Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Group Research Reports Online!

Thanks for the great semester, guys. Now that I have all the signed permission forms, I've uploaded your group research reports via Scribd. I've linked to them below.

Group 1 Research Report
Group 2 Research Report
Group 2 Appendix
Group 3 Research Report
Group 3 Appendix
Group 4 Research Report

Friday, April 30, 2010

What did you find?

As you may have noticed, the blog post assignments have been winding down -- I've been trying to give you all plenty of time to work on your research projects. Over the weekend, though, I'd like you each to write a brief blog post telling us about what you think is the most interesting finding your group has made. Was there something that surprised you? Piqued your curiousity? Connected back to something you found particularly interesting in one of the readings? Tell us about it.

There's no required post length for this one, but as usual, please remember to read and comment on a few of your peers' posts. I know I'm looking forward to reading about what you found!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Plagiarism, College Culture, and You

For this week's blog post, I'd like you to reflect on your own personal experiences, and compare those to the student experiences you read about over the break. What has your experience as a student at SFSU been like? How has your experience differed from the experiences of the students at Notre Dame, as described by Susan Blum in My Word? Try to avoid describing your experience in abstract, general terms. Instead, be specific; tell us a story to illustrate what your experience has been like.

As usual, your post should be about 500 words, and I expect you to comment on at least two of your peers' posts.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Responding to "My Word"

Over the break, you're going to finish reading My Word; your blogging assignment is to write a post (approximately 500 words) in response. You can respond to whatever interests you most in these last couple chapters, or you can think about whether or not you agree with Blum's description of college culture, and the pressures students face which lead them to plagiarize. If you want to think further ahead, you may want to think about whether or not Blum's ideas would "translate" to SFSU.

Have a great break; I look forward to reading your blog posts, and I look forward to reading your essays when you get back!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What are you reading?

This week's blog assignment is to write a post about what you've been reading lately. You can write about what you're reading for your classes, if you've come across something interesting, but the idea is to share what you like to read on your own time. What are your favorite books? What are you looking forward to reading over spring break?

This semester, I've mostly been reading stuff for this class, or for my thesis (I recently finished Unstrange Minds: Mapping the world of autism which was really interesting, and gave me some leads on more texts I may want to include in my literature review.) But I've also managed to sneak in some fun reading here and there. I read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire this semester (both by Stieg Larsson) and really enjoyed them, so I can't wait until the third book, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, comes out in May. This week, I read Perdido Street Station by China Mieville; I thought it was just ok. It's a pretty highly regarded sci-fi novel, but I felt like the author was really just good at describing the crazy stuff he came up with, not so good at moving the plot along or developing his characters. I've read one of his other books and thought it was a bit better, so I guess I'll have to finish the series out -- I hate leaving a series unfinished!

Now I'm looking forward to developing a reading list for the English 214 classes I'll be teaching this summer. Any recommendations?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Had to Share

I love this comic, but this one was particularly hilarious, especially for an English teacher!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Blog Post as Idea Draft

Sorry guys, I thought my post about the weekend extra credit blog post had gone up...I just noticed now that it didn't. Oh, well, that's why we have iLearn! Anyway, this week your blog post task is an easy one: write your post as an "idea draft" for your essay. That means you get to write your blog post on the Essay 2 topic; just think of the blog post as a chance to informally work through your thoughts on the topic. If you're one of those people who usually leaves your blog posting until later in the week, you may want to change up your strategy this time -- the earlier you post, the more time you give me to comment and maybe help you out if you feel like you're a bit stuck!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Inventing the University

After reading "Inventing the University" by David Bartholomae, write a blog post, approximately 500 words long, reflecting on the article. It's a long article and not the easiest read, so I thought it might be helpful if I provided you with some questions and suggestions which you could use to write your response. Feel free to write on something entirely different; these questions are just here to get you started!

  • In what ways do you feel that you are/have been "inventing the university" for yourself here at SFSU?
  • Explore the intersection between Bartholomae's article and the idea of the "performance self" and the "authentic self" that we've been reading about and discussing in class.
  • Explore the intersection between Bartholomae's article and the concept of "patchwriting" as described by Blum, Howard, and Pecorari.
  • Bartholomae gives several examples of student writing. Pick one of the student essays he critiques, and respond to both the essay and his critique. Do you agree or disagree with Bartholomae's assessment? Why or why not?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The "Authentic Self" Might Get You Fired...

Given our discussion this week of the "authentic self" versus the "performance self," I thought you all might find this article interesting. It's about a middle school teacher who got fired after making negative comments about her students and their parents on her Facebook page. I know some instructors who are willing to friend their students on FB, but most don't, usually because they prefer to keep their "instructor persona" separate from that part of their social life.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting article; this woman's "authentic self" apparently wanted to vent about her students. If she'd vented with friends over coffee, she'd still have her job -- but because she vented on FB, she got fired. My question was, does using this kind of social networking technology train us to create and use various "performance selves" because we can never be totally sure of who might be checking in on us, and we're (usually) aware of the possible consequences?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


In addition to the regular weekly blog post, I'm also asking you to write a post over the long weekend.

This week's blog topic: Reflect on the idea of the "performance self" and the "authentic self" Blum describes in Chapter 3 of My Word. Here are some questions you may want to consider: Do you agree with her descriptions of these two types? Do you identify more with one than the other? If so, why? What do you think of Blum's statement on p. 89 that "The performance self is more prone to cheat and plagiarize than the authentic self. . .For a performance self, intellectual property is a quaint yet meaningless notion." This post should be about 500 words in length.

Over the long weekend, I'm also asking you to look around and start reading some other blogs. Find at least five that you really enjoy and want to keep reading, and add them to your blog's blogroll. Write a blog post telling us why these blogs are great. No minimum word count -- just tell us why these blogs interest you, and why we should check them out!

Don't forget, as part of every blog assignment, you should be reading and commenting on at least two of your peers' blogs.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Week 3 Blog Assignment

After reading Malcolm Gladwell's "Something Borrowed" and Chapter 2 of My Word by Susan Blum, write a blog post (about 500 words long) reflecting on either or both of the readings. For example, you could respond to the Gladwell article alone (Do you think that Byrony Lavery,the playwright, was wrong to "borrow" from Gladwell? To borrow from the real life of Dorothy Lewis, as described in Gladwell's article? Or in this type of situation, was the borrowing necessary to create something new -- Lavery's play?) Or, you can respond to Chapter 2 of My Word -- for example, what do you think of Blum's idea that the "genre of quotation" has proliferated? (Wired recently published an interesting article about Ben Huh, the founder of the Cheezburger Network. Huh and his employees basically make their living by plagiarizing/borrowing ideas from others and turning them into money-making sites like I Can Has Cheezburger and Failblog.) Or, you can compare and contrast some of the ideas in the Gladwell article and Chapter 2 -- they both, after all, deal with ideas of originality, authorship, and plagiarism.

Monday, February 1, 2010

What IS an essay, anyway?

You've written dozens -- maybe even hundreds -- of essays. But what is an essay? Essays can take up just a single page (like the My Turn essay Newsweek publishes in each issue) or a whole book. "Essay" is a noun, but it's also a verb. Unfortunately, many students are rarely asked to essay when writing an essay. Spend some time thinking about and researching this question, and then offer a thoughtful, considered response. (A regurgitated dictionary definition, by the way, is not a thoughtful, considered response, but I think/hope you know that already.)

Oh, and by the way -- make sure that your blog is set up to enable others to comment. Some students have told me that they've had trouble commenting on other students' Blogger blogs, which may mean that the default settings limit commenting too much.

Friday, January 29, 2010

First Blogging Assignment!

I'm sure you all are excited to get started on your first blogging assignment! Remember, your assignment is to read the Introduction and Chapter 1 of "My Word," then write a post on your blog reflecting on the reading, and comment on at least two of your peers' blog posts. I hope that your freewrite and discussions today will help you engage with the text; when I walked around, it seemed like every group was having a really productive discussion.

Your post doesn't have to explicitly answer the questions your group came up with -- those are just a starting point, and a way of helping you prepare to approach the text. You can blog about whatever you find in the reading that strikes you as particularly interesting. I'm looking forward to reading what you all come up with!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Welcome to English 114!

If you're here, you're (probably) enrolled in English 114.04. Welcome! As soon as you've set up your own blog, e-mail me with a link so I can add you to the class blog blogroll. You may also add this blog and your classmates' blogs to your own blogroll.