Sample Courses

Miami Global Partner Summer Program 
A
DVANCED COMPOSITION: AMERICAN ACADEMIC CULTURE

Dominic Ashby, Instructor

Advanced Composition will help you to develop an insider’s view of academic culture in the United States, with a special focus on strategies and expectations for reading and writing academic texts. Through this class, you will become better prepared and more comfortable interacting with American academic culture, whether as readers of American texts in classes in China, or as visiting students in an American university. By studying rhetorical conventions and applying them to course readings about American cultures, you will further develop your analytical, argumentative, and writing skills.

Course Goals

Through this course, among other things, students will:

• Enter into American academic discourse by learning and practicing fundamentals of rhetoric, with particular focus on audience, purpose, context, and credibility.

• Develop an enriched, insider knowledge of US cultures, and be able to communicate those insights.

• Become familiar with expectations American university instructors often have for classroom discussion and participation.

• Make critical comparative analyses of US and home cultures.

• Become familiar with a variety of traditional and multimedia genres of English writing.

• Develop strategies for reading and responding to academic writing.

• Use invention techniques to explore topics and develop arguments.

• Locate, evaluate, integrate, and cite sources effectively and ethically.

• Analyze and evaluate your own and others’ writing and uses of rhetoric.

• Improve English speaking, listening, and writing abilities

Major Projects

1. Rhetorical Narrative: Using invention strategies learned in class, students will write a two-page narrative about their own use of rhetoric.

2. Rhetorical Analysis: Students will use rhetorical concepts learned in class to write a two to three-page analysis of a printed argument about American culture.

3. Academic Argument: During the last half of the class, students will research a topic related to the program excursions and write a four-page argument supported by scholarly sources; as part of this process, students will draft, review, and revise their work in class before presenting their findings to their classmates.

4. Group Video Project: During the last week, students will form small groups to work on creating a video project. The project will draw from the research the members completed for their Academic Argument essays and is a chance for students to apply their knowledge of rhetoric developed during the Rhetorical Narrative and Rhetorical Analysis assignments. Class during this time will focus on video editing. The groups will share their videos with the rest of the class at the end of the summer program.

Grading

In this course, you will complete several short writing assignments, three longer assignments, and a short presentation in pairs or small groups.

• The short writing assignments will be graded on a scale check plus, check, or check minus. These pieces are designed to focus your thinking on topics from the readings. They may also build or “scaffold” toward the larger projects. These short assignments together constitute 20% of your final course grade.

• The longer assignments will involve more time and should be more polished. We will take time in class talking about and revising your work on these assignments before you turn them in for a final grade. Together, these assignments constitute 60% of your final grade: 10% for the Rhetorical Narrative, 20% for the Rhetorical Analysis, and 30% for the Academic Argument.

• Group work and participation make up the final 20% of your course grade. This includes taking part in the final presentations and contributing to discussions and during in-class writing exercises.


WRITING ABOUT AMERICA: CULTURE AND RHETORIC IN THE UNITED STATES 

CLASS ONE—RHETORIC ACROSS AMERICAN CULTURES 

Instructor: Tony Cimasko

Required Texts and Materials 

  • The Everyday Writer by Andrea A. Lunsford (4th Edition) 
  • Laptop computer with Microsoft Office 
  • College-level English dictionary 
  • Bilingual English-Chinese dictionary 
  • Thesaurus 
  • Paper notebook 

Learn about the cultural diversity of the United States 

Culture, rhetoric, and writing are all linked—to truly understand one, a learner must understand them all. Connecting the study of culture, rhetoric, and writing, this month-long course will introduce students to and help them engage with some of the variety of cultures that make up the United States. Taught by instructors trained in comparative analysis, rhetoric, and writing, the course will help students develop critical tools for studying, writing about, and interacting with US society. 

This first half of your summer course will offer you an opportunity to explore American cultures and aspects of cultures that you have not yet encountered. Through your exploration, you will see that the US is a diverse mix of cultures that frequently co-exist peacefully but occasionally come into conflict with one another. As you read and write about these cultures critically, you will compare and contrast them with cultures that you are familiar with in your home country. In addition to longer and carefully revised essays and personal narratives on culture, you will also write short online responses to readings and class discussions. Grammar and vocabulary will be addressed, but more importantly, we will review the ideas in your writing, and the importance of rhetoric—addressing your audiences’ needs and expectations in your writing. 

Course Objectives 

  • Enter into American academic discourse by learning and practicing fundamentals of rhetoric, with particular focus on audience, purpose, context, and credibility. 
  • Develop an enriched, insider knowledge of US cultures, and be able to communicate those insights. 
  • Understand and practice tools for analyzing different cultures. 
  • Become familiar with expectations American university instructors often have for classroom discussion and participation. 
  • Make critical comparative analyses of US and home cultures. 
  • Develop strategies for reading and responding to academic writing. 
  • Locate, evaluate, integrate, and cite sources effectively and ethically. 
  • Analyze and evaluate your own and others’ writing and uses of rhetoric. 

 

Classes and Conferences 

This course relies on a combination full class meetings and one-on-one conferences. While the full classes provide opportunities to learn and engage with broad topics, conferences provide individual attention. 

Grading 

Project 1 – Personal Narrative 20% 

Project 2 – Descriptive Essay 30% 

Project 3 – Argumentative Essay 40% 

Participation (engagement in class, using resources, blog posts, etc.) 10%