Monday, March 10, 2008


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 Monday, March 24.
  • Have your topic decided on for class Friday.
Create a blog entry that is a BRIEF for your “side” of the argument. Remember you are arguing to convince or persuade, so you may want to review Chapters 7 and 8 in The Aims of Argument.

Each partner will choose one side of an argument to research and support. Your topic 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. These suggestions are from last semester and can be explored, but make note of what I said in "The Assignment" post about redoing something my students did last semester.
  • This step will require some preliminary research. Don't wait.
  • Reference Chapter 7 and page 215 in The Aims of Argument, if needed.
  • The BRIEF needs to be posted before class on Wednesday, April 2.
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 Friday, April 4, allowing you time to physically discuss these issues and where/how to proceed in regards to fulfilling your next entry in Step Four.
  • Read through Step Four in order for it to help you focus your research over the weekend on the points which you disagree.
Post another COMMENT on your partners BRIEF blog entry explaining why you disagree with the facts you listed from STEP THREE.
  • 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 Wednesday, April 9. There might be some class time to work on this step.
Define the problem in terms of the key interests that must be addressed.
  • In this step, you and your partner will work together to address the issues negotiated in Step Four and create a NEW brief that seeks to mediate your argument.
  • Both sides will work from their original position and come to some sort of agreement or common ground using the arguments key interests. The process will require mediation, advancing the issue beyond a stalemate of ideas--a compromise of sorts.
  • This post will be due Friday, April 11 by 11:59 p.m. and should be posted as a new blog post.

Create a new post that is the rough draft of your mediated argument. You should have a complete argument, including a working bibliography, links to other sites you are using, etc. You are free to include additional components in your final post other than what you put into your rough draft, but the more information you have posted at this point, then the easier it will be to help you organize everything into an effective final post.

  • Each partner will write his or her own paper, working from mediated brief created in Step Six.
  • Due Wednesday, April 16 by11:59 p.m
  • Remember, if you are using someone else's images or audio, then make sure you cite it correctly.
State how the debatable issue (your topic) 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.
  • It 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 course of the project. 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.
  • You must include a works cited / bibliography in this post.
  • Due date for this final post is Monday, April 21, 2008 by 11:59 pm. This date may be negotiable.

The Assignment

It is difficult to argue to negotiate or mediate with only one mind. Well, maybe not, but this assignment will engage a pair of students to produce an ongoing discourse over the last part of the semester. My intent for incorporating the blog medium is to encourage a fun and interesting approach to argumentative writing that will combine (at least) four of the five course strands from the Learning Record. While there should be collaboration throughout this assignment, all of the posts (writing) will be done individually, thus providing me with the substance to assess your writing skills.

I'm not going to provide an umbrella subject this semester. You are more than welcome to, and encouraged to, look at some of the links on my page. Some of my students from last semester have left their blogs up, so you may look at them for reference. I would like to challenge you to try something new. If your topic is too close to what one of my former students has already mediated/negotiated, then I will ask you to either choose a new topic or tweak your existing topic so that you aren't plagiarizing someone else's ideas.

There are no page length requirements for the posts. You should write as much as you feel you need to in order to argue your side of the argument effectively--likewise for your final mediated/negotiated post. Rambling and verbose passages are not the most effective route. In your final post, I am requiring that you include a works cited/bibliography that includes, but is not limited to, two books (from a library), two scholarly articles, two newspaper articles, and one website (an accredited website). In addition to these requirements, I would like you to include three visuals. These can be images or links to pages with images. IF you have any questions about whether your sources are viable, please ask me. You may consult websites to help jump-start your research, but any information 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. EDITING ability
  6. Promptness of Posts (pay attention to due dates)
  7. Cohesiveness of the entire project (part of collaboration)

Don't slack off on this assignment. It is designed to provide a unique approach to argumentative writing. I view it as a comprehensive assignment that seeks to demonstrate how much you have learned/improved in your writing, thinking, researching, arguing, etc. It should be a forum for you (and your partner) to demonstrate that you have developed along the five course strands. It is hard to argue for specific improvements in your B2/C2 sections of the LR if you have not made those adjustments in this last assignment. Ask questions if you are confused. Don't wait until the last minute. I want everyone to succeed. I want everyone to improve. Do not slack off on this assignment.