Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Clarification on the Assignments for the Week

One of your classmates had a question about the assignments for the week. Since he was seeking clarification, I assume a number of you would like it as well. It follows:

There are three assignments going on: 1) by proofreading the papers of three or four of your classmates, you're to apply three or four of the techniques I described in the post on proofreading; 2) you'll be going back through your WPA inventory brining it up to date while looking at what you learned during the past week in the posts, discussion and in writing your process paper; 3) and, finally, you'll be drafting your cover letter for your portfolio and beginning to think about what to put in the evidence section. This last is the draft which is due Sunday.

The first assignment is designed to give you the chance to learn to practice different tactics for proofreading and to learn just how helpful others can be in the proofreading stage of writing. It's rare for a writer to be able to see the errors in their own writing without either the luck of an editorial eye, lots and lots of practice, or an outside reader. You should notice how this assignment continues the discussion of process writing and helps one get some experience with a few of the WPA outcomes. The best way to handle this assignment is to collaborate through google docs and highlight your work in a special color. This is why I asked for a key to the colors used in highlighting the changes made.

The second assignment is one you should try to do each week of the course following turning in your draft for the week on Sunday, that is, running back through your responses to the WPA outcomes and adding in new knowledge and insights you've gained through doing the writing for class, thinking about the posts I've made, and interacting with me and your classmates. In a previous post, I gave you some advice about how to structure each entry, that is, 1) you'll make a claim about your understanding of the outcome; 2) you'll clarify what you take the outcome to mean; and 3) you'll provide examples of your use of the outcome from daily life or, the best bet, from the writing you've done in for this course or elsewhere. Look at the post on opinion+support=good writing for an idea of what I have in mind.

The last assignment is the one due Sunday. It's a *draft* of the cover letter for your portfolio. Your cover letter will be divided into three parts: an introduction, the body, and a conclusion. In the introduction you'll make a claim for your grade in the course. You'll also provide a summary of your argument for this grade, and you'll introduce and transition into the body of your letter.

Since most of the outcomes I hope you'll gain from the course focus on learning desceibed in the WPA outcome, the inventory on which you'll be learning can literally be cut and pasted into your cover letter as the body of the letter. Also remember, the main insights I hope you'll gain are into how to make *yourself* a better writer and communicator over a lifetime investment in the craft. Your conclusion will consist of what you found valuable from the course, and I hope you'll take the opportunity to give me some advice on what worked for you and what didn't in how the class was taught. The focus in the conclusion should again be on what you learned, but you should focus on what you found valuable. While I want you to better understand the learning outcomes and how to apply them, the lessons from the course you value most may not come from the outcomes. In any case, it's more than likely that the value each of you place on the various outcomes will be different.

Your cover letter should be structured like a typical academic essay cum letter. Start with "Dear Steve" and end with the salutation of your choice. Double space the entire document, and it's OK to use sub-headings. Use "I" as you write, as in, "I learned...," etc.

I hope this helps. Do write with further questions.



Jason Williams said...

I wanted to comment on the first assignment. It says that you asked for a key to the colors used in highlighting the changes made to other student's work. I have been using green text for my comments so far. Also, I have been putting my comments above the assignments' text and not actually in the assignments. Is all of this okay?

Steve Brandon said...

I hope the clarification of the difference between revision and editing cleared up the confusion, if it didn't let me know. Steve

Stephen Allen said...

I have used blue for my own regularly (you'll see that in my proof-reading).

For ease of finding what I've done, I have proof-read some of Anthony Pine's Week 3 Draft (He seems to have deleted some because he changed the document, but some of these changes are still documented in my WPA Inventory at least) and Clint Monette's Essay 3 (which I will also document in case he changes it).

I'll have one or two more by tonight, and I'll document them as well and submit them with my portfolio.

Stephen Allen said...

Never mind the comment about Anythony removing any of my proof-reads. He didn't, I just thought I made changes to things other than what I did.

Also, I will be creating a document which will contain the proof-reads, coments, etc I did throughout the course. I will hand it in with my Portfolio. :)