More people are dropping out of college than are graduating, especially in public colleges and universities. A student’s chances of success are affected by motivation, study skills, persistence, learning styles and abilities, social factors, family background, economics, social integration, extracurricular involvement, student services, and governmental support. How can we help more students transition successfully to college?
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2000 Points, as part of Argument Series
At this point in the semester, you have spent quite a bit of time exploring a topic of interest to you. It is now time to take things to the next level. You will create a sustained argument, a research paper making a research-based persuasive argument about an important issue or controversy related to your topic, which you will then break up into about four posts on your website. Although this assignment is a more traditional academic essay, you should still adapt it to conventions of online writing: headings, images (with sources credited in a caption with working hyperlinks), very brief introduction, and shorter paragraphs. Keep in mind that most online readers only spend a few moments on a website, so deliver your main message quickly and offer those who linger multiple points of entry.
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This semester you will find your own topic, currently in the news, that intellectually engages you and spend the semester exploring, researching, writing and creating content about it, so that you may become an expert on it. As your writing and content will be public, on an academic website you create, remember to pick something that will show a side of yourself you would like future teachers and employers to see.
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Overview of Writing Assignments for 214: The Electric Word!
Topic Selection (1000 points): In 750-1000 words, describe the topic that you have selected for the Inquiry Series and the Sustained Argument and explain your interest in detail, specifically when you first became interested in the topic and why you are interested in it now. Who is the topic important to (target audience) and why does it matter (purpose)? What doesn’t the average person know about your topic, but should know to understand it more fully? What questions do you have on the topic that you would like to answer eventually?
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In this unit, we are exploring the various forms of English we use in different contexts and the power relationships that these forms of English create, acknowledging that “standard English” is not necessarily better, but is more appropriate in certain settings, especially academic and professional ones. Becoming a scholar and learning to use standard English correctly, however, does not mean people must set aside their other linguistic identities.
In a 6-8 page double-spaced essay in MLA format, make a persuasive argument, advising a specific group of people to make specific policy changes involving language and identity issues, backed up with compelling reasons and substantial support.
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I Write the Class:
Questionnaire for the Beginning of a Composition Class
Major (or possible major):
1. What kinds of texts do you like to read and why? (Be specific about forms, for example status updates on social networks, comic books, or scientific articles, as well as genres, such as science fiction, mystery or autobiography.)
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At the beginning of each semester, I give my students a questionnaire, asking them, among other things, what they like and dislike about writing. About 70% respond that they like writing because they can express themselves, their ideas, their opinions, and their feelings. About 40%, however, say that they don’t like writing about topics that don’t interest them. One student wrote, “I like writing when it’s not boring or on a boring topic. I don’t like writing long essays on a random book or a topic not interesting. I have to be interested in my writing and reading.”
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In this unit, we will look at hobbies and interests through which participants demonstrate “hidden intellectualism,” a term Gerald Graff coined to describe academic skills that participants utilize in traditionally non-academic pursuits, such as sports, cheerleading, comic books, video games, television, music, fashion, dancing, shopping, cooking, and so on. It’s not enough, however, to simply write about interests, student-scholars need to see their hobbies or interests through “academic eyes,” or as Ned Laff puts it, in “a reflective, analytical way, one that sees [their hobbies] as microcosms of what is going on in the wider culture” (qtd. in Graff 64). In other words, students need to show how the hobby relates to larger worlds of academics and culture.
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