< Week 6: Monday, September 29<sup>th</sup> - Friday, October 3<sup>rd</sup>

Week 6: Monday, September 29th - Friday, October 3rd

Goals for this Week

·      Take your class to the library for research instruction if you haven’t done so already

·      Share topics and issues in class—establish a routine way of doing this for the next several days

·      Collect Topic Proposals

·      Assign (early in week) and Collect (later the week) Part 2 of Portfolio 2 - the Personal Position Analysis (due by Thursday, October 3 or Friday October 4)

·      Connect their Personal Position Analysis to the analysis of other sources and writers--their positions, and their contexts, as done in the Position Analysis of a Single Source. Develop the importance of understanding the contexts (social, cultural, etc.) of writers as they stake their positions. Scaffold this learning by (1) beginning with a personal analysis of the relationship between your position and your context . . . then . . . (2) applying similar analysis to sources you collect

·      Reinforce their collection of New York Times articles that touch on issues in the “contact zones” of differing contexts, values, beliefs, etc.

·      Start collecting outside sources (beyond the Times) with the goal in mind of having a representative sample of perspectives on your issue and with a set of evaluation criteria in mind that will help you make good choices. Write a satisfactory Annotated Bibliography that will lead to a solid News and Issue Analysis essay.

Connection to Course Goals

·      Introducing students to a university library such as Morgan Library is a hugely important activity. Students in CO150 gain immediate and practical working knowledge of the essential features of college library research, becoming knowledgeable of the online card catalog, sharing functions between libraries (Prospector and Interlibrary Loan), database searching, browsing of shelves, use of basic reference tools, and that most essential of skills—the ability and courage to ask questions of library personnel.


·      Sharing topic/issue ideas 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.

·      Generating a discussion and a subsequent analysis of the forces and influences implicated in the development of one’s own position on an issue can help students to see that even their own points of view come from somewhere, do not exist in a vacuum, and are full of “bias” and context-connection. Bridging this personal analysis to a subsequent analysis of the sources they find through their research —prompted by the Position Analysis Grid--can facilitate their critical (yet fair) analysis of others’ perspectives.

Required Reading and Assignments

·      Read about Collecting and Evaluating sources from the library and Internet, pgs 571-590 in the PHG. Read also about keeping a Research Notebook, pages 564-567, as well as the introduction to MLA and APA documentation styles at the bottom of page 568 and the top of page 569.

·      Read and discuss NYT articles that suggest dominant and conflicting values and beliefs in the culture.

Potential Activities for this Week

As always, remember to introduce and conclude your lessons with previews and reviews. Use transitions to maintain a connection between daily classroom activities, assignments, and Portfolio and Course goals.

Share topics and issues in class and/or outside of class via a forum: First, decide on a way to conduct this activity so that it will be useful to your students without dominating all your class time. For instance, you might discuss a few issues each class day while having everyone post to one or more discussion forums. You could form group discussion forums for the discussion of similar or related topics/issues. If your students are uncertain about their issue, a discussion activity (either in the classroom or on the forum) can help them learn more about their issues (it's okay if several students are working with the same issue) and can encourage students to collaborate more and to share their sources. Another idea: Allow each student 1-2 minutes to answer the following questions in a group discussion. The "Round Robin" approach works well:

·      What is your topic?

·      What is your issue within that topic or your research question?

·      Why did you choose this issue (personal and social relevance)?

Collect Topic Proposals: You'll need to evaluate these quickly—probably by the next class meeting--so students know if they're on the right track before proceeding with the other parts of the portfolio. Let them know that you'll be looking to see that their issue is narrow, debatable, current and relevant to their audience. You and classmates have already provided some feedback on these ideas in the previous week’s classes and perhaps a forum, so hopefully you won’t have too many problematic issue ideas to deal with.

WTL on audience and purpose for Portfolio 2 : Having completed their mini audience analysis in class last time and via forum postings done subsequently (instructor replies included), what did you learn about your audience of classroom peers and your instructor? Specifically, what does your audience know or think they know about your issue? What do they appear to not know or to misunderstand? Where are the gaps in their understanding? Tallying the responses, report the majority opinion on your issue. Then speculate about why the majority of your peers may take this position. What background, context, values, beliefs, and attitudes underlie this position? In what way would you characterize this audience generally in terms of the breadth of their background or exposure to the issue? Are there exceptions among your audience—that is, people who seem to know more or to take a less popular point of view? What explains this differing perspective? What might your audience need to learn about your issue? What has your newfound knowledge of your audience suggested to you about potential focus for your research direction?

Assign and Discuss Part II of Portfolio 2 - Personal Position Analysis: Ask students to read over the assignment sheet and address any questions or concerns they have. This analysis is due by the final class meeting of this week (Week 6).

At the end of this week, collect the Personal Position Analysis: Also, use classroom discussion time to dig deeply into personal convictions and where they come from. You might try using small groups to discuss the factors or influences that students surmise have contributed to the formation of their own positions on an issue. Students might be urged to think of this as a “coming clean” exercise, in which each student acknowledges the forces that have shaped his or her opinions.

Use the NYT to help make a transition from personal positions (and their associated values and beliefs) to others’ values, beliefs, and affiliations. Select several articles to demonstrate a few issues that are only issues (debatable) because of the clash of values and beliefs. Ask students to do the same with their articles. A WTL with a news clipping attached would be a good way to obtain a sense of how all students are doing with this analysis.

Then establish the framework for applying the Position Analysis to outside sources: applying the same sorts of context questions to sources and their authors. (Use the Template for Position Analysis of a Single Source located among the materials at the start of this portfolio.) Using the board or the overhead, make a template of this grid for students to draw on notebook paper and devote a few pages of their notes to. They can use the grid to explore the relationships between the contexts and positions. As students find sources and evaluate those sources’ contributions to the discussion, they can use the grid to analyze the factors that influence the positions represented. When students begin to see multiple sources with similar convictions, guided by parallel values, beliefs and affiliations, or motivated by similar purposes, then they are ready to start moving their Position Analysis information into the Composite Grid, which is also included among the introductory materials to this portfolio. Students should obtain at least 15 substantial sources, which can be pared down to a minimum of 10 sources and a minimum of 3 approaches for the Annotated Bibliography. The Position Analysis of a Single Source can be applied gradually to sources over the course of a few weeks in class, and students should be encouraged to include all such work in their process materials for Portfolio 2, to return to it frequently in upcoming classes, and to bring it (along with the Composite Grid) to the student-instructor conference in Week 9. It is not necessary to give the grid as a formal homework assignment. Instead, encourage students to use it as an independent thinking tool. See the sample below as well as the expanded one in the introductory pages of Portfolio 2:

Source: author, title, publisher, other sources cited




Background, &


Vested Interests,

Biases, &

Personal Stakes

Values, Beliefs, Attitudes, & Convictions

These are indicators of affiliation

State claim or thesis as a full sentence

Find text evidence to show these here

Find text evidence to show these here

Find text evidence to show these here


Create a transition into discussing the evaluation of sources. Among other things, you might point out that one of the ways that college research distinguishes itself from high school research is in the evaluation and selection of sources. College professors expect students to seek out “better” sources instead of settling on the first ones they bump into. Each piece of academic writing will require a careful examination of the appropriate criteria for the task and purpose of the written assignment.

Discuss source evaluation, using the criteria of scholarship, relevance, and representativeness to help students critically examine and judge their sources—both library sources and Internet sources. Engage students in a discussion of possible criteria for judging sources and why the three selected here make sense for the News and Issue Analysis for an educated Audience of CO150 peers and teachers (You might also review PHG on source evaluation here—see pages 584-589.)

Ways to establish the scholarship of a source:

·       Scholarly sources versus popular ones

·       Author credentials

·       Articles peer reviewed

·       Evidence of research or serious inquiry

·       Evidence of use of footnotes or bibliographies

·       Tone and level of formality/seriousness

Ways to establish the relevance of a source:

·       Degree of relationship to the question posed by the Topic Proposal

·       Degree of currency (most sources publishes in the past 10 years are OK)

·       Evidence of knowledge of other positions, sources, awareness of ongoing debate or conversation—that is, reference to other sources perhaps through an extensive bibliography

·       References to current events

Ways to establish the representativeness of a source:

·       To what degree does this source represent a particular, and important, perspective in the debate? How would you describe or characterize this perspective?

·       To what degree does this source overlap with others in your set? Which ones? Where are they similar? Where different?

·       To what degree does this source offer something new, however small, to the discussion as it represents and perhaps overlaps with other sources representing this perspective?

Transition: Explain to students that for their descriptive and evaluative annotated bibliographies that will be Part III of this Portfolio and assigned next, they will need to consider these evaluation criteria. As they collect sources they should keep these criteria in mind.

Discuss the use of the Working Bibliography tool for assembling the bibliography. Develop a list of instructions for the overhead or distributed via Syllabase to help students get started with this useful tool available through Writing Studio.

Assignment: Collect and read sources on your issue. Assemble a first draft of your annotated bibliography, including a minimum of six sources and post to the Working Bibliography function of the Writing Studio. The bibliographic entry should be followed by an annotation that is both descriptive and evaluative of the source. [Instructors: For an example of such an annotation, see the list of optional readings for Portfolio 1.]