What do you think of when you hear the term "college writing"?
EduSpace is the online environment where we'll be completing online grammar exercises. Turnitin.com is where we'll be doing peer review.
Schedule an individual conference with the instructor.
I won’t quiz you on grammar or anything like that, but I will ask you to bring a printout of paragraph 2 (either the first draft or the revision; whichever you’d like to discuss).
Come prepared to discuss how you will make use of the resources available to you (your textbook, Eduspace, the writing center, the tutoring center, my office hours, etc.) to succeed in this course.
Informal discussion about what you learned from Par 1.
I also want to introduce "Check for Action," the 2nd of Raimes's "Five C's of Style," and discuss the topic for paragraph 3.
I'm going to use a slideshow called Troy Sterling and the Active and Passive Verbs.
Topic: Independence and Responsibility
So far, I have asked you only to produce single paragraphs. "Essay 1" is a 2-3 page paper, which should include several paragraphs -- each one as tightly honed as the stand-alone paragraphs you have been submitting.
Section 1 of Keys for Writers is all about finding a topic and narrowing your focus. There is so much room within the general area of "Independence and Responsibility" that you should be very clear on the specific main point that you want to communicate.
It won't be sufficient to provide a paragraph that says some interesting things about independence, and another that say some interesting things about responsibility, and then a conclusion that says "So that's what I think about independence and responsibility."
To get started, you might ask yourself any of the following questions (but please don't submit a draft that answers these questions one-by-one):
- Which is more important to you at this stage in your life? Why?
Have you changed your thinking recently?
Do your opinions on this topic differ from someone whom you respect? Has that difference led to greater understanding, or to conflict and pain?
Write about your passion.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? What keeps you going through your day? What makes life worth living? Use your passion as your topic, and develop a thesis that makes a specific, non-obvious claim about your passion. Remember to provide a thesis statement that provides the reasoning blueprint that gives shape to the rest of your essay. (Like Essay 1, Essay 2 will be 2-3 pages long.)
You may want to be a movie star, or a sports superhero, or find true love. Those are dreams or long-term goals. It's important to have those goals. But what do you do -- whenever you get the chance -- to keep you going as you pursue those dreams? What gets you excited enough to keep working at something every chance you get?
Look closely at the Showing and Telling handout, in order to make sure that you are not only choosing specific details, but that the details you choose are vivid and precise.
Many students choose to write about their favorite sport. That will work just fine, but what is it about that sport that makes you so passionate about it?
Saying "my sport/activity is fun" or "my sport/activity makes me happy" is not a complex, defensible thesis statement. You don't need to convince me that knitting or kayaking or collecting bottlecaps is the best thing ever invented on the planet, and that anyone who doesn't like it as much as you do is an idiot. Your goal isn't to win an argument. Rather, you should demonstrate your ability to choose vivid, specific details from your own experiences to support a claim that you want to make about your passion. Choose specific details that SHOW me why it excites you so much.
Let's return to the sports example for a moment. You may feel the adrenaline rush when you see the ball coming at you; you may feel the rattling bones when you collide with an opponent; you may feel your muscles burning when you push yourself beyond your own limits. These details are useful, but when they come in a list like this, they don't add up to mean very much.
Rather than give a laundry list of things that happened to you during your senior year, focus instead on a specific choice that you made on a specific day -- perhaps in the middle of a game, or right before your first piano recital, or when you snapped the picture that you entered in your first photography contest.
My own passion is words, but "I love words" is not a thesis statement. Neither is "I love words because X, Y, and Z." But if I used "words" as the topic, I could shift my focus to a specific event that changed my way of thinking.
I am an English professor today becuase of an experience I had in high school physics. No, I didn't fail it. Actually, I did quite well in that class. Admiral Peebles was a retired U.S. naval officer who worked on nuclear submarines. He had us hook up wires to car batteries and shake metal filings onto paper so that we could see the shape of the magnetic fields around the wires. One day, he passed around a Styrofoam cup no bigger than a shot glass, and said a submarine on the bottom of the ocean needs to increase its internal air pressure in order to fight against the huge pressure of the water outside. Just as the weight of the water squeezes the sub, the weight of the air pressure squeezed a regular-sized the foam cup down to miniature size. He expected us to do math to prove we could apply the concepts, but in order to prove that we understood the concepts, we first had to write. "Give me students who can read and write," he said, "and I can teach them math and physics. Give me students who can read and write, and I can teach them to pilot a submarine." His respect for the humanities prompted me to examine other ways that technology and literacy are related. The example of Admiral Peebles helped me to realize not only that writing is a fantastic invention of the human intellect, but also that by teaching literacy skills, I could help change the world.What is my thesis? "By teaching literacy skills, I could help change the world."
im me ru u LOL
Online identity… online language… online culture. Focus on some specific issue and present a fresh, creative view of it. (Please don't just repeat arguments that you can find on any discussion board… let your special knowledge or experience shed new light.)
Don't believe everything you read. You're probably already aware that people can post pretty much anything they want online. Just because a page looks professional and appears in Google's search results does not mean you can trust what's on the page.
In order to emphasize the point that anybody can make a web page, paragraph 8 -- an "informative hypertext" -- asks you to do just that. The effective use of hyperlinks can change the way you write (making it much more efficient). But before we get to that, we'll need to spend some time on making hyperlinks.
This tutorial asks you take a few giant steps back, so that you can understand how Windows makes sense of icons (the little pictures you click on); you will learn how to create a new web page file in MS Word, check it in a web browser, and continue editing it in MS Word. You will also learn how hyperlinks change the way we write, and you will learn how to use MS Word to create hyperlinks.
Some Basic Practice
First, let's create a very simple web page, and save it in your I drive space (or anywhere you'll be able to find it again). Open a blank MS Word file, type anything at all, and choose "File -> Save As". From the line that reads "Save as type," select "Web Page, filtered" and then click save. (If you choose the first option, "Web Page," it will still work but your file will be larger and a little harder to edit. Small and simple is good online, so stick with "Web Page, filtered.")
In Windows, when you double-click on a file, the program that created it usually opens it up again and you can use it. But we are going to use MS Word to create a web page, so the behavior of the icons gets a little more complex. Follow along and see what I mean.
Exit Word, and click on My Computer. Find your way to where you saved your web page. Its icon shouldn't be a W -- it should be the icon for your default web browser (usually a blue lowercase "e" for Internet Explorer, or possibly the round orange icon for Mozilla Firefox). (If your file has a W icon instead, double-click it to open it in Word, and try to save it as "Web Page, filtered" again.)
Double-click your file to see what happens. If you saved it as a web page, you should see it open in a web browser window. At the moment, your file is only on your local computer. Nobody else can see it but you. (We'll talk about publishing your work on the internet later.)
Close your browser window and we'll move on to the next step.
Editing your Page
Let's edit your sample document in order to add links. A hypertext is simply a document that uses links. When you click on the hyperlink, you request a copy of a document that is located at a specific URL (uniform resource locator, or web address). Your screen changes to display the new document. All you need in order to create a link is the URL of the page you want to show your reader. Even if you've used MySpace or other online resources to create links, please follow along because you'll need to learn a few extra steps in order to work with your files here at SHU.
Let's add a hyperlink to your test document now. Open your sample web document, and let's edit it.
Uh oh. Did you just double-click the icon, and now you're looking at it displayed in your web browser again? How can you edit it in MS Word?
You have two options. You can open up a blank MS Word file, and then choose File, Open, make sure that "Files of type" includes "All Word Documents," and point to wherever you saved your web page. You can just open it the way you would normally open any file.
If you've already found the file you want, you could put your mouse over it, click the RIGHT mouse button, and select "Open with," and then select "Microsoft Office Word."
Now that you're editing your practice web page, type something like
This is my first year at Seton Hill University.
You could just add the SHU web address, which your word processor will turn into a hyperlink automatically. Try it now. Type "I go to Seton Hill University, which you can visit online at http://www.setonhill.edu." When you hit the "enter" key after you finish the sentence, your word processor will turn that address into a hyperlink. You can test that link by pointing to it and holding down the CTRL key. You will see the vertical insertion bar change into a hand; when that happens, click the link, and you'll see SHU's website open in a new window. (Close that window to return to MS Word.)
Now let's see what happens when you save your file and test it in a web browser. Since have already saved this file as a "Web page, filtered," all you have to do is save the file as you normally would. Now go back to My Computer, find your file, and click on it. You should see it in a web browser, and you should be able to click on the link normally (without having to hold CTRL).
Now let's return to MS Word and continue editing your file. You may have noticed that I'm big on avoiding wordiness. When you come across a web page, do you really need to be told what to do when you see a hyperlink? It would be much more efficient for your reader if you wrote,
In my first year at Seton Hill, I have learned...The reader of a hypertext document does not need to see the URL, and does not need to be told "click here". You can assume your reader will know that if a word or phrase is a hyperlink, readers can click on that link and learn more about it.
Consider an ordinary prose sentence like,
I decided to major in basket-weaving at Seton Hill because of the reputation of the National Center for Basketology Research, whose founder Basil Weaver came to visit my high school last year.If you converted this sentence to a hypertext document, "basket-weaving" could be a link to the department home page, "Seton Hill" linked to the SHU home page, "reputation" is a link to a news article that praised SHU's basketology program, "National Center for Basketology Research" was a link to the center's home page, etc.
You could pack a lot of information into that sentence, so that a reader who had never heard of basketology before would be able to take a little trip down a side-street to explore the pages you have selected, and then that reader could return to keep reading the main thought you wanted to make. But the reader who already knows about all that stuff won't be slowed down by needless details, and can focus on whatever new point you want to make. When you use hyperlinks to help readers understand unusual terms, to give them background information, and to give them evidence to support your claims, then you can focus on making the words that you write on your own page much more efficient and more intensely focused on only the new information that you want to offer.
Good online writing recognizes that everyone reading an online document is just a few clicks away from millions of other document. The second the reader is bored, they will click away and find something else to do. So don't waste time on long introductions -- make your point, give your evidence, and state your case.
Now that we know why hyperlinks are useful, let's make some.
First, find the URL of the page you want to link to. Select the URL in the address window, and copy it to the clipboard (CTRL-C). Then return to MS Word, and select the text that you want to turn into a link. Now select "Insert -> Hyperlink" (or press CTRL-K), and a new box will appear. At the bottom, you'll see a blank labeled "Address." Paste your URL here (CTRL-V), and click OK.
Save your file, and test it your a web browser.
Exercise 8 asks you to write an informative hypertext. I'll have more details about that assignment soon. For now, please experiment with using hyperlinks efficiently.
Be as specific as you can when you use URLs. If, for instance, you say "According to the Washington Post, only 15% of students who took the written portion of the SAT wrote their answers in cursive." If you make "Washington Post" into a link to the newspaper's home page, your reader would have to hunt for the article you are citing. Instead, link to the specific article you are citing.Now open up a web browser, and look for some URLs to add to the page.
Keep your file and folder names simple. Avoid apostrophes or other unusual characters. Spaces will work, but it’s better to replace spaces with the underline character. Thus, instead of calling a file “jimbo’s web site of amazing awesomeness!!” try instead “jimbos_site” (or even better, just “jimbo”).
Don’t open multiple copies of a file. If you already have a file open in one program, sometimes you will get an error message when you try opening it in a different program. Close down all windows that you’re not using.
This in-class activity emphasizes some important points about organization and revision.
How are you doing on your individual study plan? Reread your proposal, and come to class prepared to discuss and write about it.
Topic: your choice.
All I ask is that you check with me in advance, so we can both agree on what to expect. You don't have to finalize your topic today, just give it some good thought.
In class we will watch a video of a slideshow by lawyer Larry Lessig, offering a talk on "Who Owns Culture?"
Take something you've written for this class, and remix it.
Rhyme it. Strum it. Rap it. Drum it.
Tattoo it. YouTube it. Put your heart and soul into it. Yode-lay-he-hoo it.
Supersize it. Compromise it. U.S.S. Enterprise it. Send-it-to-Hogwart's-ize it.
Borrow whatever you want, and make it yours.
Update: Some student questions so far: "Can I bring my guitar to class and sing my rough draft?" "Can I use PowerPoint?" "Can several of us get together and make a video?"
Yes, yes, and yes.
Submit something in the Turnitin.com slot for Par 12 draft.
Focus on structuring analysis, using evidence from your compositions.