2-17

Today in class we did a practice editing activity and wrapped up unit 1 with a reflective journal entry. We then discussed the upcoming debate and planned for it by brainstorming topics.

Week 6 Day 1 PowerPoint

Homework:

  • —Bring A&B textbook to class on Thursday
  • —Exploratory Narrative Final Draft
    • —Due Thursday 2/19 to Turnitin.com by midnight
    • —Electronic submissions only. Paper copies not accepted. (technological problems are not an excuse for late submissions)
    • —It is highly recommended that you have a conference or at least speak with me about your essay progress

2-16

Today in class we wrapped up our material from unit 1 by finishing our second draft peer review and reflecting on our experiences with unit 1.

Week 6 Day 1 PowerPoint

Homework:

  • —Bring A&B textbook to class on Wednesday and Friday
  • —Exploratory Narrative Final Draft
    • —Due Thursday 2/19 to Turnitin.com by midnight
    • —Electronic submissions only. Paper copies not accepted. (technological problems are not an excuse for late submissions)
    • —It is highly recommended that you have a conference or at least speak with me about your essay progress

2-13

Today in class we practiced applying the grammar rules we had discussed last class and practiced editing and revision techniques.

Week 5 Day 3 PowerPoint

Homework:

  • —Review grammar material (by Monday)in EW if necessary
    • —3-17
    • —318-339,
    • —385-395
    • —340-354
  • —Revise and refine your exploratory narratives to reach a final version for submission next Thursday (due 2/19)
  • —Submit exploratory narrative second draft to Turnitin.com over the weekend
    • —Password: 4English (case sensitive)
    • —Class ID:
      • —U20: 9546112
      • —U23: 9546614
      • —U65: 9546623

2-12

Today in class we continued talking about English grammar, practiced applying those rules, discussed different editing strategies for our second drafts, and conducted a second draft peer review.

Week 5 Day 2 PowerPoint

Homework:

  • —Review grammar material (by Tuesday)in EW if necessary
    • —3-17
    • —318-339,
    • —385-395
    • —340-354
  • —Revise and refine your exploratory narratives to reach a final version for submission next Thursday (due 2/19)
  • —Submit exploratory narrative second draft to Turnitin.com
    • —Password: 4English (case sensitive)
    • —Class ID
    • —U64:9537889

2-11

Today in class we began our discussion of grammar by reflecting on our past experiences learning about grammar. We then reviewed core terminology, comma usage, and some prescriptive grammar rules to aid us in formal writing.

Week 5 Day 3 PowerPoint

Homework:

  • —Exploratory Narrative Second Draft:
    • —The second draft of your Exploratory Narrative will be 1,500+ words and should include your introduction, the body paragraphs for all six (or more) of your sources, and your conclusion. It is strongly recommended that you rely on your journal entries to aid you in writing this

2-10

Today in class we looked at some famous literary conclusions as well as example student exploratory narrative conclusions. We continued discussing the rhetorical importance of intros and conclusions and brainstormed possible ideas for our own exploratory narrative conclusions. We also began our discussion of grammar.

Week 5 Day 1 PowerPoint

Homework:

  • —Sign up for an Exploratory Narrative Second Draft Conference (if you have not already done so)
  • —Journal Entry 14: Source Evaluation 6
    • —Find the sixth source you will use for your exploratory narrative
    • —Read and analyze your fourth source; Sum up the argument it makes in the journal entry as well as your reaction to reading the source. Then play the Believing and Doubting Game to find the strongest and weakest elements of the source. Finally, reflect on how the
  • —Exploratory Narrative Second Draft:
    • —The second draft of your Exploratory Narrative will be 1,500+ words and should include your introduction, the body paragraphs for all six (or more) of your sources, and your conclusion. It is strongly recommended that you rely on your journal entries to aid you in writing this

2-9

Today in class we looked at some famous literary conclusions as well as example student exploratory narrative conclusions. We continued discussing the rhetorical importance of intros and conclusions and brainstormed possible ideas for our own exploratory narrative conclusions.

Week 5 Day 1 PowerPoint.

Homework:

  • —Sign up for an Exploratory Narrative Second Draft Conference (if you have not already done so)
  • —Journal Entry 13: Source Evaluation 6
    • —Find the sixth source you will use for your exploratory narrative
    • —Read and analyze your fourth source; Sum up the argument it makes in the journal entry as well as your reaction to reading the source. Then play the Believing and Doubting Game to find the strongest and weakest elements of the source. Finally, reflect on how the
  • —Exploratory Narrative Second Draft: (Due Friday)

    • —Submit to Turnitin.com before class time on Friday in order to receive credit
    • —The second draft of your Exploratory Narrative will be 1,500+ words and should include your introduction, the body paragraphs for all six (or more) of your sources, and your conclusion. It is strongly recommended that you rely on your journal entries to aid you in writing this

Exploratory Narrative Conference Sign up

As we begin to come to the close of unit 1, I will now begin holding conferences with individual students. These conferences are mandatory and their main purpose is to give you feedback on the development of your exploratory narrative as well as your progress in the class overall.

Please use the link below to sign up for conferences (note: you must be signed into your FIU email to access the sign up sheet:

Conference Sign up Link

Also, for your convenience I have posted the conference sign up rules below.

1. Please sign up for a time that you are sure you will be able to attend by entering your name and email address at that time. For students that miss or have to reschedule their conference, I cannot guarantee you a conference spot.
2. Be respectful of other students’ entries. Do not overwrite or remove anyone else’s entry. It may be helpful to screenshot your sign up to prevent this.
3. The times and locations are different for every day. Please double check to make sure that you are aware of the correct time and location.
4. Make sure that you have turned in your first draft (or second draft) of your exploratory narrative before coming to the conference. Bringing a printed draft may also be helpful.
5. Sign up for conferences 24 hours ahead of time. If you sign up for a conference at the last minute, I may have made other arrangements by that time and not be able to accommodate you.
6. For Skype conferences on the weekends, make sure you have a Skype ready device other than your phone.

2-6

Today in class we concluded our synthesis activity, discussed and practiced strategies for peer review, and conducted a peer review for the first draft of our exploratory narratives.

Week 4 Day 3 PowerPoint

Homework:

  • —Sign up for exploratory narrative conference before next class (link on class website)
  • —Journal Entry 10: Source Evaluation 4
    • —Find the fourth source you will use for your exploratory narrative
    • —Read and analyze your fourth source; Sum up the argument it makes in the journal entry as well as your reaction to reading the source. Then play the Believing and Doubting Game to find the strongest and weakest elements of the source. Finally, reflect on how the source has changed your understanding of the research topic.
  • —Journal Entry 11: Source Evaluation 5
    • —Find the fifth source you will use for your exploratory narrative
    • —Read and analyze your fifth source; Sum up the argument it makes in the journal entry as well as your reaction to reading the source. Then play the Believing and Doubting Game to find the strongest and weakest elements of the source. Finally, reflect on how the source has changed your understanding of the research topic.

2-5

Today in class we finished practicing strategies for synthesis writing, discussed the objectives of revision and peer review, and conducted our first peer review activity.

Week 4 Day 2 PowerPoint

—Homework:

  • Sign up for exploratory narrative conference before next class (link on class website)
  • —Journal Entry 10: Source Evaluation 4
    • —Find the fourth source you will use for your exploratory narrative
    • —Read and analyze your fourth source; Sum up the argument it makes in the journal entry as well as your reaction to reading the source. Then play the Believing and Doubting Game to find the strongest and weakest elements of the source. Finally, reflect on how the source has changed your understanding of the research topic.
  • —Journal Entry 11: Source Evaluation 5
    • —Find the fifth source you will use for your exploratory narrative
    • —Read and analyze your fifth source; Sum up the argument it makes in the journal entry as well as your reaction to reading the source. Then play the Believing and Doubting Game to find the strongest and weakest elements of the source. Finally, reflect on how the source has changed your understanding of the research topic.

2-4

Today in class we talked about the theories behind synthesis writing, practiced synthesizing ideas from sample texts, and worked on synthesizing ideas from our research thus far.

Week 4 Day 2 PowerPoint

Homework:

  • —Exploratory Narrative First Draft: (Due Friday 2/6)
    • —The first draft of your Exploratory Narrative should include your introduction as well as the body paragraphs for the first three sources of your writing. It is strongly recommended that you rely on your journal entries to aid you in writing these paragraphs.
    • —Bring a printed copy with you to class (no online submission)

2-3

In today’s class we talked about general strategies for reflective writing as well as how to use those strategies in secondary research and when constructing an exploratory narrative. We then discussed some of the requirements and considerations for writing the body paragraphs of your exploratory narratives. Finally, we went over some theories behind synthesis writing.

Week 4 Day 1 PowerPoint

The passage we used for the activity in class can be found at: https://www.aub.edu.lb/ctl/activities/seminars/Documents/2012-13/Reflearning.pdf

Homework:

  • —Journal Entry 8: Source Evaluation 3
    • —Find the third source you will use for your exploratory narrative
    • —Read and analyze your third source; Sum up the argument it makes in the journal entry as well as your reaction to reading the source. Then play the Believing and Doubting Game to find the strongest and weakest elements of the source. Finally, reflect on how the source has changed your understanding of the research topic.
  • —Exploratory Narrative First Draft: (Due Thursday 2/5)
    • The first draft of your Exploratory Narrative should include your introduction as well as the body paragraphs for the first three sources of your writing. It is strongly recommended that you rely on your journal entries to aid you in writing these paragraphs.

2-2

In today’s class we talked about general strategies for reflective writing as well as how to use those strategies in secondary research and when constructing an exploratory narrative. We also discussed some of the requirements and considerations for writing the body paragraphs of your exploratory narratives.

Week 4 Day 1 PowerPoint

The passage we used for the activity in class can be found at: https://www.aub.edu.lb/ctl/activities/seminars/Documents/2012-13/Reflearning.pdf

Homework:

  • —Journal Entry 8: Source Evaluation 3
    • —Find the third source you will use for your exploratory narrative
    • —Read and analyze your third source; Sum up the argument it makes in the journal entry as well as your reaction to reading the source. Then play the Believing and Doubting Game to find the strongest and weakest elements of the source. Finally, reflect on how the source has changed your understanding of the research topic.
  • —Exploratory Narrative First Draft: (Due Friday 2/6)
    • The first draft of your Exploratory Narrative should include your introduction as well as the body paragraphs for the first three sources of your writing. It is strongly recommended that you rely on your journal entries to aid you in writing these paragraphs.

1-30

Today in class we talked about the importance and effect of introductions in composition. We also examined introduction strategies from past exploratory narratives and brainstormed some ideas for our own.

Week 3 Day 2 PowerPoint

  • —Read A&B p. 259-262
  • —Journal Entry 6: Exploratory Narrative Introduction
    • —Based on our discussions in class today, begin construction the introduction to your exploratory narrative in your journal
    • —Make sure to include the necessary elements we discussed in class, including: an explanation of the issue, your research question, how your personal view on the issue, and some kind of strategy for grabbing reader attention
    • —Note: This journal entry may be slightly longer than others. 1-2 pages is completely acceptable.
  • —Exploratory Narrative First Draft: (Due Friday 2/6)
    • —The first draft of your Exploratory Narrative should include your introduction as well as the body paragraphs for the first three sources of your writing. It is strongly recommended that you rely on your journal entries to aid you in writing these paragraphs

1-29

Today in class we talked about the importance and effect of introductions in composition. We also examined introduction strategies from past exploratory narratives and brainstormed some ideas for our own.

Week 3 Day 2 PowerPoint

—Homework:

  • Read A&B p. 259-262
  • —Journal Entry 6: Exploratory Narrative Introduction
    • —Based on our discussions in class today, begin construction the introduction to your exploratory narrative in your journal
    • —Make sure to include the necessary elements we discussed in class, including: an explanation of the issue, your research question, how your personal view on the issue, and some kind of strategy for grabbing reader attention
    • —Note: This journal entry may be slightly longer than others. 1-2 pages is completely acceptable.
  • —Exploratory Narrative First Draft: (Due Thursday 2/5)
    • —The first draft of your Exploratory Narrative should include your introduction as well as the body paragraphs for the first three sources of your writing. It is strongly recommended that you rely on your journal entries to aid you in writing these body paragraphs

1-27

Today in class we discussed the importance of your thesis questions as guiding points for your exploratory narratives, discussed what kind of research questions work best in this genre, and began drafting research questions to guide your investigations.

Week 3 Day 1 PowerPoint

Homework:

  • —Read A&B p. 278-280
  • —Think of a memorable movie, tv show, or book introduction, or a memorable first impression someone made on you (we will discuss this in class on Thursday)
  • —Journal Entry 4: Source Evaluation 2 (Due Thursday)
    • —Find the second source you will use for your exploratory narrative
    • —Read and analyze the second source you will be using for your Exploratory Narrative. Sum up the argument it makes in the journal entry as well as your reaction to reading the source. Then play the Believing and Doubting Game to find the strongest and weakest elements of the source. Finally, reflect on how the source has changed your understanding of the research topic.
    • —Think of this as a short version of Minor Essay 1 or as a body paragraph for your exploratory narrative.

Change in post format

This is the first semester I have used this website, and I will continue to update and change it to meet the needs of our class and the suggestions you make.

One thing suggested to me this past week was to make the homework assignments more easily/quickly visible as a reference for students.

To this end, I will be putting the detailed homework assignments on all of our subsequent daily class posts so that you may reference the material without having to open up or download the PowerPoints.

This was a great idea! I think it will be very convenient. Please let me know if you have similar suggestions or ideas to improve the accessibility or content of our website.

1-26

Today in class we discussed the importance of your thesis questions as guiding points for your exploratory narratives, discussed what kind of research questions work best in this genre, and began drafting research questions to guide your investigations.

Week 3 Day 1 PowerPoint

Homework:

  • —No Class on Wednesday!
  • —Read A&B p. 278-280
  • —Think of a memorable movie, tv show, or book introduction, or a memorable first impression someone made on you (we will discuss this in class on Friday)
  • —Journal Entry 4: Source Evaluation 2 (Due Friday)
    • —Find the second source you will use for your exploratory narrative
    • —Read and analyze the second source you will be using for your Exploratory Narrative. Sum up the argument it makes in the journal entry as well as your reaction to reading the source. Then play the Believing and Doubting Game to find the strongest and weakest elements of the source. Finally, reflect on how the source has changed your understanding of the research topic.
    • —Think of this as a short version of Minor Essay 1 or as a body paragraph for your exploratory narrative.

MLK Day- Dream Fulfilled?

Today is one of the only holidays we have this semester, and I hope everyone is enjoying their time off.

However, I would like to take a moment to talk about what this day stands for.

As you all know, it is Martin Luther King Day, a day we set aside to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a pastor and renown activist during the African- American Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King was best known for his “I Have a Dream” speech, an excerpt of which I will share with you here:

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!” (Source)

It has been over 50 years since Dr. King delivered that momentous speech, and much has certainly changed in our country.

But has Dr. King’s dream really been fulfilled?

In 2014, America was shaken by many instances of racial violence and rioting that seem to indicate otherwise, starting with the events in Ferguson, Missouri.

Michael Brown, an 18 year old who was unarmed, was shot 12 times by police officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury trial then decided not to indict Wilson (source). This was further complicated by multiple problems with the trial, such as key witness Sandra McElroy being discredited. McElroy changed her story several times, suffers from mental health problems, is known for making racist comments online, and previously “inserted herself into another case by lying to police” (source). Other problems with the trial include Wilson washing away blood evidence and the police department failing to check Wilson’s gun for fingerprints, despite the fact that his main reason for using deadly force against Brown was that he feared Brown would shoot him with his own gun (source). The grand jury trial was also criticized for being composed of 9 Caucasians and only 3 African-Americans (source) despite Ferguson being composed of over 60% African-Americans (source).

What consequences await Wilson then after this whole affair? He is now likely a millionaire. Multiple private interest groups, including the KKK (source), have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Wilson. Estimates of the total money raised are in the seven figures (source).

And Ferguson was only the tip of the iceberg.

In Ohio, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot at a park by police officers for holding a toy gun (source). The person who called the incident in even informed dispatchers the gun was probably a fake although the dispatchers failed to share this information with officers before they arrived. The officers showed up on the scene to investigate shot Rice within two seconds of arriving (source).

In New York, 43-year-old Eric Garner was strangled to death by police officers while unarmed and out with his family. Garner reportedly said “I can’t breathe” eleven times before collapsing (source). A grand jury also decided to not indict the officer in this case, despite his use of a chokehold, a moved banned by the NYPD, and despite the fact it was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner (source).

These are only a few examples of a multitude of such instances from last year. There are simply too many to list here.

Many of you, particularly in the U23 class section, have indicated you were considering researching racism in America or police brutality/corruption for your first essays; I hope these news stories can be of help to you.

As always, if you are curious about this issue, I encourage you to do your own research and develop your own stance and opinion about it.

However, on this 2015 Martin Luther King Day, I do not feel that Dr. King’s dream has yet been fulfilled.

Legal & Ethical Conundrum – Robots Breaking the Law

Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally reached that point where we have to worry about and consider the implications of robots breaking laws.

In this particular case, a bot (a semi-autonomous computer program) was designed to make random purchases on the web and have them delivered back to its creator in Switzerland as part of an art project. The creators were surprised, however, when the bot purchased illegal contraband, including ecstasy pills and a fake passport.

This situation has created an unprecedented legal and ethical conundrum: who is responsible for possession of the illegal items? How much can the creator’s be punished if there was no intent on their part to commit an illegal act? In this case, the artists are claiming responsibility for the bot’s actions although they do not expect to be prosecuted by the Swiss government.

However, this does not resolve the issue.

As our computer and robotic technology continues to advance, such problems are sure to become more numerous. Whom do we hold responsible?  Most countries, including the US, do not have specific laws for situations like this yet.

Although we have not discussed this event in class, I believe the development of laws and the understanding of ethics regarding autonomous and semi-autonomous computer programs and robots would be an excellent topic for research.

You can read more about the original story here.

The Oddities of English Spelling

In Wednesdays class we discussed how the peculiarities of English spelling are often thought to contribute to the high numbers of functionally illiterate people in both America and the UK. This vexingly difficult system is even harder for second language learners of English who often come from more intuitive, streamlined writing systems.

Certainly, it would be beneficial for everyone if English spelling and writing were more intuitive, but this benefit is put at odds with the millions of people using the current system, opinionated grammar mavens who wish to uphold the status quo, and a need for maintaining semantic distinctions between words like homophones.

If you wanted to learn a little bit more about the evolution of the English spelling system and how it has evolved over the years, the Oxford University Press’ blog has a great post on it here.

The Mars One Mission and the Benefits of Reality Television

mars one

As we discussed advancements in technology and space travel in class, I was surprised to learn that many of you had not heard of the proposed Mars colony, and I wanted to share a little bit more information about it with you here.

Mars One plans to create the first settlement on Mars within the next decade. Their website details their mission plans, the international cooperation that has helped fund it, and of course has plenty of merchandise in their online store.

But that’s not all!

The Mars One mission is receiving funding from many private organizations to reach their several billion dollar budget. One of these companies, Endemol, the production company behind the popular Big Brother series, plans to make the training, settlement, and habitation of Mars into a reality show.

Yes, a Mars reality show.

You can read more about that from Daily Mail, a UK based news site, here.

Although much must happen before this becomes a reality, we have a unique opportunity to witness the first settlement of a new planet. If nothing else, there is at least this one positive benefit of reality television.

 

Stem Cell Research- Extracting Stem Cells from Teeth

With so many biology and pre med majors in our ENC1102 courses this semester, it is not surprising that several of you indicated an interest in discussing the ethics of stem cell research, a long debated but still controversial practice in the scientific community.

In class, I mentioned a recent development in stem cell research: scientists can now extract stem cells from adult and child teeth, even lost baby teeth. For a bit more information about this development, check out the article by Science magazine: “Unexpected stem cell factories found inside teeth”

Although there is still much to be learned about this practice, it is already so promising that private companies are beginning to capitalize on it with dental stem cell banking programs, such as Store-a-Tooth and Stemsave.

From an ethical and rhetorical perspective, this could fundamentally alter scientists’ practices regarding stem cells as well as the public’s view on stem cell research. If fetal or embryonic stem cells are no longer necessary, this new form of stem cell extraction may eliminate many of the moral & ethical objections people have to stem cell research.

What moral objections might still remain to stem cell research/therapy if all stem cell extraction involves is a trip to the dentist?