November 15, 2010 Archives

Assigned Text:


(An argument that relies upon academic sources.)
Monday: Analyze an Academic Source (your academic source is your assigned text; please blog about it.)

About 150 words, uploaded to by 5pm.

Where do you see FACTS, OPINIONS, and JUDGMENTS in your academic source?

How does your author use sources? (How long are the quotes, to what extent do they summarize, what purpose do they serve?)
A 6-minute audio recording, that includes about 3 minutes of you reading from literary works (2-3 poems, OR 300-500 words from a prose passage), and about 3 minutes of a literary argument. Rather than reciting for 3 solid minutes and then talking for 3 solid minutes, consider different ways to break up the structure in creative and useful ways.

Depending on your speaking rate, 3 minutes will be about 500 words, or about two double-spaced pages. That could mean a scene from a work of fiction, part of a longer poem, or several short poems.

Submit your file by e-mailing it to me. (I suggest that you practice sending me a file sooner, so that we can be sure I can open it.)

Audio recording

You may use any tool, including Evernote on your iPad, Garage Band on your Mac, or Sound Recorder on a Windows machine. (If you bring your own laptop to my office hour, I will do what I can to help you, but the IT department has a small podcasting studio, that you can reserve in order to record your podcast with the help of a CIT work-study student.)

General microphone tips:
  • The microphone in your iPad has been good enough for in-class activities, but I encourage you to use better equipment. (The SHU laptops have an excellent microphone, and I have a few I can loan you.)
  • Rather than shout into the microphone, get your mouth a few inches away from it and speak clearly but normally.
  • Avoid blowing into the microphone when you say words with "p" or "t," or you'll get a distracting popping sound. 

Audio quality:
  • Excellent: speaker's voice is clear; no dead space before or after the recording; no distracting background noises (papers shuffling, chairs squeaking) or static; volume levels are steady (and strong) throughout; no distortions or "popping" (which comes from blowing on the microphone when you say a word like "pop").
  • Acceptable: speaker's voice is audible; minimal dead spaces (no more than what anyone would tolerate in a conversation); any distortions, background noises or volume changes don't detract from the ability to hear the speaker
  • Weak: dead time (longer than we would ordinarily tolerate in a conversation); distracting background noises; voice is distorted (from speaking too loud, too close to the microphone) or too quiet (from speaking too far away from the microphone).
If you do choose to add any background sound or music -- and doing so is completely optional -- make sure that the speaker's voice is always dominant. (Strumming a guitar live can drown out your voice if you aren't careful... make sure the mic is close to your mouth, and far from your guitar.)
Reading from literary works

How can you use your voice to convey meaning? You can get louder or softer; you can speed up or slow down. If you listen closely, you can tell over the phone when someone is smiling, and if someone you're talking to suddenly stops talking, even a brief silence can be effective.

Literary argument

Apply what you learned from writing the 200-word paragraphs. Refer also to the "Academic Tone" handout, for tips on how to move from personal statements like "I like Hester better than Dimmesdale" to an analytical argument, such as "Hawthorne uses Dimmesdale's many weaknesses in order to highlight Hester's strengths. In fact, if Hawthorne had made Dimmesdale had been a stronger man, he would have not created the trials that made Hester such a believably strong character."

An interpretation offers an opinion, supported by evidence.

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