week 15: endurance!

You made it to final portfolio week! Just a bit more effort to make those last revisions and be sure your final portfolio is formatted correctly.

I enjoyed reading your revised essays and seeing the progress you’ve made. I finished commenting on all revisions that I’ve received via D2L Discussions, email, dropbox… you name it. If I have missed anyone, please let me know. Check the D2L discussions to read my comments on your revisions. Here are a few general notes:

  • I saw some essays that had paragraphs with no clear interpretive point. Remember, an interpretive point is a claim that you infer from the text. It’s something that is not obvious. It is debatable and has to be supported with evidence. Also, “interpretive” in our class means that the point has something to do with rhetorical analysis: purpose, audience, context, arrangement, strategies, etc.
  • Be sure to proofread your essays. It can help to read the essay out loud, or have a friend read it out loud to you. I noticed a number of confusing phrases and typos in reading revisions on D2L.

As you know, final portfolios are due Monday December 12 by 11:59pm in the correct dropbox on D2L. Please look at the last two pages of this handout if you haven’t already. I hope that the format guidelines are clear and specific. Please email me, of course, if anything is confusing. You’ll want to read the document above soon, though, since I can’t be answering questions at the last minute Sunday night.

Writing instructors will read all the portfolios on study day (Dec. 15). If you do not pass portfolio review, I will be sending you an email by Friday to let you know. I will also be mailing a letter to the home address recorded on PAWS. If you do pass, you won’t receive an email. Remember, if you pass, the lowest grade I can give you in the course is a C. If you don’t pass, I have to give you a C- or below and you need to re-take the course.

Here is what you should do for the last week of class:

1. Submit a final portfolio by Monday Dec. 12.

Remember, your name and my name should not be in the portfolio. Follow directions uploaded at the link above.

2. Complete the Final Blog Post due Dec. 14.

Write one last post on your blog. This will be your final reflection on the class as a whole: your struggles, your accomplishments, what you liked, what you didn’t like, what you’d want to change, what you’d want to stay the same.

3. Don’t forget to complete the final course evaluation!

Look for an email from Amy Liebl or Qualtrics.

Finally, here are two last-minute revision strategies that could be helpful:

Strategy 1:
You will need a hard copy of your essay and a set of colored highlighters for this, but colored pencils/pens/markers could also work. First, read through your essay draft and highlight portions of it using the following color-code system:

  • Blue: Thesis statement, which should imply a sense of your purpose in writing the essay
  • Yellow: Interpretive points or claims you are making about the author’s essay (other than the thesis statement)
  • Pink: Support (in the form of direct quotes or paraphrases) for these interpretive claims
  • Green (or whatever other color you have): Sentences that are summarizing the author’s essay

Next, write one or two paragraphs in which you reflect on what you learned from color-coding your essay. What was easy or difficult about the color-coding? Do you have more yellow than pink? This might mean you are making a lot of claims without adding enough evidence from the text. Do you have too much green? Remember your essay should have much more interpretation than summary. Do you struggle to find a controlling purpose or thesis statement? This means your readers will struggle to find direction in your essay and struggle to figure out what you are trying to tell them/where you are leading them.

Strategy 2:
Create a reverse outline of your essay. You will need a hard copy of your essay for this. Follow the two-step instructions on the Purdue OWL web site: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/689/01/
After completing the reverse outline, write one or two paragraphs in which you describe what you noticed and what was easy or difficult about doing the outline. Did you have trouble describing how a paragraph was helping to move your essay along? If so, you may need to move things around or cut things. Did you find it necessary to use more than 5 – 10 words to accurately summarize the topic of each paragraph? If so, that might mean that you are dealing with multiple issues or ideas in a single unfocused paragraph.


Photo shared by Flickr user Paul Conneally

week 14: final touches

In week 14, we’re nearing the deadline for the final portfolio on Monday December 12. You’ll have a second interpretive essay revision due this week, and then an informal D2L discussion topic about revision strategies.

Also, I have prepared a checklist to help you revise and format your final portfolio [download PDF here]. Your final portfolio has very specific format requirements, so please read over this document carefully. It might be a good idea to print it. The checklist assumes that you already have two substantial drafts completed. At the end of the checklist are the format guidelines, but I will reiterate those things here because they are critical. Since I will be printing your final portfolio and giving it to the review committee, everything must be formatted correctly. I can’t be responsible for fixing things that are incorrect.

You should look at the sample final portfolio if you haven’t already. It’s on D2L > Content > Course Documents > Sample Final Portfolio. You should look at it as an example of how to format your final portfolio, not necessarily as an example of “how to write” your own essays (though the sample does demonstrate good writing).

Here are the important points to note about your final portfolio:

  • Your final portfolio includes your two best interpretive essays and one reflective essay. Read the checklist (uploaded at the link above) for instructions about how to prepare the file on your computer.
  • Your actual name should not appear anywhere in your final portfolio. In place of your name, use your 9-digit student ID.
  • My name should not appear anywhere in your portfolio. In your headers, just delete the “instructor name” line shown in the DK Handbook MLA example.
  • Essays should be double-spaced, with one inch margins, in plain font style set at size 12.
  • You need two headers in your papers. One repeats at the top of each page with an auto-page-number on the right, and the other goes only on the first page. See page 331 in the DK Handbook for an example, but don’t include my name in the header.
  • All three essays in your final portfolio should have a works cited page at the end of the paper.
  • Each time you use a quote or paraphrase from the text, include a page number reference in parentheses after the sentence, before the period.
  • I have seen some people say “Neufield” and “Kaplan.” Please use the correct spelling for an author’s name.
  • Essay/article/comic/chapter titles (“Back to the Land,” etc.) go in quotes. Whole books (First Year Composition Reader) go in italics.
  • You need to give your essays real titles. “Reflective essay” is not a real title.

I will be emailing feedback on reflective essays (Assignment 5) by this weekend if you haven’t already gotten feedback from me.

Here is the Week 14 line-up of activities:

1. Revise the second interpretive essay for your final portfolio and share it with classmates as a post in the correct Week 14 D2L Discussion thread. Due 12/5.

Please do not attach your revision to a comment. Instead, copy and paste the entire text of your revision into the comment box. This way, your classmates can quickly scan the essays without downloading/opening files.

2. Post a comment to the “Revision strategies” D2L Discussion thread by Wednesday 12/7 at 9pm.

Reply to classmates by Thursday 12/8.

3. Complete the course evaluation… PLEASE!

You should have received an email from a company called Qualtrics OR from Amy Liebl. There is a link to the evaluation in the email. Written feedback is also appreciated, since the little check boxes don’t tell me too much. :-)

4. You need to complete any missing assignments this week.

I cannot send your portfolio to review if you have missing assignments.


Photo shared by Flickr user tanakawho

week 13: reflecting and revising

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving break! The weekly update is coming a bit late, but I hope I gave everyone a sufficient preview in week 12 and that nothing comes as a surprise now. This week, a first draft of your reflective essay (Assignment 5) is due on Tuesday, November 29 at 9pm in the correct dropbox on D2L and as a post on your blog. You should respond to a few classmates’ reflective essays by 12/1 (see more instructions below).

Then, by Friday 12/2, please use the Week 13 D2L Discussion to post a revised version of one interpretive essay that you plan to include in your final portfolio. Make this a true revision. A “true revision” means that you have done more than changed a few sentences and added a longer conclusion. Please read the DK Handbook, pages 450 – 475, focusing on pages 450 – 455. These pages discuss questions you can ask yourself during the revision process. The list of revision questions in the dark blue box on page 451 will really serve as a useful tool when you’re trying to make your final portfolio shine. Below each question on page 451, the book gives additional pages you can reference for help revising those areas. For example, the question “Will my readers understand the purpose of each paragraph?” is a crucial question that you should be able to answer with a loud “yes!” Otherwise, you may not be meeting the essay goal: “create and maintain coherence and clarity for readers.” As the book shows, you can check pages 176-183 for help with revising paragraphs. For purposes of revising your citation format, the DK Handbook pages that will help you the most are 344 and 355. You should be formatting all your essays as shown in the sample on page 331. Check the bottom of this post for an example of the correct Works Cited page citation.

Also, you should read and consider the D2L Discussion about the goals from week 12 as you undertake the revision process. The main concerns from the week 12 discussion were “academic expectations” for grammar/mechanics and citing your sources. I tried to respond to each of you with guidance to alleviate your concerns, but keep in mind that both of those interpretive essay goals are far down on the list. The first two sets of goals about “articulating a controlling purpose” and “critically interpreting course texts” are much more important to meet for the portfolio review.

Lastly, I scanned a sample final portfolio that one of my students turned in last year. It’s on D2L > Content > Course Documents > Sample Final Portfolio. You should look at it as an example of how to format your final portfolio, not necessarily as an example of “how to write” your own essays (though the sample does demonstrate good writing). When we get to Week 14 (soon!), I’ll be giving you more specific guidelines about how to format and submit your final portfolio.

To recap, here is what you should do for Week 13:

1. Complete Assignment 5, due 11/29 at 9pm.

Please submit the draft of your reflective essay in two formats: upload the .doc or .rtf file to the correct D2L drop box and copy/paste your reflective essay into a new post on your blog. Do not attach the file to a blog post. Simply “select all” in your word processor, begin a new blog post, title it “Reflective Essay Draft” (or whatever), and paste the text of your reflective essay in the post.

2. On your classmates’ blogs, leave comments on a few reflective essays by Thursday 12/1.

These don’t have to be long comments. You could tell your classmate that he/she gets off to a confusing start but has a strong conclusion, or that your classmate could consider using a quote to support a particular paragraph in his/her reflective essay.

3. Revise one interpretive essay for your final portfolio and share it with classmates as a post in the Week 13 D2L Discussion thread. Due 12/2.

Please do not attach your revision to a comment. Instead, copy and paste the entire text of your revision into the box box. This way, your classmates can quickly scan the essays without downloading/opening files.

4. OPTIONAL: Sign up for a Week 13 conference.

The goal of our conference would be to discuss your progress (absences, missing assignments) in the class and, mainly, talk about your final portfolio revisions or the reflective essay. Click here to sign up.


Photo shared by Flickr user timailius

week 12: discussing the goals (and taking a rest!)

First, let me mention what great work you all did for Assignment 4-4. I know I changed gears by using the Crocodoc site instead of email, but it appears that most of you were able to use the Crocodoc commenting features productively. If you have any opinions about using Crocodoc vs. email for peer review, I’d love to hear them. You can also write your thoughts in the anonymous course evaluation at the end of the semester.

Between now and Tuesday, please participate in two discussion threads in the Week 12 forum on D2L. These two threads are about the interpretive essay goals and the reflective essay goals. You were asked to read these goals earlier in the semester; they are printed on page 6 of your purple Student’s Guide, but I also copied them in the Discussion forum on D2L. These two discussion threads are not meant to be stressful or add busy work to your schedule. They are spaces where you can engage me and your classmates in an attempt to clarify the criteria that your portfolio readers will use when they evaluate your writing. Because your ability to pass the course depends on this final portfolio, it’s important that you understand how your writing will be evaluated. Read the goals carefully and do your best to help classmates if they are confused about something that you grasp. I will also participate and help answer questions as best I can.

Thanksgiving break starts Wednesday, so you should write your initial posts by Monday and finish responding to classmates by Tuesday evening. I asked you to begin the interpretive essay discussion last week (Week 11), so hopefully you’ll have a head start as you go into Week 12.

Also, since Week 13 starts up right after the break, here is a preview of what we’ll be doing:

  • When we come back from break, the first draft of your reflective essay is due on Tuesday, November 29 by 9pm. Now, please read or preview the Assignment 5 (reflective essay) guidelines so you have an idea of what’s expected. Here are some rough outlines [PDF] you could use to help you. I will ask you to submit the reflective essay to the dropbox and post the text of your essay on your blog so that classmates can leave you comments. Initially I set the due date for Monday 11/28, but I thought it would help you if I moved it to Tuesday. I need to have your reflective essay drafts no later than Tuesday 11/29 so that I have time to give you comments… and you have time to revise! As always, if you get the reflective essay draft completed early, please submit it to the dropbox at any time before the deadline. You might send me an email to let me know it’s there.
  • Session 2 for Week 13 will ask you to complete a revision of one essay that you plan to submit in your final portfolio. You’ll post that essay in a discussion thread on D2L, and I hope we can have an informal discussion about how your revisions are working and how they attempt to meet the interpretive essay goals. In Week 14, a revision of your second portfolio essay will be due. If you have time before Week 14, it’s always a great idea to start working on those revisions so that time doesn’t slip away from you.

So, to summarize, here is what you should do for Week 12:

1. Participate in the D2L Discussion forums about the interpretive essay goals and reflective essay goals.

Complete your first posts by Monday and respond to classmates (and me) by Tuesday.

2. Review the guidelines for Assignment 5 (reflective essay) and email me with questions.

The D2L Discussion mentioned above should help you understand the reflective essay, but I also included a lot of information in the assignment page.

3. Choose the two interpretive essays you will revise for your final portfolio so that you know what papers to discuss in your reflective essay.

Email me if you want me to read over revisions and help you decide. Many of you have already decided, given what we discussed in our Week 11 conferences.

4. Go to D2L > Grades and make sure you have no missing assignments.

If there are incomplete/missing assignments that you actually completed, email them to me or send me a link to the assignment on your blog. You must complete all numbered assignments by the date your final portfolio is due. If you have incomplete assignments, I cannot send your portfolio to review and you cannot pass the course. As you know, I keep a list of all numbered assignments.


Self-indulgent photo of sleepy chihuahua shared by Flickr user mrmuskrat

week 11: so many choices…

… so little time!

Indeed, you’ve made many composition choices in your last three essays, and you don’t have many weeks left to take stock of those choices and write a reflective essay (which is the third component of your final portfolio, in addition to two thoroughly revised interpretive essays). With that in mind, we’ll be turning to the reflective essay this week in session 2, after completing the peer review for session 1.

The peer review asks you to do something different from the peer review you wrote last time. In addition to writing some paragraphs about the student’s essay, I am asking you to add at least six margin comments in which you discuss specific weaknesses or strengths in the student’s paper. There are (hopefully clear!) guidelines for how I want you to do this in Assignment 4-4, and you’ll have to sign up for a web tool (called “Crocodoc”) you may have never used before. This web tool will not send you any spam, and you can unsubscribe from it when this class is over, if you want to. As soon as you complete your essay and upload it to the dropbox, you should also look at the Assignment 4-4 guidelines and upload your paper to Crocodoc. I am here to help if you run into problems, but please try to follow directions carefully before asking me for help.

Here’s the weekly roundup of activities:

1. Attend a required week 11 conference with me.

Sign up ASAP if you haven’t already. Click here to sign up.

2. Complete Assignment 4-4, due Wednesday 11/16 at 9pm.

You need to upload your essay to Crocodoc by Sunday night Nov. 13 to make sure your partner has enough time to complete the review. Upload your essay before Sunday if possible.

3. Complete Assignment 4-5, due Friday 11/18.

4. Leave a response in the D2L Discussion forum entitled “Understanding the interpretive essay goals.”

This discussion is in the Week 12 forum, but start it this week, please. This is not an optional discussion — it is one of the discussion threads required to get attendance for session 1 during week 12. Please complete an initial post no later than 9pm on Sunday 11/20. I will ask you to return to this forum and respond to me and to classmates during week 12.

Photo shared by Flickr user magnusw

week 10: interpreting Junod

This is a picture I took of the Philadelphia City Hall last weekend. I did not intend for the lights to streak like that! The effect was completely unintentional, but ultimately the picture looks pretty cool.

That is really the opposite of how we think about writing in this class. For every essay we read, we look for intentional choices that have some intentional effect. In the essays you write, I ask you to be attentive to your choices and reflect on those choices. That’s what the reflective essay will be about. You’ll break down your essay and explain the choices you made, the people you wanted to reach, and the intended effects you tried to create with your writing. Even though we are working really hard in this class to think about and practice intentional writing choices, it can also be productive (and fun!) to experiment with creativity and, perhaps, unintended directions in your writing. If you are feeling more confident with your essays, you could try loosening up a bit and using some more creative strategies that might have unexpected effects on your readers. You could try to write an more original introduction or a more memorable conclusion. Even a creative title might be fun. Or, you might try to imitate Junod’s strategy of using emphatic one-sentence paragraphs. In the revision phase, it would be important to reflect on those choices as intentional strategies, but (like the example of my Philadelphia photo) it can be constraining to think about intentions and strategies when you are drafting an essay. Once you have a clear working thesis and a rough plan of what you want to say, that is the canvas you need to give yourself some room to do something that will surprise your readers, or something that might surprise you.

This week, you’ll notice that I am not asking you to write a working thesis and statement of purpose as I have for the Kalman and Neufeld units. Instead of doing that, I have a different assignment scheduled for Monday. However, in your notebook, try to sketch out a working thesis and a sense of your purpose before your writing your paper, due Friday morning of this week. Please don’t hesitate to email any ideas for your thesis statement over the weekend. It can be very helpful to get feedback early in the writing process, just when you have some rough ideas down. At any rate, really try to shape a sense of your purpose (what do you want your readers to gain from your paper? why should people be interested in your ideas?) before your draft your essay. It will help you in the long run. Let me know if you need help with this.

Here is the to-do list for week 10:

1. Complete Assignment 4-2, due Monday.

2. Complete Assignment 4-3, due Friday at 8am.

3. Sign up for a week 11 conference.

Click here.

4. Optional: Leave a comment or question in the week 10 D2L discussion forum.

Use this space to ask any questions or let me know any problems you are having as you write your paper this week.


now is the time to make a Writing Center appointment if you haven’t already. This is a great way to get extra help as you work towards a polished final portfolio. Online tutoring is available, but times fill up fast now that we are moving towards the end-of-semester rush. See the Writing Center link in the right-hand sidebar.

week 9: 15 seconds past 9:41 a.m. EST

This week, we’re starting into the third and final interpretive essay for the semester. You’ll be writing about Tom Junod’s Esquire Magazine article entitled “The Falling Man,” published in 2003. This week, I’ll ask you to read the essay and use your blog to post significant observations you make as you read. Then (surprise!) there will be two D2L discussion threads in which I’ll ask you to participate.

You’ll find that “The Falling Man” essay looks like a conventional “essay,” especially if you compare it to the other things we’ve been reading in class. In fact, Junod’s essay contrasts sharply with Kalman and Neufeld because he actually uses typed words! This is the first time you’ll be interpreting a typed essay in our class. Not only is it typed, but it is not easy reading. You won’t find direct first-person statements like we saw in “Back to the Land,” and you won’t find a clear, sequential storyline like we saw in “A.D. New Orleans.” Junod’s article is layered, fragmented, complex, and sometimes contradictory and confusing. As a class, we’ll need to work together to figure out what Junod’s purpose is in writing this essay, and continue to ask “why did he write it like this?” If you become frustrated with the essay’s length or its tendency to jump around, remember: you are writing an interpretive essay — not a summary or article review. The more strange choices you can identify, the more opportunities you have to interpret those things and the more there is to talk about in your paper.

Since many people across the country memorialized and honored the ten-year anniversary of 9-11 last month, I hope you find Junod’s context particularly relevant to your own life. If you were not born in the United States or if you were not in the U.S. during 9-11-2001, you will have a valuable perspective on Junod’s essay. Ask yourself if he is writing to non-American readers. If you were in the United States for 9-11-01, do you remember that day? Did you see it on the news? Read about it in the paper? Ask yourself how his argument relates to you and your memory of 9-11, and ask yourself how much of your 9-11 memories come from news stories and images.

This week, you should:

1. Complete Assignment 4-1, due 10/31.

This assignment also asks for a careful first read of “The Falling Man,” and a post on your blog. Click the link above to read more.

2. Respond to the D2L discussion topics “Junod: rhetorical situation” and “Junod: implications and questions.”

Initial post due Wednesday at 9pm and responses to classmates due Thursday by 11:59pm.

3. Begin revising your previous two essays.

Now is the time to start thinking about (or even start doing!) revisions. Once this week wraps up, that leaves just five weeks until your final portfolios are due. I have scheduled a few weeks devoted to revision at the end of the semester, but the longer you wait to start revising, the foggier my comments (and your classmates’ comments) will get. Not to mention the more tests you’ll have to study for in other classes at the end of the semester! Use the “Revision” dropbox on D2L to submit essays you’ve worked on.


Photo shared by Flickr user conskeptical

week 8: re-reading and revising and reflecting… oh my

The title of my post is partly to summarize the menagerie of activities you’ll be doing this week, but it is MOSTLY an allusion to the lions and tigers and bears (and other things, oh my) that escaped from a private zoo in Zanesville, Ohio last week. No kidding. I find this news of particular interest because Zanesville is a mere 2 hours from my hometown in Warren, Ohio. I know… you’re thinking I should start every post with a weekly “random thing about Ohio in the news.”

In week 8, I ask you to step back from the interpretive essay you wrote and consider what still needs work and what revisions seem logical. When you first finish a paper, it’s hard to re-read it with fresh eyes. Give yourself a day or two, take a deep breath, and step off the well-worn path of your thinking so that your paper becomes slightly unfamiliar. Then you can really notice what might or might not be working well in your essay. You may wonder why I am asking you to develop revision plans when I am not requiring you to actually revise your essays. The answer is: there’s just not time right now. Weeks 13 and 14 are devoted to revision. During those weeks, I’ll ask you to return to your revision notes and blog posts and actually make the revisions you outline for yourself. In those final weeks, you’ll only be revising the two interpretive essays for inclusion in your final portfolio. Also, keep in mind that you can send me a revision at any point during the semester, using the “Essay Revisions – Feedback Requested” dropbox on D2L.

Also this week, we will take a different approach to the peer review. Instead of responding to a “questionnaire” style worksheet, you will be taking a more personalized and independent approach by writing an essay about your partner’s paper. This is a more challenging peer review format, but think of it like a midterm “test” to measure what you’ve learned so far about analytical/interpretive writing and academic conventions. Really avoid quibbling about grammar/typos in this peer review. Focus more broadly on mechanics, structure, coherence, academic conventions mentioned in the DK Handbook, and the general writing issues discussed the “Nuts and Bolts” reading from earlier in the semester.

So without further delay, here is what you should do this week:

1. Attend your conference at your scheduled time.

If you haven’t signed up yet, why not? Please click here to sign up now.

2. Complete Part 1 of Assignment 3-4, due Monday 10/24

3. Complete Part 2 of Assignment 3-4, due Wednesday 10/26

4. Complete Assignment 3-5, due Friday 10/28


photo shared by Flickr user JarkkoS

week 7: chugging along

Week 7 is here, so welcome to the official middle-of-the-semester! We are half-way to final portfolio week. I know you’ve been working hard to stay in this class, and I am so glad that you are sticking with it.

Since it’s the midterm point, you should have all received a course evaluation survey via email from a company called Qualtrics. (If you did not receive the evaluation, let me know.) I encourage you to complete this evaluation thoroughly and thoughtfully if you haven’t already. It will be a way to let me know (anonymously) that there is something about the course that you’d like me to improve, or to let me know something that works well for you.

This week, we are looking towards the second essay, which will be an interpretation of “A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge.” Overall, I thought the first essays you wrote were above average! However, one issue I noticed in many of your drafts was a confusion about how to use paragraphs.

Right now, read over pages 170-176 in your DK Handbook. Page 171 lists the purposes of paragraphs. Page 174 gives you some “linking words” that build coherence within paragraphs. As you can tell from the DK Handbook, paragraphs are tools that can help your readers by lending coherence to your ideas. But, even better, paragraphs can help you. They are units that act as containers for single ideas. Body paragraphs, in particular, are “where the main arguments of the writing are developed” (DK Handbook 171), so they are definitely something you should plan out and consider.

Each time you start a new body paragraph, you should have an idea in mind; you should know what purpose that paragraph is going to serve. Push yourself to state the focus idea of each paragraph in one clear sentence. That is sometimes called the “topic sentence.” As you form your paragraphs, ask yourself, “Why is this paragraph here? What idea is it communicating, and how does that idea relate to my thesis statement?” If you can’t articulate one idea or point that the paragraph is developing, or if you can’t say how it will support your thesis statement, you might need to restructure a bit. Save that idea in your notebook, or just start a separate document called “notes” or “scraps.” I keep these documents when I am writing papers. When I have a good idea but I don’t know how it fits with my thesis, or I don’t have enough to say to make it a new paragraph, I just dump it into my “scraps” document. Sometimes I return to it, and sometimes I don’t. That strategy has really helped me stay focused on my thesis statement, and in turn that helps me write more coherent paragraphs and essays.

The work for this week will echo week 5, as I am asking you to form a statement of purpose and thesis statement in Assignment 3-2, and then write an essay draft in Assignment 3-3. Also this week, please sign up for a conference with me to discuss your paper draft in week 8. Remember that conferences are required as class attendance, and I don’t reschedule conferences if you miss or forget your time.

So, this week, here is what you should do:

1. Complete Assignment 3-2, due Monday 10/17.

2. Complete Assignment 3-3, due Friday 10/21.

3. Sign up for a (required) conference in week 8.

Click here to sign up. Please read the instructions about where to meet.

4. OPTIONAL: Post a question or concern related to writing your essay (or anything about class) in the Week 7 discussion forum on D2L.

photo shared by Flickr user cmh2315fl.

week 6: analyzing a comic

This week, we are turning away from the first essay and looking towards the second essay, which is an interpretation of “A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge.” I say “turning away,” but really you should never totally turn away from your drafts. The more you can work on them throughout the semester, the stronger your final portfolio will be. In fact, I created a dropbox folder on D2L called “Revised Essays – Feedback Requested.” You can use this folder throughout the semester to indicate that you have a revision ready for me to review.

As you begin reading (and looking at) “A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge,” you might quickly realize that “comics” are a genre that is not necessarily comical. In fact, you’ll find that “A.D.” deals with serious issues such as human suffering, power, and race; the comic has some language that can be difficult to read if you’re not prepared.

The work for this week will follow the same pattern as the week you first encountered “Back to the Land.” You’ll read the text over the weekend and then write a blog post charting your observations and connections. Finally, there are two discussion forums on D2L related to the reading.

In these discussion forums, I will ask you to remember the guidelines for posting. These are guidelines that our class developed in the first few weeks of the semester. I have been so impressed with your posts and the time you have put into your responses, but occasionally I see a response that says simply “I agree” or “I noticed that too.”  In responding to classmates, be sure to apply the same standards that you would when you are writing your own posts. Also, keep in mind that you may choose to reply to a classmate’s blog post, as well. The more responses you make to classmates, the shorter your individual responses need to be. So, if you reply to two D2L posts and one blog, I would expect you to write more. If you reply to four blogs and three D2L posts, I would expect less writing. Remember, the guidelines the class developed don’t specify length — only thoughtfulness.

This week, here is what you should do:

1. Complete Assignment 3-1.

This assignment involves some introductory reading about terminology to use when discussing comics. This reading will give you the tools you need to identify and analyze Neufeld’s choices. The assignment also asks for a careful first read of “A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge,” and a post on your blog. Click the link above to read more.

2. Respond to the D2L discussion topics “Neufeld: rhetorical situation” and “Neufeld: implications and questions.”

This week, I will create the first post in the “implications and questions” forum. I am hoping that you don’t see my questions as being any more important or “better” than your classmates. I will put them there only to contribute to your conversation.

3. Get caught up on any missing assignments.

You can find a list of assignments you have completed by checking the Grades page on D2L. I update this page no later than a week after the assignment due date. As you complete late work, please email me to let me know so that I can update the Gradebook.


image of Hurricane Katrina victims (August 31, 2005) shared by Flickr user News Muse