Summer 2019 Syllabus

Welcome to WRT 104!

WRT 104 helps students become more effective writers by providing them robust opportunities to develop lifelong habits that drive successful writing/communication. The course’s seven areas of focus give students opportunities to apply the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in college courses across the curriculum and in the work world. By the end of the course, students will have gained experience in these fundamental writing practices: rhetorical approaches to composing that connect the author’s purpose with the audience’s needs; writing process techniques, such as brainstorming, drafting, reflecting, and revising; research skills, including finding, evaluating, and applying research from primary and secondary sources; academic skills, such as summarizing, annotating, paraphrasing, and citing; multimodal composition across mediums and platforms; and teamwork and collaboration. The course’s innovative badging design allows students to pursue their own interests, at the same time that it offers repeated exposure to and practice with key concepts and tools.

Goals of WRT 104
This course fulfills a General Education requirement and focuses on writing as the sharing of information with a variety of audiences through different media, modes, genres. Students are expected to meet the demands of different rhetorical situations and are asked to develop their ability to reflect on the effectiveness of their writing and writing processes, and those of others. In addition, this course provides extensive practice in using digital composing tools and digital information technologies. Writing effectively and demonstrating information literacy are required for the general education program at URI and are integrated into the assignments and activities of this course.

All first-year writing courses at URI require:

  • A combination of extensively revised and polished compositions as well as shorter, more informal writing-to-learn assignments
  • A focus on revision, with peer review and formative teacher response
  • An opportunity to to discover and use URI library resources including research databases and electronic tutorials
  • The use of different kinds of research and evidence to inform, explain, or persuade

In completing this course successfully, you will become more confident in using a number of composing strategies; you’ll be able to respond effectively to the writing of others; you’ll recognize different rhetorical situations and production strategies. Generally speaking, at the end of this class, you’ll be better prepared to assess and respond to any composing task.

Learning Outcomes for WRT 104
Students in this course are expected to show evidence of progress towards the eleven learning outcomes listed below.

  1. Writing Effectively

Upon completion of WRT 104, students will be able to:

  • Complete substantial writing projects that meet expectations for focus, development, organization, and coherence.
  • Revise and edit to meet conventions of standard Englishes.
  • Demonstrate awareness of audiences’ needs and expectations for style, genres, conventions, and citation.
  • Reflect upon and explain the appropriateness of their choices for the rhetorical situation and utilize feedback that addresses both revision and editing.
  • Research, synthesize, analyze, critique, explain, argue, and explore in a variety of writing assignments.
  1. Information Literacy

Upon completion of WRT 104, students will be able to:

  • Identify where support is needed for their claim(s).
  • Learn how to navigate databases and various search engines.
  • Apply the CRAAP test to all sources.
  • Use phrases that identify attribution.
  • Cite sources according to MLA or APA style guides.

Course Structure:  Choose Your Own Adventure
In this course you will have a great deal of freedom to choose topics, projects, genres, modes, and media using a badging system. This means that you will choose the project badges that you will work on. Please note, however, that all students must earn one research-intensive project badge and all students must complete a project badge in collaboration with at least one other student to pass the course. 

Each Project Badge pathway includes Level I, Level II, and Level III projects that build toward a major composition. You will work through project badges individually or in small groups, sharing your work-in-progress frequently with your peers and your instructor.  This approach gives you both freedom and responsibility as you will be required to manage your time wisely and work independently and in community toward your personal course goals.

Instructor Role
As your instructor, my role is to create and maintain a high-quality learning environment that supports your growth as readers, writers, thinkers, makers, and leaders.  I will do this by:

  • delivering mini-lessons and requiring guided and independent practice
  • fostering a rhetorical approach to composition
  • consulting with you regularly during class on your badging projects
  • making visible writing resources in the classroom, on campus, and on the World Wide Web
  • introducing tools and technologies that will enhance your reading and writing processes
  • guiding you in the use peer-assessment practices to increase your independence and confidence as a writer
  • providing feedback that coaches, encourages, demands, co-creates, questions, recognizes, and affirms your contribution to our writing and making community

You will choose the grade you would like to earn in this class and complete badges accordingly. Earning more badges means you will receive a higher grade. Because revision is the most important part of the writing process, you will definitely have to revise all or parts of your badge applications. Badges must meet the requirements stated on the website. You may submit a badge application as many times as you need to earn the badge.

The Badge Grading System will work as follows:

  • To earn an A in the course, you must earn two (2) different project badges plus the Peer Review badge, the Reflection badge, and the leadership badge
  • To earn a B in the course, you must earn two (2) different project badges plus the Peer Review badge, and the Reflection badge
  • To earn a C in the course, you must earn one (1) research-intensive project badge plus the peer review badge and the Reflection badge
  • To earn a D in this course, you must earn 1 Research Intensive Project Badge plus the Reflection badge

Screen Shot 2018-05-20 at 7.17.27 PMOne research-intensive badge and the Reflection Badge and course survey must be completed in order to pass the course.

Distinctions between plus and minus grades will be made based on attendance.

Summer Attendance is expected and unexcused absences can affect both your +/- and your letter grade.

For face-to-face:

  • If you are absent without an excuse 1 days, you will remain in the + range for your letter grade.
  • If you are absent without an excuse 2 days, you will drop to the neutral range for your letter grade.
  • If you are absent without an excuse 3 days, you will drop to the minus range for your letter grade.
  • If you miss 4 or more classes without an excuse, you will receive an F in the course.

For hybrid classes:

  • If you are absent without an excuse 1 days, you will remain in the + range for your letter grade.
  • If you are absent without an excuse 2 days, you will drop to the neutral range for your letter grade.
  • If you are absent without an excuse 3 days, you will drop to the minus range for your letter grade.
  • If you miss 4 or more classes without an excuse, you will receive an F in the course.

Students who miss class are responsible for 1) explaining the absence and/or verifying its necessity; 2) getting the assignments from a classmate or the instructor; and 3) if the instructor agrees, making up the missed work. If students notify the instructor in advance, absences for religious holidays, athletic participation, or other university-sanctioned events are excused. Other absences (for illness, accident, or personal tragedy) may be instructor-approved; however, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor—via email—to explain the absence within 12 hours of the missed class, or to provide documentation at the following class meeting.

Note on Attendance and Arriving Late to Class:

Arriving late to class is considered a disruptive behavior (see below). If you must come in late, do not disrupt the class. Repeated lateness (three times) will count as an absence. 

As you can see from the badge graphic above, only students who earn the leadership badge will receive an A in the course. Please reference the criteria for the leadership badge and keep a list of behaviors and activities that exemplify your leadership.

Deadlines and Due Dates
All work produced out of class is due by class time on the date specified. Work must be submitted according to instructor guidelines (e.g., in Google Docs, to Sakai Assignments, etc.). Unless you have requested and been granted an extension in ADVANCE of the due date, the following will result:

If you do not submit levels I, and II according to posted deadlines,  you will not be eligible for the leadership badge.

If you do not submit a completed draft for level III (for instructor and/or peer review), your badge will not be accepted, which will result in a full-letter grade reduction to your final course grade.

Incomplete badges (i.e., folders that do not contain all of the required elements listed on the website checklist at the bottom of each badge) will be considered late.

Revisions. Your badge may not be accepted the first time you submit. If not, you will be assigned a revision due date. Failure to submit all required revisions as specified by the instructor (e.g., resubmitting to Sakai Assignments, revised in the same Google Doc, etc.), by the assigned date will result in a full-letter grade reduction to your final course grade.

Required Texts
Ball, Cheryl E, Jennifer Sheppard, and Kristin L. Arola. Writer/designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2018. Print.

West-Puckett, Stephanie and Genoa Shepley, eds. Rhody Writes: A Student Anthology. Hayden-McNeil, 2018. Print.

Other Required Materials (bring to class daily)

  • Textbooks (you will need the books in- and out-of-class)
  • Wifi-enable, charged laptop
  • Earbuds or headphones
  • Depending on the project badges you choose, other supplies may be necessary.

Instructor Expectations
As a students in charge of your learning experience in this course, I expect you:

  • to arrive on time for class, every class period with your writing, your badging materials, and the supplies listed above;
  • to devote 5-7 hours per week outside of class to course-related activities;
  • to meet deadlines and ask for an extension via email prior to class or due date if you have extenuating circumstances;
  • to display an open attitude about writing, about research, about technology, and about peer and instructor feedback;
  • to conference with me and your peers during class;
  • to meet with me as needed.  Please see me about an appointment that fits with your schedule.

Computers in and Out of the Classroom
As stated, you are required to have your own mobile device (laptop, tablet, smart phone) for use during class time. We will work in both virtual and physical spaces during class time; however, certain computer-related behaviors will not be tolerated. You may check your email or free-surf the web as you please before and after class, but after I announce the beginning of class, any student still using email, social media, chat programs, or web browsers for non-class-related activities will be warned about their behavior. If this continues, I will consider you absent from class for the day.  Likewise, you retain sole responsibility for backing up your work and submitting work prior to due dates.  Lost or stolen passwords, computer crashes, technology glitches, etc. do NOT excuse you from submitting your work electronically and having electronic copies of all your work in Google Docs. Finally, digital disruptions, digital harassment, or digital abuse either in- or out-of-class will not be tolerated.

Be aware that the writing you do for this course must be your work and, primarily, your words. It is OK to incorporate the words or ideas of others in support of your ideas, but when you do so, you should be sure to cite the source appropriately. We will practice careful citation during the course, and I expect you to understand plagiarism and its consequences.  Please consult the URI Student Handbook about academic honesty and related issues. Your may wish to also review URI’s Report of Cheating or Plagiarism. The penalty for plagiarism is that I will decline your badge submission and you will not have a opportunity to resubmit that badge. In addition, I will send a report to your academic dean, who has the option to fail you for the course; in addition, the charge of academic dishonesty will go on your record in the Office of Student Life. If you need more help understanding when to cite something or how to make clear your references, PLEASE ASK.

Disruptive behaviors will be penalized. Disruptive behaviors are defined as behaviors that interfere with the learning and teaching process. Disruptive behaviors in this classroom include inappropriate talking during lectures or class discussions, or in any manner interfering with other student’s ability to have a quality learning experience. Students who engage in disruptive behavior will receive one warning without penalty. Continued incidents of disrupting the class will result in the initiation of removal procedures or the loss of a letter grade. If you must come in late, do not disrupt the class. Repeated lateness (three times) will count as an absence. Disruptive behaviors also include violations of the computer/mobile phone policy.

Writing Center
The Writing Center, located in Roosevelt Hall 009, offers one-on-one peer tutoring for student writers who need help developing ideas or need advice on any aspect of writing. The Writing Center serves all student writers, not just “beginners.” Visiting writers are encouraged to bring a draft, notes, syllabus, or any relevant information to help facilitate the session. Students may view the schedule and make appointments. Sessions are 45 minutes per appointment and students are encouraged to make appointments in advance by logging onto For more tips on how to make the best of your Writing Center appointment, visit

Production Lab
The Writing and Rhetoric Production Lab offers state-of-the-art computers, printers, Adobe Creative Suite, and lab staff trained to assist you with digital writing projects.

Note on Access
Any student with a documented disability is welcome to contact the instructor early in the semester so that reasonable accommodations may be worked out to support his or her success in this writing course.  Please also contact Disability Services for Students, Office of Student Life, 330 Memorial Union, 401.874.2098.

Weather/Campus Emergencies
Check for announcements about class cancellations online or call the Weather Line at URI: 874-SNOW (874-7669). The policy on snow days is this: if a due date is planned, we will honor it on the next class meeting (unless an online alternative is created).  Therefore, due dates remain as scheduled.

Final Exams
There is no final exam in this course; however, you are required to complete a final reflection badge that documents your learning in the course. See the Learning Reflection Badge for more details. No late reflective writing and surveys will be accepted.

Changes to the Syllabus
The syllabus is subject to change. Changes to these pages will be announced in class. If class is cancelled, you should continue working on your badge pathway and be prepared for the mini-lesson during the next class meeting.

Unforeseeable Circumstances
If I am late to class (because of an emergency, snow, or severe traffic problems), please wait a minimum of 15 minutes before leaving.


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