Friday, May 27, 2016

Intertextuality Video

So, I'm gearing up for some summer teaching, and I just found this video on intertextuality -  a concept I teach in my Composition across the Curriculum course.
Look forward to using it in class!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Follow up from post on Scholarship and Popular Media

So, last week I posted about John Oliver's segment and how it is related to the rhetorical analysis assignment I give my students.  

Then a friend posted this old PHD Comic

And then I saw this video about how maple syrup kills cancer. It's related to this study, which does not make anywhere near as bold a claim as that.

So, yeah, the essay assignment remains relevant.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Popular Science and Scholarly Science - An Assignment

For a few years now, I've been using a version of an assignment developed by Dana Ferris in which the students perform a rhetorical analysis of two texts:

  • A study from a scholarly journal 
  • The popular media's reporting on that issue. 

It's worth noting here (as Dana pointed out in an FB comment,) this assignment was inspired by an assignment from the first edition of Writing about Writing by Elizabeth Wardle and Doug Downs.

I enjoy the assignment because it's big and messy and it gets at the larger learning objectives a first-year writing course should aim for.

And now I have a reason to show John Oliver in class!

I wrote as much on Facebook after sharing that video this morning (it's work-related).

One of my colleagues asked me to share the assignment, and so, here it is.

On the day I introduce the assignment, the students have two readings to complete before class.

  • One is an online textbook chapter on A) how much of a pain in the ass it is to read scholarly journal articles and B) some tips on how to read those articles.
  • The second reading is a scholarly journal article by Ken Hyland about comparing popular media readings to scholarly readings. 
In class we consider the readings (and in future classes, we'll watch that Last Week Tonight video), and then we walk through the assignment. 

We then visit the library to A) meet with a librarian who shows us how to search for scholarly articles and B) search for a popular report on a subject that interests each student personally (maybe the topic is related to the student's major).

While they read, annotate, and analyze their two articles, they also read a textbook chapter on genre and another on rhetorical analysis.

The goal is to give the students language they can use in their essays, and that's a lot of what lecture is about before introducing an in-class activity that asks students to complete a table by comparing rhetorical features of the two articles.

Then they draft, get peer feedback, revise, get instructor feedback, and finally have the option to revise for their portfolios.

Again, it's a great assignment, and now with more comedy!