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Reading and Writing Assignment 9 3/4
Assignment 9¾ (Collaborative Essay, 10% of your final Grade)
For the next four+ weeks of our class, we’ll be spending most class days and some out-of-class time working on the writing process together. You will use the experience you gain from working collaboratively as insight into the process you will undertake on your own for the final paper for this course. For the remainder of the semester, you will be working on these assignments con-currently, multi-tasking your projects and drawing energy and ideas from your peers in the class about how to tackle a challenging writing assignment.
For Assignment 9 ¾, you will produce a paper that generally conforms the tenets articulated on the assignment prompt for Reading and Writing Assignment 10. Your topics for Assignment 10 will vary; for the in-class collaborative version of the paper, you will write about one of two topics we’ve been discussing already, the use of student data or adjunct labor at universities. In order to address the primary audience identified on your Assignment 10 prompt, you will consider these issues specifically as they relate to your own institution of higher learning. We will split our class into two large groups based on which topic you prefer (though please understand we may need to place some members of the class into their second choice in order to ensure equitable labor is required of all members).
While you may use articles assigned for class and other class-generated materials on Google Drive as the grounds for generating claims about the topic, you will be responsible as a class for learning more about your assigned subject, conducting additional research, meeting with faculty and staff on campus to learn more about our local situation, and developing claims and generating argument(s) about it that we have not covered already.
Over the next couple weeks in class, your group will produce a detailed outline and then a draft of a paper that fulfills the assignment prompt. I will provide comments on your draft and will be available for comments prior to it as well. You will use this feedback, along with the feedback you receive on Assignment 9, to produce a strong paper in fulfillment of Assignment 10.
How will we be graded?
The paper is worth 10% of your final course grade; that percentage will be divided into two parts that will amount to a total of 70 points.
First, your group members will all receive the same grade for the paper itself, which will count for 50 points. I will asses the paper itself by the same standards articulated on the prompt itself and use the same rubric for both. Generally speaking, you will need to produce a strong discussion that offers claims in a cohesive manner and supports claims with sound reasoning and credible evidence. The essay’s prose should be clear and you should aim for a draft that is free of errors. I will also take into account, of course, that the collaborative and experimental nature of the writing process presents unique challenges. You should all work hard to present a paper that you can be proud of, though in this particular case, the process is as important as the product, and I will aim to give you all as much credit as your efforts seem to warrant.
Second, you will receive a grade for your own contributions to the project, out of an additional 20 points. How you conduct yourself during the assignment is up to you—you can work as hard or as little as you want, but your peers will observe your effort and assistance with the project and they will play a significant role in determining a portion of your grade. At the end of the process, each person must briefly present what he or she contributed to the group in front of the class. Class members will then (privately) give each person a grade out 20 based on a basic rubric that measures each person’s participation, the amount of labor he or she undertook, and the quality of contribution. You will also give yourself a grade out of 20. I will add up all the grades in this portion; your grade out of 20 for this portion will be the average assigned to you by the entire class.
How to participate:
Your mode of contributing to Assignment 9 ¾ will be up to you; possible ways include, but are not limited to:
- contributing with comments and questions to class discussions;
- organizing the group into smaller units to complete specific tasks;
- apportioning research or related needs, including finding sources, sending emails, making phone calls, conducting interviews and meetings with campus faculty and staff; or other actions the group requires;
- assigning roles and work to different members and/or small sub-groups;
- contributing information collected independently or with other members;
- crafting specific parts of the paper;
- assisting in the revising process, including taking parts to the Writing Center.
How to Communicate:
- Via Blackboard’s email system
- Discussion forum via Blackboard in Adjunct Labor In-Class Project Folder (under Links to WWW Reading); you may upload files to posts.
- Shared GoogleDoc (via links shared and sent via university email); you can also find GoogleDocs under GoogleApps in the portal and set up your own shared documents.
You need not be loud or vocal to participate—but all members need to listen to one another and take seriously the contributions of others.
All members should be prepared to check Hofstra email, the forum, and shared documents as the group deems necessary so that all members are aware of their classmates’ contributions.
What if we all disagree on what to write?
No piece of writing ever benefits from suppressing dissent or opposing opinions. You’ll need to develop strategies as a group for dealing with arguments or claims that don’t neatly conform to any one member’s ideas. You can’t know what your claims and larger arguments will be until you discuss them together and come up with a series of points you want to make together. First consider ways of reaching consensus on a larger or more qualified claim; if you can’t find consensus, build the disagreement into your discussion. I am happy to help you with this problem and work through possible ways of handling disagreements. Doing this kind of rhetorical maneuvering without losing the integrity of your argument and evidence is, in fact, an important skill worth refining—as is the ability to work with others who don’t share your immediate experiences or views.
What if we can’t finish?
I know this answer is not particularly comforting, but you must finish the draft by the deadline. This assignment, though more difficult than some you may have in college, is no different from any other major assignment—not submitting it will have real consequences on your final grade. If you are having trouble getting some group members to work, or if you are having difficulties of some other sort, please speak with me about it. But your group will need to complete the draft no matter the challenges you face. Embrace the number of people in your group as an asset; you’ve already done some of the groundwork in our class meetings up to this point.
What if we finish Early?
Should you finish the paper with more than a week remaining, you will have the opportunity to learn and add multi-media components to the paper and discuss whether you’d like to present it as a mini-book on Scalar. Should you finish Assignment 9 ¾ with one week remaining, your group will also be able to use class meeting time to work on your final papers for the class.
Reading and Writing Assignment 10
Final Paper for the Course
Assignment 10 (30% of Final Grade)
The topic of your final paper--the culmination of what you've learned over the course of the semester and worth 30% of your final grade--will discuss an object (like Bogost’s essay on the telephone) a “text” (conceived broadly, like Cecire’s analysis of the Beyoncé album and its video iconography), a problem emerging from change (like the collection and use of our data by media companies), or a recent development either in higher education itself (such as the “adjunctification” of university faculty) or a development in a context that a specific academic field is poised to help address (such as the example we’ll see with microbeads, wherein experts in chemistry, ecology, and sustainability studies can identify a problem and possible alternatives). The examples listed in parentheses are all linked to written work we’ve read or will read about this semester; you will need to come up with your own topic that fits within the categories underlined.
Under this broad framework, you may choose a topic that you find interesting—but you must be able to make the case that this topic is somehow of interest to your audience, the Hofstra community at large, and relevant at this specific moment in time. It must, therefore, meet a condition rhetoricians call kairos. Your audience includes members of WSC 1 as well as other students, professors, and staff members, so you will need to have sound reasons and evidence that this audience will care about your topic as much as you do for me to approve it--and you must be willing to craft a written discussion of the topic that will make the case for its local implications. That is, you must address your topic as something that matters specifically to our community here.
Regardless of what you choose, you must approach your topic from an academic perspective, using a lens that scholars from some academic field have deployed in their work and writing about it in as complex terms as possible. Rather than aim to make something seem simple, you’ll want to grapple with something hard. Otherwise, you can’t learn anything from the process of writing about it. Along these lines, you must consider your topic’s history, conducting research that helps your audience understand how the topic now is related to conditions of factors in its past.
Put another way, you must ensure your topic has a Hofstra component and a History component. Addressing both of these components in your research and writing will help you discuss your topic with substance.
Requirements and Tips
Your paper should be about 6-7 pages long with 1” margins and typed in an academically appropriate font (12pt Times New Roman is a safe choice) in its final form. It should be double-spaced and carefully proofread; it should also adhere to the MLA format shown in the sample MLA paper and Works Cited available through the links (Purdue OWL and UTexas Writing Center) on our textbook and Blackboard.
Your paper should engage with the history of your topic in some fashion and make at least one arguable claim about the present and future of your topic. (The kinds of claims you will make will vary based on your topic and your interests, but I will help you develop an argument or arguments!)
Your paper must substantively draw on multiple (more than two) credible sources; at least three of your sources should be peer-reviewed scholarly essays from academic journals.
Your paper must have a works cited page that documents your sources and is formatted according to MLA style; a missing works cited page will result in an automatic 5 point reduction in your draft grade and a full-letter grade drop in your final paper grade if you persist in leaving it out!
I strongly suggest that you do not use a 5-paragraph structure; your essay will be far too long to be well served by that strategy. Use as many paragraphs as you and your readers need for the arguments you intend to make.
Explain why your topic is important and relevant for your audience, with sound reasoning and persuasive evidence.
Maintain your own credibility as an author in your essay’s tone, diction, style, and content. Remember that part of your job is to develop your own ethos as a writer and thinker––that is, you also need to convince me and your classmates that you have a good understanding of the topic and that you have thought critically about it.
Avoid any potential diversions of reasoning (argumentative fallacies).
I will evaluate your essay according to how effectively it:
- demonstrates thoughtful consideration of this prompt and listed Options;
- establishes the significance of your topic for your assigned audience (the HOFSTRA component);
- shows your ability to research a subject thoroughly (the HISTORY component);
- embodies the ideals of academic argumentation that we have discussed in class;
- demonstrates an understanding of how to integrate quotations grammatically and strategically, with the use of attributive tags and analytical commentary;
- supports all claims with sound reasoning and strong evidence
- structures claims and evidence in an effective manner, demonstrating attention to matters of organization;
- and adheres to MLA formatting guidelines.
I will also evaluate your essay based on the quality of your prose; I will be looking for prose that is clear, precise, and sophisticated; please try to produce a final draft that is largely free of grammatical or mechanical errors.
Appendix 2: Assignments 9 & 10
Assignments 9 and 10
Assignments 1-8 in this course all lead up to the final three assignments:The final and most important will be Assignment 10, a 5-6 page discussion of a topic relevant to a university audience; we will use Assignment 8 to lay out possible topics; you will post the topics to a Discussion forum and I and your classmates will comment upon them. Once I approve a topic/course of study for you, you can embark on the research for the paper that will form the basis for both Assignments 9 and 10.Assignment 9 is a 4-5 page historical overview of scholarship on your topic; you will use it to practice basic writing skills and the communication of complex ideas. The feedback I give you on this paper will be applicable for your work on Assignment 10.The idea behind both assignments is that you will write with substance if you are given the opportunity to think substantively about a topic and learn about it from multiple perspectives and at length.In order to give you additional opportunities to practice writing a substantive academic discussion, you will also work on Assignment 9 3/4, in which you will fulfill most of the requirements for Assignment 10 by writing a collaborative essay on one of two topics, the phenomenon of "adjunctification" or the use of student data in the university setting. Through the process of writing this paper, you'll learn the skills and methods appropriate to college-level writing.