GLOBAL CHANGE 2018: Writing Assignments
be at least two main types of writing assignments (I may add something along the way):
FIRST: read these notes
about citation and plagiarism. There will
be two main types of writing assignments:
AND, if you're interested in some notes on my favorite (most annoying?) writing problems and peeves, look here.
: An 'abstract' is a concise, focused
statement summarizing an argument, perspective, idea. In this
case, they are short, flexible essays serving
as a vehicle for your own thoughts. MAXIMUM LENGTH is equivalent of one
(single-spaced) page -- about 400 words, should generally be enough --
so they need to be tightly focused on a particular idea or
question. The emphasis is on your thinking, not
rehashing the reading. Further points to think about:
THERE WILL BE SIX OF THESE, and you may skip ONE of them:
should explicitly use class readings/discussion as a
springboard. MAKE THAT LINK EXPLICIT.
anchor in class readings/discussion should be clear, but THEY SHOULD BE SIMPLY SUMMARIZE. Your thinking is
what's most important. You can explore implications,
extrapolate from readings, analyze assumptions, contrast
certainly okay to use them to state your own position, but they
should NOT be JUST a statement of belief/position; there should be
be wary of focusing on whether (or not) you agree with a writer;
explore why you react as you do. It's good to
give some thought to how writing/rhetoric influence your
not 'research papers', but it's fine to do some background digging;
just be sure you appropriately cite any sources that you use.
DUE DATES are March 1, 15, 29; April 19; May 3, 17
SUBMIT THESE AS SHARED GOOGLE DOCS OR emailed .doc or
.odf file. FILE NAME SHOULD BEGIN WITH YOUR LAST NAME. Each time, I
will 'share back' a selection with the class as a whole (without
attribution) for discussion.
2. 'Critical review' essays: Slightly
longer and more extended analyses of particular pieces of
reading/media BEYOND assigned class reading . Choose a paper,
document, other publication concerned with the themes of the class (again, NOT one
that's assigned for the whole class), read it, think about it, and write
about it. The emphasis is on 'critical'; I expect more than
restatement of what you read. Consider implications, discuss
strengths and weaknesses of position, point out inconsistencies, reflect
on the forum/source, assess rhetorical form and purpose (how do creators
make their arguments and how does that influence your perception),
etc. (you can't do all of these things for every review; choose
your critical 'thread'..).
IMPORTANTLY, do NOT simply
fall prey to your own predispositions; good critique involves looking
at your own assumptions and reactions critically. Whether you agree or
disagree with the object of analysis is far less important to me than
your thinking about why you react as you do, how the
writer/creator might have been more effective, what they're trying to
You might address technical/research papers, magazine articles, news
stories, or (if it makes sense) a closely linked set of such things.
THE IMPORTANT THING: the thing you're reviewing must be substantial
(LONG) enough to support several pages of critical commentary and
review. For example, simple web pages are often too
short/insubstantial. Similar issues can apply to audio or visual media
-- like documentary videos or lectures; they can be appropriate, but
many are not ("TED" talks are generally very brief and superficial --
equivalent of just a few pages of text). IF you tackle video material be aware that similar critical
assessment and analysis are expected. Focus on HOW the makers frame and support their claims and arguments, how they use background material, etc. AT
LEAST ONE essay should be about a book or material of comparable
These essays should generally be in the neighborhood
of 5 type-written page-equivalents (around 1250 words).
Again, submit as shared Google doc or .doc or .odf file with your name beginning file name.
THREE of these: DUE DATES: March 19, April 15, May 24