Monday, November 7, 2011

Is there a Problem, Officer?

"Combination problem" Public Domain (Wikimedia)
For an argumentative thesis to have extra appeal and attraction, it should answer some sort of "burning question" the reader has. For example, if the thesis is a solution to a problem the audience is facing, they will read with keen attention.

In this week's blog entries, students will identify a “problem” that your “solution” thesis will answer. (They will only identify the problem, using material from your previous research – but they will not suggest a solution... yet.)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Window(s) - or Mac - Shopping

In this week's blog entry, students will evaluate a commercially available product or service using online comparative shopping tools. They will present their research in reviews that consider several evaluative techniques:
  • Assessing the rhetorical situation,
  • Stating an overall claim about the subject,
  • Clarifying their criteria for evaluation,
  • Stating a judgment for each criteria,
  • Supporting each judgment with evidence, and
  • Balancing their evaluation with both positive and negative comments.
 Their evaluations and reviews will feature products ranging from trucks to shoes to vacuum cleaners.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Interview with(out) a Vampire

Photo GNU license - Wikimedia Commons
Our Students are in the process of conducting interviews as the first step in preparing for an Investigative Paper. Their topics range from sports to social issues, yet they have all identified "experts" in the field of their research to interview.

The students will blog about their preparation processes, their question and thesis formulation, and about their findings from this hands-on step in the research process. Students will use the information gathered in the interview to shape their theses, to rethink their approaches, and to  guide their research.

The class has accessed a number of materials in textbooks, writing labs, and through online digital sources to prepare for the interviews and to contextualize this step of research in their project. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Letter To America Response

Margaret Atwood
pic by Vanwaffle,
Wikimedia Comons
Students in EN 101 are working on Responsive Writing, and are examining a letter by Dean Swift written to Margaret Atwood in response to her "Letter to America."  Students will consider which points Swift chooses to include in his response, and which points he ignores. They will discuss the effectiveness of his arguments and the appropriateness of the response as regards genre, tone, logical arrangement, etc. They will consider the rhetorical situation of the communication, and postulate how the response might be differently constructed or received in different situations. They will critique the Swift response as a way to sharpen their own skills of critical response.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Observing by Writing

This photo is from PD Photo
and is in the Public Domain.
This week, Dr. Nichols' EN 101 Class will practice close, detailed observation in their blog entries. They will visit a variety of public places, and proactice active observation. (Like the great philosopher Yogi Berra once said, "You can observe a lot just by watching.")

Students will share their sketches, observations, and musings in their blogs, listed in the column at the right of this text. If your colleague is describing a place you are familiar with, you may wish to comment on their reflections. This process of observational writing will foster rich discovery. As Naturalist and Educator Louis Agassiz said, "A pencil is the best of eyes."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

E-Journaling: Real Writing, Only Digital!

courtesy David Niblack
@ Imagebase (CC 3.0)
Students in Dr. Nichols' English 101 class are keeping their journal entries in digital format for the Fall 2011 term. The students' blogs (listed at the right of this column) will be directed reflections on course content, research topics and on the art of writing itself. (Yes, blogging IS writing - with all the requisite demands for clarity, correctness, and communication excellence through the processes of research, drafting, revising and publishing!)

The first journal entries will involve looking at the revision and editing process that took place in producing the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence. Students will collect their content from research assigned in the text and online, and will produce a first draft for their blogs, and then will revise and edit and post the finished results online at the sites linked at the right. This format allows for an engaging publication environment that can be accessed from any computer, and fosters collaborative learning as students read their colleagues' blogs and share comments.

Welcome to the new frontier of writing, class - I'm looking forward to sharing in your learning experience in English composition!