Course Overview

Welcome to English 20803! 20803 is a writing workshop that builds on ENGL 10803 by focusing on the analysis and production of arguments in a variety of media (i.e., print, visual, oral, digital). Students will work individually and collaboratively to read, research, and compose effective arguments on issues of local and national importance. This course satisfies Written Communication 2 (WCO) requirement in the TCU Core Curriculum. Prerequisite: ENGL 10803 or equivalent and sophomore standing (24 hours).

This particular section of 20803 will focus on exposing, analyzing, critiquing, and composing implicit arguments. Implicit arguments are not the familiar arguments found in most academic writing, opinion pieces, or debates. Rather, implicit arguments are deeply embedded arguments that are nonetheless persuasive and, oftentimes, highly persuasive because they appear “natural” or “neutral,” rather than obviously argumentative or persuasive. For example, a classroom with desks facing a single lecture station makes it an implicit argument that the teachers generate knowledge and students are receivers of that knowledge. Over the course of three units, we will move from text-based arguments to visual arguments to spatial arguments. That is, we will move from forms of argumentation that are potentially familiar to you to arguments that are increasingly implicit, normalized, and often overlooked. At the beginning of each unit, you will receive detailed assignment sheets for both the Invention Writing (IW) and Writing Project (WP).

Unit 1: Report as Argument: We will begin the course by looking at the ways “reports,” which seem neutral and fact-based, are arguments based on particular interpretations of facts designed to appeal to particular audiences. For the Invention Writing exercise, you will find two reports on the same issue, incident, or individual that provide differing interpretations and conduct an analysis of the implicit argument presented in the report as well as the author’s motivations to reach a particular audience. Following this analysis, for the unit’s Writing Project, you will write two different reports of a single issue, incident, or individual that develop differing interpretations and address different audiences. These will be text-based compositions, but your given topic and audience will somewhat dictate the tone, length, and multimodal content of the two reports.

Unit 2: Image as Argument: This middle unit will focus on how images and visuals, including single and multiple images, infographics, and videos, can develop arguments about a subject and prompt viewers to action or emotion. For this unit’s Invention Writing exercise, you will find a visual argument of a particular medium/genre that you are interested in composing in for the Writing Project and conduct a rhetorical analysis. This IW will help you think about how to compose a persuasive visual argument. For the final Writing Project, you will develop a visual argument that includes both image and text in a medium of your choosing. The genre and audience you choose to compose for will determine the length, medium, and content of your project. 

Unit 3: Space as Argument: For our final unit, we will turn to the ways that space, particularly digital spaces, make implicit arguments about the participants and types of participation allowed in that space. We’ll begin exploring the implicit arguments made in digital spaces through an IW in which you analyze how each of you constructs and online persona. For your final Writing Project in the course, you will analyze a digital space, such as Facebook, Reddit, or Counter-Strike, and make a multimodal argument either evaluating that space or proposing changes to the space. First, you will study the “Terms of Service” and interface of a virtual space to determine the explicit and implicit rules of the platform. Then, you will either evaluate how well the space functions for its intended users or propose changes to the space that invite new users and, therefore, make a new spatial argument. The final composition should include image, video, and/or audio as well as text and be directed at the developers, coders, or decisions-makers who developed the space you are writing about.

Click here for a complete syllabus.