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Essay Descriptions Spring 2012

Summary/Response Essay We summarize stories, ideas, and conversations all the time when we speak. Fewer of us are skilled at summarizing in writing. The key is to be both comprehensive and concise. For this assignment, youll be asked to write a summary and response to one of the essays weve read. You may choose either The Mauling of Public Space or Privatizing Prisons. Your purpose is to communicate to your readers the main arguments in the essay youve chosen and then to demonstrate your critical thinking about these arguments by writing a thoughtful response based on your personal experiences. You may use an additional outside source to support your response if you wish. Your essay needs to: Begin with an opening that draws readers in and captures their interest. What do you already assume readers know about public and private space? Why should they care? Mention the article and state the authors position. Provide a thesis (a succinct statement of your response to the article). Summarize the article in one paragraph using the guidelines weve gone over in class and pg. 267 in your text. Quote sparingly, if at all. Develop your own response to the reading you have summarized. Make sure that each paragraph in the response focuses on an aspect of your thesis. Your response should be a blend of your own views and details (quotes/paraphrases) from the reading. Because this is a source-based course, you are welcome to find one outside source that supports your views and incorporate it into your response. End with an effective conclusion that answers the question so what? Use transitions, signal phrases, and in-text citations for material summarized, paraphrased, or quoted from the article. Create a works cited page in MLA format and include it at the end of your essay. Give your essay a title. Length: 3 pages minimum including works cited page. Due Date: See syllabus calendar Portfolio Submission: Optional Synthesis Essay Just like summary, synthesis is a skill you will use throughout your academic career, especially when conducting and writing up research. Synthesis is finding and articulating points of intersection among diverse texts. Unlike compare/contrast, which incorporates one source per point, a true synthesis places sources in conversation with each other. The essays weve read in class including Staying Put, Fixed and Footloose, and Putting up the Gates all make particular arguments about our experience of place. It will be your task in this synthesis essay to find the most illuminating intersections between two (or more) of these essays and explain their arguments clearly. You will also need to respond personally to these essays by considering both the validity and the limitations of their arguments.

Your essay needs to: Begin with an opening that draws readers in and captures their interest. Briefly describe the issue and lead up to a synthesis question that engages your readers with the problem these texts address. Summarize each of the articles claims in 3-4 sentences, taking care to represent the authors ideas fairly, and transition into your thesis statementyour thesis statement should map out your main synthesis points. Synthesize both sources by putting them in constant conversation around your main synthesis points. Note where one contributes to the limitations or validity of the other or where they both present valid reasoning or limited/flawed reasoning. End with an effective conclusion that answers the question so what? Use transitions, signal phrases, in-text citations, direct quotes and paraphrases. Create a works cited page in MLA format and include it at the end of your essay. Give your essay a title. Length: 4 pages minimum including works cited page. Due Date: See Unit 1 calendar Portfolio Submission: Optional Annotated Bibliography Your annotated bibliography is a tool for gathering information for your research paper. In upper division liberal arts courses, you may be asked to do this often. You should select five of the best articles from the sources you have gathered and read. For each of the five articles, make one entry (5 points each) in your annotated bibliography including all of the following information: 1. Complete MLA citation using the rules for works cited pages in The Academic Writer starting on page 348 2. A brief summary of the article using the guidelines for a good summary that we have gone over in class. 3. A sentence or two explaining how you might use the article in your essay and/or any criticisms that you have of the articles accuracy, relevance, or overall credibility. Length: 5 entries, usually several pages double-spaced. Due Date: See syllabus calendar Portfolio Submission: No NOTE: You may be asked to turn in all sources with research paper, so hang on to them!

Research Paper This research project offers you the opportunity to explore in-depth a topic of your choice. You have a good foundation to choose a topic related to place, though you are not required to. Topics such as gun control, abortion, and capital punishment arent acceptable as they are overdone. If you are unsure about your topic, see me. This project should begin with a question and your research may provide several answers for this question. Your task will be to synthesize these answers to form a coherent claim, or thesis. The thesis for a research paper is sometimes an argument (California should reform the teacher tenure system for K-12 education) and sometimes a cause/effect statement (Standardized tests do not improve student achievement) and sometimes a compare/contrast (European and US work attitudes differ in a number of ways). Whatever the claim, it must be evidence that your thinking has reached beyond a simple summary of your sources. Your essay needs to do several specific things: Contain an interest-grabbing introduction in which you establish your credibility and rapport with your audience. Wrap-up your introduction with a thesis statement (claim). Develop your claim in the body of your paper with evidence from sources you cite by name. Connect this evidence back to your claim. (This will be the bulk of your essay.) Photos that help make your claim are acceptable, but should take up less than half a page. Include a concession paragraph in which you explain the reasoning of those who oppose your claim and provide a rebuttal to this position. In your conclusion re-emphasize the validity of your original claim. Answer the so what? question. Source requirements For your research, you need to find the full text of reputable articles, preferably in pdf format. Do not rely on websites! You must use a minimum of 5 sources. One scholarly article is required. Only one of your 5 sources may be a well chosen website. You must clear both your topic and research question with me. Length: minimum 6 pages including your works cited page Due Date: See syllabus calendar Portfolio Submission: REQUIRED NOTE: You may be asked to turn in all sources with research paper, so hang on to them!

Rhetorical Analysis Essay The goal of this assignment is to enable you to write a well-constructed rhetorical analysis of a single website. For you to be successful, you must choose a website that has a particular mission. Option #1 -- Carefully read through the chamber of commerce, tourism board, or official city pages for your hometown (or for a place youre deeply familiar with). It will be your task to determine what your chosen website wants their audience to do, buy, or believe about place or public/private space. Secondly, your task will be to analyze whether the site succeeds or fails. Option #2 Consider your Facebook or other social networking profile. It will be your task to analyze your own posted info, status updates, comments, photos and captions as well as privacy settings to determine how these parts work together to present your cyber identity. Your essay needs to do several specific things:

Contain an interest-grabbing introduction in which you lay the foundation for public/private space and public/private identity online. Then identify the purpose and intended audience for the website. Wrap-up your introduction with a thesis statement either asserting the success or failure of the website or asserting your particular cyber identity. In the body of the essay analyze the websites argument. (Use pg. 270-271 to guide you.) You may identify and evaluate the rhetorical appeals (logos, ethos, pathos). You may concentrate on the way the website hits or misses its target audience. You may consider the visuals such as color, photos, graphics, and video. (Use pg. 111- 112 to guide you.) You should use specific examples and quotes from the website to support any claim you make. Include a photo or other visual from the website only if it contributes significantly to your analysis and is no larger than half a page. In your conclusion consider any implications for the success or failure of this website. What does it suggest about the author, about its readers, about our culture at large or our relationship to place and space?

Caution: The biggest mistake students make with this essay is to summarize rather than analyze the website. Be sure to explain how all examples support your thesis statement. Length: minimum 4 pages including your works cited page Due Date: See syllabus calendar Portfolio Submission: Optional Reflective Cover Letter for Portfolio The cover letter is perhaps the most important part of the portfolio. In the cover letter, you reflect on your writing and development as a whole. Most importantly, it is a place for you to present what you are accomplishing in the Portfolio; your cover letter is where you make your claims, and the Portfolio is where I look for the evidence. In other words, your cover

letter is a road map that tells me where to look in your Portfolio for evidence of revision. Therefore, if you write about how much your organization improved, you will want to ensure that you have worked on your organization for each essay. The object here is not to promote your writing and research skills as perfect (especially since few writers, even professional writers, ever declare their writing to be finished), but to recognize that, as writers and researchers, we all have areas which are strong and areas which we continue to work on. Therefore, your cover letter is a personal narrative and should reveal how you see yourself as a writer and as a researcher and how your Portfolio supports that development. There is no standard format for a cover letter for a portfolio, but you should include your name, class, and the date. You will be expected to discuss the following in 2-4 pages. A description of yourself as a writer and researcher, and your development over the semesterwhat did you learn about yourself? What are your strong areas? What are your weak areas? An introduction to each essay included in your portfolio and why you included them (other than you made me). What do you perceive as strong about them? How did you revise them? How might you still revise them if you had the time? Somewhere in the letter, be sure to address your improvement as a writer/researcher in terms of writing from sources. Refer to your essays as evidence. Address what you will continue to work on as a writer/researcher in the futuredo not fear that this will be a cause for lowering your grade, as one of our goals in the class was to understand that our revision and researching skills are continually developing. Note that I do not want general discussion but specific examples. Writing that I changed the things you told me to change and now I think its a lot better is a common statement, but not one that helps me understand how you have reflected on your writing and revised it accordingly. In addition to examples, quote yourself at least twice to provide evidence of a particular feature. Also note that the cover letter is not the place to praise or complain about me as a teacher or the class in general. The purpose of the cover letter is to reflect on you as a writer and researcher and on the writing for the class. You can, of course, refer to specific instances in the class that served to help you improve your skills, as long as you remain the focus. That said, not everything in the cover letter has to be positive. Finally, be sure to write using academic conventions. Though the essay is more informal, you are still expected to use complete sentences and follow basic academic conventions. Telling me that you learned the value of revision when you are misspelling words and writing in non-rhetorical fragments is not necessarily going to impress me! Length: minimum 2 pages Due Date: See syllabus calendar Portfolio Submission: REQUIRED

Portfolio All ENGL 101 courses are portfolio-based. The portfolio is the primary means for evaluating student work in the composition program at WSU because it honors both the processes and products of writing. Your portfolio will consist of a significantly revised cover letter, final research paper, and two of your three shorter projects. It must include at least 22 pages of revised work (any draft after the first) and demonstrate writing from sources. Drafts of your cover letter count as revised work. Your portfolio is due Friday April 27th in class. Absolutely no work accepted after that time. You will receive extensive feedback on your writing from both your peers and your instructor, but you will not receive grades on the drafts of your portfolio projects. Every composition course at WSU uses this method of postponed grading in order to ensure that the focus of the course is on your writing. After I return the draft with my comments, you have the rest of the semester to revise your projects before submitting them for the portfolio. The portfolio will be evaluated holistically at the end of the semester, and may be reviewed by other readers. You must turn in every project in order to pass the course. Each late draft will lower your final grade by 5%. Save All Drafts!! 101 Policy states that I can refuse to accept a project for which you have no preliminary drafts. Portfolio Evaluation Criteria (see rubric available in Angel) All students in ENGL 101 will be assessed on the following criteria: Critical thinking, reading, and writing (Meets Goals 1, 3, 4, 5, & 6*) Rhetorical knowledge and awareness (Meets Goals 1, 2, 4, 5, 6*) Information literacy (Meets Goal 3*) Processes of writing (Meets Goals 1, 4, 5, & 6*) Knowledge of conventions (Meets Goals 4 & 6*) *Indicates which of the http://vpue.wsu.edu/overview/sixgoals/ are met by Eng 101. Writing Assignments Project 1: Summary/Response Essay Project 2: Synthesis Essay Project 3: Research Paper (required in portfolio) Project 4: Rhetorical Analysis Essay Project 5: Reflection Letter (required in portfolio) Submission requirements Please put all work in a folder or envelope. I cannot accept it loose. Please arrange essays in the order you introduce them in your letter. The final draft of each should be on top. If you want to submit any of your Eng 101 work later for your junior writing portfolio, you need to print, fill out, and include the coversheet, available online. Check Resources for Class for the web-link.