Weeks 15 and 16: Wrapping up the Instructional Comic (and the Semester)

Our final week of class will be devoted to helping you put the finishing touches on your instructional comic, which is due during Finals Week. I know how busy you’ll be with final projects and exams in all of your classes, so I have eliminated all readings and homework assignments that aren’t related to this project. Here’s how we’ll spend our time in class:

  • On Tuesday, we will spend the day in workshop mode, so please bring your laptops and be ready to spend the class session turning your comic from rough draft into final draft. Depending on how far along you were when you met with me for your individual conference, you may have a little — or a lot — of work to do this weekend. By the time you come to class on Tuesday, you should be done taking pictures/screenshots, and your script should be 100% complete. To put it another way, your time in class should be devoted to putting the finishing touches on your comic, not creating new panels or developing your storyline.
  • On Thursday, we will conduct a peer critique session, which will allow you to see what your classmates have done and provide you with some feedback on your own comic. Please bring at least one printed copy of your comic (more, if it’s not too expensive) to class. UPDATE: Please remember that Thursday is also the final day to turn in your revised Research Paper. To submit your project, staple the revised paper to the top of your earlier draft (the one with my comments and your preliminary grade).
  • During Finals Week, we will meet to share your comics and celebrate the end of the semester with a breakfast party. Our final is scheduled for Tuesday, December 13, from 9-11 a.m., and we will meet in our regular classroom. I’ll bring Shipley Do-Nuts, and maybe a few of you can team up with a classmate to bring other food items for our celebration. Your finished comic (printed in color) is due at the beginning of the final, and you should upload an electronic copy of your Comic Life file to my Dropbox before you come to class. (I will send the password via email.) Please name your file as follows: “Full Name 1313 Comic.cl2doc”. Before you submit your comic, you should review the assignment sheet, especially the evaluation criteria, which I will use to grade your comic.

And that’s it for Rhetoric and Composition II! I have really enjoyed this semester, and I can’t wait to see your finished comics. If you want to meet with me individually for help with your comic, please come see me during office hours (M/W 9-12) or email me to set up another appointment.

Week 14: Revision Strategies, Comics Challenges, and Individual Conferences

Welcome to the home stretch of the semester! I hope you’ve been enjoying your Thanksgiving break, and I hope you return to campus with fully charged batteries. The remainder of our semester will be dedicated to the Instructional Comic project, which is due during finals week. Next week, we will conduct a few activities designed to help you develop your comic. Here’s an overview of what we’ll do each day:

  • On Tuesday, we will continue to study the genre conventions of comics, then we will discuss some tips for successfully revising your Unit #4 research papers. Your only homework between now and Tuesday is to make progress on your comic, so please dedicate sufficient time to create/photograph your characters, draft your script, and outline your panels. Please bring your laptops to class, and be ready to share your work and ask any questions (technological or otherwise) that you have encountered with Comic Life, Pixton, or anything else related to this project.
  • In place of our regular class session on Thursday, I will hold individual conferences with each of you to review your comic and help you resolve any problems you encountered as you drafted your comic. (Note the past tense use of “drafted” here; this means you should have a complete draft of your comic by this point.) These conferences will be held in my office (211 Premont Hall) on Wednesday and Thursday, and I will pass around a sign-up sheet in class on Tuesday. When you come to your conference, please bring a printed copy of your comic and your laptop (in case we need to address any technological issues).

Finally, please remember that your revised Research Paper is due no later than Thursday, December 8, though you are welcome to resubmit it any time between now and then. The revision for this paper is NOT optional, so please don’t neglect this aspect of the assignment. If you would like to meet with me to discuss your paper, please see me during office hours or email me to set up an appointment at another time.

Week 13: Comic Life Workshop and Thanksgiving Break

This will be a quick update, since we have a short week next week (Happy Thanksgiving!). I just need to remind you of two items:

  • If you have not submitted a proposal for your Instructional Comic, you should do so as soon as possible. It doesn’t need to be a lengthy proposal — just send me a few sentences via email to let me know what you’re planning for this assignment. I will respond to your email to either approve your topic or ask for minor revisions.
  • Our entire class period on Tuesday will be dedicated to a Comic Life workshop. You should bring your laptop to class, and if you haven’t already installed Comic Life on your computer, please do so before you come to class. (You can find links to Comic Life and other helpful items on the Resources page.) Your homework (once I have approved your topic) is to outline your comic, determine how many characters you will need, and think about how you can develop a compelling story to illustrate your subject. In class, we will begin moving those ideas into Comic Life. If you would like to get a jump start on your project, you can create a new file in Comic Life and begin adding text and images to it.

Have a great weekend, and please let me know if you have any questions about these plans.

Week 12: Introducing Instructional Comics

Congratulations — the biggest assignment of the semester is now behind you! (Well, almost. We will revise the research papers one last time after I return them, but the bulk of your work on that assignment is done.) For the remainder of the semester, we will turn our attention to nontraditional forms of rhetoric and composition, with a focus on the genre of comics. You have read and analyzed a lot of comics in Ideas & Innovations, but you haven’t had the chance to explore the genre from the other side. In Week 12, that will change, as you begin planning and creating a comic of your own. Here’s how we start our work on this new project:

  • On Tuesday, I will introduce Assignment #4, the Instructional Comic. To prepare for this assignment, please review Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud, and bring that book to class. In addition, please read “Comic Book Grammar and Tradition,” by Nate Piekos. (You don’t need to print this one, just make sure you know the concepts.) [UPDATE: If you have a laptop computer, please bring it to class today.]
  • On Thursday, we will begin drafting our comics. Please come to class with at least two (preferably more) ideas for your instructional comic, and please review the Google Chrome online comic before you come to class. [UPDATE: If you have a laptop computer, please bring it to class today.]

If you have any questions about these readings, please let me know. Otherwise, enjoy your weekend!

Week 11: Peer Review, a Play, and Thinking about What Comes Next

As we near the end of the Research Paper assignment, you should be well on your way to having a complete draft of your paper. Next week, we will work on preparing those drafts for submission, then we’ll turn our attention to the final project in this class (something totally different, I promise!) and begin exploring the practical ramifications of the ideas we’ve been studying all semester. Oh, and along the way we’ll see a play, too! Here’s a quick overview of the week’s activities:

  • On Tuesday, we will spend the entire class period in a peer review workshop. Please bring three printed and stapled copies of your research paper to class. I recognize that these drafts may be a bit messy, but they should be complete. Remember, the further along you are on your draft, the better the feedback you’ll get from your classmates. To help you focus on the drafting process, I’ve eliminated all other homework for the weekend. Use your time well!
  • On Wednesday evening, we will attend A Lie of the Mind at the Mary Moody Northen Theatre. The play starts at 7:30 p.m., so you should arrive around 7:00. Please remember what we discussed about appropriate dress and behavior for this event.
  • On Thursday, your completed research paper is due at the beginning of class. Please bring one printed and stapled copy of your paper to class, and be sure to review the evaluation criteria on the assignment sheet before you finalize your paper. In class, we will discuss a short article in our textbook: “Studies Explore Whether the Internet Makes Students Better Writers,” by Josh Keller (WAW, pp. 595–601, so please read the article and bring your books to class.

If you have any questions as you draft your paper, please come see me during office hours (9:00–12:00) on Monday or Wednesday.

Week 10: Arranging Arguments and Outlining Papers

Our recent class discussions have been going very well; I’m glad to see that most of you are completing your reading assignments and coming to class prepared to share your insights about the articles we’re studying. If you haven’t been keeping up with our readings, or if you’ve been leaving your book at home, please turn over a new leaf during Week 10. As we get closer to the deadline for the Research Paper (November 10!), it will become increasingly important to stay on top of our day-to-day assignments.

Next week, we will discuss strategies for organizing research papers and study a few models that should help you arrange the arguments you want to make in your paper. Here’s how we’ll spend our time in class each day:

  • On Tuesday, we will discuss strategies for integrating your primary research with the published articles you plan to cite in your paper. Before you come to class, please review “‘Create a Research Space’ (CARS) Model of Research Introductions,” by John Swales (WAW, pp. 6–8), and read two student papers in Writing about Writing: “Motivation in Literacy Development,” by Tyler Cecchini and Hugo Perez (pp. 442–57), and “Coaches Can Read, Too: An Ethnographic Study of a Football Coaching Discourse Community,” by Sean Branick (pp. 557–73). As you read these student papers, pay close attention to the way the authors structure the papers, not just the arguments they make.
  • On Thursday, we will continue our discussion about organizing arguments. Your homework is to create an outline for your research paper, in which you label the major sections (and subsections) of your paper, then draft two sentences for each paragraph you plan to write. The first sentence should state the main point of the paragraph, and the second sentence should state the rhetorical function of the paragraph. (If this sounds confusing, don’t worry — we’ll talk about it a little more in class on Tuesday.) Please bring two printed copies of this outline to class. Finally, please read “Annoying Ways People Use Sources,” by Kyle D. Stedman (linked on the Readings page).

As always, if you have any questions about these plans, please come see me during office hours or drop me a line via email.

Week 9: Reading and Writing Rhetorically; Moving Forward with the Research Project

I’m glad we spent most of class yesterday working with hypothetical data, and I hope you’re beginning to see how you can blend the data from your primary research with the sources you read for the Annotated Bibliography. Next week, we will take a few more small steps forward on the Research Paper, and we will continue our discussion about the rhetorical situation. Here are the specific plans for each day of class:

  • By the time you come to class on Tuesday, you should have completed your primary data collection, unless you have negotiated an exception with me. As you begin reviewing your data, try to draw some tentative conclusions about the argument you want to make in your paper. Building on the ideas in the articles you summarized for your Annotated Bibliography, complete this Argument Summary Exercise before you come to class. (In Google Docs, select File > Make a Copy, then fill in the blanks and print out your finished paragraph.) In addition, please read “Rhetorical Situations and Their Constituents,” by Keith Grant-Davie (WAW, pp. 101–19), and be ready to discuss the article.
  • On Thursday, we will discuss “Rhetorical Reading Strategies and the Construction of Meaning,” by Christina Haas and Linda Flower (WAW, pp. 120–38). In addition, we will pick up where we left off last week with our data interpretation exercise. By this point, you should have begun crunching the numbers and/or identifying themes in your data. Please come to class ready to share your findings with your peers.

If you have any questions about these plans, please let me know. Also, don’t forget to put our upcoming play on your calendar: Wednesday, November 9, at 7:00 p.m. If you need to register for classes on that night and have not notified me by email, please do so this weekend so I can swap your ticket for another day.

Week 8: Wrapping Up the Annotated Bibliography; Interpreting Data

I hope you enjoyed a week without me, and I hope you made productive use of your time while I was away. At this point, you should be nearly done with your Annotated Bibliography, which is due next Thursday. In addition, you should have collected much of your primary data this week. During Week 8, we’ll focus on making sense of that data and incorporating your results into a polished research paper. Here’s how we’ll spend our time in class:

  • On Tuesday, we will discuss “Helping Students Use Textual Sources Persuasively,” by Margaret Kantz (WAW, pp. 67–85). Please read this article before you come to class and be ready to discuss how it applies to your research project. Tuesday is also the last day we have to talk about the Annotated Bibliography before it’s due, so take stock of your project before class to determine if you have any last-minute questions.
  • On Thursday, we will continue our discussion about using sources effectively, and we will talk about how to interpret the primary data you have collected so far. Before you come to class, please print out and read “Walk, Talk, Eat, Cook: A Guide to Using Sources,” by Cynthia R. Haller, linked on the Readings page. In addition, you should bring the raw data from your surveys or interviews. Finally, please remember that the Annotated Bibliography is due before you come to class, so please submit your project on Google Docs using the instructions on the assignment sheet.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and let me know if you have any questions before class on Tuesday.

Week 7: Library Research and Collecting Data

Now that the Literacy Narrative assignment is behind us, we can shift our focus completely to the Research Project. By this point, you should have received final approval on your Research Proposal in Google Docs. If you do not see the word “APPROVED” in a comment from me at the top of your proposal, please revise the document and email me as soon as possible. Once you have received my approval, you are ready to finalize your list of eight sources for the Annotated Bibliography and to begin collecting data.

I will be at a professional conference next week, which means that you will have the entire week to focus on your research project. Here’s the plan for each day:

  • On Tuesday, you will receive some training from one of the librarians at the Scarborough-Phillips Library. Please meet for class at the library, not in our regular classroom. (Look for Sam at the entrance to the library; she will give you directions to the 2nd floor computer lab.) Also, please remember that Tuesday is the deadline for turning in your notes from the Interview a Professor assignment, so please make sure you give these to Sam.
  • On Thursday, we will not meet as a class, so our class time would make an ideal time to meet with interview subjects, conduct surveys, or get one-on-one help from a librarian. By Thursday you should know how best to use your time to make progress on your research project, so I’ll leave it up to each of you to make this a productive day.

Next week, I will post another update with more details about Week 8, but here’s a preview: When I see you again (on Tuesday, October 18), you should have a complete draft of your Annotated Bibliography (all eight entries), and you should be ready to discuss the article we didn’t get to last time: “Helping Students Use Textual Sources Persuasively,” by Margaret Kantz (WAW, pp. 67–85).

Finally, if you need anything while I’m gone, you can talk to Sam or you can email me. (I’ll be attending conference sessions, but I’ll respond as quickly as I can.)

Week 6: Research Instruments and Scholarly Annotations

I had hoped to approve 22 research proposals this week, but some of you haven’t submitted your revised proposals yet. Remember, you cannot proceed with your annotated bibliography and research project until I have signed off on your research proposal. If you have submitted a revised proposal, I have responded to you, so check your proposal in Google Docs to see my comments. If you haven’t revised your proposal, you need to do so this weekend, then email me when you are ready to have me review it. At this point, only a handful of you have received final approval, so please make this your top priority in my class.

Next week, we will focus on finalizing your research instruments and continuing our discussion about how to create scholarly annotations for your bibliographies. Here’s how we’ll spend our time in class each day:

  • On Tuesday, we will discuss how to conduct “human subjects” research. Please print out and read the PDF file titled “Conducting Interviews and Surveys.” In addition, please bring two printed copies of the research instrument(s) you plan to use for your research project. (To clarify: by “research instrument,” I mean the actual survey you will hand someone or the actual list of questions you will ask during an interview.) If you have created your instrument(s) using Google Forms, that’s fine, but please print out copies for our workshop in class.
  • On Thursday, we will conduct a peer review session focused on your annotated bibliographies. Please bring three printed copies of one completed annotation to class. As you write this annotation, refer to the Annotated Bibliography assignment sheet and the “How to Write a Scholarly Annotation” handout. In addition, please read “Helping Students Use Textual Sources Persuasively,” by Margaret Kantz (WAW, pp. 67–85). [UPDATE: Please remember that the revision of your literacy narrative is due at the beginning of class on Thursday. To submit your narrative for a final grade, please staple your revised essay to your first draft (the one with my comments and grading form attached).]

If you have little questions about your proposal, feel free to email me this weekend. If you are feeling lost, stuck, or overwhelmed, please come see me during office hours on Monday morning (9-12). The sooner you receive final approval on your research proposal, the better.

Week 5: Individual Conferences and Summarizing Research

I hope yesterday’s in-class activity helped you get a clearer sense of how to take a broad topic, narrow it into a feasible research question, and develop methods for answering that question. I’m looking forward to reading your research proposals this weekend and meeting with you next week to discuss them. Your focus for Week 5 should be to get your research proposal approved so you can begin designing your research instrument(s). Here’s how we’ll help you accomplish that goal:

  • We won’t meet as a class on Tuesday, but I will be holding individual conferences with each of you on either Monday or Tuesday, and your attendance at this conference will count for Tuesday’s class session. All conferences will be held in my office (Premont 211), and it’s important that you arrive on time (or early) for your conference. Please be ready to discuss your research proposal and any questions you have about finding sources, refining your research methods, etc…
  • On Thursday, we will work as a class to create a bibliography entry like the ones you will be writing for the Annotated Bibliography assignment. Before you come to class, please read “The Composing Process of Unskilled College Writers,” by Sondra Perl (WAW, pp. 191–215). In order for our in-class exercise to work, everyone needs to be prepared, so make sure that you know the article well enough to summarize its main points from memory. (Hint: Thursday is feeling like an excellent day for our first quiz of the semester.)

Outside of class, you should be finding potential sources for your annotated bibliography. If you haven’t been to the Scarborough-Phillips Library yet, you should go sometime during Week 5. Remember, if you need help finding a specific source, our librarians are highly skilled at that sort of thing. Don’t settle for the first eight sources you find — keep searching until you find the right eight sources for your bibliography.

Week 4: Developing a Research Proposal

Now that you have written about your own literacy development and writing practices, it’s time to begin researching how others write and think about writing. The next three major assignments (the Research Proposal, the Annotated Bibliography, and the Research Paper) are like a three-act play, and the work you complete during Week 4 will set the stage for everything you’ll do during the next eight weeks, so please think carefully about how you want to spend that time. Here’s what you need to do for each of our class sessions:

  • On Tuesday, we will talk about how to select a research topic that is appropriate for a project of this size and scope. Please bring two copies of your “Statement of Narrowed Topic,” as described on the Research Paper assignment sheet. (Don’t forget to review the list of broad research questions to get started.) In addition, please read the following articles and be ready to discuss them in class: “‘Create a Research Space’ (CARS) Model of Research Introductions,” by John Swales (WAW, pp. 6–8), and “Argument as Conversation: The Role of Inquiry in Writing a Researched Argument,” by Stuart Greene (WAW, pp. 9–21).
  • On Thursday, we will talk about the process of conducting research. Please read “Introduction to Primary Research: Observations, Surveys, and Interviews,” by Dana Lynn Driscoll (linked on the Readings page), before you draft your Research Proposal. You should complete your Research Proposal before you come to class on Thursday and share it with me following the instructions in the Google Docs template.

Finally, we still need to develop a list of potential questions that you can ask your professors for the “Interview a Professor” assignment. Because our class is focused on writing studies, I’d like you to ask your professors questions about their own writing and research practices. Please think of one or two potential questions that you could ask, then add them to the comments section of this post sometime this weekend. We will spend a few minutes in class on Tuesday refining this list of questions.

Week 3: Workshopping Our Literacy Narratives; Introducing the Research Process

The introductions to your literacies narratives look very promising, and I think most of you are on the right track with this first assignment. If you’re feeling lost or stuck, please come see me during my office hours on Monday or Wednesday. Otherwise, you should be making steady progress on your narrative, which is due next Thursday at the beginning of class. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what we’ll be doing next week:

  • On Tuesday, we will briefly discuss one final article related to the Literacy Narrative unit: “The Future of Literacy,” by Dànielle DeVoss, et al. (WAW, pp. 395–421). We will spend the rest of class in a peer-review workshop, helping you finalize your literacy narrative. This weekend, you should complete your narrative (review the assignment sheet to make sure you are following the guidelines for this essay) and bring three printed copies of it to class on Tuesday.
  • On Thursday, you will submit your finished literacy narrative at the beginning of class, then we will begin discussing our next three assignments, all of which relate to a single research project that you will plan and conduct. To prepare for this discussion, please read “What Is It We Do When We Write Articles Like This One — and How Can We Get Students to Join Us?”, by Michael Kleine (WAW, pp. 22–33).

As always, if you have any questions about these plans, please let me know. Otherwise, enjoy your weekend and good luck with drafting your literacy narrative!

Week 2: Getting Started on Our Literacy Narratives

Congratulations on surviving your first week of college! I hope it’s been a good week, and I hope you’ll enjoy some much-needed rest over the Labor Day weekend. I think our first two days of class went really well, and I was especially happy to see how well prepared you were to discuss the reading assignments on Thursday. As the semester progresses and your schedules get busier, it will get harder to keep up with the reading assignments, but please don’t neglect them — they are absolutely essential to your success in this class.

Next week, we will continue our discussion about what it means to be literate in today’s society, and we will spend some time working on specific aspects of your literacy narratives. Here’s what you need to do for each class session:

  • On Tuesday, we will discuss “Sponsors of Literacy,” by Deborah Brandt (pages 331–52 in Writing about Writing), and “Mother Tongue,” by Amy Tan (PDF linked on the Readings page). Please come to class ready to discuss these articles. In addition, please write down three different ideas for your literacy narrative and be ready to share them with your classmates. You don’t need to draft full essays for each idea; a few sentences about each potential topic will do. By the end of class on Tuesday, you should be ready to settle on a specific idea for your narrative.
  • On Thursday, we will explore the connections between literacy and technology. Please read “Pencils to Pixels,” by Dennis Barron (WAW, pp. 422–41), and be ready to discuss the ways in which technology has influenced your literacy. We will spend part of class workshopping the introductions to your literacy narratives, so please bring two printed copies of your introduction to class. These introductions will still be rough, but they should show your progress on the assignment. Shoot for 150–250 words.

Oh, and one last thing: If you haven’t added your introduction to the previous post on this site, please do so today! I’ll see you in class on Tuesday; if you have any questions before then, please feel free to email me.

Welcome to Freshman Studies 1313!

Welcome to FSTY 1313: Rhetoric and Composition II. This website will function as the online headquarters for our class this semester. Each week, I will post an update to the website with details about coming week, deadline reminders, links to helpful resources, etc… I plan to use SEU’s Blackboard site to record your grades, but otherwise, everything related to this course will be posted here. If you ever wonder what’s due on a particular date, or what you need to read before you come to class, you can check this website for the answer. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can email me or stop by my office (211 Premont Hall) during my office hours (M/W 9:00–12:00).

A bit about me: This is my second year as an assistant professor at St. Edward’s University. Before I moved to Austin, I spent six year at Iowa State University completing my graduate work and teaching classes in ISU’s English Department. I study the relationship between technology and communication, and I love experimenting with new technologies in the classroom and in my personal life. I’m married to a brilliant freelance writer and we have two daughters. After a year in Austin, I can confidently state that I love the restaurants and I hate the heat.

I am very excited about getting to you know all of you and working with you this semester to strengthen your skills as writers and researchers. This will be a rigorous course, but I am confident that all of you can succeed. Who knows, I may even convince a few of you to major in English Writing and Rhetoric. (A guy can dream, can’t he?)

We’re going to dive right in to our first assignment this week, so you’ll need to read pages 353–66 in Writing about Writing before you come to class on Thursday. In addition, you should come to class ready to discuss your earliest memories of reading and writing.

Finally, a quick note about this website. Throughout the semester, I’ll be asking you to respond to posts on this website. To help you get comfortable with that process, please add a comment to this post telling me a little bit about yourself and what you hope to get out of Rhet/Comp II. Before you post, a few ground rules: (1) Your classmates will see what you write, so don’t include anything intended just for me. (2) This website is public, so we will stick to using first names only. (3) Please be sure to use the same email address every time you post to the class website.

Without further ado, let’s hear from you!