This section of ENG 306 will be offered in “hybrid” form, which means that
there will be a combination of face-to-face class sessions and online class
sessions. See the details (“Meeting Format”) in the description below.


Course Overview (Rationale and Purpose):
In ancient Greece and Rome, the very center of education was the study of
persuasion–or rhetoric–because it was believed to be a necessary skill
for citizens to obtain for participation in public deliberations. Citizenship
and argumentation thus went hand in hand, and they were the backbone of
democracy. Today is not so different: current scholars of rhetoric maintain
that a primary goal of education in language arts is “civic discourse,” the
term commonly used to reference discussion, negotiation, and persuasion among
citizens in a shared public forum about communal matters. The difference,
however, between now and ancient times is that our public forums have radically
changed, as have our notions of citizenship: discussions now happen among
relative strangers in print and online, and those discussions circulate around
the globe almost instantaneously. This is certainly due to new communications
technologies, but it’s also a phenomenon that is integrally bound to
globalization. Much of our civic discourse these days is necessarily about
national and global issues, as environmental, cultural, political, and economic
concerns often involve players and commentators from across the nation, not to mention
from multiple countries around the planet.

Thus in this course you will explore and apply theories of classical
rhetoric, reading and writing as a scholar of rhetoric and as a citizen
actively invested in specific issues that are local, national, and sometimes
international. While some of what you write will be private or for the class
only, some of these writings will also be public: you will write and publish
arguments as freelance commentators on a webzine that we will collectively
develop; you might also have the option of submitting your writings to
established online venues.  (Do know that, if you are concerned about
public writing, you may choose to use a pseudonym or write anonymously.)

Meeting Format:
The class
will function as a hybrid between online and face-to-face (f2f) meetings. We
will begin the semester by meeting f2f for a few weeks to orient ourselves to
each other, to the course material, to our online forum, and to the demands of
collaborative, process-oriented writing practices.  We will then break from f2f interactions to
work for several consecutive weeks as an online community of civic-minded
scholars and students of rhetorical theory, reading, commenting, and writing
purely online with no scheduled f2f meetings. 
At approximately the halfway point of the semester, we will meet f2f
again to transition from theory to practice; we will meet f2f for a few
sessions to work out the logistics and solidify conceptual grounds for writing
publishable argumentative essays.  We
will then return to the online mode for the remainder of the semester, meeting
f2f again only at the semester’s end.  Note: the f2f meetings ARE required; this is
NOT a purely online course.  If you
cannot fit the f2f meetings into your schedule, you cannot take this

Assignments and Evaluation:

  • Daily Updates
    On a regular basis, you will be required to post updates and/or
    responses to updates as a means of recording and reflecting on current
    events. This will be done in a social networking site for the class.
  • Short Exploratory Essays  (30/100) Approximately once to
    twice per week you will be required to write a short, semi-formal essay that
    you will post to our class blogsite. You will write approximately 6-10 of these
    during the course. The essays will be about 500-700 words each, and they will
    be written in response to a prompt about the subject matter we are exploring at
    that time. Usually (though perhaps not always) they will be responses you write
    to readings in our class textbook.

  • Written Public
    Arguments–Blogging (60/100)
    You will produce three substantive commentary
    essays (20 points each) on public issues that you are following. These
    will be arguments that will be published on a public blog/zine we produce.

In addition to intensive reading of online articles on a daily basis, you will
be required to use the following textbook:

Crowley, Sharon and Hawhee, Debra: Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students,
5th edition
.  (Note that
we will be using the 5th edition; please do not purchase an earlier
version. An electronic version will be available for a lower price.)