Thursday, February 25, 2010

Online reading for Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"War on Drugs: The Collateral Damage"

Extra credit assignment for morning class

Write a one-page persuasive letter trying to influence the decisions of a leader in business, education, or politics. Your letter should follow appropriate business letter format and be limited to one page.

To receive any extra credit, turn in a copy of your letter no later than the beginning of class on Thursday, March 4, 2010. The letter will be graded pass-fail and (if passing) will replace your lowest in-class writing grade. Should you decide to mail or email your letter to the addressee, you may also receive extra credit on a quiz grade (depending on the response you receive). You do not need to give me an electronic copy of the letter.

Note on today's homework assignment

Just so we're clear: the one-page writing assignment for today counts as an in-class writing exercise and will be graded pass-fail. You don't need to give me an electronic copy. For those of you who have already sent me an e-copy: thanks for going the extra mile.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Questions to ask in evaluating web sources

  • Who is the author of the article?
  • Is the author writing as an advocate of a particular position or ostensibly writing as an impartial reporter?
  • Is the author expressing only his or her opinions or that of an organization, publication, or website?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic at hand?
  • Does the author have known biases?
  • Does the author have a reputation for telling the truth?
  • What is the parent website?
  • What organization is behind the website? Who funds it?
  • Does that organization take an official position on the issue at hand?
  • If so, what is that position?
  • Whatever the organization’s position or values, is its work reputable and trustworthy?
  • If the website is the work of a single author, is that author a legitimate authority in the field under consideration?
  • Is the article in question a primary or secondary source?
  • Does the article cite sources for information?
  • If so, do these sources appear to be valid for the subject at hand?
  • If the article purports to be an unbiased treatment, are both sides of the issue treated fairly?
  • If the article takes a position on an issue, does it acknowledge and interact fairly with opposing views?
  • Does the article deal with a broad enough subject to be of more than anecdotal value?

In-class exercise: evaluating web sources

Deficit spending

Police force militarization

Red-light speeding cameras

Tea party movement

Iranian & North Korean nukes

Keeping track of web sources

We haven't begun studying the details of what's needed for the Works Cited page of your research paper, but it's still a good idea to keep track of the information you'll need when you first read the article you'll reference. For web sources, you'll need the following information when available:
  • Author's name
  • Article title
  • Publication in which the article appeared
  • Date article was published or posted
  • Article website address (http://.....)
  • Date you accessed the article
Remember, it's easier to gather this information the first time around than to have to go back and find it at the last minute.

Preparing for the research paper

Write a one-page essay answering the following questions.
  1. What is the topic of your research paper? What is the topic sentence?
  2. What is your paper’s preliminary title?
  3. Where and how have you looked for sources?
  4. What have you found? How many sources? How have you kept track of that information?
  5. What are three main points you plan to develop in your paper?
  6. How to do you plan to avoid plagiarism?
Your essay is due at the beginning of class Thursday, February 25, 2010, and will count as an in-class writing grade.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Unable to access email

Well, I'm still unable to access my email from the Motlow computers, but I'll see if I can't do better from my laptop.

Assignment for Tuesday, February 23, 2010

As always, please learn your vocabulary words before doing the reading assignment.


Reading: "The Parent Trap" by Glenn Reynolds

Be prepared in class to share the main idea of your research paper and discuss your general plan for finding and organizing information.

Extra credit for quiz: Who is chief justice of the United States Supreme Court?

Reminder: Remember the "class motto."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Unable to access email

For some reason I haven't been able to access my Motlow email account this week.

Update: I'm up and running again, at least on my home computer.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bonus question for Thursday's quiz

What nation recently announced it would deliver a "punch" that would stun the world on Thursday, February 11, 2010?

Vocabulary for Thursday, February 11, 2010

articulate (adj)
pseudo- (prefix)

Readings for Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Has the Right Surrendered in the Culture War?"
"Touching at Work: The Good Ole Girl Network"
"The Media Mob"

Research paper topics

Choose one of the following topics for a 10- to 12-page research paper, due April 15, 2010.
  • Deficit spending by the U.S. government
  • Militarization of civilian police forces
  • Red-light speeding cameras
  • The tea party movement
  • U.S. responses to Iranian and/or North Korean nuclear weapons development
Refine your topic into a clearly worded topic sentence no later than Tuesday, February 16, 2010.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Current events question for Tuesday's quiz

Who is the U.S. congressional representative for the district that includes McMinnville?

Instructions for plagiarism essay

If you missed the plagiarism examination or scored less than 80 on the exam, you're required to write a 300- to 500-word essay as a make-up. The grade on your essay will replace your exam grade. Your essay must include the following information:
  • Definition of plagiarism and why it's considered a serious academic offense,
  • Standards in this course for determining intentional and unintentional plagiarism,
  • The penalties in this course for either intentional or unintentional plagiarism,
  • Difference between a direct and indirect quote and what is required to keep each from being plagiarism,
  • Specific information on exactly when quotation marks or indentations are required in referencing a source.
In addition to providing good information on plagiarism, please pay careful attention to spelling, punctuation, and grammar, as they will be factored into your essay grade. It should go without saying that if you reference any source (including this blog post) in writing your paper, you must attribute that source properly (in MLA format, as best you're able to decipher it from LBH, Section 46).

Essays are due no later than Tuesday, October 12, 2010. Please see me before then if you hit any snags or need any assistance in writing your essay.

Note: This post was updated on September 28, 2010, to reflect requirements for the current term.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Vocabulary words for Tuesday, 2/9/10

As always, please be familiar with the meanings of these words before doing the day's assigned readings.

connotation, denotation
monogamy, polygamy, polyandry, polygyny, polyamory
wanton (adj)

Readings and questions for reflection for Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Read the following two articles and be prepared in class to discuss answers to the following questions.

Its Time to Stop the ‘Redneck’ Slurs” by Danny Glover

1. What negative term does Glover use to describe the word “redneck”?

2. How, according to Glover, do some writers from other regions use the word “redneck” inappropriately?

3. What kind of bias does the college student’s essay describe?

4. Do you agree that “For whatever reason, it remains perfectly acceptable to insult a large swath of the U.S. population—the common folk who live in ‘flyover country’—as ‘bitter’ or ‘racist’ or ‘redneck’”? Have you ever encountered this kind of bias? Write two or three sentences on your thoughts and feelings about his idea.

"One Man, Many Wives, Big Problems” by Jonathan Rauch

1. What is the main idea of Rauch’s essay? Does he state it explicitly? If so, where?

2. On what grounds does Rauch oppose polygamy? What evidence does he cite to support his position?

3. Is polygamy an “individual choice issue”? Why or why not? How did Rauch’s essay affect your views on this issue?

4. Is marriage an area the government ought to regulate? Why or why not?

5. If true, is it relevant that “no polygamous society has ever been a true liberal democracy”? Why or why not?