Archived Class Video

Class section D5 is being recorded for the benefit of anyone who misses class. Those episodes can be found on the Rhetoric class Blackboard site.

I’ve also posted video from our recent excursion to Salem, both the Zoom recording of the talk that Salem expert Jim McAllister gave to the remote students AND the presentation that Prof Underwood gave to in-person students. So if you’re looking for inspiration on the upcoming interdisciplinary group project, go see what students in other sections learned.

The Hub of the Universe

In an 1858 column published in The Atlantic Monthly Oliver Wendell Holmes half-humorously proclaimed Boston’s State House to be the “Hub of the Solar System,” an audacious brag that civic boosters soon upgraded by nicknaming Boston “The Hub of the Universe” (source).

We’re putting that claim to the test this semester, with many of you here in person, and others spread across the globe, linked by the connective tissue of the “World Wide Web” (a more recent metaphor, to be sure). In person students will be going on a series of excursions in and around the city, while those joining us remote will engage via Zoom on tours led by Prof Rhodes. It’s not a perfect plan, but it’s an improvement on last year’s all-remote summer semester.

A few years back, Boston University borrowed Holmes’ “Hub” for its revision to distribution requirements. Under the BU Hub, Rhetoric 103 had an Oral Communication component, while Rhet 104 has a Digital/Multimedia Expression component. For this reason, our first Rhetoric assignment will focus on the visual rhetoric of motion pictures, while our final assignment will ask you to create a short film. In addition, one of the interdisciplinary assignments is another photo essay, a medium in which I will provide instruction.

Course Policies

The CGS summer program offers an intense, experiential, and interactive experience that depends, especially during these challenging times, upon all students giving their classmates and their instructors their full attention. As such, in order to enhance the learning experience of your classmates, your Team D professors request that you observe the rules set out below:

CAMERA POLICY: Keep your camera on at all times during all classes if you are attending remotely. When your professors are not sharing their screen, they also need to see the individual students in order to create the equivalent of an in-person class. We understand that circumstances at your location may occasionally require you to turn your camera off for brief periods (and that you may sometimes experience technical difficulties) — but if you need to turn your camera off for all or part of a class, you are required to let us know in advance so that we can talk about alternative strategies for you to receive credit for both attendance and for participation. Students whose cameras are off and who have not contacted us before doing so will be grade penalized. (Please also know that ZOOM provides faculty users with reports supplying the number of minutes each student was logged in to class; your professors use these reports to credit you for your attendance.)

ATTENDANCE POLICY: Whether you are attending in person or not, attendance is mandatory — both in class and on field trips — unless you are ill or have a personal emergency. Each two-hour class counts for a week or more of regular-term attendance; as such, it would be easy to fall irretrievably behind. Lateness to class will also be penalized.

NO EXTENSIONS POLICY: Owing to the intense pace of the summer term, your professors have no way to grant extensions and to keep everyone on schedule. Please plan ahead to avoid receiving a zero for work submitted past the deadline.

Plagiarism is a very serious offense in this course, at CGS, and in the wider BU community. It will not be tolerated.

Please do not let any of these regulations obscure how grateful we are for your help in making sure that your classes this summer offer the live, communal quality of classes held on campus!

— Your Team D Professors

*Note: Some of the language here is drawn with permission (and, in some cases, adapted) from the Arts and Sciences Writing Program syllabus template.


Grade Weighting as follows, out of 20 total:

  • Visual Rhetoric Essay: 4
  • Interdisciplinary Group Project: 3
  • Interdisciplinary Solo Photo Essay: 1
  • Rhetoric Video Essay: 6
  • Homework: 2
  • Participation: 2
  • Final e-Portfolio: 2

HUB Capacities

This course fulfills the following capacities, per the BU HUB:


First-Year Writing Seminar (1 unit)

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to craft responsible, considered, and well-structured written arguments, using media and modes of expression appropriate to the situation.
  2. Students will be able to read with understanding, engagement, appreciation, and critical judgment.
  3. Students will be able to write clearly and coherently in a range of genres and styles, integrating graphic and multimedia elements as appropriate.

Digital/Multimedia Expression (1 unit)

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to craft and deliver responsible, considered, and well-structured oral and/or signed arguments using media and modes of expression appropriate to the situation.
  2. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the capabilities of various communication technologies and be able to use these technologies ethically and effectively.
  3. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of visual communication, such as principles governing design, time-based and interactive media, and the audio-visual representation of qualitative and quantitative data.

Intellectual Toolkit

Critical Thinking (1 unit)

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to identify key elements of critical thinking, such as habits of distinguishing deductive from inductive modes of inference, recognizing common logical fallacies and cognitive biases, translating ordinary language into formal argument, distinguishing empirical claims about matters of fact from normative or evaluative judgments, and recognizing the ways in which emotional responses can affect reasoning processes.
  2. Drawing on skills developed in class, students will be able to evaluate the validity of arguments, including their own.