers have learned about writing. You'll get to read the articles that usually only teachers read in order to see for yourself what we know about how students and professionals really write at the university and beyond.

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Writing Your Way into Purdue
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This approach is structured around students' issues of identity and community and therefore well-positioned to take advantage of their daily interactions with the institutional University community, the local West Lafayette community and the multiple global identities and communities inhabiting the West Lafayette Campus. This approach encourages instructors to access the wealth of material on campus and in its environs in generating thoughtful and broadening writing and living experiences for their composition students. Instructors are encouraged to incorporate the wide variety of cultural productions on campus, from Purdue Theater to Convocations, and the various art gallery spaces in the Purdue Union, Stewart Center, or Pao Visual and Performing Arts Building into their writing assignments. University-affiliated organizations such as the Black Cultural Center, the Native American Cultural Center, the International Center, the large number of student organizations, and the Purdue University Libraries and Archive Collections are all rich sources of material for composition assignments.

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