Topics in Writing: Sports in American Culture

Topics in Writing: Sports in American Culture


Topics in Writing: Sports in American Culture

WRTG 3020, Sections 051, 093

Spring 2013

Instructor: Christopher David Rosales


Office: STAD266D (Easiest to enter through Gate 11)

Office Hours:Wednesdays/ 4:30 – 5:30 & Tuesdays/ 2:15 – 3:15, or by appointment.

Office Phone: TBA

Class Meetings: Section 093 TR 5:00, HUMN 145

Section 051 MW 6:00, HLMS 196

Required Texts:

In addition to the text, you are expected to print a considerable number of handouts, as well as your own essays, over the course of the semester. Please be prepared to absorb the printing costs as you would the cost of additional text books.

Course Description:Welcome to Topics in Writing: Sports in American Culture, a course designed to advance your skills in college-level academic writing. This course emphasizes thinking, reading and writing critically—that is, thinking, reading and writing that does not merely understand what a text says, but understands how it says it. We will study how we can use reading and writing to explore ideas and to inform readers, with special analytical attention to basic rhetorical concerns such as audience, purpose, structure, and argument. Class work will include reading the work of established writers, studying the craft and process of writing, group discussion, and considerable writing. Expect to write a lot. These activities are used to emphasize the power of language to inform readers and explore ideas. We will also steadily ask what the writer’s responsibilities are. It is important to note that any themes that develop in, or form the shape of, this course, are avenues for discussion of writing, rather than the other way around. Please understand that your role in the class is both as student and peer – you will be asked to read and comment on your classmates’ writing frequently. This required workshopping is designed to help you be aware of your audience, to help you articulate your ideas about writing, and to gain self-awareness of yourself as a writer.

Course Objectives

There are six main learning objectives for WRTG 3020

1. Extend rhetorical knowledge:

a) Use texts from rhetoric, discourse studies, communication, or related disciplines to extend understanding of rhetorical concepts to the discipline that is the focus of the course.

b) Develop sophisticated strategies for critical analysis ofdisciplinary or specialized discourse.

c) Learn more sophisticated ways to communicate knowledge to appropriate audiences.

d) "Apply reflective strategies to the synthesis and communication of knowledge.

2. Extend experience in writing processes:

a) Use multiple drafts.

b) Hone strategies for generating ideas, revising, editing, and proofreading for disciplinary or specialized discourse.

c) Learn to critique your own and other’s work.

d) Use a variety of technologies (writing and research tools).

e) Learn to evaluate sources for accuracy, relevance, credibility, reliability, and bias.

3. Extend mastery of writing conventions.

a) Select and adapt genre conventions for disciplinary or specialized discourse.

b) Use specialized vocabulary,format, and documentation appropriately.

c) Control features such as style, syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

4. Demonstrate comprehension of content knowledge at the advanced level through effective communication strategies, including:

a) Ability to compose messages for specific audiences and purposes.

b) Ability to communicate to the variety of audiences in disciplinary or specialized discourse.

c) Ability to adapt content and style to respond to the needs of different audiences and rhetorical situations in disciplinary or specialized discourse.

AND for all Introductory Writing (CO1), Intermediate Writing (CO2), and Advanced Writing (CO3) courses:

5. Competency in critical thinking.

6. Competency in written communication (courses must meet all competency criteria)

7. Competency in reading.

These course goals express the PWR’s commitment to preparing you for the other kinds of reading and writing you will perform in your other classes. They also fulfill the course criteria given to all state institutions by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, the governmental body that contributes to the policies for college education in Colorado. In other words, this writing class is not just about what your writing teacher here at CU thinks is important. It’s about deepening your skills in rhetorical knowledge, writing processes, and language conventions so that you can write effectively for a variety of audiences in a variety of situations—both inside and outside the classroom.

Paper format

Learning how to format your papers and assignments and to pay attention to how they appear is an important component of improving your academic writing. Every assignment will be word processed, in Times New Roman font, 12 pt., and will follow these rules:

  • Put the following information in the upper left-hand corner: your name, the date, the assignment name, my name, and the title of your paper (if there is one).
  • Double-space, unless you’re specifically instructed not to.
  • Make sure there is a page number on every page in the top right corner (except the 1st page)
  • You may print double-sided.
  • Staple all multiple-paged assignments.

You will lose points if you do not follow this format.


Course delivery: The teaching and learning will take place through workshop, peer review,

Conferences. In addition, the Writing Center is available should you find you need further assistance. Most of your progress will be assessed based on a comparison of your final drafts and your initial drafts, as well as your incorporation of the techniques learned from the readings into the revisions of those drafts.The best writers are also voracious and critically astute readers. On the most basic level, reading literature helps us to recognize what good literature is as well as how good writing works. Furthermore, reading also inspires writing in that it continually keeps language moving through the brain. We will spend time closely reading texts, discussing the techniques these writers use (and how we can use them in our own writing), and how reading and writing inform each other. All reading is required. Because this course hinges upon participation, assigned readings must be completed before the class they are to be discussed. Arriving to class prepared for discussion will result in a higher grade for the course. Please bring the texts for the day to class. (You may do this using an electronic device I have approved ahead of time.)

Technology: In this course, you will be called upon to check D2L and your CU email regularly. I cannot emphasize enough how often these resources need to be used to stay up to date with the materials needed for the classroom activities. Again, there is not text, so interaction with these resources is paramount.

Quizzes: Quizzes may be given at any time, usually unannounced. Quizzes may cover the day’s assigned reading (including any vocabulary found therein) and anything covered in previous class discussions.

Attendance and Class Participation: This class will depend on your voice; attendance at each class meeting is required. This follows from a desire to make this class a cooperative learning experience, and a true creative community. You will be called upon to enter discussion, contribute your ideas, share your writing, and otherwise join in class activities. Furthermore, participation includes full attention and courtesy to whomever is speaking. Learning results from being present (and actively engaging when you are present). Finally, in order to reinforce this participatory community, you may not use cellphones in class.

After three unexcused absences, each additional one will lower your final grade by a half letter-grade (five percent). The only excused absences are those due to sudden illnesses, observed religious holidays, and family emergencies, in which cases I will need written documentation. The written documentation will allow you to turn in the homework for the day(s) that you missed. Three tardies will result in an unexcused absence. If you sleep in class, text message in class, or are found using facebook or chatting on your laptop in class, you will be counted as absent.

Students and faculty each have an obligation to help maintain an appropriate learning environment. Students who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Faculty have the professional responsibility to treat all students with understanding, dignity, and respect, to guide classroom discussion, and to set reasonable limits on the manner in which they and their students express opinions. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender variance, and nationalities. Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student's legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records. See policies at

and at

Grading Scale for Participation:

Aalways prepared for class; participates without being called on; response to other students’ thinking and writing reveals insight and close reading; comments are clear, succinct, and helpful.

Bgenerally prepared for class; occasionally participates without being called on; response to other students’ thinking and writing demonstrates mastery of the course goals; comments are generally clear and helpful.

Csometimes prepared for class; only participates when called on; mastery of the course goals generally evident, but responses to other students’ thinking and writing, although somewhat helpful, demonstrate a less than thorough rhetorical awareness or reading of the paper.

Dinadequately prepared or never participates unless called on; response to other students’ thinking and writing demonstrates a superficial or inaccurate reading, at best; comments demonstrate a failure to master the course goals.

Fdisruptive to class (talking inappropriately, continual tardiness, etc.); unprepared when called on; unable or unwilling to participate in class discussions.

Office hours: I have scheduled regular office hours when you may visit me, and am also available by appointment. This is the most effective way for me to give you individual attention and get to know you better. You are required to meet with me at least once during the semester.

Discussion Questions:For every major reading assignment you will be expected to bring to class two questions, printed, about the reading for the day These should be of the levels two and three variety (using Costa’s levels).

Other Homework: Occasionally, I may give the class additional assignments that will count toward your participation grade. They will usually require only a short amount of time to complete.

Writing: This course will cover three types of writing: personal/reflective, analytical, and researched argument. You will submit three complete essays, and several smaller assignments that will total no less than 50 revised pages for the semester. The key word there is revised. You will write considerably more than 50 pages. Submissions should be accompanied by a one-page writer’s letter discussing the creation and development of the piece. In this letter, you can analyze your own work, discuss the effects you intended to create, how you approached it, difficulties you encountered, strategies you used, etc. You might think of it as a cross between a self-critique and a journal written on your own work. On the due date of a submission, you must arrive at the beginning of class with the appropriate number of copies of your work ready to be distributed to your workshop group. E-mailed work is not acceptable.

Written critiques: For each essay that the students in your group submit, you are required to write an assessment. Give your general impressions of the work: What was it like to read? How does the author apply the techniques we have studied in class to his or her work? You may also make suggestions for revision. For each round of critiques, I’ll give you specific things I’m looking for you to comment on as well. Please also make some comments directly on the manuscript and return this to the author. Your critique of each essay must be at least a half page. You must bring two copies of your evaluation to class—one for your peer and one for me.

Revisions: For each essay, there will be a unique revision assignment due a week after the original version. These are different from what we normally think of as revision. Rather than making the essay as good as it can be, each of these revision assignments will focus on one particular aspect of writing. In fact, these revisions may end up being worse essays, overall, than the originals—but they should ingrain core writing concepts in the process that will make future writing and revision more effective. These revisions will count for twenty-five percent of each essay’s grade.

Proofreading: For all assignments, one spelling, grammar, or punctuation error per page will be forgiven. After this, each one will drop the essay grade by one percent.

Grading: Your returned assignments will be clearly marked with a letter grade or numeric percentage that corresponds to one of the following:

A = Excellent (90-100%)

B = Above Average (80-89%)

C = Average (70-79%)

D = Below Average (60-69%)

F = Failing (0-59%)

Your final grade will be based on the following:

  • Participation…………………..………………………………...8%
  • Quizzes ………………………..…………………………..…..13%
  • Written critiques …………………………………………..…....9%
  • Personal narrative essay……………………………………….20%
  • Textual analysis essay…………………………………………20%
  • Research project………………………………………….……30%

Grading Criteria for the Essays

No or Limited Proficiency / Some Proficiency / Proficiency / High Proficiency
Rhetorical Awareness (writer’s ability to understand and respond to rhetorical situation) / The purpose of the paper is unclear.
The paper shows no awareness of audience.
There is no clear relationship among purpose, audience and writer’s choice of genre. / The purpose of the paper is often unclear.
The paper shows little awareness of audience.
The relationship among purpose, audience, and genre is present but weak. / The purpose of the paper is generally clear.
The paper demonstrates an awareness of audience.
The relationship among purpose, audience, and genre is appropriate. / The paper has a strong and clear purpose.
There is a clear sense of audience.
The relationship among purpose, audience, and genre is highly effective.
Controlling Idea (explicit or implicit), Thesis, Central Claim, Stance, Dominant Impression, Theme, Unifying Purpose / Writer presents no clear controlling idea.
Writer gives no direction to the paper. / Controlling idea is vague or broad.
Writer’s controlling idea is not consistently clear throughout the paper. / Controlling idea is inquiry driven and presents a fairly clear position.
For the most part, writer’s controlling idea is clear and developed throughout the paper. / Controlling idea is inquiry driven and clear and specific. It may be sophisticated, original, and insightful.
Writer’s controlling idea is developed with originality and insight throughout the paper.
Reasoning, Evidence, Support, Proof (facts, details, examples, and research as appropriate) / The paper makes weak or indefensible claims, faulty assumptions, or errors of fact.
Claims and evidence are inadequately evaluated for logic, relevance to thesis, accuracy, or credibility. / The paper fails to thoroughly evaluate logic, accuracy or credibility of facts, evidence, assumptions, or claims.
Controlling idea is weakly supported or unpersuasive. / The paper offers some sound reasoning in support of the controlling idea and some persuasive supporting evidence.
Assumptions are not always made explicit or are not critically examined. / The paper demonstrates sound reasoning, factual accuracy, thoroughly examined assumptions, and personal insight in clear support of controlling idea or claims.
Ideas are originally and convincingly developed and supported with concrete evidence.
Structure/ Organization / Sequencing of ideas, transitions, and paragraphs is confusing and haphazard.
Introduction does not achieve a clear presentation of topic or principal ideas.
Conclusion is missing or incomplete. / Topic sentences, transitions, and paragraphs remain undeveloped and limited in logical sequencing.
Introduction is limited in its focus upon topic and/or principal ideas.
Conclusion is present but does not satisfactorily achieve a culmination of principal ideas. / Topic sentences, transitions, and paragraphs achieve a logical sequencing of ideas, claims, and evidence.
Introduction presents topic and principal ideas with clarity.
Conclusion provides an appropriate culmination of principal ideas. / Topic sentences, transitions, and paragraphs advance a complex series of ideas, claims, and evidence.
Introduction captures reader’s attention in a thoughtful presentation of topic and principal ideas.
Conclusion achieves an imaginative and satisfying culmination of principal ideas.
Style / Tone is inappropriate for the assignment and audience.
Sentence structure lacks variety.
Word choice is inappropriate.
Style hinders comprehension of meaning. / Tone is often inconsistent and/or inappropriate.
Sentences are rudimentary with little to no variety in sentence structure.
Word choice is limited and repetitive; some words are used incorrectly; clichés often used.
The connection between style and comprehension of meaning is limited. / Tone is generally appropriate and consistent.
Sentences are varied and demonstrate some complexity.
Word choice is adequate and somewhat varied.
Style contributes to comprehension of meaning. / Tone is mature, appropriate and consistent.
Sentences are well-constructed, effective, varied and complex.
Word choice is appropriate, exact and includes advanced vocabulary.
Style illuminates meaning.
Conventions (spelling, grammar, usage, citation of sources) / Errors are severe and appear throughout the paper, overriding communication.
Sources are not cited or are cited and/or integrated improperly. / Errors are repeated throughout the paper and sometimes impede communication.
Patterns of flaws may be present. Sources are cited improperly or sporadically and are integrated with limited effectiveness. / Errors are few and do not seriously impede communication.
Sources are generally cited correctly and integrated effectively. / Writing is essentially error free.
Sources are cited correctly and integrated skillfully.

Costa’s Levels of Questioning