Syllabus

Welcome to MakerComp!

This semester, we will explore a writing-as-making approach to composition. Inspired by the maker movement, this course emphasizes creation, iteration, tinkering, and collaboration. A maker-centered focus helps us to consider the ways that texts are designed, made, shared, and remade, focusing our attention on craft, technique, and rhetorical effectiveness.

As human beings, we are tool makers, and language, in both oral and written forms, is our primary tool. As a design kit made up of symbols and grammatical patterns, language enables us to think, learn, communicate, build-relationships and make things happen in the world. Thus, writing-as-making emphasizes a design approach to writing and helps us think about the ways we use words, images, sounds, and combinations of these codes to design new futures.

What’s more, a writing-as-making approach assumes that every person can learn to write effectively when engaged in a space that includes high quality tools and high quality support for using those tools. Each and every one of you is an essential part of this space as makers; maker-spaces are by nature, participatory and collaborative.  You have a unique perspective, expertise, and language history to contribute to this class experience, and I look forward to a productive semester of making, sharing, reflecting, and learning.

To learn more about the connection between writing and making, check out the link below for a video chat (particularly the first 15 minutes) sponsored by The National Writing Project and the MacArthur Foundation.

NWP/ Connected Learning Writing as Making

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 compositions and composition processes. 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, library holdings, 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. They will be asked to reflect on at least six of these outcomes (three from each competency area) in their final course reflection.

  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 participate in a group project to pass the course. 

Each Project Badge pathway includes Level I, Level II, and Level III projects that build toward, or scaffold, 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;
  • using self-assessment and 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.

Grading
You will choose the grade you would like to earn this class and complete badges accordingly. Earning more badges means you will receive a higher grade. You may submit a badge application as many times as you need to earn the badge; however, the speed with which you move through the course will be slowed down each time your badge application is declined. Remember that time marches on, and the final deadline for submitting badge applications is Thursday, December 7. 

The Badge Grading System will work as follows:

  • To earn an A in the course, you must earn three (3) project badges and a peer review badge (at least 1 must be a Research Intensive Badge + 2 Additional Project Badges + Peer Review Badge)
  • To earn a B in the course, you must earn two (2) project badges and a peer review badge (1 Research Intensive Badge + 1 Additional Project Badge + Peer Review Badge)
  • To earn a C in the course, you must earn 1 Research Intensive Project Badge  + 1 Peer Review Badge
  • To earn a D in this course, you must earn 1 Research Intensive Project Badge

In addition, all students are required to complete a course survey which will be distributed electronically on the last day of class as well as a reflective statement (750 word minimum) about your experience as a composer in this course.

One research-intensive badge, the peer review badge, and the final reflective writing and survey must be completed in order to pass the course.

Distinctions between plus and minus grades will be made at the instructor’s discretion based on the following classroom behaviors:

  1. attending class, on time, with all necessary materials
  2. being prepared for all class discussions and activities
  3. participating fully in all exercises, discussions, and activities
  4. meeting deadlines
  5. giving thoughtful, substantial, well-articulated feedback to peers on their projects
  6. maintaining a positive attitude even when challenged or frustrated
  7. meeting deadlines and all assignment criteria (word counts, writing-to-learn activities, etc.)

Attendance is expected and unexcused absences can affect both your +/- and your letter grade. For example, if you are absent without an excuse 0-1 days, you will remain in the + range for your letter grade. If you are absent without an excuse 2-3 days, you will drop to the neutral range for your letter grade. If you are absent without an excuse 4-5 days, you will drop to the minus range for your letter grade. If you miss six (6) 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 or a phone message—to explain the absence within 12 hours of the missed class, or to provide documentation at the following class meeting.

NOTE:

 Required Texts
There are no textbooks required for this class.  You will, however, be required to read electronic texts (PDF’s, websites, digital stories, etc.)  provided by your instructor as well as those you find and make use of in your individual research projects.  We will use web annotation tools to read and engage these electronic materials effectively.

Other Required Materials (bring to class daily)

  • Wifi-enable, charged laptop
  • Earbuds or headphones
  • Post-It Notes
  • Markers
  • 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 2-6 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, 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 and Credly.

Plagiarism

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.

Civility

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.

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 reflective writing and a survey about your writing and learning experiences in this course. The writing prompt and a course survey will appear on the daily agenda on Thursday, December 7. You must submit these  assignments by midnight (11:59pm) on Thursday, December 14. 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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