1. Read Chua’s “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” and Sedaris’s “Remembering my Childhood on the Continent of Africa.” You must read both essays and demonstrate understanding of both texts through your initial post and responses to peers for full credit. However, in your initial post, choose one of the essays and analyze its thesis (what is it really comparing and why?) and the points of comparison that is uses to explore the subjects. Does it provide sufficient evidence? Can you think of examples that go against its thesis? Can you find areas in the text where the author seemed acknowledged that some examples may not support his/her thesis? Remember that the “Questions to Ask When Reading” document in the “Start Here” section will be a useful guide here. This sort of analysis is critical to our ability to think critically about our own writing and is a common thread in the Argument Today readings. By analyzing our audience and their possible objections to our points, we can strengthen our argument by anticipating said objections. Your initial post should be approximately 300 words and be up by Wednesday night at 11:59 PM.
2. Read Chapter 20 in Argument Today then read Cruz’s “College Affordability: Damned If You Go, Damned If You Don’t” and Motoko’s “Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?”
In your initial post, use the Argument Today reading concerning plain style and elevated style to provide examples from the articles. You should identify two specific passages from either text (Cruz or Motoko) that employ plain style and explain why they are exemplary of the point in Chapter 20. Then, do the same for elevated style. Both articles present plenty of examples; read closely!
Your initial post should be approximately 150 words.
3. In order to change our focus from finding meaning in words to finding meaning in images, your second discussion board assignment for this week will be to describe a political cartoon based on the Cruz and Motoko readings. If you Google “political cartoon,” you’ll find plenty of examples of what these images do. They represent the heart of an idea or conflict in a way that someone working through the newspaper immediately sees the irony or satire that is being represented. While some are true masterpieces, their power comes from representing difficult ideas in a very accessible way. Think of the readings and choose one to “sketch” in words. Then, describe what the cartoon version of this article would look like using a detailed description. It should be about 100 words long and explain why it makes the concept accessible to the audience. If you are of an artistic persuasion and would like a break from typing, you can feel entirely free to quickly sketch your cartoon rather than type it out.
4. Read Chapter 8 in Argument Today to learn the basics of presenting an essay visually. You’ll find that it forces you to understand the essay-level logic of your own writing in order to plan out how many slides/shots you need and how much importance to place on ideas. This relationship is the difference between just presenting visual “notes” of your paper and creating a piece of work that proves your thesis by the audio-visual relationship between your presentation of ideas. You’ll find examples of this sort of project attached here to help you narrow in on the quality and scope of the work that you’ll be expected to produce.
After reading Chapter 8 and viewing some of the example projects attached to this item, post your preliminary ideas for which essay you would like to expand into a visual format. Is there anything particularly fitting, challenging, or rewarding about converting this essay? Do you have any ideas up front of how you will organize your thoughts or what format that you will use? Now is your chance to share you ideas with the class and have more tech-savvy students give you pointers.
5. For this week’s discussion board, you should first read Chapters 21 and 23 from Argument Today. These chapters are fundamental to putting finishing touches on your project to make sure that the optics match up with what you are trying to prove (remember the thesis!)
For the first element of your initial post, share with the class where you stand with your project, what you’ve completed/decided, and what your next step is. This should be about a paragraph and be as specific as possible. If you’re willing to be candid, you’ll probably find that others are having the same issues and you can put your heads together. Remember back in the introduction to Argument Today that meaningful collaboration with peers is how a great deal of writing is created. This project is no exception!
For the second element in your initial post, you should state at least 3 considerations from this week’s reading that you will be applying to your work (please cite with a page number from the Argument Today text) and how you will apply them to your project. This will serve as a quick and painless workshop for sharing ideas.
6. For this discussion board, you will be posting an analysis of one of the example projects from the “Virginia Lynne” source from Week 12. It’s also attached to the link for this assignment in Week 13 for your convenience. If you refer back to the “Questions to Ask When Reading,” you’ll have a good idea of the types of observations to make. Also, use what we’ve learned so far about the unique challenges and strengths of visual presentation to decide if the presenter(s) had a clear thesis that was developed fully. Post your analysis here in a passage of approximately 300 words.
7. Just as with our written essays, we will be giving peer feedback before turning in our visual essays. For this discussion board, you should upload your current visual essay by creating a thread (just like always.) Then, notice in the text input box that there are two downward facing chevrons (“carrot marks”) in the upper right hand corner. If you click these, it will open up more options for uploading, including Mashups. Here, you’ll be able to upload any sort of video or presentation that you’ve created for peer review.