Instructor:  Richard Colby
Office: Anderson Academic Commons 340X
Office Phone: 303-871-7702
Office Hours: Online by appointment


Course Description

WRIT 1122 teaches writing strategies vital for success in rhetorical situations that involve well-educated readers, primarily in public/civic matters.  The course features rhetorical analysis and practice, effective use of readings and source materials, and strategies for generating, revising, and editing texts produced to meet specific situations.  The course provides sustained practice in writing, with systematic instructor feedback, that results in at least four finished and polished papers, totaling some 20-25 pages by quarter’s end.

Goals of WRIT 1122

  • Demonstrate practical knowledge of the concept “rhetorical situation,” through the abilities both to analyze and to write effectively in different kinds of situations.
  • Demonstrate proficiency with basic elements of rhetorical analysis (such as logos, ethos, and pathos) in a range of texts, and the application of that facility in their own writing.
  • Demonstrate the ability to produce writing that effectively provides evidence and reasoning for assertions, for audiences of educated readers.
  • Demonstrate the ability to incorporate and attribute or document source material in rhetorically effective ways.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use feedback to revise their own writing and the ability to provide useful feedback to others.
  • Demonstrate the ability to edit and proofread their writing.

In this particular summer class, you will be writing using a number of different modes and media, in different locations, and with different resources.  You will be posting to the course blog, writing traditional essays, and commenting and posting to public websites.

Learning Objectives

These goals are the same in all WRIT 1122 courses.  However, each course addresses goals differently.  By the end of this course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Develop practical knowledge of rhetorical situations
    • You will learn how audience, purpose, and your persona work together to communicate a message, and how there is no neutral communication situation.
  • Recognize logos, ethos, and pathos as rhetorical concepts that can better help you communicate.
    • A classical conception of rhetoric is that it is based on appeals to reason (logos), emotions (pathos), and character (ethos), and you will learn how these concepts can be recognized in others and used in your own writing.
  • Demonstrate how to incorporate personal experience and evidence in an argument.
    • You will learn how evidence can be curated, adapted, and integrated to support claims that you and others make by being asked to specifically writing using specific types of evidence.
  • Reflect on how writing matters to you individually and to society.
    • Through initial assignments and then the final assignment, you will be asked to look back and apply what you learned about writing and how it can persuade others (and yourself).
  • Practice writing in novel situations.
    • The expectation is that you are familiar with academic essays, but you will also be writing in new situations and asked to practice adapting your voice, your evidence, and your message to persuade that audience.
  • Differentiate audiences by analyzing how their values shape what evidence they might best respond to.
    • You will analyze audiences in different situations, considering how they respond to certain messages and evidence.
  • Adapt to different audiences using word choice, evidence, and media
    • You will write for public audiences outside of your immediate peers in this course, and then be asked to respond to others. This provides valuable practice in considering how different audiences respond.
  • Design a visual argument, aural argument, and written argument
    • Composing in contemporary society relies on a variety of media and not just the written word. You will practice making an argument in a few different media to better familiarize yourself with the affordances and constraints of those media.
  • Critically analyze your own work and the work of your peers
    • You will be asked to respond to others writing and ideas in the course by applying the course concepts such as rhetorical situation.

Course Requirements

  • There are no textbooks for this class, but you will be asked to visit a number of resources online. Because this is an online course, you will be expected to have reliable internet access for the duration of the course.
  • There is a writing assignment due almost every week day. Some are very short, others are more substantial. You are welcome to move ahead as far as the schedule allows and write the assignments for the week early, but you should not save them up to do at the end of the week.
  • You will be expected to commit at least 15 hours per week to this condensed, online course. This includes writing, reading, commenting on other blog posts, and research.

Major Assignments

These are the major writing assignments for the course.  They are spread throughout the term, but I have organized them here by media so you can see how substantial each is.

Blog Posts

  • Blog 1: Introduce yourself (<200 words + optional video/images)
  • Blog 2: What is good writing? (100 – 200 words)
  • Blog 3: What do others say good writing is? (100 – 200 words)
  • Blog 4: Public rhetorics (200 words)
  • Blog 5: Visual argument (image + <100 words)
  • Blog 6: Literacy autobiography (500 – 1,000 words + images/video)
  • Blog 7: Academic writing (250+ words)
  • Blog 8: Discourse communities (250+ words)
  • Blog 9: What is good writing? (500 – 1,500 words + optional images/video)


  • Essay 1: What is good writing? (500 – 1,000 words)
  • Essay 2: Public arguments? (500  – 1,000 words)

Public Writing

  • Public 1: Forum posts (depends, but ≈100 words)
  • Public 2: Product review (depends, but ≈100 words)
  • Public 3: Instructional video (3:00 to 5:00 minutes)

Online Participation

Because this course is entirely online, our interactions and the learning tasks will take place in the course blog/website.  Each week, you will have required tasks to complete within a learning module.  If you follow the modules, then you should easily achieve full credit for the course.

I understand that life sometimes gets in the way of school obligations.  Illness, emergencies, narcolepsy, and alien abduction, among other things, might prevent you from completing a module or a task.  Please let me know if you are having trouble.  I’m here to support your learning, and I am more than willing to work with you if you let me know what is going on.  However, completing the course is ultimately your responsibility, so if you go a week or more without participating or emailing me, I will encourage you to drop the course. It is your responsibility to communicate your situation to me as I cannot drop you from the course.  If you just stop turning in work, you will receive an F in the course.   Occasionally, true emergencies arise.  Please discuss missed coursework with me as soon as possible; we will work together to accommodate your situation.


Late Work

All work— rough drafts and final copies— must be turned in on-time. I will not accept late work unless you have made a previous arrangement with me. If you are unable to turn in an assignment for emergency reasons, inform me personally and as soon as possible. Please email me if you foresee a problem with getting your work in on time.  The decision of whether or not I accept late work, regardless of excuse, is solely mine.

Lost Work

You are responsible for maintaining a copy of each draft of your work. While the course website is designed to be reliable, there is always a possibility that things can get messed up.  Please keep copies of your work on a flash drive or cloud storage (Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox).  It is your responsibility to maintain your work.  Additionally, in future writing classes and majors, you may be expected to demonstrate a portfolio of your work, so keep the writing you do for this class organized.  Occasionally, tech gremlins will eat everything in their path, and the only way to end their reign is to keep multiple backups.

Revision Policy

Knowing how to revise your writing is an important aspect of being a successful writer; therefore, we will work on developing revision skills in this course. I encourage you to write multiple drafts of your projects before posting final versions to the blog. If at any time you would like comments on a draft or a piece of a draft, you can email me at least 24 hours before a project is due with “[assignment name] RFC” in the subject heading, and I will give you some feedback.

You can revise any blog post or essay for a new grade as long as you email me and tell me that you are doing so.  You cannot revise the Public Writing assignments.

Submitting Work

All blog posts should be “published” by the due date for each.  All Essay assignments should be submitted via email to  Please name the FILE your last name and the assignment number (e.g. jones2.doc).  In the SUBJECT heading of your email, you should write “Essay #.”


There are many types of plagiarism and each has negative consequences on learning.  We will discuss various forms of academic dishonesty, but it is my expectation from the beginning that you are responsible for your own work, that you collaborate fairly, and that you give credit where credit is due.  More on the DU Student Honor Code can be found at

Grading System

Paper/Project/Assignment Grade scale

I give blog posts and essays a letter grade.  The letter grade corresponds to a number when computing a final grade (see table 1).  For example, if you received a B on a 10-point project, that earns you 8.4 points towards your final grade.  I realize that there are potentially tenths of a point gained and lost here, but this is not a course where partial credit or tenths of a point matter.  A project either does what it needs to do or doesn’t—there is little value in itemizing instances of ethos, counting comma errors, or otherwise quantifying the results.  Each assignment has its own grading criteria that are communicated to you through the assignment sheet, classroom discussion, lecture, instructor feedback, and peer review.  If you are ever unsure about criteria for a particular assignment, please contact me as soon as possible.


Description Grade 5 10 15 20 25 30
Superior work that exceeds all criteria A 100% 5.0 10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 30.0
A- 90% 4.5 9.0 13.5 18.0 22.5 27.0
Excellent work that exceeds some or most criteria B+ 87% 4.4 8.7 13.1 17.4 21.8 26.1
B 84% 4.2 8.4 12.6 16.8 21.0 25.2
B- 80% 4.0 8.0 12.0 16.0 20.0 24.0
Acceptable work that meets all criteria C+ 77% 3.9 7.7 11.6 15.4 19.3 23.1
C 74% 3.7 7.4 11.1 14.8 18.5 22.2
C- 70% 3.5 7.0 10.5 14.0 17.5 21.0
Acceptable work that barely meets all of the criteria D+ 67% 3.2 6.4 9.6 12.8 16.8 19.2
D 60% 3.0 6.0 9.0 12.0 15.0 18.0
Work that does not meet one or more of the criteria NC or R 0% 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

Table 1: WRIT Grading Scale

I do not give F’s on papers.  During the regular course of the term, if you fail to meet the minimum requirements of a project, you will receive an R, which means “Must Revise.”  You do not have to see me to revise an R, but it will always be due one week after you received the grade from me unless other arrangements have been made.  The last regular week of the term (the week BEFORE finals week) is the last time you can turn in any revised paper.  At the end, any R’s in my book are automatically computed as NC, which means you will receive No Credit and 0 points for that project.

Project Grade Breakdown

Project %
Participation (comments on blog posts, peer feedback) 15
Blog 1: Introduce yourself 5
Blog 2: What is good writing? 5
Blog 3: What do others say good writing is? 5
Blog 4: Public rhetorics 5
Blog 5: Visual argument 5
Blog 6: Literacy autobiography 10
Blog 7: Academic writing 5
Blog 8: Discourse communities 5
Blog 9: What is good writing? 10
Essay 1: What is good writing? 5
Essay 2: Public arguments 10
Public 1: Forum posts 5
Public 2: Product review 5
Public 3: Instructional video 5



Office Hours

If you need to see me in person, we can schedule an appointment for on campus.  I also will be available online to conference on Tuesdays from 1:00pm to 3:00pm via Adobe Connect.  Just log in to and we can talk via webcam/audio.  I have an office in Anderson Academic Commons (340X), but I’m rarely there.

WRIT 1122 Website

During the term, we will use WRIT 1122 Rhetoric and Academic Writing website (  If you ever have any problems with accessing the website or need assistance, please contact me.

ADA Statement

The University of Denver is committed to equal access and participation for all persons, including those with disabilities.  Appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities are provided on an individualized, collaborative, and flexible basis.  However, it is the responsibility of students with disabilities to request accommodations after first contacting Disability Services, working with them to determine appropriate accommodations.  The DSP office is located under the Bookstore in the Driscoll Student Center South: or phone 303.871.2278.

DU’s Writing Center

One of the most useful resources offered in helping you achieve excellence in writing is the DU Writing Center.  Any DU student may make an appointment for a consultation by calling 303.871.7456 or by using the online scheduling system at, “Student & Financial Aid” tab, “Writing and Research Center” menu.   Although there are occasional walk-in appointments available, it is best to schedule an appointment in advance.  Consultations in the Writing Center last 45 minutes, and can help you with any stage of the writing process.  For more information, visit:

University of Denver Libraries, Anderson Academic Commons (Penrose Library)

You will find that the library offers access to many online databases the provide access to thousands of articles for research and scholarship.  The room marked Research on the second floor (the floor you are on when you walk in) offers individual consultations with a Reference Librarian who can help you narrow down a research topic and find the best sources for your writing.  In addition, the library maintains a sizeable collection of both print and online books, journals, and government documents (3 million to be exact).  Visit the library’s Services website at: for more information.

Formatting and Style

Essays should be typed (word processed) and formatted as follows:

  • Modern Language Association (MLA) format for citations and presentation.  Quick Access Compact has detailed examples and instructions for following this format.  We will also be discussing this and other formats in class.
  • As per MLA format, work for this class should be typed, double-spaced, and one-sided, with 1” margins on the left, right, top and bottom of the page.
  • As per MLA format, your essay should have your last name and the page number in the upper right hand corner of every page.
  • Each project should have a title, but not a separate title page.
  • You should use a 12-point serif font, preferably Times, Times New Roman, or Courier

Success in WRIT 1122

While writing is difficult and sometimes frustrating work, you will ultimately find that it is richly rewarding.  I want you to remember that everyone struggles at getting words on paper.  I want to be a resource to help that process be more useful to you in the future.  I’m not here to weed out the weak or “make” you into better writers.  Ultimately, it is entirely under your own power to succeed in 1122 and writing in general.  I encourage you to take advantage of all the resources at DU.  I especially encourage you to talk or email me often with your writing concerns and questions.