Some notes from our class conversations…

First Class: Getting Behind the Curtain.

Initial thinking:

  1. To-Do: your interests in this course, given course goals.
  2. Guidance: anything I could help with or should know about or you’d like me to do
  3. A memorable experience you have had with a text (something you read or wrote, a text of any sort) that has stayed with you, was meaningful in some way (positive, negative, or both). What happened? What can you learn from it?

Closer Reading: Discuss memorable experiences with peer; report back for the peer.

Further: Assignment for Thursday. Challenges us to rethink conventional definitions of reader/literacy/intellect. What are those conventions?

My experience–and how it has shaped how we will get behind the curtain of “academic” reading and writing in this course.

Graff, “Hidden Intellectualism”

Initial reading: Provisional Paragraph: What is Graff’s argument? Provide a basic summary or “abstract” [as a way to develop your answer to this question in a 4-6 sentence paragraph, and to move beyond summary/paraphrase, first list some keywords or terms from the essay that you think are key to Graff’s argument. Next think about what he’s concerned about, what sorts of problems he is raising and how he wants us to address those problems or rethink them. Put that into a paragraph]

summary of the argument and project, with brief reference to evidence that you think is crucial to supporting the argument. [In other words, an abstract of the essay.]

List/share keywords–examples of how those keywords do work in the essay (and also in your summary).

Closer reading: where you select an idea and forward/quote a passage to focus in, spend more time, elaborate (why is this idea/example compelling and useful) and complicate (what might you take issue with, what are limitations). Here you can focus not only on what the argument is, but also how it works (or doesn’t work), its rhetorical effects. One way to start focusing this–identify elements of his appeal: ethos, pathos, and logos.

Rhetorical elements of Graff’s essay we can learn from:

  1. Title: establishing focus/terms
  2. Use of keywords and terms in the opening paragraphs: book smarts vs. street smarts; vernacular, intellect by other means…
  3. Forwarding terms and ideas from another source to set up his argument (the quotation of Warner’s argument, argument by other means)
  4. “It’s more complicated than we/I had thought”: a key rhetorical move and foundation for any argument–the problem with conventional thinking that needs to be explored further if not challenged and rethought.
  5. Ethos: how/where he establishes his credibility
  6. Logos: evidence he brings forward
  7. Pathos: where does he connect with you–invite you into his argument most effectively

Further read: ideas and implications this reading makes you think of, connections/applications you might make, questions that remain.

  1. To what extent does Graff’s vision of anti-intellectual culture still apply–or is it outdated?
  2. Imagine what Graff and Berry might say in response to each–agree or disagree? What do you say: who do you agree with and/or disagree with and why?
  3. Questions unanswered for week? Questions about course?

Birkerts, Gutenberg Elegies (opening chapters) + Harris, Introduction, Rewriting

Initial Reading

[1]What is your understanding (from high school/before college) of what makes for good academic writing, the characteristics of an academic essay? How does that understanding compare/contrast with the perspective Harris presents  in Rewriting or other ideas about academic writing you have learned in college (the Stakes reading, our Rubric)?  In groups: put characteristics on board.

Problems with school views that Harris/Graff or others want us to rethink?

[2]Coming to Terms with Argument sheet: the dynamic relation between problem and response. The significance of “Re”. This is what academics mean by the “stake” or the “so what?” [See Harvard Writes:]

Closer Reading: The core or abstract of Birkerts’s argument

[1]A key element of the writer’s ethos: the clarity of the terms of the argument, its purpose, its urgency] What constitutes an argument?


  1. a given/context [premise]
  2. a problem/question [urgency, exigency]
  3. a response/proposed answer or hypothesis [words that begin with RE: rethink, reconsider, reclaim, reimagine]

[2]What’s the conversation we are walking in on? First, listen in, identify 1-3 keywords from the introduction that signal to you what Birkerts will be arguing. Remember: listen for problem [questions, issues, concerns] and for response [solution, answer, hypothesis, thesis]

  1. present keywords: how do you define and imagine the role they will play? or perhaps are already playing? What can the author do with these terms?
  2. note use of opposing or binary terms; the rhetorical name for this is “antitheses”: depth vs. surface, deep vs. shallow, page vs. screen, vertical vs. horizontal

Further Reading

Thus far, what reasons and evidence from chapter 1 do you find persuasive? not persuasive? What questions do you have to take into your reading of chapter 2: what more do you want to know, what does Birkerts need to address, elaborate, clarify, complicate (counterargument)?

As a way to respond to Birkerts while developing ideas for your argument (Project 1). Start sentence summarizing your overall response: “Although Birkerts…., I would argue/suggest/contend…”


Birkerts: through chapter 2. 

Initial Reading  (blog discussion groups): Discuss Birkerts’s  Pathos. Share an example of his evidence where you have done some closer reading and interpretation. What makes it strong or weak in pathos–persuasive or problematic in supporting his argument?

Closer: Strong Pathos: reflection, not nostalgia (see page 22). Other examples where his evidence (logos) or reflection (pathos) is weak or limited?

Further reading/where the conversation goes next

  1. Identify questions you have at this point: what you want/need to hear more about from the author?
  2. Ideas to start composting: something from Birkerts you might pick up on and use in your writing project
  3. Put Birkerts into conversation with Berry and Graff: what do they say to each other? What do you at this point say to them?

Birkerts, chapter 3

Notice how the argument is set up in each chapter, how Birkerts uses the context/problem/response structure.

Reminder of the basic argument structure of the book.

context/given: current situation, fast change, metamorphosis

Problem: readers in particular (his focus) in denial about the effects of the changes with reading

Response: The meaning of reading–not just the ways we read–is fundamentally changing, becoming something different in the change from analog to digital forms of reading.

Introduce Writing Project #1

Writing Workshop: Ways to Begin to Develop the Terms of an Argument

Our focus: developing the terms and keywords of our argument.

What’s Harris’s argument in “Coming To Terms”? What problem does the strategy of ‘coming to terms’ respond to or resolve?

A structure for an argument–a way to discover the terms for the argument:

Many people would define/characterize literacy as X [given]. However, that common definition tends to forget that for some people literacy is Y [problem]. I had experience with Y as a child that shaped my understanding of what it means to be a reader/writer. That experience informs my view that literacy is best characterized as Z [response].

key terms that argument and essay will work with: X, Y, Z

  1. Workshop: composting toward an argument
    1. lesson 1: skip the thesis statement (for now). Dig in to a memory/experience (or more than 1) from your history as reader/writer. See where it takes you [5-10 minutes of writing]
    2. lesson 2: focus on developing the critical argument from the experience (the “supporting example”)–reread what you wrote–identify some keywords and ideas/threads that are emerging. Think of Douglass as a model: what are the key terms that motivate his argument in the Narrative? Focus on critical reflection, rather than nostalgia: slow down and develop. Also begin to complicate: how might this experience be viewed differently by someone else? what are you not seeing? who might disagree with you and why?
    3. lesson 3: begin to shape a possible argument/thesis in response to another view of reading/writing (recalling Harris: academic writing needs to respond and interact with others, sources, texts.
      1. Harris (could also use Graff, Birkerts, Berry) defines reading/writing as ____________________, particularly when he argues that, “___________________.” I agree/disagree/partly agree with this view because in my experience reading/writing is _________________________________. My view here is particularly shaped by experiences I have had ____________________. [note: this sets up the response and tension/difference that an argument needs]
      2. Can also use your former self to set up this tension/problem.
        1. I used to view reading/writing as _____________________; however, I know see it is more complicated, that reading/writing is __________________________.
    4. lesson 4: Now use the given/problem/response (thesis) structure to outline the set-up of your argument. Think of this as a basis for an abstract of your argument, an abstract that I will ask you to revise with each draft.

Initial Draft/Revision

  1. Some Tools to generate reflection and revision
    1. Track Changes (and multiple files)
    2. Writing Center conferences–as well as conferences with me
    3. Use Journal/notebook for reflection–keep a Project log.
    4. Peer Response
    5. Writing Project Rubric
    6. Harris’s questions
  2. Revision Questions (use in Peer group discuss)
    1. What’s the Project? Present your current abstract to group. This should include a statement of the given/problem/response–and begin to identify some of the terms and keywords of the argument. This will be the basis for the abstract of your argument–and eventually the foundation of your introduction.
    2. What’s working? Share one area of strength, something that seems to be working, effective, something to build upon. Here you could focus in on your evidence, perhaps one of your personal experiences.
    3. What else? Identify an area that might be in need of more development, or one of your ideas or claims or examples that needs an additional perspective in order to be more persuasive. What else might you say? Here you could think of your citation of one of the authors we have read: is there a more effective quotation you might bring in, and use more extensively?
    4. What’s next? What’s on the to-do list for the project at this point–things you need to work on? Keep in mind your overall to-do list, as well as continue to consult the Writing Project Rubric for my guidance on qualities I am looking for in your writing and critical reading. 

Revision Workshop #2: Follow-up to Peer Response

  1. Harris’s views of revision (contrasted with editing). Writing Center introduction.
  2. Peer Group discussions
    1. Readers speak (writer listens and notes): Elaborate on your answers to the four questions, starting with a full statement of the project, identification (pointing to specific paragraphs) of what’s working and what else needs work, and what you think the writer should do next.
    2. Writer speaks: Identifies/asks questions for additional feedback or clarification; explains what revision work has been done since the last draft was submitted.
  3. Class discussions: identify/articulate examples of the revision work that we are doing and observing.

Revision Workshop #3: Further Draft

Focus: Reflection (not nostalgia); strong, not weak pathos

    1. Clarity: Identify key terms of argument. Write New/latest version of your abstract in notebook if not on your draft. Identify the “keywords” underneath.
    2. Complexity: countering as revision strategy as well as strategy for extending the essay–a possible counterargument paragraph. Write an abstract for the opposite of your argument (its counter). Then use that to refine your abstract. Use that to look for places to bring those complications into your essay: rewriting the intro, a body paragraph, the conclusion.
    3. Coherence. The movement of the argument and key terms. Revision strategy: reverse outline or sentence outline for each paragraph (identifying your key terms.)
    4. Work on elements of your “narrative”: introduction, conclusion.

Editing Workshop: see Comp/post.

Frankenstein: Initial Views

  1. Initial Reading–Journal:
    1. Pull out from your journal a question or observation you have from the beginning of the novel. A novel, like an argument, is based on a problem/conflict: think of these questions as pointing to problems.
    2. Questions: Why begin the novel this way with Walton?
    3. Initial response: What’s Mary Shelley’s project–at least at this point? What’s the “argument”?
  2. Closer Reading: Complications
    1. Title Page: a novel that rewrites other stories and texts. Interxtuality
    2. Mary Shelley’s Introduction: a novel that is focused on the power of reading and writing, literacy, pathos–the desire to tell a story, but also the problems of this story–“hideous progeny”

Frankenstein: Closer Readings of Creation

  1. Initial Reading: group discussion.
    1. Victor’s creation of the “monster”: what do you notice when we do a closer reading. What’s his motivation?
  2. Closer Reading: Victor’s argument.
  3. Further Reading: film–the implications of gender.


The “Monster’s” Narrative: Closer Reading for Complexity.

Initial Reading: Is the Monster a Monster? Yes or No [pairs: each assigned an answer; identify and forward evidence to support that answer.] Work to help develop the other position (argue both cases)

Then amalgamate those answers into a more developed and complex response to the question/problem. 

Closer: How does Shelley complicate the story with the “monster’s” narrative? Forward evidence. Consider the effects of Intertextuality–the role this plays?

Further Reading: Why leave this part of the story out of the movies? What’s lost? Next week will read an essay that aligns this novel and the creature with Frederick Douglass (born the year the novel is published). Prediction: why?



Initial Reading Harris, Forwarding

Identify an annotation that offers an example of forwarding: illustrating, authorizing, borrowing , extending.

Closer: “Forwarding” in the film. What does the director borrow and extend?

Further reading: is there interest in the novel in this focus on reproduction? What do you expect from the conclusion–how will the novel end?


Frankenstein: Concluding Views

  1. Initial Reading: Blog discussion (using the model of “forwarding”)
    1. Illustrate/authorize a passage from the novel you forwarded in your response, and how you extended it. The others in the group will respond by suggesting other ways of extending (alternative interpretations, additional related passages).
    2. In reporting back to class, I will ask: what’s an argument that is emerging for you (with second project in mind): What is significant about one of the sources that Shelley forwards that readers miss if they haven’t read the novel as carefully as you? [the problem/response for the argument]
  2. Closer Reading: second creation
    1. Are you more sympathetic/persuaded by argument of Victor or creature?
      1. Forward evidence
    2. What questions remain unresolved? What has been resolved/solved/answered? In other words [looking ahead to further reading next week]: what is Shelley’s argument?
  3. Further Reading:
    1. Film version of second creation: more extending.

Frankenstein: Critical Contexts

Initial Reading–paragraph response in journal. Identify an idea/insight/critical context presented in the Editor’s introduction that interests you and that you might want to forward into Project 2. Begin to forward: Illustrate, Authorize/Borrow, Extend.

p. 16: the novel’s “range of implications” and “literary complexities” left out of the plays/movies. What are the range of implications–or problems, complications, confusions, things that require/invite us to re-read, more slowly read, ask questions, interpret–and perhaps ultimately make a case/argument for re-thinking the novel?

Closer Reading: What’s Shelley’s argument/project?

  1. Given/Context:
  2. Problem/Question:
  3. Response

[Some argument-problem-verbs from Intertextuality: reframe, rethink, revise, reconsider, reevaluate, reimagine]

What’s your potential argument/project: how might you forward Shelley’s argument into your argument?

Frankenstein: Further Readings–Lepore.

  1. Initial: Forward an insight that helps us better grasp, reconsider the complexity of Shelley’s novel and what her argument seems to be. Practice the four steps of forwarding: Illustrate, Authorize, Borrow, Extend. 
    1. Share with classmate.
  2. Closer Reading:
    1. What are insights from the essay that we can use to reconsider the “truth” of Frankenstein? Effectiveness of this essay–observe how it forwards/develops evidence.
  3. Further: What are some truths in Frankenstein that films have avoided?  What would your film version of Frankenstein do. How would it extend the novel? Example: Blade Runner.

Further Readings: Frankenstein’s Futurity and Blade Runner.

  1. Initial: Map out the argument/abstract of the essay. Context/Problem/Response. 
    1. Any other texts/films come to mind as potentially forwarding Frankenstein?
  2. Closer: Project 2 composting.
    1. What’s the Abstract for Shelley’s argument (as you understand her novel)?
    2. What’s the Abstract for your emerging argument about Shelley’s argument?
  3. Further: Blade Runner scenes.

Project 2: Abstract and Initial Drafting: identifying implications for the argument

1. What’s the project: present the current abstract of your argument.

  1. What are you arguing against? As a way to illuminate/refine the implications of your argument and its stake: articulate the view of someone who would disagree with your argument, and thus be in need of your persuasion.

2. Present to peer group a passage that is significant to your proposed project, one that you have begun to forward.

  1. Illustrate: paraphrase the passage and its context
  2. Authorize: identify some keywords that you will focus on
  3. Borrow: provide a specific quotation
  4. Extend: highlight implications from the passage that you will interpret, and use to extend your argument. Where do you take these implications? What other passages in the novel might you relate this to and why? What else, what different perspectives (or counter-perspectives) might you consider in this same passage?

Project 2: Revision Workshop (Reverse Outlining)

[1]Peer Response Follow-Up: Writer meet with Reader, and respond to the response. Take one or two of the reader’s responses and explore further: explain/show what you have started to do in response (evident in new draft); explain why you are doing something differently–perhaps a counter to their counter; ask questions you have for the reader.

[2]Workshop Focus: re-building (revising) the body after you complicate/refine your thesis.

Remember Victor’s problem: spends lots of time on his draft, but doesn’t revise his thesis at the end to match up with where the work ended up.

  1. Use 3-Act template to sketch out the writer’s argument in the draft
    1. Act I: statement of argument [Given/Problem/Response]
    2. Act II: Examples/Passages that develop and complicate the argument
    3. Act III: Conclusion/Resolution of the argument.
  2. Focus on buried thesis: is the stated argument/thesis in Act 1 the strongest version of the argument–or is there a stronger or different thesis later (in act 2 or 3) that the writer needs to consider?
  3. Focus on the threading/connecting of the argument in Act 2.
    1. identify the language (keywords, transitions) in paragraphs that connects with the thesis
    2. identify places where the connection to the thesis is less clear or confusing: indicate what you need to hear/see in order to recognize the argument at that point in the body (act 2).


Birkerts, “Into the Electronic Millennium” / “Countering”/ The Literary House

We will be reading various essays (nonfiction again) focused on an argument about literature/reading/writing in the electronic/digital age. Thus, we need to give thought to the rhetorical nature of these texts–just as we think of our writing in terms of its rhetorical effects of moving the reader into and through our argument. So, we will be focusing on critical reading for dynamic argument–how the thinking moves through the text.

  1. Introduction to Lit House and Print Shop
    1. place to be more deliberate about the medium of writing, which also means the “technology” of writing 
    2. Birkerts, p. 118–reference to Gutenberg: a qualification, a type of counterargument introduced. (he agrees with his critics, but then counters)
  2. Countering Bikrets
    1. Notebook: Where might we agree with Birkerts on his 3 main reasons for change and negative fate of reading? 
    2. Where would you disagree, counter?
      1. Harris (p. 58): 3 ways to counter
        1. Argue the other side
        2. Uncover undefined values
        3. Dissent



McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage: Believing and Doubting

  1. Notebook and Discussion: Critical Reading strategy: Believing and Doubting game
    1.  Belief: Assume you believe McLuhan’s argument–identify a compelling aspect. What’s the belief? (remember our process for forwarding–identify in your notebook what you would illustrate, authorize/borrow, and extend
      1. discussion.
    2. Doubt: Assume you doubt the argument–identify an area you are doubtful/critical of. What’s the critique (or counter)? Remember with countering, you are still forwarding the language and idea of the author. 
      1. discussion.
    3. Do areas of belief and doubt relate or come together? In the process of forwarding the belief, consider where it would be effective to include your own doubt. This is the basis for counterargument.
      1. Further readings:
        1. Put McLuhan into conversation with Birkerts: does he counter Birkerts?
        2. Where/how would you apply and update McLuhan with regard to current technologies and society? What evidence today supports or contradicts McLuhan?
        3. Rhetorical focus: if this multimedia book is the future of essays/arguments in the digital age–is that good or bad? 


Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”

Initial Reading: Let’s practice some google/internet reading–and think about this medium and its effects more specifically (recall McLuhan’s project: an inventory of effects). Topic: Nicholas Carr.

First test: See how deep (vertical) our reading into Carr can get through Google, in 1 minute

Second test (the Wikipedia game): see how far (horizontal) we can get through Wikipedia, starting with Carr entry, in 1 minute.

Closer Reading: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

  • Your initial answer to this question–before reading the article. why?
    • -evidence from the article that you feel supports or counters your initial view. explain.
    • evidence that supports/counters Birkerts or McLuhan or Baron.

Can begin to think about ways you can use this article to develop a counter-argument with Birkerts or McLuhan (and the reverse). In other words, counter-argument can be developed by turning to another critical argument (for dissent, or a related but different perspective)

  • Rhetoric of the article: what makes Carr’s argument and essay persuasive? things to observe and notice and model
    • Introduction: begins with close-up, scene, then eases back to focus; returns to this in conclusion.
    • integration of other critical arguments:
  • example: Proust and the Squid–to elaborate the idea of deep reading.
  • Counter-argument: maybe I’m just a worrywart–introduces Phaedrus; you should be skeptical of my skepticism
  • General style: notice the sentence variation; the transitions; blending of critical analysis with narrative.


Luminous Airplanes

Initial Reading: Journal. Your claim (thus far) regarding the reading experience–use analogy/metaphor (a rhetorical strategy used by Carr). Plus write down at least one question you have.

Reading LA is like _____, because _____ [reason]. For example: _____ [specific evidence]. I therefore agree with _____ when he/she argues that ___________.

Pair: share claims; ask and answer questions.

Closer Reading: Argue Other Side–developing Logos with counterargument. Reverse your claim above, changing the critic and evidence.

Can think of Harris on “Remixing”: Affordances and Constraints. Point to examples of both. What other forms of media could be compare this to?

Further Reading: Questions that we can answer. Questions that remain


Reading/Playing Literature: Birkerts, “Hypertext” and Murrary, “Cyberdrama”

Focal Point on Countering as key to Logos: Refutation as part of the Proof/argument–not merely a rejection of what we disagree with. [countering is built upon forwarding] While we discuss Birkerts and Murray, we can compost ideas for project 3.

Initial Reading: Journal warm-up. Forward Birkerts. What would he say about Luminous Airplanes? Short paragraph, providing evidence from the new chapter “Hypertext”

Review/list keywords from Birkerts–how does he extend his argument, and how would we extend him into Luminous Airplanes

Closer Reading: Refutation

Birkerts vs. Murray: both use as key terms “process” and “game”–but with different implications and conclusions. Why?

  1. Counter Birkerts with Murray. Remember approaches to countering (from Rewriting). How/where would she read Luminous Airplanes differently?
    1. Arguing the other side: Showing the usefulness of a term or idea that a writer has criticized or noting problems with one that she/he has argued for.
    2. Uncovering values: Surfacing a word or concept for analysis that a text has left undefined or unexamined.
    3. Dissenting: Identifying a shared line of thought on an issue in order to note its limits.
  2. Now consider both perspectives in drafting your own claim.
    1. Template:
      1. Although _____ would argue that Luminous Airplanes is ___________ due to its _____________, I would argue, instead, that Luminous Airplanes is ____________, in agreement with ________ who asserts that ___________.

Further Reading:  other texts that we can “play” and games that we can “read”?

Reading Electronic Literature (part 1)

  1. Initial Reading: How we define literature/literary
    1. Group discuss: Develop a list
      1. Characteristics of Literature (or the literary)–any genre: fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction–provide specific examples/evidence from your experience
      2. Characteristics of Luminous Airplanes or one of the Electronic Literature texts–provide specific examples/evidence from this text.
  2. Closer Reading: Class Conversation–Are there characteristics that are on both sides of the list? In other words-are there characteristics unique to each? If so, how do these factor into your evaluation of the effect and quality of the hypertext? If not, how does that factor?
  3. Further reading: what would others say about these texts: Birkerts, McLuhan, Carr, Murray, Piper?

Reading Electronic Literature (part 2)

  1. Writing Groups: Initial Reading
    1. Lead your group through one of the texts that you gave more time and attention to. What are its characteristics? Identify a key term or concept from one or more of the critics we have read that you would apply to your interpretation/evaluation of this text (either forwarding or countering)
    2. Others in group: make connections and contrasts with your text as you listen (ie, forward and counter the interpretation that the group member is developing).
    3. Group will report back: 2 characteristics from one or more of the texts, with critical terms related to what is going on, how we should interpret this work.
  2. Class Conversation: Closer Reading
    1. Texts: characteristics, specific examples
    2. Terms: what critical concepts and terms can we forward/counter to help develop our interpretation, and provide evidence for our evaluation.

Project 3 Workshops

Analogy for our rhetorical focus in project 3 (inspired by Kenneth Burke): We all attend a performance of new forms of literature in Gibson–interactive, multimedia, hypertextual. Some have claimed this new type of multimedia writing and reading as a valuable development in literature; others argue it is a problem. The performances include: The Medium is the Massage, Luminous Airplanes, a bunch of texts from the Electronic Literature Archive, as well as other forms of digital literacy (Google, video games, etc.). After the performance, you gather with a group that includes people such as Birkerts, Carr, Murray, McLuhan, as well as fellow students. You listen in to the conversation, in which others are offering their critical evaluation of what they have experienced. You then join in, putting forward your argument and evaluation, focusing on one or more of the texts. Your third writing project is the written, polished version of what you say.

Composting/Coming to Terms: the Abstract

1]Birkerts’s conclusion in “Afterword”: What’s the Abstract of his argument? Context, Problem, Response. Identify the “keywords.” Note how they reiterate terms introduced at beginning. Note also how he leaves us with implications.

2]Counterargument: What’s the strongest objection to your emerging argument, an alternative perspective to your reading of the text, your critical perspective on the topic (your evaluation of reading in the electronic age)? Write it out in a short paragraph–identifying specific terms and a particular critical voice (name of a critic we have read) and key term–and how this counters your focus.

Review: List Critical Keywords on Boards: Birkerts, Baron, McLuhan, Carr, Murray, Piper

Counterargument review: where to put the counterargument? Ways to counter.

3] Revise Abstract: Sharpen your abstract.

Draft Workshop: logos

Review: counterargument highlights the stake, and acknowledges potential limitations. Turn Away/Turn Back. Lesson from Classical Rhetoric: Proof/Refutation/Conclusion. Lesson from Carr’s model.

Closer Reading: Refutation/Counterargument

  1. Present your argument/claim (your abstract or intro) and map out key evidence [2-3 minute pitch].
  2. Peer group listeners: offer an objection; who disagrees and why? point to specific evidence for the objection.
  3. Then writer responds: do you have an answer to the objection? [recall options: arguing other side; uncovering values; dissenting]

Further Revision: Use the counterargument to illuminate implications in your conclusion. Using examples from class–envision a conclusion for the writer. Lesson from Carr–can plant this seed in your introduction (and also use some of the material for narrative).


Editing Workshop

[1]Peer group follow up.

[2]Signals and signposts–focusing on coherence, avoiding logical fallacies.

exchange–identify places for the writer to improve signposts, clarify potential fallacies. Key places: Intro, Topic Sentences, Discussion of evidence, Counterargument. Report back examples [at least 2 that you identify: one stronger, one that could be enhanced]

[3]Digital Tools: once again, Writer’s Diet, Wordnik; word clouds.

Delivery: question of forwarding images/digital context? rhetorical effectiveness–does it help with logos, pathos, ethos? Identify a place where it might be effective, more effectively presented.


Final Project

Revision Workshop #1

  1. Track Changes student sample (peer response group)
    1. Focus on one paragraph: What’s working? What else?
    2. Characterize the kind of revision the writer has made, its effects, and where the writer might need to do further revision.
      1. Report back to class on the paragraph.
  2. Track Changes Drafts
    1. Demonstrate to your peer group into one substantial revision you have started to make: explain your rationale.
    2. Response: what’s working, what else with regard to this revision choice.

Revision Workshop #2

  1. Preface/Reflection on course–remember what you have studied and accomplished; course evaluation
  2. Peer Response: follow up peer review–readers elaborate on comments, writers ask questions.
  3. Conclusions.
    1. what does a conclusion need? the final answer to the So What? and some initial sense of What’s next?–if this is the case, where might we go from here?
      1. Good model to recall: Carr, “Is Google Making us Stupid?”
    2. collaborate on ideas for revising a stronger conclusion or revising an alternative.


[Final Project Workshops]

Taking Your Approach/Initial Plans for the Project

  1. Initial Reading: Project Guidelines/Presentation: review of Rhetorical Knowledge we have studied; models/mentors–what have we learned from other writers?
    1. Journal: Initial thought for project and why–what rhetorical and grammatical elements you will focus on, mentor.
    2. Update To-Do list
  2. Closer Reading: Student sample
    1. assign paragraphs/group responses: what’s working–identify strengths and characteristics (rhetorical and stylistic); what else might the paragraph do, or do better?

Proposals Presentations

[List on board]

Mentors (something we can learn from the writer).

Rhetorical Knowledge.


Track Changes Revision

sample: The Evolution of the Individual (8 paragraphs).

Evaluate paragraph for its revision choices.

[1]What’s working/effective in the revision–what did writer do that improves/strengthens the project?

[2]What else might writer do?

Share with peer the revision you have started–what they can expect.

Final Class: Your best best paragraph ever!

Peer Follow-up: discuss your peer response comments.

Exchange strongest paragraph. Read and report back: what’s going on in our writing when it is really strong, effective, persuasive, lively, dynamic? Point to a characteristic in the writing that we now have the knowledge to understand and put to work.