Posted in English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Beginning the Literacy Narrative

Today in class you will begin planning and drafting your literacy narrative, an an account of a learning experience, which may be a particular school assignment or an extracurricular activity, such as playing a sport or a musical instrument or serving in a leadership position in an organization.

How to Begin

Begin by asking yourself some of these questions: Who are you as a student/musician/club vice president/etc.? How have you come to think about yourself as a student/musician/club vice president/etc.? What were some of your most formative experiences in that role? What are some of the do’s and don’ts you have learned about that endeavor? How have they enhanced your confidence and skill in that role? You don’t need to respond to all of those questions. Try picking one or two as a starting point, then move to bringing your experiences to life.

Your aim is to recreate those experiences on the page and then to reflect on their significance. Your focus may be any one of the following:

  • an extracurricular activity, such as playing a sport or a musical instrument or serving in a leadership position in an organization.
  • a memory of a school assignment that you recall vividly  
  • someone who helped you learn
  • a writing-related school event that you found humorous or embarrassing
  • a particular type of writing that you found (or still find) especially difficult or challenging
  • a memento that represents an important moment in your development as a student (or an athlete, a musician, a club leader, etc.)

In class this morning you will receive the assignment sheet that details the guidelines for the literacy narrative. If you are absent today, you can download a copy of the assignment sheet from Blackboard or from this blog post. Next Wednesday, September 7, I will return your draft with my notes, and you will have the class period to revise on your laptop or tablet. You will have an additional week to continue to revise before you post your revision to Blackboard and publish it on your blog on or before the morning of Wednesday, September 14.

Today in class you will also receive a paper copy of the updated course calendar. If you are absent, you can download a copy from Blackboard


“Blogs vs. Term Papers”

For today’s class you read and summarized Matt Richtel’s New York Times‘ article “Blogs vs. Term Papers.” My sample summary of the article appears below.

“Blogs vs. Term Papers” Summary

In The New York Times article “Blogs vs. Term Papers,” Matt Richtel reports on the debate in higher education on how best to teach writing in the digital age. While some professors have followed the lead of City University of New York’s Cathy N. Davidson, replacing the traditional term paper with shorter, more frequent blog assignments, their detractors—including Douglas B. Reeves, columnist for the American School Board Journal and William H. Fitzhugh, editor of The Concord Review—argue that blog writing lacks the academic rigor that fosters critical thinking. For Andrea Lunsford, professor of writing at Stanford University, pitting blogs against term papers creates a false opposition. Rather than replacing term papers with blog posts, Lunsford requires students to produce multi-modal assignments: term papers that evolve into blogs, websites, and video presentations.

We will return to “Blogs vs. Term Papers” in the coming weeks. You will have the option to choose it for the subject of your analysis essay, and you may want to want to address Richtel’s article in your midterm reflection, too.

Next Up

Wordplay Day! To prepare for class, review Tips and Tools on the Scrabble site. Also review the blog posts devoted to Scrabble.

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