• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Whenever you search in PBworks, Dokkio Sidebar (from the makers of PBworks) will run the same search in your Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Gmail, and Slack. Now you can find what you're looking for wherever it lives. Try Dokkio Sidebar for free.


Office Hours and Course Info

Page history last edited by David Walter 6 months, 1 week ago


Office Hours: Tuesday 11:00-1:00 in the Haviland Commons, or by Appointment 





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
  3. an inquiry-based research paper (3500-4000 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
    • progress report
    • 150-word abstract
    • post-reflection



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.


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 quarter. Most classes are conducted as discussion sections and small-group workshops. Attendance is crucial. More than two absences will result in a grade penalty and more than three is grounds for being dropped from the course. This rule applies both to class meeting and scheduled conferences. Repeated tardiness counts as absence, so get to class on time and come prepared. Inform me ahead of time of any unavoidable absences. Even when you miss class, you are responsible for any writing assignments due that day.  



Paper Grading


Grading: An “A” paper must have several qualities. 


• 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




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.


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.