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Course Description & Learning Outcomes

WRTG 150 is designed to introduce you to college-level writing, reading, and research with an emphasis on argumentation and rhetorical analysis. This course pays particular attention to the ways arguments work within discourse communities (that is, groups of people who share common values, interests, purposes, beliefs, and so forth). Our study of writing and rhetoric will be structured around the impact of new media (for example, the Internet, Facebook, and texting) on our culture and society, and will require extensive writing, reading, and research in this topic area.

As a result of taking WRTG 150, you will be able to do the following:

  1. Use rhetoric responsibly to compose arguments in a variety of genres for specific audiences and purposes.
  2. Critically read texts. This includes
    1. analyzing how a text functions in a specific situation, community, or public;
    2. analyzing the nuances of language (diction, figures of speech, tone, etc.);
    3. identifying and evaluating the elements of an argument—claims, reasons, assumptions, and ethical, emotional, and logical appeals
  3. Write coherent and unified texts (effective introductions, clear theses, supporting details, transitions, and strong conclusions) using a flexible and effective writing process, including prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing.
  4. Use style—diction, figurative language, tone, grammar, punctuation, spelling, mechanics—genre, conventions, and document design correctly and for rhetorical effect.
  5. Locate primary and secondary sources in libraries and on the Internet, evaluate the appropriateness and credibility of those sources, and effectively incorporate and accurately document outside sources in a research paper.

Course Materials


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The course is divided into four units, with the culminating assignment for each unit being one of the four portfolio assignments, though the final draft for each paper may be required at the end of a lesson for the following unit. The course includes a total of 15 lessons. The reading assignment for each lesson should be completed before reading the discussion material (unless otherwise indicated). All Speedback assignments are open book.

You will complete 15 computer-graded or Speedback assignments. These include five short-response essay Speedback assignments and five punctuation and sentence style Speedback assignments; a punctuation and sentence style self-test in lesson 5; a library SMART tutorial and library virtual tour quiz in lesson 10; an MLA quiz in lesson 11; and a design principles quiz in lesson 14.

You will complete four portfolio paper assignments and will be required to turn in a rough draft of each: an opinion editorial (3-5 pages), a rhetorical analysis (4-6 pages), an issues paper (8-10 pages), and a multimodal proposal (at least 250 words). The Supplemental Guide provides details relating to each of these assignments and grading criteria. Review the assignment rubrics in the Supplemental Guide before you submit your assignment.

You will submit your Rhetorical Analysis Rough Draft and your Issues Paper Final Draft through a third party website called Turnitin. The instructions to do so will be given when you submit the writting.

Review Activity

You will also review three Opinion Editorial (lesson 4) and Issues Paper (lesson 12) rough drafts. When you submit your own rough draft, you will then be able to email your draft to a TA for feedback. As you receive feedback on your own rough draft and leave feedback on other rough drafts, it will help you as you complete the final draft of your own paper before submitting it for a grade. Please participate in this activity by leaving thoughtful and constructive comments.

A Note about Cover Sheets in the Supplemental Guide: All assignments will be submitted electronically through your course, so you DO NOT need to submit a cover sheet or rubric for any portfolio assignment from the Supplemental Guide—these are for your review only. Follow the given directions for each assignment.

In this course, there are a number of prewriting and drafting assignments to prepare you for the portfolio assignments. Prewriting assignments are not graded but they are required and will need to be turned in with the portfolio assignments. Follow each lessons assignment instructions carefully. There is also a final Capstone essay, and a proctored final exam.

You will submit your completed writing assignments electronically throughout your course. Remember to submit your assignments as Microsoft Word .DOC or .DOCX files. Name the file using this style—be sure to use your own name: WRTG150_JaneSmith_WritingAssignment1.docx.

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There are two parts to the final exam in this course. Part 1 is the final Capstone essay at the end of the last lesson. Once you have completed it and received a grade, you may then request the final exam. Part 2 of the final exam for this course will be proctored and consists of ten multiple-choice questions and five short-essay questions (open book: Writing and Rhetoric and Perspectives on New Media). The exam is worth 6 percent of your grade and there is no time limit, but most students should finish within two hours. There are no retakes on either the Capstone essay or the final exam.

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Assignments by Lesson

Lesson(s) Assignment Points
1, 3, 4, 6, 7 Response Essay Speedback Assignments
(5 points each)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Punctuation and Style Speedback Assignments
(10 points each)
4 Rough Draft of Opinion Editorial 10
Opinion Editorial Review 5
5 Opinion Editorial Portfolio Submission 100
Practice Assignment: Punctuation and Sentence Style Self-Test 5
8 Rough Draft of Rhetorical Analysis 10
10 SMART Tutorial and Library Virtual Tour Speedback Assignments 50
Rhetorical Analysis Portfolio Submission 200
11 MLA Speedback Assignment 10
12 Rough Draft of Issues Paper 10
Issues Paper Review 5

Issues Paper Portfolio Submission

(reflective memo, rough draft with instructor's comments, and all prewriting assignments)

Issues Paper Final Draft 260
Design Principles Speedback Assignment 10
15 Rough Draft of Multimodal Proposal 10
Multimodal Proposal Portfolio Submission 100
Final Capstone Essay 40
Final Exam 60
Total Points: 1000

Grading Scale

The point grade breakdown for the course will be as follows:

Grade Points
A 950–1000
A− 900–949
B+ 860–899
B 830–859
B− 800–829
C+ 760–799
C 730–759
C− 700–729
D+ 660–699
D 630–659
D− 600–629
E (fail) 0–599

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


15 computer-graded assignments; 10 instructor-graded papers, No resubmissions allowed.


1 proctored exam (multiple-choice and short-answer questions), may not retake, must pass to earn credit for the course. 

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514