The end of the term coincided with a campus visit by Angela Kluwin, Executive Director for Education at the New York Times. Some of the students from this term and from previous terms (Katie Klietz, 2010, for example) met with Angela for lunch and a fruitful discussion on reading the NYT in college.
This article — “Our Universities: Why Are They Failing?” — appears in a publication, The New York Review of Books, that we’re not reading, but I was struck by how closely it resembles our ongoing conversation on “what is the purpose of college?”
The downfall of MF Global has led one investment bank to disclose its exposure to the now bankrupt futures and commodities brokerage. In a short statement, Jefferies says its exposure to MF’s debt securities is less than $9 million in marked-to-market positions, which it says “resulted from facilitating client orders as part of normal-course market making.”
No word on what led to the disclosure, but investors are keeping a watchful eye on such comments from banks as MF Global was brought down in part by the fallout of bad bets on European sovereign debt.
“Writing in the digital age increasingly requires remixing, that is, the transformative reuse and redistribution of existing material for new contexts and audiences. Creation, innovation, and invention in the digital age demand that information be widely shared and widely reused; digital writing practices require ‘plagiarism’ (in some sense).”
“Remixing — or the process of taking old pieces of text, images, sounds, and video and stitching them together to form a new product — is how individual writers and communities build common values; it is how composers achieve persuasive, creative, and parodic effects. Remix is perhaps the premier contemporary composing practice.” — DeVoss & Ridolfo, “Composing for Recomposition: Rhetorical Velocity and Delivery,” 2009.
Since the filmmaker organizes his documentary around a series of four claims, we can treat them like that–claims to analyze. According to our St. Martin’s Guide, “claims–also referred to as arguable statements–are statements of fact, opinion, or belief that form the backbone of arguments. In longer essays, you may detect a series of linked claims or even several separate claims that you need to analyze before you agree to accept them.” (Section 8e, on “Identifying elements of an argument.”)
In preparation for discussing Friedman’s “Something’s Happening Here” tomorrow, I’m experimenting with some of the annotation and markup tools in Acrobat:
It’s been interesting to think about the range of platforms that people in class are using to read the NYT — in print, laid out on the table; on an iPad; on desktop computers; on laptops; on smart phones — and what this means for conventional forms of annotation. Do we, can we, should we, invent new forms?
A number of so-called rules are obediently observed by writers who haven’t cracked a grammar since high school—and whose high-school grammar was probably between 25 and 50 years out of date in any case. As a result, the writers avoid a raft of constructions that are actually just fine:
The passive voice. As long as it doesn’t obscure or mislead, the passive is a natural and honorable feature of fluent English.
Use of the first person. Even formal scholarly writing came around some time ago to allowing a writer to speak for himself. [Or, we might add in WRD103, for herself.]
Split infinitives. And prepositions at the ends of sentences. And sentences beginning with and or but. And sentence fragments. These prohibitions and quite a few more turn out to be imaginary monsters under the bed.
I’m preparing an upcoming assignment that includes the option of working with photo essays: you’ll have the opportunity to define the genre and to provide examples from your own visual explorations. As part of my gathering and organizing, I continue to be struck by the NYT article “Summer’s Over; the Game Begins.”
When you completed your initial “My First Week at DePaul” photo essays, we did not discuss audience. For this project, you’ll be asked to think about a particular audience — academic, professional, creative, or community — so that we can think about the needs and expectations of that audience as you compose your project
Because our subscriptions won’t be processed until next week, the kind folks at the NYT helped to arrange an early delivery of the Sunday 9/11 edition — it’s the “bulldog edition” — and they were delivered Saturday afternoon by Dennis and Charlie, from Andrew Distribution.
The NYT is published in the upper midwest by the Tribune Co., at their plant down the street from campus — Chicago Ave. and Halstead Ave. — every night at 10:30 p.m.. Field trip?
WRD 103 introduces you to the forms, methods, expectations, and conventions of college-level academic writing. We also explore and discuss how writing and rhetoric create a contingent relationship between writers, readers, and subjects, and how this relationship affects the drafting, revising, and editing of our written — and increasingly digital and multimodal — projects.
In WRD 103, you will:
Gain experience reading and writing in multiple genres in multiple modes
Practice writing in different rhetorical circumstances, marshaling sufficient, plausible support for your arguments and advocacy positions
Practice shaping the language of written and multimodal discourses to your audiences and purposes, fostering clarity and emphasis by providing explicit and appropriate cues to the main purpose of your texts
Practice reading and evaluating the writing of others in order to identify the rhetorical strategies at work in written and in multimodal texts.
You’ll be happy to note, I hope, that we build on your previous knowledge and experiences; that is, we don’t assume that you show up here a blank slate. We assume that you have encountered interesting people, have engaging ideas, and have something to say. A good writing course should prepare you to take those productive ideas into other courses and out into the world, where they belong, and where you can defend them and advocate for them.
Finally, it’s no secret around here that students who take early and regular advantage of DePaul’s Center for Writing-based Learning not only do better in their classes, but also benefit from the interactions with the tutors and staff in the Center.