ENG 252 Advanced Composition syllabus, updated Fall 2011 #252ac

Course: ENG 252 - Advanced Composition (#252ac)
Semester: Fall 2011
Teacher/Guide: Dr. James Schirmer (@betajames)
Email: jschirm@umflint.edu
Office: 320D French Hall
Hours: Monday/Wednesday by appointment)

Writing Center: 559 French Hall
Writing Center Phone: 810.766.6602 (call ahead to make an appointment)
Writing Center Website: http://www.umflint.edu/departments/writingcenter/

Course Description:
As what constitutes composition (advanced or not) expands due to technological influence, the kinds of writing in which we engage also change. Everyday writing can often take on greater importance, informing other kinds of composition. This course endeavors to garner greater understanding and awareness of our past, present, and future practices of writing. The what and why of writing is as of much focus here as the how.

Course Objectives:
Upon completion of this course, you will have:

  • Read self-selected texts in preparation for advancing notions of writing
  • Developed a broader understanding of what signifies as composition
  • Practiced the application of said understanding through evaluative and reflective writing
  • Prepared one or more substantial compositions for peer/public viewing 

Required Texts:
All texts will be available online or provided via email.

Course Contributions: 
The grading contract outlines many parameters for the course, but not all. Below is more information about unique contributions to be made to the course by all students.

Presence: I expect you to come to class on time, prepared, having completed the assigned reading and writing, and ready to contribute thoughts to class discussions, to listen with attentive respect to the thoughts of your peers, and to participate in all in-class group work.  I strongly urge you to attend every class, as most of the work done in class is necessary for successful completion of the course.

Posterous: Contrary to assumptions about writing, authorship is more of a collective process than an individual endeavor. To better illustrate this, you are required to create and maintain a Posterous blog for the duration of the course. Particular requirements for blogging are as follows: 

  • Blog entries of 400-600 words are due twice a week by session start.
  • Blog comments of 40-60 words are due thrice a week by 5pm every Friday.

Further guidelines are provided here.

Twitter: To create and sustain further conversation this semester, all students are required to maintain active presence on Twitter for a minimum of four weeks. One post (or tweet) per day is required, but there is freedom regarding content. Students are welcome to post original thoughts, "retweet" classmates' updates, @ (reply to) classmates' updates, and share course-relevant links with the course hashtag. Posts unrelated to course content are okay, but these will not count toward the requirement. I am very active on Twitter, so I encourage all students to check my profile (as well as those I follow) for potential models of engagement. Further guidelines are provided here

Sequences: For particular course themes, there are some longer assignments. These provide opportunities for not only greater attention and focus but also practice and preparation for later projects and beyond. They are as follows: 

 

  • Personal writing history 
    Reflecting on our relationships with writing can help us understand how and why we write and, by extension, how our own writing strategies are similar to and different from those around us. By putting such reflection into the form of an autobiography, we have a chance to get to know each other better in a unique way.
  • Media representations of writing 
    Given that what constitutes composition/writing expands, (in)accurate portrayals of composers and the act of composing persist. While some might offer evidence of future ways, others suggest more traditional methods. How various and sundry media present and represent composers and composing can often have as much influence on our thinking as what, where, and when we write. 
  • Distraction-free writing 
    Given the relative wealth of “distraction-free” writing programs available online, each purports to be unique in promising to deliver the same, basic thing: increased focus on the task at hand. Both the programs themselves and their descriptive pitches enable and frame the act, purpose, and value of writing in different ways. Some are very process-oriented; others are more expressive. Many exhibit stark, monochromatic styles, harkening back to simpler times. So, let’s see if any of these programs fulfill their promises.
  • Writing studies project
    You have the choice of putting together a critical or a creative piece for a semester-end project. This will involve several project drafts throughout the final quarter of the semester. Critical projects must be at least 2400 words; creative projects will need to be significant digital documents (produced for this class alone) accompanied by process notes that help contextualize the work.  

 

Class Facilitation: Student groups are responsible for facilitating class once during the semester. It should last 60 minutes with each group providing readings for the rest of the class prior to the facilitation. Student groups will meet with me at least one week prior to their facilitation to finalize readings and discuss approaches. 

Facilitation readings should be given to the instructor in time to allow for copies to be made (or files to be uploaded). Facilitation readings should be relevant to and provide insight on some aspect of the course. 

A facilitation can take whatever format is comfortable for the student group presenting (discussion questions, in-class activities, online activities, etc.). The introduction and subsequent discussion of topics for facilitation will be based on students' interests and finalized as a class. 

On Technology Usage:
Because the core of this class involves how technology changes writing as well as our sense of self and culture, we will engage a range of computer tools and web-based applications. No prior skill is needed, however, only a willingness to engage and learn. I am more than willing to take extra time; all you need to do is ask.

The tools we will be using in and outside of class are web-based, so you will not need any special software. I do, however, have some recommendations (not requirements) that I will provide at the appropriate intervals. Furthermore, you should have an email address that you check regularly for this class. While I prefer to contact students via university email, I am open to other email addresses.

While technology makes life easier, it can also be difficult (computer crashes, deleted work, unavailable Internet connections, etc.). So, plan accordingly. "The computer ate my homework" or "the Internet was down" are not reasons to forgo the work assigned. It is in your best interest to leave extra time, especially in the first few weeks, to ensure that technology does not get in the way of your coursework.

How to Reach Me:
The best way to reach me though is by email, but you can find me on Twitter. I am online almost every day. If you email or @ me and do not receive a response within 24 hours, please feel free to email or @ me again (as I might not have received your first message) and give me a reminder. I promise not to consider this harassment.

If you are more comfortable with face-to-face communication, let me know and we can set up an appointment.


Final Note:
Should any aspect of class confuse/concern/trouble you, don't hesitate to contact me.

ENG 252 Advanced Composition schedule, updated Fall 2011 #252ac

All due dates are tentative. Regular blogging is due every week unless specificed otherwise.

 

Week 1 - Expectations & Introductions
9.7

Week 2 - Justifications & Questions
9.12
Read: "Everyday Writing," "Internet-Age Writing Syllabus" & Stanford Study of Writing
Write: Personal writing history 

9.14 - Our Lives With Writing
Read: "Blogging essential for a good career," "On Blogging and Becoming A Better Writer," "In Defense of Twitter," "Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004" & "There's an art to writing on Facebook or Twitter"
Introduction: Media representations of writing (MRW)

Week 3 - Our Lives With Writing
9.19 
Read: "We Are All Writers Now," "Traditional Writing Skills Don't Work on the Web" & "Words for Print VS Words for Web"
Watch: TBD by students

9.21 
Watch: TBD by students
Write: MRW

Week 4 - MRW
9.26 
Pecha Kucha
Paul F., Corynn, Bob, Nicole, Alyssa, Kayla, Andrew
Write: MRW
9.28 
Pecha Kucha
Philip, Ashlee, Alex, Justin, Kurtis, Jenna, Alex L.
Write: MRW

Week 5 - MRW / Facilitations
10.3
Pecha Kucha
Kara, Adam, Kendra, Amanda, Amber, Melissa, Ben, Cody G. 
Write: MRW

10.5
Read: TBD
Student group: 
Paul F., Nicole V., Justin M., Kara B., Alyssa W.  

Week 6 - Facilitations / Twitter
10.10
Read: TBD
Student group: 
Alex L., Cody G., Adam C., Amber C. 

10.12
Write: Evaluation of & reflection on Twitter  

Week 7 - Facilitations
10.17
Read: TBD
Student group: Alex C., Manda O., Andrew R., Kendra B.

10.19
Read: TBD
Student group: Benjamin C., Melissa C., Kayla D., Corynn B., Phil H.

Week 8 - Facilitations / Distraction-free Writing (DFW)
10.24
Read: TBD 
Student group: Kurtis B., Bob H., Jenna F., Ashlee C. 

10.26
Read: “Growing Up Digital, Wired For Distraction," “Attention Versus Distraction? What That Big NY Times Story Leaves Out" &“Goodbye, cruel Word” 

Week 9 - DFW

10.31
Write: DFW

Read: “FocusWriter And Why I Now Despise Despise WriteRoom” , “Introducing u” 

11.2
Read: “Writing in the Age of Distraction,” “Better Than Renting Out A Windowless Room,” “Like Hammers," 
Write: DFW

Week 10 - Writing studies project (WSP)
11.7
Conferences

2PM - Nicole V.
215PM - Bob H.
230PM - Corynn B.
245PM - Benjamin C.
3PM - Alex C.
315PM - Amanda O.
330PM - Adam C.
345PM - Cody G.
4PM - Phil H. 
415PM - Kayla D.
430PM
445PM
5PM 

11.9 
Conferences
2PM - Melissa C.
215PM - Alyssa W.
230PM - Paul F. 
245PM - Kara B.
3PM - Jenna F.
315PM - Ashlee C.
330PM - Kurt B.
345PM - Amber C. 
4PM - 
415PM - Justin M.
430PM
445PM - Kendra B.
5PM - Alexandra L.

Week 11 - WSP
11.14
Pecha Kucha 
11.16
Pecha Kucha

Week 12 - WSP
11.21
Write: 1st draft
11.23
Write: 1st draft

Week 13 - WSP
11.28
Write: 2nd draft
11.30
Write: 2nd draft

Week 14 - Reflections
12.5 
Write: Self-reflective essay 
12.7
Write: revisions

Week 15 - Exam Week
Conferences 

Distraction-free writing, Fall 2011 #252ac

Given the relative wealth of “distraction-free” writing programs available online, each purports to be unique in promising to deliver the same, basic thing: increased focus on the task at hand. Both the programs themselves and their descriptive pitches enable and frame the act, purpose, and value of writing in different ways. Some are very process-oriented; others are more expressive. Many exhibit stark, monochromatic styles, harkening back to simpler times. 

In other words, certain programs invite certain kinds of writers. For instance, Writer for iPad implies concern about "destroying the voice and the organic structure of our original thought." Meanwhile, Ommwriter "believes in making writing a pleasure once again, vindicating the close relationship between writer and paper." Furthermore, WriteRoom "gets your computer out of the way so that you can focus on your work." These programs are pitched and presented more as environments than tools. They are more spaces for us to write from/within and less instruments facilitating the writing process, if it is a process at all.

So, let’s see if any of these programs fulfill their promises. Many are available for free or at minimal cost, so I encourage you to download a couple of the following:

For the more adventurous among us:

To better focus our discussion of and thoughts on distraction-free writing, I'd like for us to complete the following:

Part 1: Experience (blog, Monday, 10.31.11). Describe what it's like to write from/within the space of a distraction-free writing tool. Boot up one of the distraction-free writing tools listed above and write from and of the experience. Is this familiar? Is it foreign? Is it nostalgic? Even romantic? Furthermore, what kind(s) of writing or writer(s) does this tool invite and/or discourage? How does writing via this tool compare to your standard word processor? Think stream-of-consciousness. Whatever form this experiential writing exercise takes is fine, but it should be substantial. Be sure to post it by 2:30PM, Monday, 10.31.11. 

Part 2: Application (blog, Wednesday, 11.2.11). Write something else, something more specific within the space of a distraction-free writing tool. Boot up one of the distraction-free writing tools listed above and write about a course-related issue or topic. This can be a creative or a critical piece of writing, but do begin and complete it using one of the distraction-free writing tools listed above. Be sure to post it by 2:30PM, Wednesday, 11.2.11.

Personal writing history, Fall 2011 #252ac

Reflecting on our relationships with writing can help us understand how and why we write and, by extension, how our own writing strategies are similar to and different from those around us. By putting such reflection into the form of an autobiography, we have a chance to get to know each other better in a unique way.

So, compose a piece of at least 750 words detailing your life of/with writing. The approach you take is rather open-ended. The main focus should be on your relationship with writing, but you can take a chronological perspective, share a series of anecdotes about writing, and/or note particular progress in your ability and understanding of writing. If you have any questions about this, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d be happy to discuss approaches/ideas.

  • What early experiences with writing devices or artifacts can you recall? What do you remember about your earliest writing(s)?
  • Who do you identify as being most literate person in your life? What makes that person's relationship with writing so special; that is, what behaviors or characteristics does he or she exhibit? What have you learned from him or her?
  • Do you think there are social consequences or potential impacts on your lifestyle that depend on your writing capabilities? What might these social consequences or potential impacts be?
  • What will it mean to be a writer in the near future?
  • What's on your desk at home and/or office at work? What writing devices are you carrying now? What's on your writing “wish list?”
  • What writing technologies do you own or know about that would be of benefit to your classmates?
  • How do you learn new writing technologies? What process do you go through? Is it hard, fun, easy, traumatic, boring, annoying, or some combination?

Be sure to post it to your blog by the start of our 9.12 session.

 

On composition pedagogy, the syllabus, Twitter, journalism, privacy, copyright, and videogames #dyr

it’s too easy to allow the classroom work associated with composition courses to focus on activities other than writing. I’ve been in many composition classes here and at other institutions where the students discuss readings and approaches and the teachers facilitate work and manage discussion and sometimes stand at the front of the classroom and show students things. Compositionists know and agree and emphasize that the work of the writing class is writing, and yet — in many classes — students simply don’t produce much text, largely because of the way we apportion the work of the course.

 

we may be a little too fond of limiting and certainty. These days syllabi are looking more and more like those Terms of Service that pop up when we use software...They are contracts that we can’t negotiate, and they contain provisions we might not agree to, if we understood what they actually meant. But the most striking thing about TOS is that they are full of rules – and very few people read them.

 

what are the teaching and learning practices of the networked classroom? No doubt there are people out there doing that work, and those of us who have taught in computer labs have related, relevant experiences. In both cases, it's a matter of turning the focal point away from the professor. Even in the class discussion format, among faculty committed to "decentering" the classroom, conversation generally runs through the professor, or at least the professor steers conversation through its iterations. As we have discovered, nothing decenters the classroom quite like a room full of laptops and smartphones, eh? The networked students is only partly in the classroom and is partly distributed. 

 

The reality of the Twitter effect isn’t just that President Obama has Twitter town halls now where he talks directly to American citizens, nor is it just that someone with no journalism background sitting in a house in Pakistan can report on a military raid that kills the world’s most notorious terrorist. It’s that journalism of all kinds has now become something you do, not something you are. Anyone can do it, whether they call themselves a journalist or not.

 

Politics presented as entertainment charges the press with a failure to treat the serious stuff seriously. And that is a valid critique. But here’s a trickier problem: even when the press is trying to be serious, to provide, say, “analysis” instead of a good yarn, it increasingly relies on an impoverished notion of politics, a cluster of bad ideas that together form the common sense of the craft

 

The definition of privacy has been thrown out the window, and we have a new definition of privacy, which is whether we have control of what companies are doing with this information and if we have knowledge of how it’s being used.

 

you can’t motivate monopoly legislation based on your costs, when others are doing the same thing for much less — practically zero. There has never been as much music available as now, just because all of us love to create. It’s not something we do because of money, it’s because of who we are. We have always created.

 

Just like in the best zombie movies, the real drama in L4D lies in the relationships between the living, not the dead. The infected are just a pretext for collapsing the social order and forcing people to depend on one another to survive. It’s the ultimate online co-op experience, a game that requires not just headshot skills but communication, collaboration and confidence in your fellow player.

 

anger is a gift

In the past, I’ve been close to clarifying my vitriol about Blackboard and CMS/LMS in general. Reservations have kept me from doing so, though. I’ve had doubts about whether or not I dislike Blackboard for what it is, if maybe my frustrations had to do with broader concerns about higher education, if perhaps my operating methods and preferences were just different. I’ve wondered if I just needed to be more patient, more willing to discover how this CMS/LMS organizes and values the efforts of students and teachers alike.

Pushing up against those doubts are my recollections of past experiences with Blackboard. Having to comply with it this fall semester has only brought back all my prior frustrations. Atrocious loading times, a convoluted submission system, scrolling-heavy forums, and the requisite number of OKs for any given action collectively cause a rage within me to go from boiling to white-hot.

The option to download students’ submitted work in a single .zip file becomes just another obstacle as unzipped files have extensions removed and names that make finding certain documents impossible. The persistent disconnect between different screens regarding graded and ungraded work is an additional problem. I could keep better track of such course aspects with a notebook and pencil. 

At the 7:38 mark of the above video, Douglas Rushkoff talks about Blackboard from two perspectives. From the student/teacher perspective, Blackboard is a terrible piece of software. However, from the programmer’s perspective, Blackboard is brilliant because it decreases user agency and increases user dependency. According to Rushkoff, Blackboard was “written for the Blackboard company to dominate education in a particular way.” In other words, students and teachers don’t use Blackboard so much as they have to figure out how to comply with it. 

While I agree with Rushkoff, I no longer think of Blackboard as software. Instead, I think of Blackboard as “institutionware.” For as much as Blackboard is about preserving itself as the top CMS/LMS option, it is also about preserving the traditional aspects of higher education. It is about keeping the ivory tower closed off from the rest of society. It is about grades and instructor control. It is about stifling creativity and minimizing opportunities for students to create fuller identities. Even more recent ‘features’ are about containment, keeping within the overall system. These are particularly frustrating as they often mark the introduction of new environments and tools for learning that only serve lectures and exams.

It pains me that many of the faults of Blackboard are also the faults of higher education, but I want to believe that raging against the machine isn’t a fruitless endeavor, that higher education can be salvaged from the CMS/LMS wreckage. 

On piracy, nostalgia, book publishing, New Yorker cartoons, composition pedagogy, education reform, and the humanities #dyr

The film industry loses $6.1 billion annually to digital piracy, according to a study conducted by economist Stephen Siwek and cited recently by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). And the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA) says royalty rights for indie films have been halved from what they were five years ago. The John Doe lawsuits are a way for desperate movie studios and distributors to recoup those losses. Armed with a list of IP addresses and draconian copyright laws, lawyers for the scorned studios are treating a broad swath of the Internet-browsing public like their own personal ATM.

 

an undercurrent to grunge retrospection is the music media's and record industry's own nostalgia for the heyday of the rock monoculture. It was already crumbling in the early '90s, thanks to rap (the rebel music of black youth, obviously, but a lot of white kids had defected to hip-hop, too) and to the emergence of rave and electronic dance culture (in America destined always to be a minority subculture, but in Europe the dominant form of '90s pop). Grunge was the last blast of rock as a force at once central in popular culture yet also running counter to mainstream show biz values.

 

There is no way to limit the output of books. But the sense that there may be too many of them is a message to authors, agents, and publishers that they would do well to exercise judgment in choosing which books actually deserve to be written and supported. At the moment, however, the process is moving in the other direction: self-publishing as a business is booming, and Amazon, Apple, and Google, with their various devices and imprints, seem to be lowering the entry bar because these corporate behemoths see new publishing ventures as a source of revenue, pretty much regardless of quality.

 

If making graphic novels felt like a staid long-term relationship, then doing gag comics is like playing the field. One day I could draw a fortuneteller; the next, an astronaut. I went from sultans to superheroes, robots to rabbits. I felt liberated. I refused to get bogged down or fuss over the drawings. I spent no more than an hour with any one cartoon, and many took far less time than that. For the first two weeks I was feeling my oats. I already had a half-dozen keepers and was confident there were plenty more winners on the way. It was at this point that I started dreaming of actually selling a cartoon to The New Yorker.

 

When you are trying to teach writing, you are trying to teach something that, when it comes down to it, we don't know a lot about. Actually, that's not precisely true. We know a great deal about writing, if by writing one is referring to an abstract concept. There is a lot of scholarship that describes and theorizes writing, to say nothing of the scholarship about particular texts. But to understand writing, one would have to understand thinking. While there is a lot of interesting brain research going on, there's nothing that going to tell you "follow these steps to come up with a good idea for your paper." Instead what we have are lots of techniques that sometimes work. Or, to quote Anchorman, "60% of the time, it works every time." The problem lies in mistaking techniques for empirical facts. There is no definitive "how to write." In short, the goal of the course is to help students become better writers, but there is no definition of "better," there is no clear, general writing practice, and there is no set body of knowledge to impart. 

 

Real educational reform, as I see it, requires a fundamental shift in our understanding of the educational process...For starters, it requires that we abandon the idea that adults are in charge of children's learning.  It requires, in other words, that we throw out the basic premise that underlies our system of schooling. 

 

The humanities needs more courage and more contact with the world. It needs to extend the practice of humanism into that world, rather than to invite the world in for tea and talk of novels, only to pat itself on the collective back for having injected some small measure of abstract critical thinking into the otherwise empty puppets of industry. As far as indispensability goes, we are not meant to be superheroes nor wizards, but secret agents among the citizens, among the scrap metal, among the coriander, among the parking meters.

 

Videogames as rhetorical situations

Last week, I wrote toward the rhetorical situation of videogames. Of primary focus and inspiration was Ian Bogost’s recent op-ed about the function and content of certain statements about videogames. At least in an initial way, I attempted to relate Bogost’s observations to Vatz’s argument about the myth of the rhetorical situation. However, I want to take one step back from that. I’m curious if it’s possible to argue for seeing videogames themselves as rhetorical situations. This may either illuminate Bitzer’s argument or further support Vatz’s refutation. Regarding the possibility of performing both, I’ll save Consigny’s “Rhetoric and Its Situations” for a future post.

In “The Rhetorical Situation,” Lloyd Bitzer puts forth a series of hypotheticals in which “words suggest the presence of events, persons, or objects” (1) and ultimately views rhetorical situation as “a natural context of persons, events, objects, relations, and an exigence which invites utterance” (5). There’s probably an argument to be made on whether or not a videogame is a natural context, but that’s not my interest right now. Again, I’m more interested in seeing a videogame as a rhetorical situation. To get at this, let’s look at what Bitzer considers the three constituents of any rhetorical situation: exigence, audience, and constraints.

The constituent of exigence appears workable for both rhetorical situations and videogames as Bitzer explains exigence as “imperfection marked by urgency” which also functions as the situation’s organizing principle, specifying “the audience to be addressed and the change to be effected” (7). In a videogame, this can happen in terms of design (how far Mario can jump), narrative (“your princess is in another castle”), or both. 

However, the constituent of audience may be an area in which my curious argument fails or at least gains a greater degree of complexity. According to Bitzer, the audience of a rhetorical situation consists “only of those persons who are capable of being influenced by discourse and of being mediators of change” (8). In the case of a videogame, the player is also the audience, the one both capable of discursive influence and mediating change. Or is it the videogame that’s the audience, influenced (or at least responsive) as it is to player action?

But maybe this is where such an argument falls apart, too, if we understand that the vast majority of player actions in a given videogame have already been accounted for by the designer. Even in an open-world videogame like Grand Theft Auto 4, there are limits. This does lead us to Bitzer’s third constituent, though: constraints. There are two main classes, “those originated or managed by the rhetor and his method” (8), which we might see as analogous to a speedrun, and “those other constraints, in the situation, which may be operative” (8), which we might see in a multiplayer session of Halo: Reach

Now, perhaps some parsing is needed between rhetorical discourse and player action, between rhetorical situation and videogame, but I want to close here with a simple copy/paste endeavor in an attempt to prove a point. In saying that rhetoric is situational, Bitzer offers a series of statements about the relationship between discourse and situation. Below is an attempt to show a similar relationship between player action and videogame.

Player action comes into existence as a response to the videogame. An action is given rhetorical significance by the videogame. A videogame must exist as a necessary condition of player action. Many videogames mature and decay without giving birth to player action. A videogame is rhetorical insofar as it needs and invites player action capable of participating with the videogame and thereby altering its reality. Player action is rhetorical insofar as it functions (or seeks to function) as a fitting response to a videogame which needs and invites it. The videogame controls player action in the same sense that the question controls the answer and the problem controls the solution.
How many of these statements could we argue as true?

 

Bitzer, Lloyd F. “The Rhetorical Situation.” Philosophy and Rhetoric (Winter 1968): 1-14.

On curation, technology, kids today, librarians, blogging, and privacy #dyr

A big part of this new age of creation is that you have infinite choice, and no clear concept of where to start...So what’s the fix? You need a filter. And I strongly believe that while algorithmical filters work, you need people to tell you about things you wouldn’t find that way.

technology has never been cold, impersonal, and industrial. We simply chose to understand it that way. Technology has always had a role in shaping the inner life, the intimate life. The telephone - surely a shaping force in the making and shaping of self. The telegram, the letter, the book.

...

Nor was there anything cold about how industrial technologies such as cars and trains shaped our sensibilities, our sense of self, of our sensuality, our possibilities. If we have succumbed to an ideology of technological neutrality that is something that needs to be studied as an independent phenomenon; it is not to be taken as a given.

whatever the flavor of the month in terms of new technologies are, there’s research that comes out very quickly that shows how it causes our children to be asocial, distracted, bad in school, to have learning disorders, a whole litany of things.

Davidson's youth worship, though extreme, is common these days among those who write about technology and society. Individuals born after the dawn of the Internet are not the same as you and me, goes the now-familiar refrain. As a result of their lifelong immersion in electronic media, young people's brains are "wired differently," and they require different schools, different workplaces, and different social arrangements from the ones we have. They are described, with more than a little envy, as "digital natives," effortlessly at home in an electronic universe, while we adults are "digital immigrants," benighted arrivals from the Old World doomed to stutter in a foreign tongue.

students rarely ask librarians for help, even when they need it. The idea of a librarian as an academic expert who is available to talk about assignments and hold their hands through the research process is, in fact, foreign to most students. Those who even have the word “librarian” in their vocabularies often think library staff are only good for pointing to different sections of the stacks.

Facebook and Twitter are too easy. Keeping up a decent blog that people actually want to take the time to read, that’s much harder. And it’s the hard stuff that pays off in the end.

Besides, even if they’re very good at hiding the fact, over on Twitter and Facebook, it’s not your content, it’s their content.

The content on your blog, however, belongs to you, and you alone. People come to your online home, to hear what you have to say, not to hear what everybody else has to say. This sense of personal sovereignty is important.

I have always been understanding that these tech giants need to make money. Supporting tens of millions of users takes time and a whole lot of resources. While it’s in Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn’s interests to attract as many users as possible – and clearly free is the way – there are obvious consequences: Users get to play without paying, but every few months we get kicked in the face when our digital profiles get abused.

employers are increasingly aware of and keen to use the huge informational resource that social media serves up on a plate; all kind of information is in the public domain, and incredibly easy to find – particularly if the applicant has an unusual name. As the chief executive of Social Intelligence has said, with something of a corporate shrug, "All we assemble is what's publicly available on the internet today". Nothing underhand going on here, they say; the company believes that the information is out there to be evaluated.

ENG 111 College Rhetoric schedule, updated Fall 2011 #111cr

All due dates are tentative. Regular blogging is due every week unless specified otherwise.

CSK = Composition Survival Kit
TSIS = Graff & Birkenstein's "They Say / I Say" 


Week 1 - Expectations & Introductions
9.7

Week 2 - Justifications & Questions
9.12
Read: "Why I Blog," "There's an art to writing on Facebook or Twitter," "In Defense of Twitter," and "Writing in the Age of Distraction"
Write: first blogging entry & first tweet 

9.14 
Due: 750-word response essay to “What do you want to learn?” prompt
Read: CSK "Introduction" & p. 1-16, TSIS "Preface," p. 1-29 & p. 141-144 
Write: TSIS Exercise 2, p. 15, & Exercise 2, p. 29 

Week 3 - Moves That Matter 
9.19 
Read: CSK 17-22, TSIS p. 30-51 
Write: TSIS Exercise 1, p.40, & Exercise 1, p.50 

9.21 
Read: CSK 50-67, TSIS p. 55-77 
Write: TSIS Exercise 1, p. 67, & Exercise 2, p. 76-77 
Student group: Bruce W., Leanne K., Andrew S., Elizabeth S., Amber S.
Student focus: online sources 

Week 4 - Moves That Matter
9.26 
Read: TSIS p. 78-101 
Write: TSIS Exercise 1, p. 90-91, & Exercise 2, p. 101 
Student group: Katie P., Tiffany B., Karli H., Michael M., Xingyu C.
Student focus: citations 

9.28 
Read: TSIS 105-128
Write: TSIS Exercise 2, p. 120, & Exercise 2, p. 128 
Student group: Uriah H., Joe S., Catt K., Michelle C., Alex H.
Student focus: writing styles 

Week 5 - Moves That Matter / Pop Up Scholarship
10.3
Read: TSIS 129-138 
Write: TSIS Exercise 1, p. 137 
Student group: Charles S.,Stefanie R., Robin B., Alaina P., Chris S.
Student focus: thesis statements 

10.5
Student group: Haley G., Tony W., Emily T., Evan P.,
Student focus: transitions 
Pop Up Scholarship introduction 

Week 6 - Pop Up Scholarship
10.10
Pop Up Scholarship Parts 1&2 due 

10.12
Write: Evaluation of & reflection on Twitter
Pop Up Scholarship Part 3 due
Reverse-Engineered Scholarship introduction 

Week 7 - Reverse-Engineered Scholarship
10.17
Reverse-Engineered Scholarship Part 1 due

10.19
Reverse-Engineered Scholarship Part 2 due
Mashup Scholarship introduction

Week 8 - Mashup Scholarship
10.24
Read: "Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism," "What Plagiarism Looks Like," & "The ecstasy of influence: a plagiarism"

10.26
Mashup Scholarship Part 1 due
Pecha Kucha reintroduction

Week 9 - Pecha Kucha
10.31
Mashup Scholarship Part 2 due
Pecha Kucha due
Andrew S., Robin B., Kat P., Catherine K., Elizabeth S., Charles S., Joe S., Leanne K., Stefanie R., Amber S. 

11.2
Pecha Kucha due
Evan P., Haley G., Alex H., Uriah H., Chris S., Michelle C., Xingyu C., Karli H., Tiffany B., Michael M., Alaina P.

Week 10 - Causes
11.7
First causes draft due 

11.9 
First causes draft due 

Week 11 - Causes
11.14
Second causes draft due 

11.16
Second causes draft due

Week 12 - Solutions
11.21
First solutions draft due 

11.23
First solutions draft due 

Week 13 - Solutions
11.28
Second solutions draft due 

11.30
Second solutions draft due 

Week 14 - Reflections
12.5
Read: CSK 27-32 
Write: Self-reflective essay 

12.7
Revisions due 

Week 15 - Exam Week
Conferences