Well, we’re almost done with the Semester from Actual Hell. Between COVID-19, global economic collapse, murder hornets in the Pacific Northwest, and a literal plague of locusts in Africa (can you believe that’s a true sentence??? I still can’t), mass CUNY confusion, and all of the societal and personal struggles we had already, please be kind to yourselves and forgive yourselves for any academic or emotional difficulties you’ve been having. I know each and every one of you is doing the best you can under these circumstances, and whatever your best is, that’s okay.
I am very happy to tell you that we have Only One Assignment Left, and it’s mostly stuff you’ve already done.
- Students will be able to use web design software (WordPress) to showcase their work
- Students will apply their rhetorical knowledge to display their work in a way that is both professional and personally expressive (whatever that means to them)
- Students will reflect on their learning this semester, evaluating their own work and the structure of the course
Overview of Tasks:
- Compile your final portfolio (Due Wednesday May 20 by the end of the day)
- Watch instructional videos as needed to learn WordPress skills
- Write your final reflective letter and answer a short prompt. Put these into your portfolio too.
- Complete OPTIONAL sharing and reflection activities
- Make sure Olivia has access to your portfolio.
- Complete any missing assignments, late work, and revisions of previous assignments.
Step 1: Compile your Final Portfolio
Most of the portfolio is actually just stuff you’ve already written. Decide how you want to arrange them on your portfolio website and upload them. (See Step 2)
Step 2: Watch Instructional Videos as Needed
I have made screencast videos for you on the following topics:
- Tour of the WordPress Administrator Dashboard
- Themes, Customizing, and Your Home Page
- Pages and Posts
- Different Ways to Upload Your Files
- What’s Different on Phones and Tablets
- How to Share Your Portfolio With Me
Please watch only the ones that you need.
Step 3: Write The Remaining Pieces of your Portfolio
These are the Reflective Letter and answering the short prompt on the assignment sheet. Shoot for at least 3-4 pages for the letter– you should be doing deep reflection on the entire semester, the writing you have done, what you’ve learned, what you still want to learn, how you would do things differently now, etc.
Then add these things to your portfolio.
Step 4: Complete OPTIONAL Activities
Again, this step is optional, but I will give you participation points if you do it. No one will be penalized for not doing it.
Optional Activity 1: Sharing Your Work
Normally, I have everyone give an informal presentation of their final paper at the end of the semester, so that you get to share your research/findings + hard work with people besides just me. If you would like to give some form of digital presentation, you are welcome to do so. This is NOT a Zoom call. It could take the following forms:
- Posting your final draft to the course site for others to read
- Making a video, Powerpoint, still image, or other kind of visual presentation that shares the main ideas from your work
- Writing an informal summary post of what you learned/which pieces you want to share with the class
- Really, anything else you’d like to do to share your work.
Optional Activity 2: What’s Going On/Where Are We Now?
Originally, before the pandemic, we were going to spend a day analyzing and discussing how our studies on algorithms and rhetoric relate to current events. If you want to write a comment or post along these lines– perhaps finding a news story or other coverage of a current event and sharing your thoughts on it– please do.
Step 5: Make Sure I Have Access To Your Portfolio
If your privacy settings on your site are set to public, all you need to do is email me the link to your site (or post it as a comment here if you want to also share it with your classmates).
If your privacy settings are set to something else, it’s a little more complicated, because you have to add me as a member of your site. See the video linked to above (once I’ve made it).
Portfolios are due on WEDNESDAY, MAY 20 by the end of the day.
Step 6: Complete All Missing Work + Revisions
If you are missing other assignments that you would like to get credit for, now is the time to work on them.
If you would like to revise a previous assignment that you already completed for a better grade, you can also do that.
Everything can either be emailed to me, posted here on the course site, or resubmitted on Blackboard.
All missing work is also due by the end of the day on Wednesday, May 20. Because I need to grade everything quickly before final grades are due, this deadline is not very flexible. If you need a little bit of extra time beyond that, here’s what I need you to do:
- Send me an email detailing exactly which assignments you are going to complete AND which day in the week after the 20th you will send them to me.
- Follow through on your deadline.
If you do not meet the deadline you told me in your email, I cannot guarantee that I will be able to accept your assignment(s). This is because once I upload final grades to CUNYFirst, I cannot change them.
An “abstract” is a short summary of an academic paper. You may have seen/read some of them already while doing research. It’s a paragraph that comes before the essay itself– in APA style, it comes after the title page but before the introduction. It lives on its own page.
It’s similar to the blurbs you find on the back of books, but with one important difference: book blurbs want to hook the reader (to get you to read the book) and don’t spoil the ending. Abstracts spoil the ending. A reader should be able to read your abstract and know what the entire paper is about, including a one or two sentence summary of your findings.
Click here to see an example. On this example, ignore everything above the part that says VARYING DEFINITIONS OF ONLINE COMMUNICATION. That part in all caps is the running head for the paper. Everything above it was added by Purdue OWL just for the purposes of this example.
Notice that after the abstract, there are a few keywords. When researchers publish in scholarly journals, they are asked to choose up to 5 keywords that the paper will be sorted under, to help people find it when searching online or in libraries. Choose some words (almost always nouns) that encapsulate the main concepts involved in your paper.
Only write about the most important details for someone to understand your paper. You may be able to steal some language from your proposal, with small revisions.
- What is your general topic?
- What is your main inquiry question?
- What are the main arguments or pieces of evidence you discuss?
- What is your answer, conclusion, or findings?
Try to have only 1-2 sentences for each one.
For more guidance, check out this Powerpoint by Dr. Edward Kennedy, another English professor here at John Jay.
What’s the Point of an Abstract?
So readers can know what your paper is about without having to read the whole thing!
Also because most scholarly articles exist behind paywalls. You can read the abstract for free, but you have to pay money (or belong to a university whose library has paid money) to read the whole thing.
That’s why you have to go through the library website to find most scholarly articles– in addition to the many helpful search functions the library site provides, you wouldn’t be able to access most of the articles if you found them through Google! Academic articles are very expensive, and none of the money goes to the author.
For example, here is an article I wrote. You can read the abstract for free on the site! However, it costs $44 for someone to read it without library access. But if someone buys it, I get $0. The abstract is a teaser!
FUN MONEY-SAVING FACT: Often, if you want to read an article, but can’t figure out how to access it for free through the library, you can google the professor and email them asking for a PDF. They will probably give it to you.
We’re so close to the end that I almost included the entire rest of the semester in this module alone. This week, just keep working on your final papers (full first draft + final draft) and do the last set of rhetorical devices.
By the end of this module, you will be DONE with your final paper!!!!!
- Students will practice synthesizing research into an academic report
- Students will critically analyze their own writing to improve their previous drafts
- Students will apply their rhetorical knowledge to real life situations to discover how appeals to patriotism are used to persuade
Overview of Tasks
- Orient yourself with a Writing into the Week prompt
- Read “What is an Abstract?”
- Complete a full draft of your final paper, due Monday May 4 by the end of the day, or as soon as possible after that.
- Read about Appeals to Patriotism. Find two examples of appeals to patriotism, share them and analyze them as a comment on this post.
- Write feedback for your peers (for those doing peer review) by the end of the day on Thursday May 7.
- Once you receive feedback from me/your peers, continue working on your paper. “Final” drafts are due by the end of the day on Monday, May 11, although you are free to revise again after that anytime before the portfolio is due.
Step 1: Writing Into the Week
Please just take 5-10 minutes to collect yourself and write about whatever comes to mind. This time is for you. As always, I recommend you set a timer and push yourself to write the whole time. You may find it beneficial to freewrite about your writing and research so far, if you want to remind yourself of where you left off as you get ready for writing, or you may find it beneficial to write about something else that’s on your mind, to let it out a bit.
Step 2: What is an Abstract?
I want to remind you that in the final draft of your paper, I am looking for several aspects of APA formatting.
- APA-style title page, header, and page numbers (see our APA Lesson class video)
- An Abstract with keywords.
- Your essay
- A references page, formatted in APA style. You do not need to include the annotations from your annotated bibliography here– just citations for whatever sources you use in your essay.
Step 3: Full Draft
If you have already turned in a partial draft, expand and revise that into a complete first draft. Or, if you did not write a partial draft, please write your first draft now.
Full drafts are due on Blackboard by the end of the day on Monday, May 4. This deadline gives me time to give everyone feedback before the final drafts are due on Monday, May 11.
If you are unable to finish your draft by this deadline, please upload it as soon as possible afterwards.
Step 4: Appeals to Patriotism
Please read about the rhetorical strategy of Appeals to Patriotism. Then, find some examples in real life (this should be easy if you watch/read political speeches or watch/read political news), post them as a comment on this post along with the context of the example, and analyze how the speaker is using appeals to patriotism to persuade their audience. (And, what are they trying to persuade them of?)
Step 5: Peer Review
For those of you who have chosen to participate in peer review, please give comments to your peer review group by the end of the day on Thursday, May 7. This will help give them enough time to incorporate your comments into their final drafts.
Step 6: Revise and Finish!
Use feedback from me + your peers, plus your own analysis of your work, to continue revising your paper! Double check yourself agains the rubric. Have you followed all of the instructions and done all of the things I’ve asked for?
“Final” drafts are due by the end of the day on Monday, May 11. Once I receive them, I will write feedback and grade you using the rubric. Then, you are free to revise again (only if you want to!) anytime before the portfolio/late work/revisions deadline.
When you finish this step, CONGRATULATIONS! You’re done with your final paper! All that’s left now is the portfolio, which is mostly just putting together + reflecting on all of the work you’ve already done. Give yourself a congratulatory treat, whether it’s a snack, a present, a fun activity, etc.
This week, we’ll be drafting our final papers!!!
There are several different due dates within this module, since there are several components. Feel free to turn things in late if you are not able to complete them on time, with no penalty. However, those of you who have chosen to participate in peer review should honor your commitment to your groupmates and prioritize giving them feedback above other work for this course, because that impacts others, not just yourself.
Goals and Learning Objectives
- Evaluate different methods of outlining a final paper and create your own
- Begin synthesizing information learned through your research into a form appropriate for sharing with others! (In this case, an essay.)
- Practice critically evaluating writing through peer review and self-revision
- Practice your rhetorical skills by offering feedback to peers in constructive , clear, yet polite ways.
Overview of Tasks
- Orient yourself with a Writing Into the Week prompt
- Explore examples of real outlines that real undergraduates used to write final papers
- Outline your paper using one of the styles you looked at or by inventing your own outline form (due Monday April 27 by the end of the day)
- Read or Skim resources on MEAL Plan paragraph structure and incorporating evidence into paragraphs.
- Using your outline, begin drafting your paper. Turn in a partial draft via Blackboard. (Due Wednesday April 29 by the end of the day.)
- Attend optional Zoom class on Wednesday at 4:30 or watch the recorded video afterwards. I will be discussing introductions and conclusions and answering any questions you may have.
- For those of you doing peer review, write feedback for your classmates by the end of Friday May 1st.
- Read about two more rhetorical strategies and post examples/analysis of each. (Due Friday May 1 by the end of the day.)
Step 1: Writing Into the Week
Please write for 5-10 minutes on the following prompts. I encourage you to leave your response as a comment on this post.
- What aspects of writing a paper do you often find challenging? (In other words, what are your sticking points?)
- What would be helpful to have or think about in advance in order to make these aspects easier?
- Are there any particular writing topics (some aspect of grammar, or paragraph structure, style, etc.) that you would like to learn more about/get extra guidance on?
Step 2: Explore Examples of Outlines
Some of you may have already looked at these when I posted them earlier this week. For those who didn’t, please review the examples now. Decide what seems helpful or unhelpful to YOU and how YOU prefer to work as a writer.
If something seems too stressful and overwhelming? Don’t do it. If something seems like it will make writing easier for you? Do it! These are all examples, not the One Right Way to write an outline.
Step 3: Outline Your Paper
Following the instructions, write an outline for your paper. It can take any shape you want. Make something you think will HELP YOU as you begin drafting your paper. If it’s not going to be helpful, what’s the point?
It can be messy. You can write things like “Say something about ______ here.” Whatever works for you.
Step 4: Read Or Skim Resources
Some of you may already feel comfortable structuring paragraphs and incorporating evidence. Great! Some of you may be less sure. Please look over the following resources with the level of detail that you think is necessary:
Step 5: Begin Drafting Your Paper
I recommend you write until you feel Stuck, or write until you feel like you need a break and/or some feedback before you can continue. A partial draft can be as many or as few pages as you want, but it should be more substantial than your outline.
If you don’t feel ready to write the intro, that’s okay! Skip to the first body paragraph. Write what you can. This makes less work for yourself later.
When you decide your draft is as done as it’s going to be at this stage, please do the following:
- Turn it in using the Partial Draft link on Blackboard.
- If you are participating in peer review, share it with your groupmates. The form this takes will depend on the method for peer review your group has chosen. (I will be in touch with everyone who signed up soon about their groupmates and the form that works for everyone.) You may also want to include a note for your readers with specific questions you would like feedback on.
Partial drafts are due by the end of Wednesday, April 29. This due date is especially important for those doing peer review, so that you give your peers enough time to give you feedback.
Step 6: Attend Optional Zoom Class (Or Watch Video Later)
I will host another optional Zoom class on Wednesday, April 29 at 4:30pm, our usual class time. I will be discussing tips for Introductions and Conclusions as well as answering any questions you have.
I will also post a video of Zoom class to Vimeo for anyone who wants to watch it later.
Step 7: Write Feedback For Your Classmates
I will email suggested peer review prompts when I send out the group information. Please give your feedback to your classmates by the end of the day on Friday May 1, unless you and your groupmate(s) agree on another deadline amongst yourselves.
Step 8: Rhetorical Strategies
Note that emotional news is not the same as fake news, but news may play to your biases/emotions (appeals to pathos!) to convince you of something that is false or misleading.
There are many ways to outline a paper. Some are formal and highly structured, and some are very loose, and most are inbetween! An outline can be mostly or entirely textual, or it can include visual elements. An outline can be a graphic organizer for essay writing that you find online and fill in like this, this, or this.
You may have never written an outline before, or not really know what to do for this assignment, so I’ve compiled some examples for you. These are only SOME of the ways you can outline.
An outline might not make sense to someone else who is reading it, because it’s notes the writer is leaving their future selves to help with the drafting process. As long as it makes sense to you, that’s what matters.
I will just be grading your outline on completion (did you do it) and detail (did you actually put time and effort into this based on your research so far), not on any specific form or formatting. You should make an outline that will help YOU write your paper.
Outlines will be graded out of 6 points. 2 for doing it, 2 for level of detail, 2 free points that would have been for turning it in on time, except there’s a pandemic so whatever.
Example Outlines from Person 1
Okay, I’m Person 1, and these are some of my outlines from my sophomore year of college.
Outline 1: Witchcraft Outline
I like this one because of the color-coding. I wrote the main ideas/section headers in black, all of the things I wanted to talk about in that section in blue, and the names of the authors I wanted to cite in red. I also wrote out my thesis in full at the top to always remind me of what I was trying to argue. It helped keep me focused.
Outline 2: Amanda Palmer Project Outline
In this one, I didn’t use color coding, just loose nests of bullets and main ideas. However, you can tell when I copy/pasted a quote from a source, because the font and coloring is different. I did this to remind myself of what quotes/examples I wanted to use as evidence in each section.
Example Outlines from Person 2
These are from a colleague of mine, also from her early years of college. Notice that she uses a much more formalized structure of headings and subheadings (numbers, capital letters, roman numerals, lowercase letters, etc.) than I do. In one case, she wrote her entire introduction as part of the outline.
Example Outline from Person 3
This person uses the standard structure of a scientific paper (Intro/Methods/Results/Discussion) but then added sublevels of bullets to her outline based on her specific topic. (This was for an advanced research course where psychology majors had to design and conduct their own studies.)
Once she had her outline, she wrote her paragraphs in the same document underneath each subheading. By the end, she had almost an entire paper and just had to paste the paragraphs into another document and add transitions/formatting.
Same outline with paragraphs: Copy of Outline
The official instructions and rubric for the final paper are below.
Please remember to fill out the peer review survey so I can put people into groups.
Reminder of Final Paper Schedule:
Annotated Bibliographies due Friday April 24
Outlines due Monday April 27
For those doing peer review, Partial Drafts due Wednesday April 29
Comments for your peers due Friday May 1
For everyone, complete first drafts are due Monday May 4
For those doing peer review, comments for your peers are due Thursday May 7
Final Drafts due Monday May 11
This week you’re just working on your annotated bibliographies and doing another set of rhetorical devices! Thanks to everyone who has turned in their Imaginary Interviews and Cognitive Biases examples.
Please complete the Peer Review Survey asap so I can put people into groups.
Examples/Analysis due as a comment on this post by the end of the day April 24.
Annotated Bibliography Instructions/Rubric
Also due by the end of the day April 24
See Module 4 for instructions on formatting and citations.
As always, you can schedule a time to chat with me here.
For my other job, our team is working on a site called Comforting Content for COVID Coping, where we just post nice things that might bring people some brief peace and happiness in the midst of all of this stress and anxiety.
There’s a couple posts from me so far, but most of it is my boss posting pictures of his cats and other animals. Pretty cute.
Most probably one of the worst things the person can do right now is to be selfish and made the world problem about himself. However, this is exactly what I am going to do in this paper.
2019 was a tough year for me. It is started with my legalization process in this country. It started with a different choice I had to make – I needed to refuse my citizenship and apply for asylum here in the United States, which meant I could never go back to my country. I could never walk around the streets I grew up in. Most probably I will never see most of my friends ever again. I will never enter the house I grew up in. Unfortunately, as sad as it is but going back isn’t an option. Despite my family, my friends and some nice childhood memories my country can’t offer me anything else. Especially, it can’t guaranty the most essential thing for a human being – safety. Not only authorities deny protection for people like me, but they also initiate persecution and spread hate among citizens.
So, as hard as it was – I started my asylum application, which surprisingly didn’t last long. In the middle of March, I already got approval and now was the time to make my American dream come true.
I don’t want to go deep into the details since it should be about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affected me, but I want the reader to understand my position better.
After eight months of changing different minimal wage jobs, several panic attacks and taking control over my PTSD, I finally have been accepted to college! One step closer to my goal. In the last weeks of 2019, I made a list – well, not even a list more of a guideline – what I am going to do in 2020 and the upcoming decade in general. I promised myself to enjoy life, take as many opportunities as I can, be social, take care of my health – both physical and mental, take care of my look, start to dress stylish and many other things that I didn’t do in 2019. And, well, generally before.
And the first three months of 2020 I truly did my best to follow this guideline.
But the universe had a different plan for us all. The year started with a rumor about World War Three. And then not long after we heard about the novel coronavirus spreading around chine and slowly going out of it to other countries. We all remember the bird flu, swine flu, Ebola outbreaks so at that time no one expected what is going to happen. And while the novel virus was spreading around the Old World, we didn’t pay attention to that. We were going to school, work, events, parties, etc.
I remember the virus got my attention in mid- February when it started to spread over Iran. Since my country located in the North-Western border of Iran – I realized it is a matter of time when the virus is going to knock on the doors of people I care about. However, following the news about the spread of the virus in Europe and Asia didn’t give me any closure to see what is about to happen.
I remember receiving an email on Tuesday around 11 PM that classes on Wednesday are canceled. Then on Wednesday governor gave the order to switch into distance learning mode till the rest of the semester. Less than a week later – I received an email from my boxing gym that they are going to be closed. And in one day all the bars, cafes and restaurants have closed their doors. Some of them still deliver food, some of them won’t open ever again.
I was afraid that staying locked at home with this uncertainty of the future may trigger my PTSD. Thankfully it didn’t. At least for now. But I live in constant fear of the returning of my nightmares and painful flashbacks.
Despite all that mess in the world and my head, I am still focused on my long-term goal. I am being on top of my classes. Doing as much of my assignments as I possibly can. I even registered for summer courses in order to graduate faster. My short yet full of different events life had taught me – while our body has physical limitations, our mind doesn’t. So, the virus might be aggressive, dangerous and deadly but I won’t give up on life. I won’t let fear, anxiety, and uncertainty take over my life ever again.