Course Info

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Comp 105 Fall 2018

Writing and Rhetoric I

Culture, Community, and Civic Engagement


11930 – COMP 105 – 026 – CASL 3049  – T/TH 11-12:15

11834 – COMP 105 – 028 – CASL 1091 – T/TH 12:30-1:45


Instructor:  Dr. Jill Darling, LEO Lecturer II

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My Office: CASL 3024

Office Hours: T/TH 10-10:45am; 3:30-4:00pm

Class Websites:

UMDearborn Canvas site for Comp105



Required Texts

Malcolm Gladwell: Outliers (2008)

Jonathan Kozol: Amazing Grace (2012)


You will also be required to watch films and download readings, in addition to the above texts. Readings will be posted as PDFs in Canvas Files or web links online. You are responsible for all reading assignments and bringing the texts, as well as your responses and ideas to class discussion. Print required readings, highlight and take notes, come prepared to discuss. You are not allowed to use your phone for discussion of reading assignments.

You will be responsible to print and bring additional required reading materials with you to class. Failure to come to class prepared with copies of the materials will result in a diminished grade. Digital versions are allowed in class on a reader or laptop if you have taken notes and have clearly read the material and are able to participate in class discussion. Using cell phones for course readings is not allowed.


**Please put away cell phones during class or risk losing attendance points if you are using them for non-class-related activities.  Using Cell Phones (and Laptops) during class:


YES (appropriate uses):  Looking up words and info related to class assignments and content.

NO (inappropriate uses): Texting, messaging, email, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc…

Course Description

Comp 105 focuses on the study of writing and rhetoric through reading and composing a range of texts. Students study the rhetorical choices effective for writing in different media, and learn practical strategies for academic inquiry and for giving useful feedback in response to the writing of others. Such strategies include those related to the use of electronic and print resources, peer-review, and revision. Our classroom serves as a workshop, a safe space for critical discussion, composition, the sharing of works-in-progress, peer critique, and revision.  All of these involve preparation, attendance, active engagement, collegiality, trust, and most of all discipline. The workshop approach resists lectures, top-down authoritarianism, and what Paulo Freire calls “the banking method” of education (teachers deposit knowledge in the heads of students and then make withdrawals on testing day). Instead, we read together, make sense of texts together, and compose and revise pieces of writing together. This is not the course to take if you are not able to come to class every week, read constantly, and meet deadlines.


The topic for this section of Comp105 is contemporary culture and civic engagement. Although we will focus on writing and discussion of writing process, the readings in the course will give us thoughtful material to consider, analyze, and discuss. Because everyone in the class is coming from a different set of backgrounds and experiences, we will have different perspectives and interpretations of the readings. We’ll talk a lot about objectively summarizing authors’ texts and ideas, and how to frame our own responses and analyses to those arguments. We should also remember to always respect each other’s opinions, ideas, and experiences and give each other space for participating in the conversation in the classroom. Discussing contemporary culture in terms of social engagement can be a sensitive subject for some as we read about race, class, gender, ability and other topics that we all have different personal relationships to. I will expect everyone to be open to listening to and respecting others’ voices in our conversations.


All students are welcome in this class and on the UMD campus. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status, ability, genetic information, military service, or any other status. Title IX of the Civil Rights act recognizes that students should be able to study in a safe atmosphere free of sexual violence, harassment, bias and discrimination. Should you wish to report an incident of sexual assault, harassment, discrimination or bias, visit


COMP 105 Writing & Rhetoric I Learning Outcomes

By the end of COMP 105 students will be able to:

  • Approach writing as a process in composing formal and informal pieces
  • Effectively revise writing and give useful feedback in response to the writing of others, including (though not limited to) feedback on grammar
  • Recognize a range of academic and nonacademic genres and conventions and use important academic conventions in writing
  • Demonstrate knowledge of important rhetorical concepts such as audience, purpose and context, and apply these to the writing process
  • Understand that rhetorical concepts operate in other academic disciplines
  • Read critically a range of texts
  • Begin to go beyond an either/or debate on an issue or topic to a more complex rendering of perspectives
  • Control voice, tone, style and other aspects of writing

Dearborn Discovery Core—Written & Oral Communication: This course fulfills three hours toward UM-Dearborn’s “Written & Oral Communication” requirement. Go here for more info:

Email Availability: Please check your UMD email account regularly. I will regularly send email messages to the whole class regarding assignments, updates, and other class information. You may contact me via email (address above) though be advised that I may not respond immediately to messages received. It is preferable that, when possible, you come talk to me during office hours with any questions and concerns. Also, most assignments and course information will be available on Canvas and the class WordPress site. Make sure you know how to navigate these sites and find all relevant course materials.