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Office Hours and Course Info

Page history last edited by David Walter 3 months ago

Hollywood Babylon

The Art of the Episodic in TV and Lit


Official Course Wiki: episodicart.pbworks.com


Professor David Walter

University of California, Berkeley

College Writing Program



Office Hours: Thu 1:30-3 at the School of Social Welfare Library (in the private office in back) in Haviland Hall, or by appointment


Course Info




Goals of the Course


In order to prepare students for the writing typically required in college-level courses and in civic discourse, this class teaches the composition of thesis-driven argumentative essays. Students will gain practice in composing brief to medium-length arguments that are focused, clearly organized, well supported and based on accurate critical reading of assigned materials. They will develop skills in summary, paraphrase, and quotation; incorporating multiple sources in the service of a unified argument; and in addressing multiple points of view. In addition, they may be introduced to library research as a tool of academic inquiry and gain practice revising for whole-text coherence, as well as for clarity and correct usage.


Learning Outcomes


1. Critical Reading: Students comprehend, analyze, and assess arguments presented both in assigned short to medium length non-fiction prose texts and in "primary" literary, philosophical, and artistic texts.


2. Formulating Thesis/Primary Claim: Students develop, in response to questions raised in course readings and research, a specific contestable claim to serve as focus and governing principle of an argumentative essay. 


3. Arrangement/Structure: Students organize papers on the whole-text and paragraph levels to facilitate reader comprehension and to meet the specific needs of different rhetorical situations.


4. Development: Students support their claims with sufficient, relevant, and credible evidence derived from reading and research (primary and secondary) and acknowledge and address counter-arguments.


5. Grammar and Style: Students write in a mature and credible civic and academic manner by avoiding basic usage errors, using accurate punctuation, and employing stylistic strategies that improve clarity and concision, and document reading and research in accordance with MLA or APA formats. 


6. Revision: Students revise drafts in order to improve content, structure, and clarity and correctness of expression, as well as to document sources accurately.


In this course you will be encouraged to:


• engage the process behind your "finished" writing in order to enhance its quality;

• consider interdisciplinary approaches to thinking, research, and writing;

• read and write with attention to audience and purpose;

• recognize and employ strategies of argumentation and organization that are most appropriate and effective considering a given document's audience and your purpose;

• recognize that rhetorical effectiveness often involves consideration of format conventions and use of visual and other media that support and enhance print text;

• in research, consult a wide range of primary and secondary sources;

• collaborate with others in research, writing, and revision;

• develop a comfortable, confident, flexible prose style;

• in response to peers' and others' writing, hone critical and editorial skills that will serve you in conceiving, writing, revising, and editing your own work.



Graded Course Components



You will complete three (3) formal pieces. Paper format is as follows: All papers must be typed, in 12 pt font, double-spaced, with standard margins. Number the pages.


Draft Revision 

Your dedication and the process of improving your work is a critical component of the course. You will revise each of your three formal papers, and meet with me at least once during each revision.


Class Presentations, Informal Writing, Peer Reviews, Attendance, and Class Activities

You will be expected to present on the readings, individually and in groups, on a regular basis. Your presentations will involve identifying and explaining the components of a text. You will be pointing out the following:


• Its claims 

• Its language (style, figures of speech) and how they are working to support/convey the argument

• Its evidence, the kind of rhetorical arguments it is using—you can open this up to the class for discussion

• Its success, as an essay, as an argument, as a story, as an expression


Every student is a valuable resource for everyone else, and small-group assignments and peer reviews are essential to the class. Short, “informal” writing keeps you in practice for the longer papers. There will be three Peer Reviews in the quarter; you will read and respond to two other students’ major writing assignments and in turn receive feedback on your own paper. You are expected to take your role as critical reader seriously and to respond conscientiously to your classmates’ papers. Peer Reviews offer you valuable comments on your own writing and enable you to think about the assignment from a new vantage point.



Attendance Policy 


Students are expected to come on time to every class meeting and to participate actively throughout the semester. The class is progressive in nature, and based on in-class activities and in-class participation, so attendance is critical. More than four absences (for 90-minute classes) and five absences (for 60-minute classes) results in a grade penalty a third of a grade each extra class. This policy applies both to class meetings and mandatory one-on-one conferences. Repeated tardiness counts as an absence. Inform me ahead of time of any unavoidable class misses. Even when you miss class, you are responsible for any writing assignments due that day, and for finding out what we covered in the class. 


The attendance works like a contract. If you fail to attend the required number of classes, I adjust the grade according to the policy. If you have to miss class due to COVID-19, please let me know the exact dates you were out due to COVID-19 and I will give you makeup assignment for missing those days.



Paper Grading


Grading: An “A” paper must have several qualities. 


• It must have an argument: this is more than just a claim. A well written argument should include a claim, the grounds for that claim and a thoughtful response to counter-arguments. 

• The claims of the paper must be modest and credible, rather than all-inclusive and indefensible.

• The evidence for those claims should be clear and supportive of those claims, and avoid logical fallacies.

• It must draw on in-class readings and discussions by practicing the critical reading and writing and rhetoric skills covered up to that point. 

• It must have a logical structure: sentences should lead logically to the next and be developing logically out of the sentences previous to it, and paragraphs should lead logically to the next and be developing logically out of the paragraphs previous to it.  

• Its syntax must be sound (i.e. few to no grammatical or spelling errors) and its language (sentences, phrases, vocabulary) must be clear and comprehensible. 

• It addresses/resolves the comments made in the first draft and peer reviews and applies its own critical reading and, by extension, revision skills to the paper.


A “B” paper lacks one or two of these qualities

A “C” paper most of them

A “D” paper almost all of them. 

I will give “N/C” only to papers in which the writer has evidently expended little to no effort.



Course Grading 


Essay 1 & Discussion Boards


Essay 2


Essay 3


Group Presentation


Class participation, knowledge of material assigned, peer editing, script-to-screen presentations and other informal writings





Academic Policies


Office of the Registrar


1. Accommodation of Religious Creed  

In compliance with Education code, Section 92640(a), it is the official policy of the University of California at Berkeley to permit any student to undergo a test or examination, without penalty, at a time when that activity would not violate the student's religious creed, unless administering the examination at an alternative time would impose an undue hardship that could not reasonably have been avoided. Requests to accommodate a student's religious creed by scheduling tests or examinations at alternative times should be submitted directly to the faculty member responsible for administering the examination by the second week of semester.

Reasonable common sense, judgment and the pursuit of mutual goodwill should result in the positive resolution of scheduling conflicts. The regular campus appeals process applies if a mutually satisfactory arrangement cannot be achieved.


2. Conflicts between extracurricular activities and academic requirements


The link to the complete guidelines is available on the Academic Senate website. A useful checklist to help instructors and students comply with the guidelines is available on the Center for Teaching and Learning website.


The Academic Senate has established Guidelines Concerning Scheduling Conflicts with Academic Requirements to address the issue of conflicts that arise between extracurricular activities and academic requirements. They specifically concern the schedules of student athletes, student musicians, those with out-of-town interviews, and other students with activities (e.g., classes missed as the result of religious holy days) that compete with academic obligations. The guidelines assign responsibilities as follows:


• It is the instructor’s responsibility to give students a schedule, available on the syllabus in the first week of instruction, of all class sessions, exams, tests, project deadlines, field trips, and any other required class activities.

• It is the student’s responsibility to notify the instructor(s) in writing by the second week of semester of any potential conflict(s) and to recommend a solution, with the understanding that an earlier deadline or date of examination may be the most practicable solution.

• It is the student’s responsibility to inform him/herself about material missed because of an absence, whether or not he/she has been formally excused.




All written work submitted in this course, except for acknowledged quotations, is to be expressed in your own words. It should also be constructed upon a plan of your own devising. The Berkeley Campus Code of Student Conduct defines plagiarism as “the use of intellectual material produced by another person without acknowledging its source” and stipulates that plagiarism includes:

1.) Copying from the writings or works of others into one’s academic assignment without attribution, or submitting such work as if it were one’s own;

2.) Using the views, opinions, or insights of another without acknowledgment; or

3.) Paraphrasing the characteristic or original phraseology, metaphor, or other literary device of another without proper attribution.

Unacknowledged use of the words or ideas of others from any medium (print, digital, or otherwise) is plagiarism. The submission of plagiarized work will, under University rules, render the offending student subject to an F grade for the work in question or for the whole course, and will also make him/her liable for referral to the Student Judicial Affairs Office for further disciplinary action. 







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