Thursday, November 29, 2007

Learning Record Due Dates

We are almost done with this semester, but we must revist the LR one more time to complete B2/C2--the argument for your final grade. There will be some time in class on Thursday, December 6 to work on this or your final blog post (Step Eight), as well as complete the instructor evaluations.
  • The LR is due by 11:59 pm Friday, December 7, 2007
  • It needs to include (at least) 14 observations
  • There also needs to be a work sample box filled out for the Arguing to Mediate/Negotiate assignment: Name, Assignment, Location (insert your URL for your blog)

Remember this is the argument for your final grade, and I won't see you after you turn this in. Therefore, make sure it is a solid argument and includes evidence from your LR and blog.

Teacher Conferences

On Tuesday, December 4, I will be holding teacher conferences during each section's class period. This will be time designated for you to approach me for some help or to clarify any questions that you may have.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Clarification on the Importance of Step Three for Completing Step Four

I have skimmed over some of the briefs and noticed that some of you haven't completed Step Three (the brief post), and for some of those who did complete it, you decided to skimp on the evidence and factual information. This is going to make it difficult for your partner to have any "facts to refute" for Step Four.

I thought by outlining each step it would make the assignment and number of posts pretty straight-forward, but once again, I guessed wrong (for some of you). A paragraph isn't going to suffice for a brief, nor is an extremely simple outline. The brief is the step that is probably of the utmost importance to this project, because it should provide the facts and evidence from the opposing side of your argument. This exposes one partner to the other partner's supportive material; it provides information (and less overall research, hopefully) for you as the project works through the negotiation portion of the assignment into the mediation.

I'll be commenting on the briefs today, tonight, and tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thursday's Specials: Draft or Bottled

We will be discussing the briefs, any questions about topics, and will begin watching American Graffiti, time permitting, in class Thursday. I am pretty sure I commented on everyone's blog post on step two. If I didn't, then let me know. Also, I notice some of you have worked ahead and already posted the brief, step three, which is good. Since there are multiple pairs working on the same topic, I will encourage you to check out the links to other student's blogs to learn from each other. Make sure you keep in mind academic integrity if you are reading other students' blogs.

Checking to see if this changes time.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I tried to make this clear in class, but apparently I failed. To reiterate, I encourage everyone (EVERYONE) to review his or her posts after you publish them. I am assessing each post for clarity of thought, spelling, etc--which will get more involved and encompassing as the project progresses. This even goes for the simplest, easiest of posts that describe your initial stance on a debatable issue.

ENGL 103-046
There are numerous pairs working on the same topic. I am going to be encouraging each pair to try a slightly different approach. This isn't a bad thing at all and should bring into the conversation numerous ideas and talking points on those issues.

ENGL 103-054
I'm going to try and get to your posts tonight, but if time doesn't allow me, then I will read them and comment on them prior to class tomorrow.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

ATTN: Edit Your Time Zone Settings

I should have mentioned this in class. Everyone needs to change their time zone to eastern. This is how you do it:
  1. Go to the SETTINGS tab
  2. Click on FORMATTING below the main tabs
  3. Look down the page until you see TIME ZONE
  4. Choose (GMT - 05:00) Eastern Time
If you don't do this before you post, you can still go back and change it. The posts should automatically update the times once you change the time zone setting.

Comment on this post if you are having trouble, because more than likely you won't be the only one.


Oh, Students! My, Students! Our hopeful trip has just begun


Just a reminder that Step Two is due tonight before midnight. Also, if you haven't emailed me your URL for your blog, then please do so. If I don't have it, then I won't be able to see that you posted on time.

Stay tuned regarding class on Tuesday. We may be in the library for class, in order to allow everyone some time to either begin researching more extensively, ask me questions, or work with your partner to further develop your plan of negotiation/mediation. I'll send an email tomorrow afternoon to let you know for sure.


By the way, does anyone know what poem I am alluding to in the title? Who was it written for?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Assignment Breakdown

Each partner will create his or her own blog through
  • It can be as fancy or as bare-bones as you desire, but have fun with it.
  • This will be set up in class Thursday, November 8.
Each partner will choose one side of an argument--related to POLITICS--to research and argue for. This can be anything from the war in Iraq, terrorism, foreign policy (should be narrowed down), abortion, gun control, health care issues, social security, distribution of natural resources (the water shortage in GA, FL, AL, SC, NC, etc), immigration, capitalism v. democracy, electoral process, trade policy, gay rights, environmental issues, ETC.
  • All this needs to be is a brief explanation of your topic, and a short discussion of the side you will be promoting.
  • This will require some preliminary research. Don't wait.
  • Due by Sunday, November 11, 2007.
Create a blog entry that is a brief for your “side” of the argument
  • This needs to be posted before class on Thursday, November 15.
Post a COMMENT on your partners "brief" blog entry that lists the facts on which you disagree with his or her side of the argument.
  • This will be done in class Tuesday, November 20, allowing you time to physically discuss these issues and where/how to proceed in regards to fulfilling your next entry in Step Five.
Post another COMMENT on your partners "brief" blog entry explaining why you disagree with the facts you listed from STEP FOUR.
  • Where you don’t agree on key facts, do research to decide how valid the facts cited on both sides are? This may involve sharing materials/research to try to persuade or convince your partner of your reasons for the validity of the fact in question.
  • Due Tuesday, November 27. There might be some class time to work on this step.
Define the problem in terms of the key interests that must be addressed.
  • This is the beginning of the mediation/negotiation part. Both sides will work from their original position and come to some sort of agreement or common ground using the arguments key interests. This will require mediation, advancing the issue beyond a stalemate of ideas--a compromise of sorts.
  • From this negotiation and research on the side of the argument you are disagreeing with, you will produce a working brief for Step Eight. This should be a collaborative effort.
  • This will be due Monday, December 3 by 11:59 a.m. and should be posted as a new blog post.
Explain any additional information that could help resolve the conflict—how so?
  • This would be a good place to incorporate other modes of argument (visuals, audio, etc) that are relevant and may help advance your topic beyond a stalemate situation.
State how the debatable issue was resolved, identifying the principles upon which the resolution was based—if a resolution was possible. If your group decides there is no way to resolve the issue, then there needs to be a detailed (and valid) explanation of why.
  • This is basically your final draft. There is no page length requirement, because the intent of this assignment is to produce an active discourse throughout the next four weeks. The only length requirement will be to accurately and convincingly produce a piece of writing that mediates both sides of the chosen argument.
  • This step will be completed by both partners, individually, and each will propose the facts, compromises, exceptions, etc. that were worked out regrading the issue in his or her own words--formally.
  • Due date for this final post is by 11:59 pm Thursday, December 6, 2007. This may be negotiable.

The Assignment

Arguing to Negotiate/Mediate
It is difficult to argue to negotiate or mediate with only one mind. Well, maybe not, but by working in pairs this assignment will produce an ongoing discourse over the next few weeks that will hopefully result in a fun and interesting approach to argumentative writing, combining at least four of the five course strands discussed in the Learning Record. While there will be collaboration throughout this assignment, all of the posts (writing) will be done individually, thus providing me with the substance to evaluate your writing skills.

I have limited the umbrella subject to Political issues, because I feel this is a broad enough topic that each pair of students will be able to find something they are passionate enough about to stay interested throughout this assignment, as well as produce worthy and timely arguments.

There are no page length requirements for the posts, but I am asking that you include with your final post (Step Eight) a works cited that includes, but is not limited to, two books (from a library), two scholarly articles, two newspaper articles, and one website (an accredited website). If you have questions about whether your sources are viable, please ask me. You may consult websites to help jump-start your research, but any information that you find on a website (other than the one allowed) needs to be found and documented from a credible source.

Things I will be looking for in your posts:
  1. Grammar, punctuation, organization and clarity of ideas/facts, proper MLA documentation, titles, theses statements, evidence, etc.
  2. Collaboration between partners
  3. Understanding of blogs and internet technologies
  4. Quality research
  5. Cohesiveness of the entire project (also collaboration)

Help with Blogging

For those of you who aren't familiar with blogs or would like further assistance, there is a link on my page to the ENGL 103 McGraw-Hill portal that provides assistance and some brief explanations of different blogger terminology. You will need the password you purchased with your books to access this site. Once you get to the site, choose VISUAL RHETORIC from the list in the top left corner. Then, there should be another list of numerous topics you can explore in the top left of this page. Choose BLOGGING and go from there.