COMM 711
Fall 2011




About the Course




Preparation for Weekly Seminars

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Review of history essay.

Evaluate an historical essay of your choice in terms of significance. Due October 6.

Two accounts of an event.

You will write two different accounts of a single event. Due October 20.

The criticism

Your assignment is to take a communication event, campaign, sequence, object, whatever term you like. Prepare a criticism of this event. Although you get to choose the target of your criticism, you may want to clear that topic with me.

Note that you may wish to take an essay you have already been working on and revise it further. This is permissible.

The criticism is first due on October 10. I will respond to this version, then you will rewrite. The rewrite is due December 12.

Grading Weight

Standard Weight for assignments: The Criticism, 20% on first draft; 40% on final version; Review of History Essay, 10%; Two accounts of event, 15%; Seminar Presentations and class participation, 15%.

Note you may do a grading contract to alter these weights or even your assignments.

General Assignment Instructions

Grading Criteria: Papers will be graded on: (1) insight or significance of claim; (2) cogency and clarity in explanation and argument; (3) quality of writing; and (4) following of proper form (including proper title page, title, headings, and references). An "A" paper will be superior in all ways. I recommend Chicago form, although APA is acceptable.

Submitting papers: Please send me your paper in a word processing file (rtf format if sending me from a MAC) and place a hard copy in my mailbox.

Authors note or title pages: Each paper should contain an authors note (or title page in APA) containing: (1) the number of words in the essay, taken from your word processor; (2) your affirmation of the University Honor Code; and (3) the provenance of your work.

Provenance of your work.

Scholars working on projects -- your paper for this course being an example -- always see their work within a broader frame of reference than a single iteration. Projects inevitably balance novelty with long periods of development. I expect that your work in this seminar will be both original and a part of your ongoing program of research. To facilitate your thinking on this relationship I offer the following observations:

  • Rewriting is a part of any quality project. I expect that the final product you hand in to me will be the culmination of a process of research that includes multiple rewritings of the document I receive.
  • I expect that most of you will frame your project beyond the end of this course. After receiving my comments, you will revise for presentation at a convention, conference, or symposium, and eventually you will be rewrite again for submission to publication. There is an ethical dimension to this process that you should become familiar with. In later iterations, you should credit this course as an important moment in the work. Similarly, if you present the material orally at a scholarly venue you should credit that in a journal submission. This is called the "provenance" or & "acknowledgment" note for an essay.
  • You may well want to work in this course with an idea or even an essay that you have written in the past. If you choose to do this, ethics (and academic integrity) dictate that you discuss the plan with me, identifying the advances that you plan for the project. In addition, your provenance for the paper should identify its earlier iterations. The key to such a process is to use the scholarship of this course to advance the project. In this course I expect the project to have original content added that makes the paper you hand to me substantively advanced from its earlier iteration.
  • Having said this, I understand that some papers ought to die in the seminar for which they were originally prepared. Let them die. They may do so because they are not directly relevant to where you wish to devote your energies in your research program (you have taken the seminar to expand the breadth of your understanding), or they did not result in a vision of further work on your part. Developing the judgement to place particular projects into the overall plan for one's research involves making this judgement. Such a judgement does not necessarily say that a paper lacks quality (it better not lack quality), but that it serves its purposes best standing alone without further pursuit.

All papers should contain a note on the provenance of your work.

Late papers

This course will stack up on you very rapidly if you get behind. Papers are due at the beginning of class on the day assigned. Any papers handed in after that moment are considered late. There is a form that you need to execute a week before the paper is due if you need to renegotiate the due date. Any papers that are late for the original (or renegotiated) due date are lowered one grade. The guidelines of "The Great Klumpp Incomplete Memo" will be followed.