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 Instructor Craigg 

Course Name

Course Information:

Class Meeting: 11:30-2:40pm; SaturdayClass: D32

Units: 3 Units

Required Texts:     Varnet, Sylvan, Bedau, Hugo.  Current Issues and Enduring Questions.  8th Edition.  Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008.


Additional Reading Materials will be provided for in class reading or for homework assignments.

Recommended Text:Dictionary & Thesaurus

Hacker, Diana.  A Writer’s Reference.  6th Edition.  Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s 2007.


Course Policies:

1. Participation (100 points)

-You will be graded on the completion of ALL homework assignments.  You will receive no credit for the homework portion of your participation grade if you have not completed ALL of the homework assignments.

-Class Discussion is important!  Your input is wanted!  This means, you must be prepared for class, by reading the material, doing the assignments and bringing your papers for peer review.  Any of these things not being completed will lower your participation grade.

-Missing more than 3 assignments can result in a considerable drop within your grade; that could result in you being dropped from the course.

-Habitual absences will result in a failure grade/dropped from the course.

- Journal writing will take place in class daily.  Therefore, not being in class will hinder this grade.

-Your cell phone or any other mobile/electrical devise must be turned off or on silent during the course.

 2. Mid-Term (100 points)

- This will be your debate paper.

 3.  Debate (Oral Evaluation of Issue) (100)

- You will be given an issue and will be assigned which side of the debate you are going to argue.

- You will also need to prepare for the debate with talking points on your notes.  READING FROM YOUR PAPER IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. 

 4. Take Home Writing Assignments (200)

            - There will be four take home assignments (50 points each).

  5. Research Paper (150)

            - This will be between 7-10 pages long.  More details will be provided.

6. Final Exam (100 points)

            - This a brief oral report of your research topic.


7. Group Activity (50 points) 

Grading Scale

A – 720-800 points

B – 640-719 points

C – 560-639 points

D – 480-559 points

F – 447 and below


Syllabus/Syllabi for the course.


Free-Speech Assignment:

Find a newspaper or a magazine article that deals with a first amendment issue. 

In a one page paper:

You will describe the issue in two paragraphs.  In this description, look for the argument and how did the article organize the argument?

In the third paragraph, describe your opinion about the issue within the article.

Position Paper

Read the exercise on page 255-6.

Choose one of the nine topics within the exercise to write a 750-word essay.  After picking the topic, you are to pick a position – do you agree or disagree with the statement.  Your essay is to prove why you agree or disagree with the statement.

You need to have at least 3 sources (they can be articles within the text, newspaper articles, Internet sources).

All sources must be in MLA format

Paper Evaluated

Compare and Contrast the differences between the MLA and APA Style papers within Chapter 7.

Write a one-page paper on how the papers are similar and different.

Argumentative Essay: “Love is Fallacy”

Read the essay (371-380). 

Using the article, write a 500-word essay on the following topics found on page 380. 

Do not use any outside sources.

Moralist View:

Within your group, pick an article your team will read (390-415). 

You will teach the class by demonstrating:

-          The argument

-          Supporting Evidence

-          How is the article a moral claim? Is it not a moral claim?

Individual: You will respond to all of the questions at the end of your article within 3 pages.

Debate/Midterm: There are two parts to this assignment:

-          Write a 4-6 page paper on your topic

-          Frame a debate


-          You will utilize a minimum of 3 outside sources (all should not be from the Internet) including your critical essay on your topic that can be found in our text

-          You will write a cohesive paper that clearly states your position on the topic (this will be your thesis) along with providing factual evidence to support your claim

-          This paper will be well organized; Intro, Body, Conclusion

 Framing Your Debate:

-          I will introduce the topic

-          The Pro’s will take 3 minutes to present his/her side to the topic

-          The Con’s will take 3 minutes to present his/her side to the topic

-          There will be a :30 of rebuttal for the Pro’s, followed by :30 of rebuttal for the Con’s

-          There will be 3 times that the rebuttals will continue

-          The listeners/audience will be able to provide critical feedback to the debaters.  This will only last for no more than 10 minutes.



-          A debate IS NOT AN ARGUMENT.  Therefore, you will be stopped if you are interrupting anyone, raising your voice, slamming your stuff or hands on the desk, and/or any other disruptive things.

-          A debate is a dignified way to discuss issues; we are NOT looking for solutions but exploring various parts of an issue. 

-          If you are violating any rule, you will be stopped immediately and if your behavior is extremely offensive, you will receive a 0 for the assignment and MUST re-do the assignment on a different topic. 

-          The audience must remain quiet and the debaters must adhere to the time.  You will receive NO extra time.  You will receive warnings and you are able to finish your sentence and NOT your thought if your time is over.

-          You will not use any obscene language of any kind and provide personal attacks, otherwise, you will be stopped and receive a 0 for the assignment.

-          A debate can be emotional but you are to control your emotions at all times.

-          HAVE FUN!  If you aren’t interested, the audience isn’t.  Please take this as a light and intensive exercise to learn and experience new ideas.  Bring an open mind and be very poised.



Movie Review:

Write a 1-page paper answering the following questions with a cohesive thesis and well organized with detailed examples. 

-          Can you identify what the argument is within the movie?

-          If you cannot identify the argument, does the movie effectively present both sides? 

-          Where do we see bias?

-          Who is the intended audience?

-          What are the different types of evidence that the movie provides to support its argument?

Research Paper

You will write a 7-10 page essay that will encompass the following aspects:

1 – You will pick a movie shown in class.

2 – Within the movie, chose a topic that you are interested in investigating.

3 – Your goal is to prove or disprove this aspect of the topic.

Your paper will be organized in the following way:

1 – 1 paragraph of introduction (thesis)

2 – 2 pages of summary about the topic (position of the movie, how the movie describes the topic, the supporting points that help support the movie’s argument)

3 – 3 pages of the paper is to disprove or prove that the topic of the movie is correct. 

4 – 2 pages will consist of 2 interviews you have conducted with someone that is connected to your topic in any way.  You will come up with interview questions that describe their connect to the topic and their opinion.

5 – Conclusion

6 – 1 paragraph describing your experience about doing this paper.  What exactly did you learn?  What did you like or hate about this paper?

Sources: You need at least 5 sources.  All cannot be Internet sources.  Wikipedia or any encyclopedia is not accepted.


Your presentation consists of: describing all of the aspects of the research paper. 

Describe your difficulties with the project.

What is your topic?

What is your thesis?

How did you craft your argument?

How did the movie craft its argument?

Did you use any of the critical views we learned in the class in your paper?

Describe who you interviewed – why did you interview the people?


Course Material:

(Subject To Change)

WEEK 1 Aug. 28 24 Day CommitmentCourse IntroductionReview Syllabus Chapter 1, 3Introduction Assignment
WEEK 2Sept. 4 Free SpeechChapter 2, 4, 6, 7
WEEK 3Sept. 11 Paper Evaluation between APA and MLAChapter 8
WEEK 4Sept. 18 Chapter 9Position Paper“Love is Fallacy”
WEEK 5Sept. 25 Chapter 10
WEEK 6Oct. 2 Chapter 11Midterm Topics Due
Week 7Oct. 9 Chapter 12Moralist Paper
Week 8Oct. 16 Chapter 13
Week 9Oct. 23 MidtermDebates & Debate Paper
Week 10Oct. 30 Chapter 14Movie Assignment
Week 11Nov. 6 Current Issues Chapter 15-20Movie Assignment
Week 12Nov. 13 Current Issues Chapter 15-20
Week 13Nov. 20 Current Issues Chapter 21-29Movie Assignment
Week 14Nov. 27 No School
Week 15Dec. 4 Current Issues Chapter 21-29First Draft of Research PaperMovie Assignment Due
Week 16Dec. 11 Final PresentationResearch Paper

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