Posted in English 1103, Teaching

ENG 1103: Sample Introductory Blog Posts, Followed by Your Own

In class today, I distributed copies of two sample introductory posts for us to examine before we turned our attention to your own blogs. As you prepared to study the sample introductions, I asked you to keep in mind the “Cures for the Judgment Reflex” that your textbook’s authors outline in Chapter 1. As a preface to the cures, the authors offer this general rule:

“[T]ry to figure out what your subject means before deciding how you feel about it. If you can break the judgment reflex and press yourself to analyze before judging a subject, you will often be surprised at how much your initial responses change” (Rosenwasser and Stephen 11).

This semester we will follow that general rule each time we examine a text as a subject of analysis.

An additional copy of the exercise (with the two sample introductory posts) can be downloaded from the link below.

Your WordPress Blog

Remember that you need to email me your blog address, or URL, so that I can link your WordPress site to the course page. Most of you in the 9:15 class have already done that. Many of you in the 10:40 class still need to do so. If you encounter difficulties creating your blog or your first post, email help@wordpress.com. My students have maintained WordPress blogs since 2013, and no student has ever experienced a problem with a blog that WordPress wasn’t able to resolve eventually. If your blog isn’t up and running, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and email WordPress.

Along with the exercise, I distributed copies of the worksheet for the first of your five lessons in the Check, Please! assignment. Some of you in the 9:15 class left before I handed out the worksheets. If you did not receive one, you may pick up one in class on Friday, or download and print one from the link below. Submit your completed worksheet in class on Wednesday, September 8. That due date and the ones for your other Check, Please! lessons are included on the course calendar.

Next Up

Friday marks our second Wordplay Day of the semester. To prepare for class, review the Scrabble site’s “Tips and Tools.” Unless you encounter technical difficulties with WordPress, your introductory post should be published before Friday’s class. We will begin examining your introductions in class next week. An additional copy of the blog overview and introductory assignment can be downloaded from the link below.

Work Cited

Rosenwasser, David and Jill Stephen. Writing Analytically, 8th edition. Wadsworth/Cengage, 2019.

Posted in English 1103, Teaching

ENG 1103: More than “Skim Reading . . .”

On Monday, after reviewing the material we covered in the first week of the course, we turned our attention to the newspaper column that you read for class, “Skim Reading is the New Normal,” by Maryanne Wolf, Director of the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA.

Although Wolf’s Guardian column, like Matt Richtel’s article “Blogs vs. Term Papers,” is a newspaper piece, it is not a work of objective reporting. Rather than reporting on the ideas of researchers, educators, and consultants, as Richtel does in The New York Times, Wolf presents the findings of linguists, psychologists, and cognitive scientists whose recent work supports her claim that “[w]e need to cultivate a new kind of brain: a ‘bi-literate brain’ reading brain capable of the deepest forms of thought in either digital or traditional mediums.”

Exposition, Analysis, and Argument

Matt Richel’s article “Blogs vs. Term Papers” is exposition; it’s primary aim is to convey information. Wolf’s column is an argument. In our textbook, Writing Analytically, the authors offer this explanation of the difference between analysis and argument: The claim that an analysis makes is often the answer to the question, what does it mean? The claim that an argument makes “is often an answer to a should question” (Rosenwasser and Stephen 7-8). Similarly, Wolf’s argument is the answer to a need question. Her answer is “[w]e need to cultivate a new kind of brain.”

Matters of Style

  • In newspaper headlines, only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized.
  • In MLA (Modern Language Association) style, all words except articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, and the to in infinitives are capitalized—unless the word is the first or last in the title or subtitle.
  • Newspaper articles include a space before and after the em dash.
  • MLA style includes no space before and after the em dash.

For more examples of documentation style, see OWL, Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab, and Writing Analytically, 255-63.

Next Up

In class on Wednesday, I will distribute copies of two sample introductory posts for us to examine before we turn our attention to your own blogs.

Works Cited

Rosenwasser, David and Jill Stephen. Writing Analytically, 8th edition. Wadsworth/Cengage, 2019. 

Wolf, Maryanne. “Skim Reading is the New Normal. The Effect on Society is Profound.” The Guardian, 25 Aug. 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/25/skim-reading-new-normal-maryanne-wolf.