1) Office Visit (Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday)
First, a reminder that class does not meet on Wednesday. In order to get credit for Wednesday’s class, you must sign up for, attend, and participate actively during a 10-minute meeting in my office (403 St. Joseph Hall). During that meeting, I will give you feedback on the discovery draft paper you uploaded to Turnitin.com, and I will give you credit for Wednesday’s class.
Sign up now for your office visit ; slots are available on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The gray boxes are open slots; they will fill in as blue when the slots are taken.)
(Clicking the link will take you to my Google Calendar page, where you can click on a button and add yourself to my calendar. There are more than enough slots for everyone in the class. If you wish, you can sign up during Monday’s class.)
2) Readings 2-3 and 2-4
You will pick two of the following three readings.
- Postman, “Television as Teacher” (421-430)
- Johnson, “Why Games are Good for You” (481-494)
- Teare, “Harry Potter and the Technology of Magic” (548-562)
It doesn’t matter which one you choose as “2-3″ and which you choose as “2-4″ — you’ll be evaluated once, on your response to both.
Reading Response Activity
In Modle, I’ll ask you to contribute a 400-word response paper, read several peer essays, and post 2-4 comments before class meets.
- Ideas: Provide a single, unified response to the question, “Why are these readings challenging?”
I am not looking for specific fill-in-the-blank answers, but the following sub-prompts may help you explore your ideas. Please DON’T just respond to each question until you reach the 400-word minimum; instead, consider each question, think it over, and then come up with a thesis that demonstrates your ability to engage with a complex issue.
- What is a specific passage that contained a reference (such as an unfamiliar word or a reference to an unfamiliar cultural detail) you had to look up? How did looking up that unfamiliar reference help you to understand the author’s point?
- Why did the author use that reference, instead of an easier vocabulary word, or a more popular, better-known example?
- Beyond simply pointing out examples of challenging passages, consider why does an author choose to write formal paragraphs, using specific examples, and academic language?
- In other words, instead of “Here is a list of ways these readings are challenging” (which would be a pretty basic paper),
- try instead “The authors of these essays accomplish [something intellectually complex, and/or something of value] by doing [some specific writing technique that you are trying to emulate in your own writing].”
- Why aren’t these essays bumper sticker, T-shirt slogans, or bulleted lists? Why didn’t these authors just write the Spark Notes version in the first place?
- Evidence: Demonstrate your ability to use specific quotes from both essays, to defend a thesis that involves both essays
See see my handout on using quotes in an academic paper. You don’t have to use one of the following models, but here are some suggestions for how to construct a suitably complex thesis statement:
- Although Smith uses [what kind of evidence] in order to argue [the specific point Smith makes], Jones uses [the same / very similar / some of the same ] evidence to make a more convincing case that [the opposite of Smith's position, or a more limited version of Smith's position, or a stronger version of Smith's position].
- Smith and Jones both agree about [topic], but because Smith’s [evidence, logic, choice of examples, method, etc.] is [ more / less ] [ inclusive, thorough, precise, logical, efficient, ethical, optimistic, realistic, skeptical] than Jones’s, Smith’s claim that “insert a brief quote from Smith and follow it with the page number here” (34) is [ more / less ] [trustworthy / persuasive / practical / moral / praiseworthy / blameworthy] than Jones’s claim that “insert a brief statement by Jones” (252).
- Organization: Write two or three well-formed academic paragraphs, with clear topic sentences, supporting sentences, and a conclusion.
The paper’s conclusion should not simply summarize what you’ve already written. Instead, it should emphasize why the point you’ve just argued matters.
- Tone: Phrase your ideas academically. Your emotions and gut-level responses are an important part of who you are; but usually, they should not occupy a central part of your academic writing. You aren’t being asked to say which author you “like” or “relate to” or “agree with,” or which one you find “interesting” or “boring.”
Remember the in-class lesson about normative phrasing. A “normative” statement emphasizes your personal opinion, rather than the evidence that supports your opinion; normative phrases are bossy, and they are inappropriate for your formal STW papers.
- Normative, bossy, overly simplistic: Advertisers should stop hurting women’s self-esteem.
- Analytical, persuasive, intellectually complex: Brown’s claim that advertisers who apply psychology to make advertisements more effective are “just helping the public get what it wants” (234) is factually accurate but ethically questionable, because the first principle the American Psychology Association mentions in its code of ethics is “take care to do no harm.”
- Accuracy: Read your response out loud before you submit it.
- Eschew the temptation to inflate your prognostication by utilizing excessively formal verbiage.
- OTOH, no informal crap either, kthxbai.