What is this course about?

In this course, we are investigating the rhetoric of the built environment–interior, exterior, and digital. Places–parks, classrooms, social media sites–are rhetorical. That is, they are created for purposes, audiences, and contexts. Through rhetorical analysis, we can learn about their functions, who is welcome (and not welcome) within them, who built them and why. Rhetorical analysis also gives us a means to explore how the rhetoric of the built environment expresses and influences social relations such as class, gender, race, age, and disability.

Throughout the semester, in the reading summaries, multimedia annotated bibliography, built environment descriptions, and built environment analysis, students will explore the built environment of Atlanta. You will learn to analyze how the built environment employs the five rhetorical modes–linguistic, aural, visual, spatial, and gestural–to communicate information about its purposes, its creators, its users, and the social and historical context from which it emerges and with which it engages. You will also learn how to use these five modes in your own academic research and composition process.

Think of everything we do in this course–reading, research, writing, documenting, note-taking, etc.–as the multiple stages and processes in a single, semester-long project, culminating in a built environment analysis and contributing to a collaborative archive of information about the rhetoric of space and place in Atlanta. This course builds on writing proficiencies, reading skills, and critical thinking skills developed in ENGL 1101. It incorporates several research methods in addition to persuasive and argumentative techniques. A passing grade is C. Prerequisite: C or above in ENGL 1101. Projects will integrate a focus on academic writing with multimodal composition strategies designed to prepare students for working with and creating multimedia texts. By the end of this course, students will be able to: Analyze, evaluate, document, and draw inferences from various sources; identify, select, and analyze appropriate research methods, research questions, and evidence for a specific rhetorical situation; use argumentative strategies and genres in order to engage various audiences; integrate others’ ideas with their own; use grammatical, stylistic, and mechanical formats and conventions appropriate for a variety of audiences; critique their own and others’ work in written and oral formats; produce well-reasoned, argumentative essays demonstrating rhetorical engagement; and reflect on what contributed to their writing process and evaluate their own work.

How will my grade be calculated?

You will earn points for just about everything you do in this course–attending class, completing in-class work, studying, major projects, contributing material to our collaborative archive about the built environment in Atlanta, etc., etc. You can also lose points for missing class, failing to turn in a project on time, coming to class unprepared, etc., etc. At the end of the course, if you have completed all four of the major projects (reading summaries, annotated bibliography, built environment descriptions, and built environment analysis), your letter grade will be assigned based on the points you’ve earned. In order to pass the course, you must complete all four of the major projects. FAILURE TO COMPLETE ANY OF THE MAJOR PROJECTS WILL RESULT IN AN AUTOMATIC Non-Passing GRADE, MEANING THAT YOU WILL HAVE TO RE-TAKE THE CLASS. If you complete all four of the major projects, earning at least the minimum number of points for each, YOU WILL PASS THE COURSE WITH AT LEAST A GRADE OF ‘C.’ After that, your grade will be determined by the number of points you’ve earned in total. Students who complete all four of the major projects and earn at least 2500 points will automatically receive a grade of “A.” Below 2500 points, the top earner from each section will determine the grading scale for the rest of section. For instance, let’s say the top earner in your section completed all of the major projects and accrued 900 points. Her score determines the grading scale as follows:

A-/A: major projects complete + 810-900 points B-/B/B+: major projects complete + 720-809 points C/C+: major projects complete + 630-719 points Non-passing: one or more major projects incomplete

You will be able to view a record of which major projects you’ve completed and how many points you’ve earned at any time in your OneNote Notebook. Keeping track of your total points and completed projects is the only thing for which we will be using OneNote.

What is the general plan for the course, and when are things due?

The detailed course calendar and a week-by-week overview are available here. Here is the general plan for the course; keep in mind that this general plan is subject to change:

Getting Started

  • Introduction to the course
  • Individual website set-up (sites.gsu.edu)

Syllabus/Course Website

Personal Website set-up materials

Unit 1 | Exteriors

  • Reading Summaries 1 & 2 (11:59 pm, January 25th)
  • Bibliography Annotations 1, 2,& 3 (11.59 pm, February 5)
  • Built Environment Description 1: Exterior (11:59 pm, February 12)
  • SCHINDLER, SARAH. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation Through Physical Design Of The Built Environment.” Yale Law Journal 124.6 (2015): 1934-2024. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. Read only pp 1934-1972. (Don’t worry it’s not as much as you think it is…You’ll see what I mean…)
  • NERSESSOVA, IRINA. “Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture And Underground Communities In Margaret Morton’s Photography Of A Forgotten New York.” Disclosure 23 (2014): 26. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.
  • MORTON, MARGARET. The Tunnel : The Underground Homeless Of New York City. n.p.: New Haven : Yale University Press, c1995., 1995. GEORGIA STATE UNIV’s Catalog. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. [*On reserve in the library. Ask for the book at the circulation desk. You will need to ask by the call number: HV 4506.N6 M67 1995. You will have 2 hours to view the book in the library. I suggest taking the quiz as you view the book. Give yourself some time. It’s an interesting book.]

Unit 2 | Interiors

  • Reading Summaries 3 & 4 (11:59 pm, February 15th)
  • Bibliography Annotations 4, 5, & 6 (11:59 pm, February 22nd)
  • Built Environment Description 2: Interior (11:59 pm, March 4th)
  • “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces” by Kathleen G. Scholl and Gowri Betrabet Gulwad http://libjournal.uncg.edu/jls/article/view/972
  • “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society” by Suzanne Tick http://www.metropolismag.com/March-2015/His-or-Hers-Designing-for-a-Post-Gender-Society/
  • BAZELON, EMILY. “Making Bathrooms More Accommodating.” New York Times Magazine. 17 November 2015. Web. 2 January 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/magazine/making-bathrooms-more-accommodating.html?_r=0
  • “Space and Consequences: The Impact of Different Formal Learning Spaces on Instructor and Student Behavior” by D. Christopher Brooks

Unit 3 | Digital Spaces

  • Reading Summaries 5 & 6 (11:59 pm, March 7th)
  • Bibliography Annotations 7, 8, 9, & 10 (11:59 pm, March 25th)
  • Built Environment Description 3: Digital Space (11:59 pm, April 1st)
  • By Week 12 these major projects should be complete: Reading Summaries, Annotated Bibliography, Built Environment Descriptions. After Week 12, submissions related to these major projects will be accepted for “Completion Credit” only; no points will be awarded for these after week 12.
  • “Color Walking” by Radiolab: http://www.radiolab.org/story/214709-color-walk/
  • Hocks, Mary. “Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments,” College Composition and Communication 54.4 (2003): pp. 629-656.
  • King, Melissa. “Better Online Living Through Content Moderation,” Model View Culture 28 (October 14, 2015). Web: https://modelviewculture.com/pieces/better-online-living-through-content-moderation.

Unit 4 | Text as Built Environment

  • Built Environment Analysis (or, for top earners across all of the sections, Collaborative Website, 11:59 pm, April 25th)
  • Course evaluations and conclusions
  • Schryer, Catherine. “Records as Genre,” Written Communication 10 (1993): pp. 200-234. Print.
  • Montgomery, Scott. “The Scientific Paper,” The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago P, 2003): pp. 78-98
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English 1102, section 370

Spring 2016 | Sparks Hall 302 Tuesday/Thursday 1:00-2:15 Instructor: PD Arrington (Mrs. A) Contact: parrington2@gsu.edu Office hours: Tuesdays 9:30-11:30 a.m., and by appointment; I’m able to meet via WebEx or Google Hangout if you can not be on campus Course Description Everything that is composed contains information. How information is composed. That information is represented in our built environment, both externally and internally, as well as in digital spaces. In this class, we will examine these spaces in order understand the information that these spaces carry. We will also work on composing a digital space of our own in order to understand the critical rhetorical choices that are necessary to compose an effective space. Composition II: This course introduces students to a variety of ways information is composed. We will examine the exterior of our build environment, the interior of buildings, and the digital Catalog Course Description Prerequisite: grade of C or higher in English 1101. This course is designed to develop writing skills beyond the levels of proficiency required by English 1101. It stresses critical reading and writing and incorporates several research methods; readings will be drawn from a wide variety of texts. A passing grade is C. Previous sections of English 1102 have focused in more depth on argumentative writing, from civic writing and political arguments to literary response and essays. Instructors have introduced students to the study of argument and rhetorical theories by using texts that either, 1) focus on rhetorical theory, types of argument, and a variety of nonfiction essays, or 2) teach students to create arguments about topics that draw from literature, or both. In 1102, we want students to try out a variety of arguments that draw on different types of sources as evidence. Although we have introduced them to research and library work in English 1101, we offer additional research instruction and guidance for particular assignments. English 1102 offers more practice writing from sources, including summary and paraphrase, quoting and citing sources, evaluating and drawing conclusions from sources, synthesizing sources, and other techniques for researched writing. Students learn more sophisticated argumentative strategies, including developing appeals to fact or reason, values, character, and emotion; building credibility; developing effective reasons; using appropriate evidence; and analyzing and developing various types of argument. We also find that students continue to need help with academic usage and structures. However, English 1102 offers more attention to style and usage as rhetorical strategies. Rhetorical strategies covered in English 1101 become practical considerations for English 1102.

Accommodations for Students With Disabilities

Georgia State University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students who wish to request accommodation for a disability may do so by registering with the Office of Disability Services. Students may only be accommodated upon issuance by the Office of Disability Services of a signed Accommodation Plan and are responsible for providing a copy of that plan to instructors of all classes in which accommodations are sought. According to the ADA (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:s3406enr.txt.pdf): ‘‘SEC. 3. DEFINITION OF DISABILITY. ‘‘As used in this Act: ‘‘(1) DISABILITY.—The term ‘disability’ means, with respect to an individual— ‘‘(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual…major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. ‘‘(B) MAJOR BODILY FUNCTIONS.—For purposes of paragraph (1), a major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze, evaluate, document, and draw inferences from various sources.
  • Identify, select, and analyze appropriate research methods, research questions, and evidence for a specific rhetorical situation.
  • Use argumentative strategies and genres in order to engage various audiences.
  • Integrate others’ ideas with their own.
  • Use grammatical, stylistic, and mechanical formats and conventions appropriate for a variety of audiences.
  • Critique their own and others’ work in written and oral formats.
  • Produce well-reasoned, argumentative essays demonstrating rhetorical engagement.
  • Reflect on what contributed to their writing process and evaluate their own work.
  • Compose in and combine all five representational modes – linguistic, visual, aural, gestural, and spatial.
  • Articulate how multimodal compositions (either their own work, or work authored by others) respond to the rhetorical situations in which they are embedded, and in doing so, demonstrate an understanding of key concepts and vocabulary associated with each of the five representational modes (linguistic, visual, aural, gestural, and spatial).
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how technologies influence rhetorical situations in a variety of ways, and use technologies intentionally to craft more effective academic arguments.


You earn points for coming to class and lose points for unexcused absences. Students in the M/W F2F section earn 20 points for coming to class, and lose 20 points for each absence. Students in the hybrid sections earn 40 points for coming to class, and lose 40 points for each absence. Arriving to class late will result in a deduction of 10-20 points. In this course, students are expected to adhere to the Georgia State University student code of conduct. This includes the university attendance policy. Excused absences are limited to university-sponsored events where you are representing GSU in an official capacity, religious holidays, and legal obligations such as jury duty or military service days. Absences for all other reasons will result in a points deduction as outlined above. In the event of extended illness or family emergency, I will consider requests for individual exemption from the general attendance policy on a case by case basis.

Academic Honesty/Plagiarism

The Department of English expects all students to adhere to the university’s Code of Student Conduct, especially as it pertains to plagiarism, cheating, multiple submissions, and academic honesty. Please refer to the Policy on Academic Honesty (Section 409 of the Faculty Handbook). Penalty for violation of this policy will result in a zero for the assignment, possible failure of the course, and, in some cases, suspension or expulsion. Georgia State University defines plagiarism as . . . “ . . . any paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another person without acknowledgment, including the submitting of another student’s work as one’s own . . . [It] frequently involves a failure to acknowledge in the text . . . the quotation of paragraphs, sentences, or even phrases written by someone else.” At GSU, “the student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources . . . and the consequences of violating this responsibility.” (For the university’s policies, see in the student catalog, “Academic Honesty,”http://www2.gsu.edu/~catalogs/2010-2011/undergraduate/1300/1380_academic_honesty.htm)

Learning Technology

If you have them, you may bring laptops or mobile computing devices to class for use in in-class activities. Students should use these devices responsibly for class-related work. If they become a distraction for you, me, or other students in the class, I will ask you to put them away. Occasionally I will will request a device-free learning environment for a discussion or learning activity, and students are expected to honor such requests.

Language Conventions

This course presumes that because you were exempt from or passed English 1101, you have a basic knowledge of standard American English, including but not limited to variations in sentence structure, subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, parallel structure, dangling modifiers, grammatical expletives, possessives and plurals, punctuation, capitalization, word choice, and various other grammatical and mechanical problems. If you are someone for whom this knowledge and practice are a struggle, this course gives you time to improve. If you do not, your grades will be severely affected. You have resources available at GSU to help you improve your knowledge. In the Writing Studio (http://www.writingstudio.gsu.edu/) you can work one-on-one, in private, with a tutor to improve. Writing Studio tutors can also help you to help you refine already strong competence, moving from good to excellent. The Purdue OWL (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/) has resources to assist you with identifying and correcting common grammar, punctuation, and usage errors, and to help you with formatting citations and bibliographies.

For English Majors

The English department at GSU requires an exit portfolio of all students graduating with a degree in English. Ideally, students should work on this every semester, selecting 1-2 papers from each course and revising them, with direction from faculty members. The portfolio includes revised work and a reflective essay about what you’ve learned. Each concentration (literature, creative writing, rhetoric/composition, and secondary education) within the major may have specific items to place in the portfolio, so be sure to check booklet located next to door of the front office of the English Department. Senior Portfolio due dates are published in the booklets or you may contact an advisor or Dr. Dobranski, Director of Undergraduate Studies. See the English office for additional information.

Receiving a Grade of Incomplete

In order to receive an incomplete, a student must inform the instructor, either in person or in writing, of his/her inability (non-academic reasons) to complete the requirements of the course. Incompletes will be assigned at the instructor’s discretion and the terms for removal of the “I” are dictated by the instructor. A grade of incomplete will only be considered for students who are a) passing the course with a C or better, b) present a legitimate, non-academic reason to the instructor, and c) have only one major assignment left to finish. Note: Only under the most immediate and severe circumstances will I consider giving an Incomplete for this course. If such circumstances occur I will need a detailed, specific plan for when, how, where, and with whom the student will complete the work.

Student Evaluation of Instructor

Your constructive assessment of this course plays an indispensable role in shaping education at Georgia State. Upon completing the course, please take time to fill out the online course evaluation.

What texts and other resources will I need?

In all of my classes, I make every effort to keep text and materials costs under $75. Unless otherwise noted below, I expect students will have access to all required texts and resources from the first day of class. Students should not expect to “get by” without reading assigned texts. Unlike some lecture classes, where the lecture is a review of assigned reading, this is a seminar course in which the assigned reading is preparation for a discussion or application of the information and ideas presented in the text. To put it another way, by completing assigned readings before class, we establish a basic shared knowledge base upon which we can build thoughtful conversations and productive work sessions. It’s OK if the reading sometimes raises more questions than it answers; I expect that to happen often, in fact. Make a note of your questions. Let them circulate in your thoughts in the hours before class, and then bring them up in your blog posts and our class discussions.

Required Reading

  • Lunsford, Andrea. Writer’s Help 2.0. 5th Edition. Boston: Macmillan Learning, 2015. Web. http://bit.ly/1PKACcB.
  • Gaillet, Lynée, Angela Hall-Godsey and Jennifer L. Vala. Guide to First-Year Writing. 4th Edition. Southlake, Texas: Fountainhead P, 2015. Print.
  • Additional readings linked to the course calendar or posted to the course folder on Google Drive

Recommended Reference

  • Arola, Kristin L., Jennifer Sheppard, Cheryl E. Ball. Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2014) — http://bit.ly/1tbI2aI

Required Materials and Tools

  • Help documentation for most of the technology we’ll be using is available here.
  • Access to a laptop or desktop computer for daily use.
  • Access to email on a daily basis.
  • An active student account on sites.gsu.edu.
  • A Zotero account (You may use an existing account, or you may create an account just for use in this course), the appropriate Zotero plugins and desktop client for your browser, operating system, and word processing software.
  • Access to computer software and programs used for digital composition and editing (I am always able to recommend free or very low-cost open source alternatives to more expensive proprietary software such as Microsoft Office, InDesign, Photoshop, etc.)

On Campus Learning and Tech Support

The Forms

Use the forms below to submit all of your work, and to sign up for in-person and online study groups and in-person group conferences.

Submitting your work . . .

Use this form to submit pretty much everything for which you’d like to earn points–study group reflections, major project drafts, contributions to our Atlanta built environment archive, etc. We will keep track of when you come to see us during office hours for individual or group conferences and when you complete exercises in Writer’s Help. For everything else, however, you will need to submit a link to evidence of your work on your own site, on Zotero, on Google Maps, or elsewhere on the web. If you ever have questions about what kind of evidence you need to provide to document your participation and how to submit it, stop by during office hours or ask the question before or after class. You’ll earn points for the office hours visit, asking the question, and for finding a way to make the information available to the rest of your classmates.

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Scheduling an in-person study group session . . .

You can use this form to sign-up for and organize in-person study group sessions. You may sign-up just yourself, or the better option is to organize a group with at least one other person and sign up at the same time.

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Scheduling a group conference . . .

You can use this form to sign-up for and organize an in-person group conference with one of the instructors. You may sign-up just yourself, or the better option is to organize a group with at least one other person and sign up at the same time.

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Group Study Guide form

Use this as a guide for conducting and reporting group study sessions. Don’t forget to submit (individually) a submission form for points for every study session you conduct! The more detailed you are in reporting what you discussed and what you think about what you discussed, the more points you will earn.

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