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Office Hours and Course Info

Page history last edited by David Walter 3 weeks, 4 days ago


Office Hours: Wednesday 12-1:30 in the Social Research Library in Haviland Hall

Second Story of the building!

[in the meeting room in back of the library] or by Appointment 


Spring 2024 Semester


122 Social Sciences


78 Social Sciences





This 4-unit writing and reading seminar fulfills the second half of the Reading & Composition (R&C) requirement, entails writing at least 32 pages, and must be taken for a letter grade. The extra unit for a 3-hour/week course demonstrates the university’s acknowledgment that writing requires time, patience, feedback, & revision. Expect to spend 12-16 hours/week on reading, writing, and research.



Written Work


You will complete three major essays in different genres:


  1. a rhetorical analysis of a written or visual text
  2. a study of secondary sources, or theory, in connection with a written or visual text or the conditions of the production or reception of that text, called Texts in Conversation (TIC)
  3. an inquiry-based research paper (3500-4500 words) investigating a question through in-depth research grounded in at least one primary source. This culminating assignment takes the place of a final exam and includes not only your final research paper, but also these components of a process research portfolio:
    • a proposal (and revision)
    • annotated bibliography
    • final bibliography to be included with the RBE submission 
    • storyboards
    • slides  
    • 150-word abstract 



Essay Format


  •  Original title 
  •  12-point font, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins
  •  Page numbers 
  •  Parenthetical citations (Last Name, Year, p. 1) in MLA format
  •  References at end in MLA style in alphabetical order by author



Goals of the Course


In order to prepare students for the writing typically required in college-level courses and in civic discourse, this class teaches the composition of thesis-driven argumentative essays. Students will gain practice in composing brief to medium-length arguments that are focused, clearly organized, well supported and based on accurate critical reading of assigned materials. They will develop skills in summary, paraphrase, and quotation; incorporating multiple sources in the service of a unified argument; and in addressing multiple points of view. In addition, they may be introduced to library research as a tool of academic inquiry and gain practice revising for whole-text coherence, as well as for clarity and correct usage.


Learning Outcomes


1. Critical Reading: Students comprehend, analyze, and assess arguments presented both in assigned short to medium length non-fiction prose texts and in "primary" literary, philosophical, and artistic texts.


2. Formulating Thesis/Primary Claim: Students develop, in response to questions raised in course readings and research, a specific contestable claim to serve as focus and governing principle of an argumentative essay. 


3. Arrangement/Structure: Students organize papers on the whole-text and paragraph levels to facilitate reader comprehension and to meet the specific needs of different rhetorical situations.


4. Development: Students support their claims with sufficient, relevant, and credible evidence derived from reading and research (primary and secondary) and acknowledge and address counter-arguments.


5. Grammar and Style: Students write in a mature and credible civic and academic manner by avoiding basic usage errors, using accurate punctuation, and employing stylistic strategies that improve clarity and concision, and document reading and research in accordance with MLA or APA formats. 


6. Revision: Students revise drafts in order to improve content, structure, and clarity and correctness of expression, as well as to document sources accurately.


7. Source Evaluation: Students learn how to responsibly evaluate primary and secondary sources that will serve their research


8. Analysis and synthesis of primary, supporting primary, and secondary sources: Students will learn where and when to apply these thought structures in the context of a formal research-based essay.


In this course you will be encouraged to:


• engage the process behind your "finished" writing in order to enhance its quality;

• consider interdisciplinary approaches to thinking, research, and writing;

• read and write with attention to audience and purpose;

• recognize and employ strategies of argumentation and organization that are most appropriate and effective considering a given document's audience and your purpose;

• recognize that rhetorical effectiveness often involves consideration of format conventions and use of visual and other media that support and enhance print text;

• in research, consult a wide range of primary and secondary sources;

• collaborate with others in research, writing, and revision;

• develop a comfortable, confident, flexible prose style;

• in response to peers' and others' writing, hone critical and editorial skills that will serve you in conceiving, writing, revising, and editing your own work.



Graded Course Components



You will complete three (3) formal pieces. Paper format is as follows: All papers must be typed, in 12 pt font, double-spaced, with standard margins. Number the pages.


Draft Revision 

Your dedication and the process of improving your work is a critical component of the course. You will revise each of your three formal papers, and meet with me at least once during each revision.


Class Presentations, Informal Writing, Peer Reviews, Attendance, and Class Activities

You will be expected to present on the readings, individually and in groups, on a regular basis. Your presentations will involve identifying and explaining the components of a text. You will be pointing out the following:


• Its claims 

• Its language (style, figures of speech) and how they are working to support/convey the argument

• Its evidence, the kind of rhetorical arguments it is using—you can open this up to the class for discussion

• Its success, as an essay, as an argument, as a story, as an expression


Every student is a valuable resource for everyone else, and small-group assignments and peer reviews are essential to the class. Short, “informal” writing keeps you in practice for the longer papers. There will be three Peer Reviews in the quarter; you will read and respond to two other students’ major writing assignments and in turn receive feedback on your own paper. You are expected to take your role as critical reader seriously and to respond conscientiously to your classmates’ papers. Peer Reviews offer you valuable comments on your own writing and enable you to think about the assignment from a new vantage point.



Attendance Policy 


Students are expected to come on time to every class meeting and to participate actively throughout the semester. The class is progressive in nature, and based on in-class activities, in-class participation, in-class instructions, directives, and clarifications, and a dynamic climate of lecturing and questioning, so attendance is critical. More than three absences (for 90-minute classes) and five absences (for 60-minute classes) results in a penalty of one-third of a grade on the final grade for each class over the limit. This policy applies both to class meetings and mandatory one-on-one conferences associated with a flexed class. Excessive tardiness counts as an absence. Inform me ahead of time of any unavoidable class misses. Even when you miss class, you are responsible for any writing assignments due that day, and for finding out what we covered in the class, so find a student who can take notes and pass on the content of the class.


The attendance works like a contract. If you fail to attend the required number of classes, I adjust the grade according to the policy. For cases of Covid-19, a makeup assignment is possible. To determine the number of days of allowed absence, course policy defers to the CDC guidelines from first positive test. I also accept, but in some cases involving privacy rights, cannot solicit, other official forms of official notification of a need to be absent.



Paper Grading


Grading: An “A” paper must have several qualities. [Nota Bene: For the Texts-in-Conversation Essay, this is a unique assignment with a unique rubric! please refer to the specific parameters of the assignment on bCourses]


• It must have an argument: this is more than just a claim. A well written argument should include a claim, the grounds for that claim and a thoughtful response to counter-arguments. 

• The claims of the paper must be modest and credible, rather than all-inclusive and indefensible.

• The evidence for those claims should be clear and supportive of those claims, and avoid logical fallacies.

• It must draw on in-class readings and discussions by practicing the critical reading and writing and rhetoric skills covered up to that point. 

• It must have a logical structure: sentences should lead logically to the next and develop logically out of the sentences previous to it, and paragraphs should lead logically to the next and be developing logically out of the paragraphs previous to it.  

• Its syntax must be sound (i.e. few to no grammatical or spelling errors) and its language (sentences, phrases, vocabulary) must be clear and comprehensible. 

• It addresses/resolves the comments made in the first draft and peer reviews and applies its own critical reading and, by extension, revision skills to the paper.


A “B” paper lacks one or two of these qualities

A “C” paper most of them

A “D” paper almost all of them. 

I will give “N/C” only to papers in which the writer has evidently expended little to no effort.

Plagiarism is not tolerated. Any plagiarism will result in an F in the course.



Final Course Grade


20% - Class Participation (discussion, active listening, attendance, peer response)

5% - Oral Presentations (+1 for Chiang Research Festival)

10% - Homework (responses, journals, annotated texts, reading notes)

15% - Essay #1 (brainstorming, outline, drafts, reflection, self-evaluation)

20% - Essay #2 (brainstorming, outline, drafts, reflection, self-evaluation)

30% - Research Portfolio 

  • ~10%=process: proposals, annotated bibliography, outline, research notebook, abstract, drafts, conferences, reflection
  • ~20%=final research paper

The Research 101 Library course is required to pass the class, and you must submit that exit certificate to me upon completing.


Further clarifications:


NOTA BENE: This course does not use the bCourses grade book. Any calculations reflected in the bCourses grade book are only incidental. Numerical grades will follow all assignments, formal and informal, and I have a free and open policy of sharing my assessments. Please feel free to check in with me at any time for a present-time breakdown of your grade. 


Homework includes: discussion posts; other informal writing including drafts; recitations and individual presentations; all other assigned tasks to be completed on a given day. 


For essay drafts: we are not looking for perfection. The drafts are opportunities to explore ideas, to experiment with approaches. Your successive drafts, and your final draft, may look much different from your original rough draft; each draft may, in fact, be a radical transformation of previous attempts. What we are looking for in drafting is evidence of effort, thought, and sincere engagement in the process.


For assigned collaborative work: all participants are expected to meet in advance as a group to work together, and every member of the group is expected to do an equal share of the work.


Class participation includes: engaging actively with the course theme; demonstrating knowledge of the assigned material, and applying that knowledge in active, thoughtful discussion that displays analytic and synthetic thinking; showing curiosity and initiative; promoting community; staying focused, undistracted during class time; providing intelligent and helpful written and oral comments on the work of others; posing questions in class that promote thoughtful discussion; helping other students understand concepts and participate in the class; supporting other students in the class in any way you see the need; having the courage to display critical thinking not just as a means to an end, but as an end in itself.




Academic Honesty


UC Berkeley’s honor code created by the ASUC reads, “As a member of the UC Berkeley community, I act with honesty, integrity, and respect for others.” 


Academic honesty is integral and essential to the university community that we belong to. In this course you will learn the appropriate ways to use, integrate, and cite sources. If you take any part of another writer’s words, research, or ideas without giving proper credit to the original author, you will be guilty of plagiarism. You must always cite when using another’s words in “quotation marks” or even another’s ideas (summary, paraphrase, or generalization)—be they from a website, book, lecture, film, article, essay (including a classmate’s), or any other print or non-print source.


Additionally, if—instead of making your own decisions about how to revise—you have someone revise or edit an essay for you, the piece you submit is no longer your own work, and you are plagiarizing. A friend can give you suggestions on an essay, but you must make the ultimate decision and type in those changes. If you have questions about how to cite or about how much help you can receive from a friend or tutor, please talk to me.


The College Writing Programs has a zero-tolerance policy regarding plagiarism. Students who submit plagiarized work will be subject to consequences ranging from a grade of "F" on the assignment to suspension from the University. The Center for Student Conduct has produced a comprehensive guide to academic honesty: http://sa.berkeley.edu/conduct/faculty-staff/violations


Visit our website for details: http://writing.berkeley.edu/students/academic-honesty


The following excerpt from that document outlines the elements of plagiarism:


Plagiarism is defined as use of intellectual material produced by another person without acknowledging its source:

  • Wholesale copying of passages from works of others into your homework [or] essay without acknowledgment.
  • Using the views, opinions, or insights of another without acknowledgment.
  • Paraphrasing another person’s characteristic or original phrase [or] metaphor without acknowledgment.


If a student uses text generated from ChatGPT and passes it off as their own writing, without acknowledging or citing the influence of ChatGPT in their process, they are in violation of the university’s academic honor code. Lifting full sentences and paragraphs wholecloth, whether it’s from an encyclopedia, written article, or AI-generated text creation tool, is considered plagiarism.


In addition, College Writing has these definitions of plagiarism:

  • Use of generative AI, such as ChatGPT, to write parts of an assignment without disclosing it.
  • The use of auto-translation, such as Google Translate, to translate passages from another language into English without disclosing it.
  • Submitting assignments written for another class.



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