Research Writing Project Planning and Writing

So the Research Project is due May 3. Let’s revisit the prompt and talk about the things you should have in order soon:

  • By this point you should have a good research question that is direct, answerable, rich, and focused enough to eventually develop a thesis in response. You don’t need your thesis immediately, but by the time you have a full draft you should have a decent thesis. By the time you can revise (I am hoping you have time to revise), you should be reading with a central argument (i.e., thesis) that the paper makes.
  • Have at least sources that help you address a research question. These sources should have been read closely. The Reflective Annotated Bibliography is a great assignment to help you understand your sources better and how to use them to make an argument. When you have a central argument, these sources are used to support claims you make that help make that argument.
  • Once you have a good idea for your thesis, make sure each paragraph and each use of a source always relates back to what your central argument is for the paper.
  • Integrate the references to your sources with your own voice as a writer (more on that soon).
  • Make sure you have a documentation style picked out, think about conventions of research writing discussed in class, and try to apply them whenever writing with sources and making claims based on your research.
  • Think about important concepts we have gone over throughout the semester: organizing your argument well, joining claims to evidence, paying attention to style (word choice, sentence type variety, sentence length variety, using punctuation rhetorically, sentence coherence, etc.), paragraphing, etc.

Ice Borg Vs. Fire McEnroe 

Movie Trailer:

“Borg vs McEnroe” is a movie that is about so much more than tennis. It takes place in London during the 1980’s before the annual Wimbledon tennis tournament. That year was especially important because Borg would have a chance to set a new record, by winning his 5th Wimbledon tournament of his career. There was only one person that stood in his way: McEnroe. Within the movie we analyze, and get into the depth of both players’ minds. The directors and writers purposely use many rhetorical lenses to illustrate how Borg and McEnroe are very much alike and experience similar emotions.

Borg holding the trophy to one of his wins at Wimbledon

Borg holding the trophy to one of his wins at Wimbledon

In the beginning of the movie we are first introduced to the number one ranked tennis player, Bjorn Borg. When he is introduced to us, the directors play slow and peaceful music as we see him practicing in an almost harmonious, robotic way. The tone of the music demonstrates that Borg is a very calm and composed person. We also see a scene of him as a kid, dreaming of becoming a true tennis champion. After we are introduced to Borg, we are then shown McEnroe. In the first scene he is arguing with the judge by cursing and throwing a “tantrum.” We also hear the sound of chaotic rock music while this happens, giving us an impression that he is a “bad boy” and doesn’t play by the rules. After comparing McEnroe to Borg we understand that McEnroe is not a traditional and classy tennis player. Whether it is the way he plays, the way he talks, and even the way he dresses – we can tell he is different. With the use of tone and music we gain a wider sense for the divergence of our main characters. 

As the movie progresses the audience starts to see how the life of a tennis player may not be as perfect as one thinks. The director puts the audience in Borg’s perspective to highlight his calm and humble demeanor. In a scene where Borg goes to get coffee he tries to hide from the crowds, going to a small coffee shop. At the coffee shop he says he is an electrician, rejecting his fame to avoid being recognized and staying humble. From this scene we are able to understand that Borg feels a lot of pressure coming into the tournament, and seems tired of being expected to win all the time. By showing us close shots of Borg and bringing us into his perspective, we can see how he truly feels.  

McEnroe celebrating after winning a round in Wimbledon

McEnroe celebrates after winning a round in Wimbledon                                                                      

Next, we get into the perspective of McEnroe when we see how stressed he is about Wimbledon, and the amount of effort he puts into each and every game. Once McEnroe got into his hotel room, he instantly started drawing brackets on the wall and chaotically tried to predict his potential matchups. We actively see how much of a toll this tournament has on him, where he constantly seems nervous about winning. This puts an unimaginable amount of pressure on McEnroe to try and play his best. By using multiple perspectives, the producers and writers help us gain extra insight on both Borg and McEnroe. Showing us that our main characters are not without flaws, but rather they may have many problems heading into Wimbledon.    

Along with perspective, characterization is used to really help develop both Bjorn and McEnroe and show us who they truly are. We see this for both characters when we are taken into flashback scenes from their childhoods. For McEnroe, his childhood seemed to be very organized and strict. His parents would force him to do well in school and never expressed to him how proud they were. Even when he did well in class or in tennis they would say that he could’ve done better. On top of that McEnroe’s father would put pressure on him and test him on hard math problems in front of guests. This caused McEnroe to become embarrassed and would be punished for not being perfect. Additionally, when we saw McEnroe practice as a kid he was extremely focused, hitting the ball well and reminding us of a robot – just like Borg.  

Now on the other hand we have Bjorn Borg. We are taken through flashbacks into his childhood, seeing him as a boy playing tennis against his opponent. After a very intense rally his ball is called out and he starts to yell at the referee. He goes on to break his racket as the judge takes action against him by taking away points and games. We then see his future coach listening to someone say that Borg is an “embarrassment to the club” and “not right in the head.” After this match Borg is clearly upset about losing but it gets worse as the club then puts him on a six week suspension because tennis is a “gentleman’s sport.” Similar to McEnroe, Borg’s father was also a bad role model and father. He yelled at Borg about being perfect, and threatened to never let him play tennis ever again. As Borg grows up he learns the hard way that when he becomes frustrated and shows emotion in games he loses. His coach eventually lets him play in his first pro tournament but tells Borg, “Promise to never show a single bloody emotion ever again.” From there we see how Borg turned out to be a robot, feeling no emotion during his games and playing near perfect. 

The producers develop Borg and McEnroe’s characteristics within these specific childhood scenes to have the audience start to recognize a major part of the movie. As I watched these scenes I couldn’t help but notice how Borg as an adult acts how McEnroe was as a child, and how McEnroe acts now as Borg did when he was younger. It’s from here that the directors want us to start to understand how even though they seem so different, Borg and McEnroe really have much in common. After this point came the climax of the movie, the Wimbledon Finals.

Right before the finals start we see a shot of Borg sitting next to McEnroe on a bench, dressed in the same clothes, with this following quote behind their heads. “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.” This quote from Joseph Merz’s poem “Meet with Triumph and Disaster,” and the finals is how the authors established purpose in the movie. The quote reminds and teaches us that being focused on the outcome is a mistake. Both McEnroe and Borg have always been focused only on each game’s ending whether it’s a win or loss. Where in reality, in order to win you have to play to your full potential – no matter what. We see here how both McEnroe and Borg are really very similar and facing the same challenge. With this quote in the audience and the players minds, Borg and McEnroe walk onto the court, and the finals start. 

Borg and McEnroe before walking out to play the in the finals (from movie).

Borg and McEnroe before walking out to play the in the finals (from movie).

The announcers and fans all cheer when Borg walks out hoping he will make history by winning his 5th Wimbledon. Then McEnroe is booed as he walks out, clearly not favored by anyone to win the finals. The announcers once again highlight how different the two players are by saying that Borg is a baseline player (stands back), and McEnroe is a net player (rushes the net). Once the finals start each player puts his all into every point, they go back and forth point to point and set to set. Eventually Borg goes up two sets to one and has a chance to win his third and final set in the tie break. But McEnroe manages to hang on, fighting for every point and eventually tying the score at two sets each. As the audience watched this, they were in awe of both these players’ tremendous effort and skill. Eventually Borg won the last of five sets making him the 1980’s Men’s singles Champion of Wimbledon for his fifth time. As the award ceremony commenced and the players received their trophies, the crowd cheered for McEnroe. Everyone expected McEnroe to be his regular self, yelling and throwing “tantrums” when things aren’t perfect, but this was the opposite of what happened. He along with Borg played for himself and not just for the outcome leaving the audience stunned. McEnroe lost the championship but won over the world. (Highlights of the 1980s Wimbledon Final)

Finally at the end of the movie Borg and McEnroe bump into each other in private at the airport. With no fans around they hugged with an understanding of each other, and what they’ve gone through to make it where they are today. In a way they are truly the only ones who can understand each other. As the credits come on the writers and producers tell us that Borg and McEnroe went on to be best of friends showing us how they found themselves in each other. With the various rhetorical devices the movie creators used, we are able to take the lesson from this movie that Borg and McEnroe along with many other tennis players are all very much alike.

Borg and McEnroe seen on vacation together as close friends

Borg and McEnroe seen on vacation together as close friends



Rhetorical Analysis

How Social Media Changes Us

We all know that the rise of social media has completely changed the way in which we view the world and other people. Whether it be through pictures of a family trip or a review on our favorite restaurant, we all have an impact when we use social media. This empowerment that social media is able to provide, allows us to feel wanted and to have a presence in platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. There are many issues with how dependent our generation is becoming with social media as many mental illnesses are also on the rise such as depression and anxiety. I have chosen to do an analysis of an episode of one of my favorite shows Black Mirror, focusing on the season three episode “Nosedive”. If you are someone who has never seen Black Mirror before, the main idea of the show is to show the impact of technology on society and to tell a story showing how the “Black Mirror” which in this case would be a device with a screen that is a mirror and we tend to look through it. All of us have definitely fallen into the black mirror, and this is all by design from the engineers who are paid to make sure we the consumer is always connected.  I will also be divulging into how the episode tends to use Pathos and Logos to connect with the audience. Technology has been able to provide the world with many benefits, but there are so many more negative effects that we may not yet fully understand. 

I will begin by fully explaining the society that we follow during the episode “Nosedive”. The episode begins in a beautiful town that is seen as more dystopian in nature. The main character of the episode is Lacie Pound, who is rated at 4.2 at the beginning of the episode. The ratings in this society are out of 5, the higher you are to 5, the more that you can get out of your daily life in the town and the influence you have on others. When comparing this to our society today, it may seem that we are heading towards this kind of society, some tend to believe that the amount of likes they get is symbolic of their popularity and status. “Nosedive” 

The writer of the episode is able to use pathos to allow us as the audience to relate to the characters, as we see many times that Lacie tends to put a facade on while she is in public with others, and tends to act much differently than with her own brother who has a low score of 3.1. Influence is so important in this society, that when people with lower scores review someone, their scores are barely affected, but when much more influential people review them, the effect on the overall score dramatically goes up. As a viewer, when we see Lacie at first, at least I tend to think she is a shallow person who only relies on the approval of others, but the only reason she is doing all of this is to get through her life. Everyone wants to be approved by others, and Lacie is just conforming to the standards that society has put her under. 

We only begin to see more of Lacie when she decides to upload a picture of one of her childhood toys, Mr. Rags, which she and her childhood friend Naomi, who is a 4.8 and highly known in the community, made together when they were young. We begin to see the connection that these two vastly different characters have and Lacie is given the task to be her Maid of Honor, which would greatly improve her overall score and influence and allow her to purchase a new home that is only for those with higher scores. This is when it all goes downhill for Lacie, whether it be an outburst at the airport due to a canceled flight, which dropped her rating to a 3.3, and with many other things, her rating dropped to almost 2.9 before the wedding of her “lifelong” friend. The result of these events almost caused her to be blacklisted from society, and in these outbursts in public, we began to see the true Lacie and she showed her emotional side which had been repressed for way too long in her “perfect world”. 

The wedding turned out to be an emotional rollercoaster for Lacie, once she arrived, she had already been told to not come for the reason that her score was so low, and this sent her off the deep end and she just wanted to be there for her childhood friend. Lacie followed on her journey and she decided to crash the wedding and she was emotional with the aid of alcohol, she delivered her speech, albeit, without the childhood memories, she began to tell Naomi off and how she was treated as a child and how Naomi only kept her around because she was better than Lacie. Lacie was fully expressing herself as she had never been able to do so before and this completely derailed her rating and eventually, she was arrested for pulling a knife on the groom in her emotional tirade. In the end, we were able to see Lacie express herself, and she broke the facade that had plagued her life for too long.

The writer for the episode was also able to incorporate Logos into the episode by showing how vastly society will treat an individual with a higher score and treat another one with a much lower score. The first example is when we are shown the houses on Pelican Cove, which is a town with nice houses. One of the payment options for these homes relies on how high someone is rated. A 4.5 rating will receive a twenty percent discount compared to someone who is not at this range. We also see how logically, it is practically necessary to have a good score in this society because once Lacie was at around a 2.5, her options at a rent a car location were so limited it ended up in her being deserted to a dead battery. She had lived her whole life trying to keep her image and in the end, she was failed by a missed flight and multiple outbursts which derailed her ratings. When Lacie needed help, the only person who helped her was this woman named Susan, who was rated a mere 1.4 out of 5. Typically, Lacie would never approach an individual with this rating due to her image possibly being ruined. Lacie was practically saved and Susan explained how her rating never got her anywhere even when she was a high four rating individual.

Susan had to deal with pain when she lost her husband to cancer and the rating was the least of her worries. She finally had been able to freely express herself and she always wanted and people in this society did not think the same way at all. She went from a life of luxury to becoming a truck driver and she did not regret anything because her rating was only superficial in her happiness. Lacie in the end was able to freely express herself when she was in her cell and she followed by saying what she felt to her cellmate without fear of repercussions as she always watched in the past. 

This episode was able to use these two lenses in ways that we as the audience could clearly understand and apply it to our lives today. Social media is becoming more and more attached to our personal happiness and “Nosedive” could be a preview of what the future can hold. The more importance that social media is given, the newer generations will have a tougher time breaking from this addiction which never fully satisfies the user. Most social media is temporary gratification and never allows for a full human connection. Each decade, technology finds more ways to become a part of our lives, such as Amazon Alexa which has proved to be a monumental invention and even used by someone like myself, I feel that it has been able to make tasks easier. Over time, technology will fully automate our lives and there will be both positives and negative aspects from it. The idea of having a rating system seems more of like a science fiction movie, but each day the possibility becomes greater.

Syllabus – Course Policies and Other Information

Attendance & Participation

Since your writing, responses to the reading, workshopping, etc. are central to the course content, attendance for our small group and full class meetings is expected for each small group or class meeting. While I hope you attend every meeting, two absences are permitted as long as you communicate with me and have a good reason for it (i.e., life happens). Three absences may result in a full one-grade penalty to your final grade; more than three absences can be grounds for failure. Should you miss a class, it’s your responsibility to get the assignments, class notes, etc. from a classmate and/or follow up with me.


All this said, I do understand that life happens and am here to work with you to do what I can to help make sure you can manage health/personal crises with school. More to the point: we are in a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully) pandemic right now! I will be very flexible with you. So, if you have an issue, the first thing to do is to stay in contact with me as much as you can so we can come up with a plan, together, to put you in the best position to succeed in this class. I am completely on your side from the start and want to see you succeed.


Lateness is also important to consider. We only have one hour a week together synchronously, so you need to be there on time if you can be there at all. If I notice a pattern of lateness, we will be talking about it and will find a solution together.


Grading for participation factors in attendance, completing informal assignments (e.g., Learning Module activities), and general participation during synchronous sessions. Please reach out to me if you have difficulty participating. I do my best to vary activities and discussion formats to make sure everyone has a chance to contribute, but if you are struggling with participating, let me know.


Recording Class Sessions

I will not be recording any of our class sessions. I also ask that you do not record any of our class sessions (e.g., by using your smart phone to record your computer screen) unless you get consent of all participants. I have chosen not to record because I believe people feel less comfortable speaking when they know they are being recorded. There are also tricky privacy issues once a video exists in the world. Almost always, there are alternatives I can provide to you if you needed to miss class. That said, if recording class sessions becomes an absolute necessity, let me know and we can work something out.


Accessible Participation

Baruch has a continuing commitment to providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Like so many things this fall, the need for accommodations and the process for arranging them have been altered by COVID-19 and the safety protocols currently in place. Students with disabilities who may need some accommodation in order to fully participate in this class should contact Student Disability Services as soon as possible at



Professionally, deadlines are everything—think job applications, meeting agendas, annual reports. Likewise, deadlines matter for this course. Assignments are due on the date they’re listed on the schedule. Every day an assignment is late, the grade may be reduced up to one letter grade. Nevertheless: should you have an emergency, let me know as soon as possible so that we can try to devise a plan for keeping you on track.


All writing should be turned in by the date and time as listed on Blackboard and on the Course Schedule. All assignments are submitted through Blackboard. You will note that first drafts of major writing assignments will typically be due on Thursdays at 11:59pm so you can get some feedback from other students in peer response activities and then you can (if you want to) apply that feedback to your draft after class.


Backing up Your Work[1]

As you may have learned the hard way in the past (I know I have!), it’s a good habit to save important files such as course work to a location aside from your primary computer –  for example, Dropbox, Google Drive, or an external hard drive. Unfortunately, laptops can crash or be stolen, and it’s your responsibility to make sure you back up your work.


Technical Aspects of Submitting Work

Unless we have spoken about an exception, please upload assignments as .doc or .pdf files. I do not accept Pages, Notes app files, etc.


Policy on Workshopping and Publishing Writing

I like to use examples from your writing when I teach because I feel like it is immediately useful to draw from writing you all are making. And, also, because, well, you all will do some really cool things and I want to highlight that. Any writing I use in class will be anonymized. You have no obligation to reveal yourself as author if we are discussing something from your writing in class, but you are welcome to do so if you choose.


Furthermore, I want to note that sometimes our writing will be posted on the class website. If, for any reason, you are not comfortable sharing your writing on the class website, let me know and you may submit it to me via email or Blackboard instead.


Writing Center[2]

I encourage you, in addition to my comments and those of your peers, to get feedback on your writing from professional writing consultants at the Writing Center, all of whom are trained to help you improve your written English. The Writing Center offers free, one-to-one (online) support to all Baruch students. They provide both 50-minute, online sessions (where you chat in real time with a consultant—by text, audio, or video) and written feedback (where you get comments on your document by email). You can schedule an appointment at: Log on to their website,, to learn more.


Baruch and Other Resources: Tech, Food, Health, and More

You are another human being, so if I can do anything to help you right now, I will. More specific to the classroom: Learning does not happen in a vacuum. If you are stressed, if you are hungry, if you do not have adequate technology or space to study—all of these things (and more) can impact learning in a negative way. There is help. First and foremost, please be in touch with me about anything I can help with. Second, Baruch College has several resources you can use to help with technological issues, food insecurity, housing issues, workspaces, and more. Third, there are also resources in the larger New York City area that may be of help to you (see especially the Dean of Students page under COVID-19 resources, providing stuff on food insecurity and unemployment). On our course website, I have a listing of these resources under Community Resources—but don’t be shy about reaching out to me about getting in touch with any organization or person and I can try to help.


Academic honesty[3]

The goal of this class is to improve your writing, and cheating in any form undermines your efforts to learn. Most importantly, as your instructor, I am interested in your own, original work, and in your own, individual effort; both should be yours, not someone else’s. Academic writing practices vary across cultures, and I will teach you how to use others’ words in your writing in a way that is appropriate for the American academic culture; this process may take some time, and it is easy to make mistakes.


However, intentional plagiarism or cheating on assignments and quizzes will not be tolerated. I am required by Baruch College to report any and all cases of academic dishonesty to the Dean of Students whose office keeps a record of such offenses. You will receive an F for a plagiarized assignment, an F for any copied homework or quiz, and in the most serious cases, an F for the course; you will be dropped and forced to repeat the course.


Baruch College’s Academic Honesty website states that “Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writing as your own, such as:


  • Copying another person’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes
  • Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging them
  • Using information that is not considered common knowledge without acknowledging the source


If you ever have any questions or concerns about plagiarism, please ask me. You can also check out the online plagiarism tutorial prepared by members of the Newman Library faculty at


Enrollment & Withdrawal[4]

As the instructor, I can offer advice about enrollment, but ultimately you are responsible for making all decisions regarding your enrollment status. Should you decide to withdraw from this course, you must drop via CUNYFirst. If you are failing the course and do not officially withdraw, you will receive a final grade of F.


Email Communication Policy

Like you, I am also expected to check my email on a regular basis. Therefore, I should usually have a response to you within 24-48 hours. I review my email fairly regularly from about 9:00am to about 4:30pm, Mondays to Fridays. Usually I work Saturday and/or Sunday, so one of those days I should be checking email at some point. Please also know that there may be some days where I have meetings or other obligations that prevent me from responding to you within the day you send the email. This year, you never know what might be going on in any given day (especially with 2 small kids!). Just know I will get back to you as soon as I can, usually within 24-48 hours.


Classroom Climate Policy[5]

While I encourage an open debate on any number of topics in my classes, we will refrain in our discussions and writing from personal attacks and abusive language generally. We will not make disparaging comments about another’s appearance, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, age, or anything else that dehumanizes anyone inside or outside of our class. We will try, as best we can, to abide by the following practices of ethical argumentation:

  • Honesty. We will make arguments based on what we understand to be the truth of the case, consistent with our experience of it, and we will avoid deliberate deception, distortion, and equivocation.
  • Accountability. We will support our claims with good reasons, the best evidence available to us.
  • Intellectual Generosity. We will listen carefully, thoughtfully, and respectfully to the other side in arguments. We will endeavor to understand others’ views before arguing against them.
  • Intellectual Humility. We will acknowledge the possibility that in any argument we might be wrong. If we find we are wrong, we will readily acknowledge it.
  • Intellectual Courage. We will speak clearly and forcefully, when necessary, for ideas or persons that may be unpopular. We will try to find the courage to speak for the weak before the strong, the outsider before the insider, the just before the unjust, the afflicted before the comfortable.
  • Judgment. We will work to develop the wisdom to know which ethical practices of argument apply in which situations, and how to apply these practices in ways that contribute to the common good of the class.

[1] Adapted from Dr. Brooke Schreiber’s Writing I syllabus.

[2] Adapted from Dr. Brooke Schreiber’s Writing I syllabus.

[3] Adapted from Dr. Brooke Schreiber’s Writing I syllabus.

[4] Adapted from Dr. Brooke Schreiber’s Writing I syllabus.

[5] Permission to use and adapt from Dr. John Duffy, University Writing Program, University of Notre Dame.

Syllabus – Revision

Revision is an essential part of the class. The first reading of the course by Donald Murray is about revision and that is a very intentional choice on my part. Rather than wait until the end of the semester, the expectation will be that you are revising with each and every writing assignment. At the absolute very least, though, you will be using Process Documents as ways to “revise forward” to larger writing projects and you will turn in second drafts of each of the major writing assignments. You will also have the opportunity to turn in third drafts of major writing assignments by finals week, if you wish to do so.

Syllabus – Grading


Assignments Percentage of Grade
Reading Annotations 5%
Process Documents 5%
Participation (Zoom calls, Learning Module responses, work with Writing Group) 5%
QSRs 5%
Literacy Narrative, Draft 1 10%
Literacy Narrative Revision Project 10%
Rhetorical Analysis 20%
Midterm Learning Narrative 5%
Research-Driven Writing 20%
Experiential-Learning Document 15%


Letter Grade Points
















D 60-69.9
F 59.9 and below


There will be three kinds of grading during the term: grading for completion, intermediate grading, and grading according to rubric.


  • Grading for Completion. The first kind of grading is just based on “did you do it or not do it?” If you did it, you get full credit. If you didn’t, you get no credit. Typically, this will be according to word count or meeting some minimum criteria of some kind. The Reading Annotations, Learning Module activities, participation during small group meetings as well as full class meetings, and some of the Process Documents fall under this type of grading.


  • Intermediate Grading. This second kind of grading is mostly like the previous, but there may be some additional criteria to meet. For instance, you may be asked to address three different questions in a prompt and while you technically do this maybe one of the questions only gets one sentence in response that does not go into much depth. If you did it but did not go into much depth, you get a “1.” If you did it and did go into a lot of depth, you get a “2.” If you did not meet the minimum criteria, you get a “0.” QSRs and some of the Process Documents fall under this kind of grading.


  • Grading According to Rubric. All the major writing assignments will be accompanied by a rubric. In the rubric there will be very specific criteria that will be subjectively evaluated by me.

Syllabus – Assignments (1,000 points)


  • Reading Annotations (50 points): Because reading is so important for developing your writing, one of the ongoing assignments for the course will be to complete Reading Annotations. We will go over these during the first week of the class, but these assignments will more or less be graded for completion (with some pointers from me in the early part of the term). Essentially, you will show how you are taking notes on the readings for the course to get practice with making the steps from reading to writing.
  • Process Documents (50 points): Process Documents are spaces to work out some initial ideas that will extend to larger pieces of writing. Sometimes these pieces will respond to readings about topics related to learning goals associated with assignments (e.g., rhetorical analysis, finding sources, narrative writing). Sometimes these pieces will be more directly associated with writing projects: goal-setting document, proposals, and the annotated bibliography for the research-driven writing project.
  • Participation (50 points). This relates to completing activities during Learning Modules, participating during Zoom calls, completing work for Writing Groups, and anything else that might come up that helps to assist maintaining a classroom community and assisting in learning material related to the course.
  • Questions for Second Reading (QSR) (50 points): Some readings will require deeper reflection, and, so, we will take a second turn in reading them to explore them further. In the QSR, you will write in response to a prompt to work out your thinking when encountering the reading for a second time.
  • Midterm Learning Narrative (50 points): This project is a chance for you to reflect back on your goals for the semester and consider how you are doing based on a close analysis of your own writing.
  • Literacy Narrative (100 points): The first major writing assignment of the semester, this project is geared toward getting some experience with making explicit your writing process, developing a writing practice, and considering the relationship between writing and your identity (and the relevance of that relationship to how you interact with audiences and work with other writers and readers).
  • Literacy Narrative Revision Project (100 points): The first major writing assignment gave you practice with just getting your thoughts down and generating material about your relationship to language, rhetoric, and writing. In this revision, you are asked to use this material generated in the first draft to revise around something you thought was exciting that you would like to develop further. As a separate project, you will get practice in learning about your revision process.
  • Rhetorical Analysis (200 points): The second major writing assignment of the semester, this project asks you to continue to develop your expertise as an analyst of texts of various genres and to begin to synthesize your ideas with the ideas of others. After submitting a first draft, you will turn in a second draft responding to the same prompt a few weeks later.
  • Research-Driven Writing (200 points): The third major writing assignment of the semester, this project asks you to begin to get experience with finding, evaluating, and integrating the ideas of others in order to make an argument or tell a story about a topic important to you. After submitting a first draft, you will turn in a second draft responding to the same prompt a few weeks later.
  • Experiential-Learning Document (150 points): The final writing project of the semester, this document, like the midterm learning narrative, asks you to reflect back on your goals by analyzing the writing you have completed for the course. Unlike the learning narrative at midterm, this document is a bit more detailed and substantive.

Syllabus – How We Will Do Some Learning

This class will be a blend of asynchronous learning (happening at times convenient to you by a certain deadline) and synchronous learning (happening during a specific moment with other people). I will email announcements about the week each Monday.


Aside from the first two weeks, when we will meet synchronously for something close to the full class-time of 2:55pm to 4:35pm, we will do the following each week:


  • Complete asynchronous learning modules due by Tuesday, no later than 5pm (U.S. eastern).
  • We will meet as a class on Thursday from 3pm to 4pm. Not every week will follow this schedule (e.g., the first two weeks), but this will be the general pattern.
  • We will meet as small groups (of 3-4) every other week for about 30 minutes on Tuesday some time between 3pm and 4:30pm. You will communicate and work with your small group (i.e., Writing Group) throughout the whole term over Slack (more on this soon). We will start this in the third week.


The Learning Modules for Tuesdays will be accessible via our course website in the lesson plan for that day and will consist of low-stakes writing activities to complete, short readings, video, etc.


For our Thursday full-class meetings, we will also follow along on the course website lesson plan for that day and we will utilize Zoom’s features to do small-group activities, low-stakes writing activities, large and small group discussion, independent writing time, etc.


We will schedule the small group meetings shortly before we start them up in the third week. These meetings will be check-ins to see how you are doing and how writing is going.


I will also meet with each of you individually on Zoom at midterm.


REMEMBER: if you have any technical issues with Zoom or anything else we might be trying to use, you can reach me by email or phone that are provided on the first page of this syllabus.

Syllabus – How to Get Things

We will use two different websites that will contain information about the course.


The first will be our Blackboard site. You can access Blackboard by going to this link: When you click on the link, look to the right side of the screen and click the button that reads “Login to Blackboard.” Enter in your CUNYFirst username and password. You will find our class on the left side of the page. I will have more information on how we will use Blackboard, but, generally speaking, we will use Blackboard to do the following:


You will find the syllabus and any updated versions under “Syllabus.”


I will post non-textbook readings, assignment instructions, and other resources under “Course Documents.”


Submit all Process Documents, drafts of major writing projects, and any other assignments under “Submit Assignment.”

Course Website

Because I prefer the interface, we will also use our course website at for:


Accessing our Course Schedule. The schedule on my personal site will be updated regularly for any changes that need to be made and it will also be much more detailed about what we are doing for a given week or day.


Accessing our Lesson Plans and Learning Modules. In the Course Schedule, you can click on any day and that will take you to what we are doing for that day for both our synchronous sessions (i.e., when we are all meeting together as a class) and asynchronous Learning Modules (i.e., when we do not meet but, instead, complete modules by a certain day). In the Learning Modules, you will often be making Comments as part of the participation grade for completing them.


Posting Questions for Second Reading Responses to the Blog in response to prompts related to some of the readings for the course. We might also post other informal writing there, to include Comments on other students’ blog posts.


You can also access the Syllabus and various resources (i.e., Writing and Language Resources and Community Resources) that can help you with writing, speaking, and many other things that can help you thrive as a person and student.

Syllabus – Textbook and Course Readings

Our textbook is Join the Conversation, a Writing I textbook designed by Baruch College faculty. We will use the online version that you can find the link to find it here:


We will also read a few other texts that I will give you access to via our Blackboard site.