Course Policies

Office Hours are Wednesday from 6-9.

Unit One: 22.5% of Final Grade

Civic Artifact Speech (12.5% of final grade)
Rhetorical Analysis Essay (10% of final grade)

Unit Two: 32.5% of Final Grade

RCL TED Talk (15% of final grade)
Paradigm Shift Paper (17.5% of final grade)

Unit Three: 20% of Final Grade

History of a Public Controversy Project (20% of final grade)
Attendance, Participation and Blogging: 25% of final grade

Passion and RCL Blogs: 20% of final grade

Participation and Attendance: 5% of final grade


Participation in this class is strongly encouraged, which is why it counts for 5% of the final grade (see below). Participation has several dimensions, not the least of which is presence in class. This doesn’t simply mean bodily presence but actual attunement to the class discussion. Engaged, vocal contributions (questions, discussion points, etc.) are considered central to the success of the class. Also valuable is recognizing when it’s time for other students to contribute. There will be opportunities to contribute in small-group discussion. All in-class activities represent opportunities to work out ideas.


Attendance is required. More than three unexcused absences may result in a lower final grade for the course (down to and including an “F’). Three late arrivals equal one absence. Students will bring the reading material to class on the day it is assigned or risk being counted absent for that day. Students who come to class without having completed the assigned reading or writing may be counted absent as well. Barring extenuating circumstances, a poor attendance record can affect your participation grade as well as your overall final grade, which may be docked for excessive absences.

Mobile Devices

Please silence your mobile devices before entering class.

Course Resources

Penn State Rhetoric and Civic Life is a resource for all sections of RCL where you can find course-wide announcements and social media feeds. There, you can also find successful RCL assignment examples from previous years.

Writing and Speaking Help

Students are encouraged to draw upon the University’s resources to develop their skills in writing and speaking. Students can consult with peer writing tutors through Penn State Learning and get help with their oral communication skills and presentations from peer mentors at the Undergraduate Speaking Center, sponsored by the Penn State College of Liberal Arts. Keep in mind that these resources are free are useful for students at all levels!

Program in Writing and Rhetoric Grading Standards