Answers to Your Questions

I've grouped similar questions together.

Q: What is the “oral debate” about?

A: I answered this in class on Monday, I hope. The oral debate will be on the same topic that you work on for your collaborative research paper. The individual debates will be pretty short, but their structure will be formal and timed.

Q: As a whole are you pleased with what we are getting out of the class or are we not getting things the way you’d like us to?

A: I’m very pleased with the work that this class is doing, and I’m pleased to have all of you in this section. (I wouldn’t mind better attendance, though.)

Q: What is the weight of the attendance grade?
Q: How much does attendance count towards your grade as compared to written assignments?
Q: How much weight do our small assignments carry vs. the large ones?

A: See the course webpage for the grading weights. There is no attendance grade per se, but there is a social practices grade (which is in part reflective of your attendance) and there is, of course, the more-than-four-absences grade penalty.

Q: Is there any sort of reading schedule that could be posted online?

A: I’m not sure what to make of this question. There is, of course, the course webpage which has a day-to-day calendar and links to assignment descriptions. You’re allowed to read the Non-Designer’s book at you leisure, and the Brown handbook will be used primarily as a reference during the research assignment.

Q: How much class time do you spend associated with this class per week?

A: It varies, depending on what we are doing, but I would say between 4 and 12 hours per week, in addition to the time in the classroom. This is also in addition to teaching a section of HU3120, taking two of my own graduate classes, doing committee work, and working on a book project.

Q: The turn around time for getting back assignments is a little long.
Q: Why does it take so long to get homework feedback?

A: Giving qualitative feedback unfortunately isn’t as quick as, say, grading a calculus exam—I spend a lot of time with individual assignments. I would like to get your work back sooner, but I also want to make sure that you get substantive feedback and revision suggestions.

Q: What is the average grade of everyone?
Q: What has the average grade spread looked like for your past class(es)?

A: I don't have the records for my previous Revisions classes, but the average final grade is typically above a B.

Q: Can we perform the “revise and resubmit” process on all of the assignments?

A: You can revise and resubmit the first three assignments, the magazine assignment, the visual assignment, and the editorial assignment. The collaborative research paper and the oral debates cannot be revised.

Q: Some of the assignments are hard to understand what is being graded on.

A: The evaluation criteria are available for each assignment from the course webpage. As always, come talk to me if you need me to explain anything in greater depth.

Q: If you do a group project and some members don’t show up and you can’t do the presentation, how does that effect you and your team members participation and grading scale?

A: I know a couple of times class presentations were hampered by poor attendance. This does not affect the social practices grades of those who did their part.

Q: Can you do any extra work for times you weren’t in class so you can get credit for missing that class?

A: Unfortunately, no. The social and collaborative kinds of work that we do together in class can’t be made up for through homework.

Q: As stated before, if we miss more than 4 days of class, our attendance grade will be lowered. By how much will it be lowered, and is it lowered each time after we miss more classes?

A: See the course webpage for information on how the grades are lowered. The grades will not be lowered for additional absences above five, but you will continue to seriously endanger your social practices grade.

Q: Will we be able to find out how we are doing in the class up to this point?
Q: Are our midterm grades available for this class?

A: I’d be happy to talk about grades anytime. Email me or talk to me after class, and we can arrange a meeting to talk about grades.

Q: What are the keys to success in this class?

A: Be here, be an active and productive participant, do careful and self-reflexive work, and think rhetorically.

Q: What are your plans for the rest of the semester?

A: First we will do a unit on political discourse, including a newspaper editorial assignment. Then we will do a unit on research, where you will work on a research paper collaboratively. To finish the semester, we will have oral debates, and I will collect your final portfolios.

Q: Will we have to give a speech on a research topic?

A: Nope.

Q: How soon do the revised papers have to be done, and how many of the assignments that we already got back have to be in the final binder?
Q: If we redo an assignment, by what date do we have to turn it in by?

A: You have through week 13 (specifically Friday, 15 April) to revise. All of the assignments will need to be in your final portfolio.

Q: What made you decide to make the policy that you can revise papers as many times as you want?

A: The name of this class, of course, is Revisions. The idea is that, just like professional writers and communicators, you should be allowed to go through multiple iterations to make your work as good as it can be. And as students, you are able to learn more if you have the chance to revisit and rethink your assignments.

Q: What are you studying for your PhD?

A: I'm working toward my doctorate in Rhetoric and Technical Communication.

Q: What is one thing that I should get from reading these questions?

A: The answer undoubtedly is "machiavellian."

Q: What kind of advanced classes are there on these topics we discuss, and what kind of degrees do the topics offer?

A: The Humanities Department offers a number of courses in rhetoric: HU 2130—Introduction to Rhetoric, HU 3130—Rhetorical Theory & Criticism, HU3151—The Rhetoric of Everyday Texts, not to mention various special topics courses. There are also numerous courses in communication and technical communication, which you can browse here.

Michigan Tech offers both master's and doctoral degrees in Rhetoric and Technical Communication. At the undergraduate level, the department offers a bachelors in Scientific and Technical Communication, a very versatile degree that is outlined more fully here.

Q: Out of curiosity, do you grade hard the first time in order to make us revise, since that seems to be the point of the class?

A: I do not grade your assignments harder the first time around to encourage revision; I grade consistently between drafts. In this way, you always know where you stand with a draft, and what you need to work toward in your revisions.