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Homework for Tuesday Nov 06

As mentioned in class, homework for Monday is to read Boyd, give an overview of her argument,
discuss two main claims, and identify any passages in the text you might be interested in researching 
or learning more about.  Post to your blogs by Monday early evening


Homework for Thursday Nov 01 

  • For Thursday print out and read Boyd's "Literacy: Are Today's Youth Digital Natives?Identify the main claims, as well as any passages that struck 
    you are particularly interesting, provocative, or confusing. 
  •  Does anything Boyd says relate to your own experience?


Homework for Tuesday October 23

Complete a draft of paper 2 and post to your blog. If you are not meeting me for a conference please also put your draft
on google docs and share with me, with "rws100 paper 2 draft" in the subject line. Complete this by Monday
(the 22nd) afternoon.

Homework for Thursday October 18

  • Write two body paragraphs that analyze two strategies in one of the three texts we have read (Tufecki, McNamee, or Golumbia). Post to your blog.



Homework for Tuesday October 16

  1. Read Golumbia's "Social Media Has Hijacked Our Brains." Briefly describe what you found most interesting, surprising, provocative or unpersuasive?
  2. Our RWS digital textbook defines strategies as “tactical choices authors make when crafting language to have a persuasive
    effect on readers." Write a paragraph analyzing one strategy in McNamee. Try to go beyond just identifying the strategy. and 
    explain how the strategy works to persuade, the intended effect, and how effective you think it is. (See the templates and examples
    in this handout). Provide textual evidence and explain how it supports your interpretation. 
  3. Read the digital textbook pages 37-46 (assumptions). 


Homework for Thursday October 11

  1. Read these pages from the digital textbook: 29-33 (appeals), and 86-94 (evaluation)
  2. Read Tufecki and McNamee (Tufecki, "YouTube, the Great Radicalizer" and McNamee, "I invested early in Google and 
    Facebook. Now they terrify me.”  Discuss one claim and one appeal in each text. 


Homework for Tuesday October 09

For Tuesday please print, read and bring to class the two short texts by Miller and Shieh and be prepared to 
discuss them (no formal homework is required - just read and annotate).  



Homework for Thursday September 27

  1. Finish your drafts and bring to class for peer review. 
  2. Sign up for a conference time 


Homework for Tuesday September 25

  1. Revise and strengthen your introduction and body paragraph. Consider Thursday's class discussion, and review the tips below.
  2. Draft a body paragraph that evaluates a strength or weakness in Thompson's text. Read the section in the reader on evaluation (p 90)
    to help with this. 


When analyzing a claim, try to do the following: 

  1. Make sure that what you are describing is really a claim. Review material on claims in the reader. Claims are intended to persuade, to change the audience’s mind, or get them to do something. Claims require a controversy or debate, people who could disagree, and an audience to be persuaded. This is what (usually) makes them different from evidence, topics, opinions, questions, etc. So once you have described a claim, ask a) would many people disagree? b) Is this meant to change minds? c) Could this be part of some debate or controversy? If no, then consider revising.

    If you think you have part of a claim, it can help if you try to then add a “because,” “and this matters because…”, “and so…” phrase. For example, Thompson does state that we have seen an explosion in the amount of writing. But that is closer to a generalization or a fact than a claim. Ask yourself, “Thompson states that we have seen an explosion in the amount of online writing, and this matters because…” Then you may have the beginnings of a claim.

  2. Capture the claim fully and in detail. Make sure you capture the full nature and scope of the claim. Don’t find something in the text that looks “claim-like,” summarize it, and stop there (or just rephrase it). Claims are often distributed across a text, so to capture them fully you need to consider the whole text.

    Make sure you capture all facets of the claim in detail. For example, Thompson’s claim about the audience effect has many dimensions, and he illustrates these dimensions through many examples, stories and pieces of evidence. His claim makes distinctions and is “qualified.” For example, he concedes that audiences can sometimes undermine, rather than improve, performance.

  3. Capture the claim as precisely as possible. Don’t be content with a vague, imprecise representation of the claim.  

  4. Support your account of the claim with plenty of textual evidence. For your account of a claim to be persuasive you need to present textual evidence to your reader.
  5. Use templates and signal verbs from They Say/I Say and the reader. These will help keep you focused on argument analysis, and will help make it clear you are generating an interpretation and analysis of the text, rather than a bland summary.

  6. Be a “quotation ninja.” Spend a lot of time selecting, integrating, and explaining quotations. See They Say and the course reader.

    Do not merely summarize (avoid the list of death and sequential summary). Do not present a brief account of a claim and then respond with your own thoughts. Keep your focus on Thompson’s argument.

  8. Dealing with evidence: review the section in the reader on evidence – they types of evidence, how they are used, and their relative effectiveness.  Explain how Thompson uses evidence to support his claim and persuade his audience, and how well he does this.



Homework for Thursday September 20 

Compose a draft introduction paragraph and a draft body paragraph (roughly 1-1.5 double spaced pages). 

This is your initial attempt, so just do your best to get some ideas down on paper.  Here is what the paragraphs should
aim for.

  • INTRODUCTION: Introduce Thompson, the topic, and the context (rhetorical situation), try to “hook” the reader (
    engage your reader and establish why we should care), and describe the overall argument. Signal to your reader what
    your paper will do (metadiscourse).
  • BODY: Describe one of Thompson’s main claims. Explain it in some detail, illustrate with one or more quotations,
    and show how the quotation supports your interpretation of the claim.


If you aren't exactly sure how to do this don't worry. Give it your best shot. 


To help you in this task, read (or skim) pages 73-79 in the coures reader, and these pages from They Say/I Say:  30 - 40 (the art of summary), and 
43-50 (the art of quotation.)


Post to your blog. 



Homework for Tuesday September 18 

  1. Consider how Thompson’s ideas from “Public Thinking” connect to your everyday life. Which examples were more relatable or more convincing to you? Be specific. Feel free to use personal anecdotes and quotes from the text to support your reflective response.

  2. After reading Thompson’s piece, how would you paraphrase his main argument in your own words? 

  3. Identify what do you see as the three most important claims, and discuss the evidence he uses to support these claims. Provide a quotation for each claim (use the “starter” template on page 73 of the reader).

  4.  Identify two rebuttals (places where Thompson addresses opposing views).




Homework for Thursday September 13

  1. Review/re-read Rifkin’s “A Change of Heart About Animals,” and Parry’s “Branding a Condition."  

  2. Read pages 45 - 58 of Thompson's "Public Thinking."  What did you think of the text? Which passages seemed most interesting, or connected in some way to your own experience online?

  3. What seem to be Thompson's main claims? What did you think of these claims?


Homework for Tuesday September 11

Read pages 64 – 75 of the reader, Rifkin’s “A Change of Heart About Animals,” and Parry’s “Branding a Condition."  

Post this to your blog.


  • What did you think of Rifkin’s argument, or find most interesting about it?

  • Read the "starter template for discussing claims" on page 73 (reader). Use this template to write about two of Rifkin's main claims. 

  • In a separate paragraph describe some of the main kinds of evidence used to support these claims. 

  • Discuss two strategies Rifkin uses to persuade his audience. 

  • Read Parry’s "Branding a Condition." What is Parry’s overall argument? What did you find most interesting/useful about this text? 

  • What does Parry’s argument suggest about the way advertisers and marketers try to persuade audiences? Have you seen or heard of any similar methods of persuading people?



Homework for Thursday September 06

Read pages 33-37 from the course reader (the section on rebuttals). Review Kristof's "Do We Have the Courage?"

Write a paragraph Identifying the rebuttals in the text, and use the reader to discuss how Kristof uses rebuttals
to influence the audience.


Read Rifkin's "A Change of Heart About Animals." Write a paragraph Identifying the rebuttals in the
text, and discuss how Rifkin uses rebuttals 
to influence the audience. (Bring a print copy of Rifkin to class).



Homework for Tuesday September 04


Read pages 15-34 from the course reader. Briefly let me know what you think of it (I wrote it a few weeks ago
and am considering turning it into a textbook. I am interested in your feedback).


Read two short texts by Kristof, "Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?" and "Some Inconvenient Gun
Facts for Liberals.


For each Kristof text, compose a response to the questions below. Post them to your blog and bring a print copy to class.  

  1. What seems to be the overall argument? 
  2. What are some of Kristof's main claims? 
  3. What kinds of claim does he present (see reader pages 15-16) 
  4. List some of the main types of evidence presented (see reader 17 - 21) and discuss how persuasive they are. 
  5. Identify two strategies Kristof uses to persuade his audience
  6. What is your response to the text (general thoughts or discussion of how effective you think it was).




Homework for Thursday August 30

  1. Join the class wiki. To do this, go to the front page of this wiki. Look at the top right corner of the web page for the words “To join this workspace, request access." Click on the link, then enter your email address, and follow instructions to join the wiki. You will receive an email inviting you to join the class wiki and create an account. You will set your password. In future, your username will be your email address, and your password wil be whatever you created. Please record the password. 
  2. Create a Wordpress blog page. You will use this to post much of the writing done in this class. Setting up a blog on Wordpress is fast and fairly 
    simple. See this step-by-step guide. For your first post introduce yourself to the class. Post a brief description of yourself (your actual or possible major, some interests or distinguishing experiences). Are there writing activities you engage in outside of school (blogging, tweeting, journaling, etc.)?  
  3. Read pages 4-12 from CR (course reader)









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