Thursday, July 28, 2005

Summer Hiatus

I've been having a 3/4 vacation this summer. I'm teaching two classes, but it seems like I'm just barely in the office. I get to leave early in the day, and I have significantly reduced grading stacks. The time has also flown by with more of it spent on dodging hurricanes and visiting family than anything else.

I do, however, have one teaching thought to report. I've tried a kind of I-search sequence out on my summer day class. The continuity between assignments has been especially successful in the fast-paced five week course.

Comp II can be a pretty frustrating class to plan because the school wants a certain amount of uniformity between various sections and instructors. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, unless you happen to loathe the way the class is set up in the first place.

In short, I've found a compromise I've been very pleased with:

Paper 1: Narrative Essay, Research Proposal (3-5 pages, 10% of final grade)

Describe an event in your life that has made you want to know more about a topic. Explain why this would be a good topic for a formal research paper and how you could make a good argument out of it.

Paper 2: Argument Essay, Research Pre-Writing (2-4 pages, 10% of final grade)

State your current opinions about your chosen research topic. Defend your opinions with a combination of logical, ethical, and/or personal examples. Identify things you need to find out about your topic in order to validate your argument. Explain where you plan to look for this information.

Paper 3: Process Essay, Research Pre-Writing (3-5 pages, 15% of final grade)

Explain the process you have gone through to locate the information for your research paper as well as the process you have gone through to focus and organize your materials. Briefly summarize your best sources. Include rough drafts of your research paper outline and works cited page.

Paper 4: Definition Essay, Research Pre-Writing (2-4 pages, 15% of final grade)

Explain what plagiarism is, why it is important to understand it, and what steps you have taken to avoid it in your research paper. Include examples of paraphrases you will use in the research paper.

Paper 5: Argument Essay, Formal Research Paper (5-7 pages, 25% of final grade)

Take a position on your chosen topic and support it with evidence from credible sources. Include MLA documentation for all sources.

Paper 6: Cause and Effect Essay, Research Wrap-Up (2-4 pages, 15% of final grade)

Explain what you discovered while doing your research paper, how it influenced your opinions, and what actions or ideas you might change in the future as a result of doing the research.