Draft Option: For the first two essays of the semester, students have the option of submitting, on the due date, either a FINAL version to be graded or a DRAFT version to be reviewed for revision. For those who choose this option, the submitted draft does not receive a grade, nor a complete evaluation. Instead, I provide my impressions of the paper’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as some advice for revision via an MP3 file. Once students receive the file back, they have at least five days to revise and submit the paper as a “Final.”
First Day Essay
Read the two short essays by Vetter and Aronowitz in Essays on Writing. Referring in some way to the ideas from one of those texts, answer this question: What has been your previous experience with writing instruction and writing for college/academic audiences? Where do your strengths lie? Where do you believe you need to improve? And, most importantly, why?
Please be as specific and detailed as possible in your answer.
Unit One: Writing for School
Discussion Board Entry: Introduce yourself to the class and tell us a little about your experience with and perceptions of writing for school
Discussion Board Entry: Using two different “I Say” response modes (Agree, Disagree, Agree/Disagree Simultaneously), craft two short (2 to 3 sentence) responses to either Vetter or Aronowitz. A template directly taken from They Say/I Say should be included somewhere in each response.
Blog 1: For your first entry, think back on what you were told to expect from college-level writing as well as what you have encountered in your college career so far. Describe that understanding with specific detail (where you developed it, what it looks like, etc). Then, compare it to the They Say/I Say description. How do the two definitions similar? How are they different? What are your initial responses and reactions to Graff and Birkenstein’s ideas?
Discussion Board Entry: Draft two brief (3 to 4 sentences) summaries of Howard’s article: one “Good” that follows the advice from chapter 2 of They Say/I Say and one “Bad” that violates that advice in some obvious (maybe even humorous) way.
Blog 2: Using They Say/I Say, analyze a paper you’ve written before for the “moves” of academic writing. Where and how do you engage with other voices/texts? Be sure to interpret these “moves” broadly. In other words, do not just look for those sentences where you used the exact wording of the templates but also where you followed the “spirit” of them as well. Where do you engage in the academic conversation of your topic?
After you have described the ways your essay did (or did not) implement the ideas from They Say/I Say, speculate on how they helped or hurt (or might have) your essay. If you were to revise this essay, which “moves” would you use more often? Which would you delete? What other changes might you make? How might this analysis affect how you approach the essays this semester?
Essay 1 (Draft Option)
Compare your understanding of academic writing with the descriptions They Say/I Say? How does compare with your experience and that of your classmates? Where do they differ? This is not a paper about which is “right” but about how your understanding has been influenced.
Unit Two: Writing as a Task
Discussion Board Entry: What are your writing rituals?
Discussion Board Entry: Write a short narrative about a time you experience Writer’s Block and how you overcame it (or didn’t).
Blog 3: What process did you actually use to complete Essay 1?
Discussion Board Entry: What grammar “rules” confuse you or don’t seem to be completely true?
Blog 4: Proofreading Checklist.
Discussion Board Entry: Report and reflection on experiences piloting the Writing Process Diagnostic.
Essay 2 (1500 words)
Who are you as a writer? How do your processes, etc. compare to those your classmates reported? What conclusions can you come to about the nature of writing as a task?
Unit Three: Writing in the Disciplines
Discussion Board Entry: What do you expect to be the writing required in your major field, both as a college student and as a professional?
Blog 5: Research activity: Find an article from a representative academic journal in your field and describe the process of obtaining it. Then, analyze it for clues to what the discipline looks for in terms of writing style, format, types of evidence, etc.
Discussion Board Entry: What writing have you been asked to produce in your other courses? How does it compare to the definition of academic writing we have been using in this course?
Blog 6: Report on the writing requirements for students majoring in your field. You need to gather actual, not hypothetical evidence, and can do that in a variety of ways: reading syllabi, interviewing advisors/professors, reading journal submission guidelines, etc.
Discussion Board Entry: Describe a previous research experience that went well and one that wasn’t as successful. What can you learn from each?
Essay 3 (1300 words: 1000 preliminary analysis, 300 annotated bibliography and plan)
Preliminary analysis: Analyze what matters, from a writing standpoint, in your major field. Refer to Blogs 5 and 6 as well as the course readings and your own research. Pose a question regarding what those values and expectations might mean for both you as a student and for the field as whole.
Research plan and annotated bibliography: How do you plan to add additional voices to your analysis of what matters in your field of study? What other sources have you found and which will you seek out? How will your approach change and what revisions do you expect to make to your question? Need to provide annotated references for at least three preliminary, scholarly sources.
Unit Four: Independent Research
Essay 4 (1800 words)
Looking back on the entire semester, develop a “Hint Sheet” for yourself to use for future writing assignments. The contents will be unique to each individual, but everyone needs to have at least one section on Proofreading/Editing and one tied to the specific requirements of the major field. Then provide a self-reflective analysis of that sheet, focusing on one or two key items that can be explored using both course texts and outside research.