In this class, students learn to analyze and apply the argumentative moves that writers make in academic and professional discourse: argument by fact, definition, evaluation, causes, and proposition. Students begin by learning the Toulmin Model for argumentation. This theoretical model provides the basis for analyzing and applying argumentative structures and for understanding that arguments are part of a cultural context—in other words, writers and audiences have values and assumptions that shape the ways in which they define, discuss, and argue about issues. This class has four units:

In all units, written homework and class discussions ask students to not only identify and analyze texts for the ways in which arguments are structured, but to also assess those arguments in relation to their claims, reasons, and warrants. In addition, students work on their writing to develop a command of grammar, punctuation, and word usage, and to craft sentences, paragraphs, and documents that lead readers through the writer’s arguments and achieve the writer’s purpose.

Course-Specific Learning Outcomes. After completing Intermediate Composition, students will be able to:

  • Analyze and discuss the ways in which writers use argumentation principles to achieve their purpose
  • Apply argumentation principles, incorporating claims and evidence and demonstrating an awareness of the assumptions and values that substantiate an issue
  • Demonstrate purposeful command of sentences, paragraphs, and the document as a whole to achieve your purpose
  • Manage writing and review processes, using effective research methods and demonstrating a developed use of grammar, punctuation, and usage in written work

Cluster 1C Learning Outcomes. After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Read with comprehension and critically interpret and evaluate written work in discipline-specific context
  • Demonstrate rhetorically effective, discipline-specific writing for appropriate audiences
  • Demonstrate, at an advanced level of competence, use of discipline-specific control of language, modes of development, and formal conventions
  • Demonstrate intermediate information literacy skills by selecting, evaluating, integrating, and documenting information gathered from multiple sources into discipline-specific writing

The following list represents examples of the type of textbook instructors may adopt for this course:

  • Everything’s an Argument, Sixth Edition by Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz. Bedford/St. Martin’s: 2013.
  • A Writer’s Reference by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers. Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Here is a breakdown of the assignments by percentage:

  • Factual argument (3–4 pages), 15 percent of grade
  • Definition argument (4 pages), 20 percent
  • Causal or proposal argument (2–3 pages), 20 percent
  • Evaluation argument (4 pages), 25 percent
  • Homework (weekly written homework: document analysis, drafts of an assignment, peer critiques, reflections or post-mortems) 20+ pages, 20 percent of grade

Leave a Reply