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WEBD 3500 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

WEBD 3500 - Rhetoric and the Internet

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

Instruction in website analysis and document design, including background in rhetorical theory and principles.

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Learn about Greek and Roman rhetorical theory
  • Learn about the basic history of the digital world
  • Study the role rhetoric plays in effective web site construction
  • Apply the basic principles of game design as a communication element
  • Analyze web sites and their design
  • Create a site proposal
  • Receive feedback from classmates on their work
  • Provide feedback to classmates 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

ENGL 1020 is a prerequisite.

Course Topics:
  • Online Community
  • Rhetorical History
  • The Analog/Digital World
  • Let’s Play a Game (Game Design)
  • Final Project (Website Proposal) Overview
  • The Vowel Complex (Accessibility, Excellence of Content, Innovation, Organization, Usability)
  • Site Proposals and Storyboards
  • Final Project (Website Proposal)
  • Course Readings
Specific Course Requirements:

Students should be independent learners, capable of setting realistic goals and managing time wisely. Knowledge of word processing software is required, as well as the ability to navigate the Internet. D2L is an Internet-based interface, so students should have the basic skills (such as being able to operate a mouse, open and receive attachments, etc.) that are required for successful completion of a course conducted solely via the Internet.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:


Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

There are five assessments (quizzes) in this course to accompany the readings from Understanding Digital Culture. The assessments consist of true/false, multiple choice, and fill in the blank responses. 

Grading Procedures:

Grading is strictly on a points basis. Each assignment is allocated a specific point value. The instructor will evaluate student submissions based on the quality of the student’s discussion and analysis of the assigned topic. Final grades are based on each student’s cumulative points at the end of the semester.

Grading Scale:
Point Range AssignedGrade
6390-7100 PointsA
5680-6389 PointsB
4970-5679 PointsC
4260-4969 PointsD
0-4259 PointsF
Assignments and Projects:

Each of the assignments in this course deals with the primary theme of the rhetorical elements of ethos, pathos, and logos and how they influence website design. Assignments focus on student understanding of rhetorical elements as applied to specific websites, how those elements were effective, ways in which the elements could be improved, and how the use of these elements illustrate the various views and/or theories of the authors presented in each unit.

In addition, assignments link rhetorical elements to Internet communication overall. This course does not require students to use programming applications to create webpages. Course concentration is on communication, not computer science or technology.

The following are some of the basic guidelines the instructor will follow in evaluating student work:

  • How well does the student introduce the topic of their discussion?
  • How clearly defined is the student’s thesis regarding the topic?
  • Does the student cite from the author(s) in the required reading(s)?
  • Does the student arrive at logical, valid conclusions and analyses?
  • Does the student support their thesis throughout the discussion?
  • How well does the conclusion sum up the student’s discussion? 
Class Participation:

Because discussions occur online as opposed to in class, there are several points students must keep in mind:

  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker, then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather than starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group.
  • Be respectful of others' ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.

Regular discussion participation is defined as follows: Students must post a copy of their analysis for each module to the associated discussion board. Students then must post a three-to-five paragraph comment on two student submissions discussing why they support or disagree with the author’s statements. Simply stating “I agree” or “I disagree” will not be considered a valid comment. All postings must occur before the listed deadline and time. Students fulfilling the unit discussion requirement will be awarded 100 points. Students who do not participate in the unit discussion will not receive the 100 points. 

Late Policy:

All assignments and discussions are due on the deadline date assigned. Deadline time for all assignments and discussion posts is 11:00 p.m. (CST). Late assignments will be penalized 50 percent of the points for the assignment, deducted off the top. Only extenuating circumstances (i.e., death in the family or severe illness requiring hospitalization, both of which require documentation) will be considered for waiving the penalty for a late submission.

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on April 28, 2017