Rhetoric & Composition I: Winter Quarter 2013 Rotating Header Image

Tuesday 3/12 Portfolio Workshop

  • Tone
  • Audience
  • Embedded links
  • Organizing principle
  • Quality of reflections
  • Banner: if you choose to replace the default DePaul banner, use your own photograph or illustration
  • Dates
  • Writing Center

Concluding thoughts

“One purpose of a liberal arts education is to make your head a more interesting place to live inside of for the rest of your life.” —Mary Patterson McPherson, President, Bryn Mawr College

“I thought that the future was a placelike Paris or the Arctic Circle. The supposition proved to be mistaken. The future turns out to be something that you make instead of find. It isn’t waiting for your arrival, either with an arrest warrant or a band; it doesn’t care how you come dressed or demand to see a ticket of admission. It’s no further away than the next sentence, the next best guess, the next sketch for the painting of a life’s portrait that may or may not become a masterpiece. The future is an empty canvas or a blank sheet of paper, and if you have the courage of your own thought and your own observation, you can make of it what you will.” —Lewis Lapham 

“It ain’t where ya from, it’s where ya at!” —KRS-ONE, Ruminations

Portfolio Brainstorming & Planning Session: Thursday 3/7

Whether you choose the learning-outcomes based portfolio or the curated portfolio option, here are ideas for integrating your reflections:

20 methods, ideas, concepts

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Custom Portfolio Banners

You can use Pixlr.com to create custom banners:

  • Go to Pixlr.com
  • Open an image from your computer
  • Resize for appropriate Digication dimensions: 779 x 200 pixels
  • Add effects and/or text
  • Save banner to your computer
  • Insert your new banner via Portfolio Settings > Customize
  • Scroll down and Save

Annotating with Scrible

“New York Is …”

NYT: “A Lonely Gaze on The Times and Its City”

In 1958, the promotion department of The New York Times hired a young Swiss expat to take pictures that were collected in a slim hardcover book for prospective advertisers. The book, “New York Is,” extolled the virtues of the city and of the newspaper as the best way to tap its prosperous postwar consumers.

 Click images for larger versions.

 

 

‘Shock of the News’

NYT review.
Via the National Gallery.


Ethos, pathos, logos

From The New Yorker Magazine: L’Étranger. Gérard Depardieu and France part ways.

His cri de coeur wasn’t really meant to be read; it was meant to be heard. It was an oration, appealing to ethos (“I was born in 1948, I began working at fourteen as a printer, a warehouse worker, and then as a dramatic artist”); logos (“I have paid a hundred and forty-five million euros in taxes over forty-five years”); and pathos (“No one who has left France has been injured as I have”). It was a eulogy for himself, a departed citizen. 

Possible arguments for print

Why print?

Why not just let the students read online? The printed newspaper:

  • Fosters serendipitous learning (Read More…)
  • Enhances retention of information
  • Is portable and convenient for use in class
  • Fosters a daily reading habit
  • Sparks thoughtful social interactions

(Thank you, Denise, for finding this via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine

Week 8 Reflection: The Role of Rhetoric

In order to revisit the role of rhetoric in our work, your final dialogic reflection will consider these possibilities:

Rhetoric allows you to invent projects that you hope can intervene in civic discourse. We can accomplish this by using topics about which you were already aware, exploring issues that have emerged from your careful and close readings of the New York Times — in print and digital genres — with our collective knowledge of conventions, and by reflecting on your role as a writer. 

Abramson: Future of the NYT


click for larger version

DePaul’s definition of “literacy”

This might be helpful as you frame your NYT Print/Digital Literacy Project — feel free to integrate it, or to quote it:

DEPAUL’S DEFINITION OF LITERACY

“We are helping students become more literate. By literacy, we do not mean merely learning to read and write academic discourse, but also learning ways of reading, writing, thinking, speaking, listening, persuading, informing, acting, and knowing within the contexts of university discourse(s) and the multiple discourses in the world beyond the university.”

Thursday

Inspired by Harry’s Op-Ed and the recent “It Takes a B.A. to Find a Job as a File Clerk”:

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?” With your permission, and then with your help, I’d like to find a way to integrate this concept of “cultural scripts of college life” in your portfolios: do you have a cultural script of college life in your head? What does it look like? How does it affect your approach to your work generally, and to reading the New York Times in particular?

You can thank Michelle for these

Article illustrations

Claire made a good point about the illustration that accompanies “The Essay, an Exercise in Doubt” and we’ll talk about it in class Thursday.  It’s directly related to our upcoming Print & Digital Literacy Project.

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Proofreading: Toward Perfection

For Tuesday: Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” in Context

 

 

 

Critical Thinking, continued

  “That insight led Mr. Martin to begin advocating what was then a radical idea in business education: that students needed to learn how to think critically and creatively every bit as much as they needed to learn finance or accounting. More specifically, they needed to learn how to approach problems from many perspectives and to combine various approaches to find innovative solutions.” — Multicultural Critical Theory. At B-School?

 “According to Theodor Adorno, the iron law of the essay is heresy. What is heresy if not the expression of contrarian doubt about communal pieties or orthodox positions? This is sometimes called “critical thinking,” an ostensible goal of education in a democracy. But since such thinking often rocks the boat, we may find it less than supported in school settings. Typically, the exercise of doubt is something an individual has to cultivate on his or her own, in private, before summoning the courage to air it, say, in an essay. — “The Essay, an Exercise in Doubt”

 “They are all looking for the same kind of people — people who not only have the critical thinking skills to do the value-adding jobs that technology can’t, but also people who can invent, adapt and reinvent their jobs every day, in a market that changes faster than ever.” — “The Start-Up of You”

Intellectual humility

From Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life. (Note the non-academic, professional context)

Mid-term portfolio checklist

 Précis (five)
 Textual analysis (two drafts)
 Dialogic responses (two)
 Op-Ed project: statement of purpose and first draft
 Mid-Term self assessment & reflection (posted or emailed)
 Signed and delivered course contract

 

St. Martin’s Page 44 / 3a Exploring an issue

Note that I have adapted and revised “topic” from the St. Martin’s Guide to “issue,” because topics are subjects that people talk, think, and write about and may cover a broad area of inquiry, whereas “issues” have arguable positions or fundamental tensions between two or more ideas that are in conflict with one another.

A basic strategy for exploring your issue and generating ideas is simply to ask and answer question:

Questions to describe an issue

Originally developed by Aristotle, the following questions can help you explore a topic by carefully and systematically describing it:

  • What is it? What are its characteristics, dimensions, features, and parts? What do your senses tell you about it?
  • What caused it? What changes occurred to create your issue? How is it changing? How will it change?
  • What is it like or unlike? What features differentiate your topic from others? What analogies can you make about your topic?
  • What larger system is the issue a part of? How does your issue relate to this system?
  • What do people say about it? What reactions does your issue arouse? What about the issue causes those reactions?

Questions to explain an issue

The well-known questions who, what, when, where, why, and how, widely used by news reporters, are especially helpful for explaining an issue:

  • Who is doing it?
  • What is at issue?
  • When does it take place?
  • Where is it taking place?
  • Why does it occur?
  • How is it done?

From Your New Favorite Dictionary

 

 

A Well Cultivated Critical Thinker …

  • Raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
  • Gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
  • Thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, ideologies, implications, and practical consequences; and
  • Communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.  – Adapted from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008

“A persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it and the further conclusions to which it tends.” Edward M. Glaser. An Experiment in the Development of Critical Thinking. 1941.

Can we make any connections between “Drowned in a Stream of Prescriptions,” “The Philosophy of Data,” and “The Boys at the Back“?

Recommended Reading for Critical Thinkers

“It is well known that when like-minded people get together, they tend to end up thinking a more extreme version of what they thought before they started to talk. The same kind of echo-chamber effect can happen as people get news from various media. Liberals viewing MSNBC or reading left-of-center blogs may well end up embracing liberal talking points even more firmly; conservative fans of Fox News may well react in similar fashion on the right.” — “Breaking Up the Echo,” Cass Sunstein, September 17, 2012.

 

Page One Analysis for Tuesday

 

 

Integrating quotations

St. Augustine believed that “because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.” We often think of restlessness as a malady. Thus, we urgently need to reclaim the etymology of restlessness — “stirring constantly, desirous of action” — to signal our curiosity toward what isn’t us, to explore outside the confines of our own environment. Getting lost isn’t a curse. Not knowing where we are, what to eat, how to speak the language can certainly make us anxious and uneasy. But anxiety is part of any person’s quest to find the parameters of life’s possibilities. — From “Reclaiming Travel”

Police officers “know that in a swearing match between a drug defendant and a police officer, the judge always rules in favor of the officer.” At worst, the case will be dismissed, but the officer is free to continue business as usual. Second, criminal defendants are typically poor and uneducated, often belong to a racial minority, and often have a criminal record.  “Police know that no one cares about these people,” Mr. Keane explained.
— From “Why Police Lie Under Oath”

St. Martin’s Guide: “Integrating Sources into Your Writing” (3.13)

A good seating arrangement can prevent problems; however, “withitness,” as defined by Woolfolk, works even better: Withitness is the ability to communicate to students that you are aware of what is happening in the classroom, that you “don’t miss anything.” With-it teachers seem to have “eyes in the back of their heads.” They avoid becoming too absorbed with a few students, since this allows the rest of the class to wander. (359)

In contrast to parentheses, dashes give more rather than less emphasis to the material they enclose. Many word-processing programs will automatically convert two typed hyphens into a solid dash (—).

Climate change data and context

If we pick up the climate-change science again, here are a couple of ways we might recontextualize the questions:

What should be our society’s relationship with nature? What are the intellectual causes of the current environmental crisis? These ‘great questions’ of environmental studies are essentially humanistic inquiries into ethics and values.” —Jeanne Kay, “Human Dominion over Nature in the Hebrew Bible,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers.

In another context, it’s interesting to think about how Adam and Eve may have felt upon their expulsion from their rich orchard to labor on the land and to grow their own food:

Cursed is the ground because of you
in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.
(Genesis 3: 17-19)

And from the New York Times (From “Climate Experts Tussle Over Details. Public Gets Whiplash.” 7/29/2008):

 

1951, New York City

[click for larger version]

Is there a third side to this story?

It can’t really be just meritocracy vs. government, can it?

“One of the features of the Obama years is that we get to witness an enormous race, which you might call the race between meritocracy and government. On the one side, there is the meritocracy, which widens inequality. On the other side, there is President Obama’s team of progressives, who are trying to mitigate inequality. The big question is: Which side is winning?”

“First, there is our system of higher education, which is like a giant vacuum cleaner that sucks up some of the smartest people from across the country and concentrates them in a few privileged places.”

David Brooks, “The Great Migration” 1/24

Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Attributes in Critical Thinking

“Less common but vastly more effective is the cognitive approach that Professor Argyris called double-loop learning. In this mode we — like Mr. Chang — question every aspect of our approach, including our methodology, biases and deeply held assumptions. This more psychologically nuanced self-examination requires that we honestly challenge our beliefs and summon the courage to act on that information, which may lead to fresh ways of thinking about our lives and our goals.

“In interviews we did with high achievers for a book, we expected to hear that talent, persistence, dedication and luck played crucial roles in their success. Surprisingly, however, self-awareness played an equally strong role.”

“Secret Ingredient for Success”

Rhetorical situations for analysis and for writing

“The meaning of words is determined by those of us who use language, and it has consequences.”  Peter Ludlow, “What is a ‘Hacktivist’?”

a

We’ll be discussing — and adding to our quiver of critical skills — the concept of the rhetorical situation, sometimes referred to visually as the rhetorical triangle.

St. Martin’s Guide, 2a. “Making good choices for your situation” and section 3 on critical reading.

College contexts in the NYT

If this quarter is typical at all, the New York Times will probably run at least a few stories related to college life. In the past, for example:

And then just this week: How to Choose a College

 

An example of visual rhetoric

The New York Times makes a visual comment on the highly-charged legacy of steroids in baseball, when “voters for the Hall of Fame emphatically rejected the candidacies of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens in balloting results announced on Wednesday.”

Click the image for a full-size (PDF) view

 

 

Welcome to WRD103

Great minds discuss ideas.
Average minds discuss events.
Small minds discuss people.
—Eleanor Roosevelt

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, we 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.

 A well cultivated critical thinker:

  • Raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
  • Gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
  • Thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, ideologies, implications, and practical consequences; and
  • Communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.  – Adapted from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008

“A persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it and the further conclusions to which it tends.” Edward M. Glaser. An Experiment in the Development of Critical Thinking. 1941.