Tuesday, September 27, 2005

This week's top picks

Competition's getting fierce, with there being a two-way tie for first place in our weekly Best of Blogs voting:

Honorable mention goes to Captain Hairdresser saves the day on Planet Frannie. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

This week's top picks

You've read them, you loved them, you voted for them. Here are this week's Best of the Best:


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This week's Best of Blogs

Here are your picks for this week's Best of Blogs competition:


The direct approach

In today's reading from Peter Elbow's Writing With Power, you encountered two techniques for writing a quick-and-dirty revised document: the direct writing process (chapter 4) and quick revising (chapter 5).

Although we'd all like to have plenty of time to write & revise essays and papers, in reality we sometimes find ourselves under a deadline that prevents this. Elbow's direct approach suggests you should take the time you have to work on the paper, divide that time in half, and then spend the first half writing and the second revising.

To give you some practice using the direct process with quick revising, I'm going to give you 30 minutes to produce a tentative proposal for the research project you'll be working on for the rest of the term. Although you can still change your topic after today, I want to see a fleshed-out document pointing toward where you might be headed.

Your tentative proposal should explain what your general topic is, what you want to learn about this topic, what you already know about this topic, and how you expect to make this topic relevant to your readers. On Thursday we'll spend some time tightening and focusing your topics based on what you'll be reading in The Craft of Research; for today, though, I want you to articulate the kind of project you might engage in.

To complete this tentative proposal, I want you to follow the following steps, using Elbow's direct process & quick revising as a model.
  • Spent 15 minutes freewriting on your topic. Open a fresh Word document, then save it to your desktop as "Research brainstorming." In this Word document, quickly type any- and everything you know, think, believe, or want to know about your topic. What questions do you have? Why are you interested in the topic? What do you want to learn? What challenges do you think you'll encounter while doing research? What relevance do you think this topic will have in the lives of your readers? Basically, you want to do a thorough brain dump in this Word document, writing down EVERYTHING you can think about the topic. (If you are undecided between several topics, spend about 5 minutes brainstorming on each, then keep writing on the topic you have the most to say about.)
  • After 15 minutes are up, stop writing. Go back and re-read what you wrote in your Word document. Point your browser to blogger.com, log into your blog, and begin a new blogpost. Copy & paste all the good bits from your brainstorming document into the Blogger window, taking care to arrange these bits in the order you think makes the most sense. After you've pasted all the good bits into Blogger, try to determine the main point you're making (or the main question you're raising) about your topic. Craft an introduction that includes this main point or question, and flesh out any portions in the middle that are weak or contain holes. Craft a conclusion that sums everything up, being mindful that this might be where you find your main point. If so, go back and tweak your intro to include this main point. Re-read with an intent to cut irrelevant bits; re-read for spelling, grammar, and usage errors. When you're done revising, publish your tentative proposal to your blog.

When you are done posting your tentative proposal, upload your Word brainstorm document to your Blackboard dropbox, following my in-class instructions on how to do this. Once you've saved that document on Blackboard, send the original Word document to your computer's recycle bin so no one else can read or use it.

So, there you have it...a quick-and-dirty tentative research proposal written (and published) in 30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

This week's Best of Blogs

This week we have one overwhelming BOB winner and three honorable mentions. Check out...

Any thoughts on what makes these particular posts so popular?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Blog-links now online!

Drumroll and trumpet fanfare, please! I've posted links to everyone's blog on my sidebar on the right, under (yes) "Student Blogs." The links list in randomly updated order, so each time you click to this site, you'll see a different blog on top. Take a look around, post a comment or two, and enjoy!