WRITING AND EDITING IN PRINT AND ONLINE
SYLLABUS, COURSE WEBSITE, & ASSIGNMENT DESIGN
Writing and Editing in Print and Online (WEPO) is an upper-level writing course in the Editing, Writing, and Media major. It draws students from majors across the university, including many in English, Communications, Criminology, and Pre-Law. The leading concepts of the course are designed around writing and rhetorical key terms, such as genre, rhetoric, audience, and design. Students learn about their future discourse communities, and they produce projects that aim to help them succeed in their discourse communities upon graduation.
*I was nominated and was a finalist for the 2018-2019 FSU Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award for my teaching in this course.
I've taught this course over three semesters, and though I have altered my course schedule, the syllabus has largely stayed the same. What is different about this syllabus from the other composition courses I've taught is the use of revision-based labor contract grading, which can be found in the appendix of the syllabus.
The course schedule is unique in regards to my focus on access and accessibility. I have provided not only a summary of each day's activity and homework, but students can access detailed breakdowns of each class period.
Philosophy Behind Course Design
This upper-level writing course has a professional writing focus. Students learn about rhetoric, composing, genre, circulation, and discourse communities through the lens of their future professional communities. All of my courses have a focus on transfer (i.e., how students are able to draw upon, use, and repurpose their knowledge for new contexts; see Yancey et al., 2014, Writing Across Contexts). Therefore, in order to achieve the learning outcomes, I ground the course content through key terms: rhetoric, genre, audience, purpose, remediation, network, and composer.
This course attempts to help students
Understand the principles of composing and rhetoric;
Compose for multiple spaces—print (including posters, flyers, newsletters, pamphlets, and booklets), digital (screen), and network (internet) using different technologies and design strategies;
Edit and revise appropriately the texts created in each space; and
Understand the relationships that exist across and between texts, technologies, and materials.
Assignment Sheet Samples
The components of this project include constructing a resume, cover letter, and remediated vlog. However, this is not merely meant to help students secure a job after this course—though it has. This project allows students to learn about rhetoric, audience, and discourse communities by understanding first who they are as professional rhetors and second how to speak to members of different discourse and professional communities. These three different genres also demonstrate to students how purpose and audience affect how they compose within certain genres.
I have students from a range of majors; however, it was important to me that students can learn about genre as a concept in an applicable way. Therefore, I designed five different projects students can choose from. These include the following: fiction line edits, fiction assessment, legal motion, website redesign, or business proposal. I have done extensive work to provide examples and guidance so that students can successfully complete their chosen genre, but more importantly, students learn about genre, conventions, constraints, and affordances in an explicit way. Included with this project is a genre proposal; this is where students do their own research on the conventions of their chosen genre to demonstrate their conceptual knowledge as well as their readiness to compose within this genre.
In small groups, students reach out and collaborate with a local organization. They learn about audience, purpose, circulation, and genres through real-world professional experiences. With the organization, they identify a need the organization has and then students will fulfill that need within the confines of the project. These are live texts with real audiences, and many are still in circulation today.
Students develop conceptual Key Term Maps at three different intervals during the semester (at the beginning, during mid-term, and at the end). These concept maps require that students define key terms of the course and draw—literally—connections they see between the terms while also explaining those connections. By returning to this cognitive exercise at key moments of the course, students recognize their own knowledge development and can articulate their learning. This, in theory, fosters students’ ability to transfer this knowledge to new contexts.
As an emerging professional, students need a polished representation of their professional identity. This might help them engage with potential internships as part of the Editing, Writing, and Media capstone course, or they might use this to enter the professional market upon graduation. In this ePortfolio, students will curate 7 artifacts (five must include artifacts they produced in this class and two from outside this class) that illustrate their expertise, introduce themselves as a professional to this community via their remediated vlog, and then house important professional documents like their resume. With each artifact they include, students provide written context as a way to guide their audience.