Week 6: Monday, September 30th - Friday, October 4th
Goals for this Week
your class to the library for research instruction (if you did this during week
five, use the extra time during week six to catch up)
topics and issues in class
Part 2 of Portfolio 2 - Audience Exploration (due by Mon., October 7th
Tues., October 8th)
importance of audience when writing for Portfolio 2
what makes effective interview and survey questions
review to workshop interview and survey questions
Connection to Course Goals
Sharing issues in class fosters a sense of
writing community. Students learn that writers exchange ideas in public spaces
and they gain insight from what others are exploring. They also learn that
writers can share sources in a collaborative environment as a means to create
new texts. This process draws students' attention to other students and away
from the instructor allowing for a more comfortable atmosphere - and one that
is more conducive to peer review and workshop.
The discussion about audience is important
because many of the choices that students make (about content, language, tone,
etc…) will be determined by their audience, in this case college-aged readers
of Talking Back. You will also evaluate their issue analysis with the
perspective of a student reader in mind, so students need to envision their
audience as readers beyond you.
Finally, the discussion about writing
effective interview and survey questions will help students think critically
about their target readers and these readers' needs and interests. It is our
hope that the audience exploration essay will help students see that public
writing is situated among meaningful contexts and audiences.
Required Reading and Assignments
Read about "Interviewing" and
"Writing Surveys/Questionnaires" on pg. 250 - 252 in the PHG. Write five to eight interview or
survey questions for the audience exploration essay.
Potential Activities for this Week
Share topics and issues in class (25
minutes): First, decide if this
activity will be useful to your students since it takes a lot of time. If your
students are uncertain about their issue, this activity can help them learn
more about other issues (it's okay if several students are working with the
same issue). It can also be useful in encouraging students to collaborate more
and to share their sources. If you don't want to take this time in class, have
students share their topics on SyllaBase for homework.
Allow each student 1-2 minutes to answer the
following questions in a group discussion. The "Round Robin" approach
your issue within that topic or your research question?
you choose this issue (personal and social relevance)?
Collect Topic Proposals (3 minutes): You'll need to evaluate these quickly so
students know if they're on the right track before proceeding with Parts II -
IV. Let them know that you'll be looking to see that their issue is narrow,
debatable, current and relevant to their audience.
Assign Part II of Portfolio 2 - Audience
Exploration (5 minutes): Ask
students to read over the assignment sheet and address any questions or
concerns they have. This essay is due at the beginning of Week 7.
Discuss importance of audience for Portfolio
2 (10 minutes): As a group,
generate a list of responses to the following question: Why is it be useful to
find out what your readers already know and think about your issue?
Some possible responses:
appeal to their interests
connect with them so that you seem credible and trustworthy
out how informed they are and whether they're thinking critically about your
boring them or repeating what they already know
Discuss writing effective interview or
survey questions (20 minutes): First,
have students consider which they'll use, an interview or a survey, by
discussing the advantages and pitfalls of each. Use the points below and refer
to pg. 250 - 252 in the PHG to guide
this discussion. See if students can produce or add to the following points:
you with more control because you're there to guide the discussion (you can ask
interviewees to elaborate on their answers and you can clarify confusing
questions for more accurate responses).
a more comfortable atmosphere for raising personal questions.
themselves to witnessing body language (you can note which questions interest
your interviewees and which questions make them nervous).
a wider range of responses.
easier to tabulate.
to more honest responses since writing is more anonymous that talking.
Second, discuss audience. Students should
interview a range of other students at CSU. For example, rather than interviewing
five freshman art students, tell them to interview one freshman art student,
one senior political science major, one sophomore athlete, etc…
Third, discuss effective interview or survey
questions. Use pg. 250 - 252 in the PHG
and the points below to guide this discussion.
Effective questions will:
shaped for a target audience
confusing or ambiguous language
respectful and somewhat objective
into account different uses for open ended and closed questions
Most importantly, effective questions will
address the writer's purpose - which in this case is to find out what students
already know about an issue, to realize their attitudes toward the issue, and
to help determine the complexity with which they view the issue (Avoid asking
questions for the sake of asking questions; stick to your purpose!)
Tell students that the length of
the interview or survey will depend on their purpose. Typically 5 - 8 questions
If time: Allow students to draft their interview
or survey questions (15 minutes):As students work quietly,
offer to address their questions and concerns one on one. If you run out of
time in class, consider finishing this activity on SyllaBase and having
students provide responses to each others questions for homework.
Use peer review to workshop interview and
survey questions (10 - 15 minutes): After
students have completed a draft of their questions, have them exchange drafts
in pairs or groups. Refer them back to the criteria established earlier on to
provide some useful feedback. Also, ask them to refer to the audience
exploration assignment sheet and the issue analysis assignment sheet when
answering the following questions. You can put these on an overhead (revise and
add to them as you see fit). For additional help with peer review, see the
guide an Planning Workshops and Peer Review in the appendix.
Will these questions lead the writer to
a better understanding of what their readers' knowledge of the issue is?
Will these questions help the writer determine the complexity with which
their readers view their issue?
Which questions most effectively meet
Which questions seem less related to the
goals for Portfolio 2? How might the writer revise these to better meet
What suggestions can you offer to help
the writer develop more questions that will address the goals for
Where might the writer improve style,
tone, language or clarity?