Course Overview - Thomas

This course overview gives you the "big picture" of CO301a.

Unit I: Text Analysis (approx. 6 weeks)

In the first three weeks of the course, we will read and analyze a number of pieces. Our goal is to understand how the context in which a text is produced (author/purpose/audience/subject) affects the final product. Our analyses will be based on our understanding that the choices writers make are intentional and influenced by a variety of factors. These analyses will not only serve as a basis of discussion of some key issues in the arts and humanities but will also encourage you to develop writerly habits such as reading with a writer's eye and making informed choices in your own writing.

Our readings will focus on the role of the humanities in education. We will read selections placed on reserve at Morgan Library. We will practice a variety of analysis techniques, and you will write 3 assignments based on those analyses. The first will be a series of posts to the forum, the second a written exercise, and the third an analysis paper. You will be given detailed assignment directions for each of these papers. There will be a number of smaller homework and in-class assignments which will allow you to practice the skills and explore the ideas upon which you will base these papers.

Unit II: Portfolio (approx. 8 weeks)

This guide begins with your analysis of exploratory research on a topic of interest in the humanities of your choice. You will create a research plan identifying the overall issue(s) you will address, the texts you will analyze, the kinds of analyses you will conduct, and the essays you will write. Your analyses must include at least one thorough publication analysis. The final portfolio includes 10 finished pages of final, polished work. These pieces must represent at least two separate pieces written to at least two different types of audiences. (No more than 3 pages of work written for another class will count toward the total.) The portfolio includes a cover sheet indicating the audiences addressed, the contextual factors considered as you wrote, and the key differences in context among your pieces. Class time during this portion of the course will be devoted to workshops, conferences, and lessons on areas of writing chosen to reflect the needs of the class members.

Wrapping it all up (approx. 2 weeks)

The last three days of class will be devoted to analyzing and responding to your portfolios. You will read and respond to at least two classmates' portfolios during this time and write a detailed postscript to your own portfolio in which you analyze and evaluate it.