This week was full of announcements and changes. On Tuesday we were informed that Thursday’s class would be an introduction to HTML and web design. The class would take place in the Homer Rice Center of the Library, which is located on the second floor of the library, behind the elevator. If unsure of were to go, the security guards are there to help. This workshop was to give us an idea of what the workload will be like for the final project, as well as build up the skill level of all members in the group. On the 17th of November, we will have a more specialized web design workshop that will serve to help us set up the outline of the final project’s webpage, and debug any issues we might be having. Next week, we will not be screening Frontline-Facing Death. Dr. Wharton said she felt that we needed to discuss the King speeches rather than watch a documentary, and therefore, the documentary has been removed from the course syllabus.
“I Have a Dream, that one day…” We might talk about this speech.
This week’s reading was the “I Have a Dream Speech”, the “Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech”, and the “Black Power Speech”. Unfortunately, due to time constraints we were unable to discuss these speeches in class. Next week these speeches will be discussed. So, if you happened to forget to read them this week, you have a reprieve. While reading speeches is one thing, seeing them is a different experience. Reading a speech simply gives the reader an idea of what the speech must have been like. When watching a speech, one can experience the rhythm of the speaker, as well as hear their tone, inflection, and see their gesticulations. It is difficult to hear the speakers tone in a written speech, or, in this case, hear their calls for equality and justice. Dr. King was first, a minister. His speeches need to be seen, or at least heard, to get the full impact of what he was saying. When one hears his speeches, or views them, one feels as if Dr. King is personally speaking to you. You get a feel for what he feels, and feel like you are a part of the 200,000 gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Speeches are much more powerful when they are heard rather than read, so of your viewing pleasure, links to the recordings of two of Dr. King’s speeches have been included.
I Have a Dream Speech
Nobel Prize Acceptance speech
WOVEN readings–the book we tend to forget about
What would this week be without selection from the WOVEN textbook? This week’s readings were about Revising and editing, and developing paragraphs.
Chapter 25, talks about the revising, editing, and rereading process of the writing process. It instructs writers to read their paper while revising. When rereading, one must analyze one’s writing based on meaning, purpose, rhetorical stance, audience, organization, and visuals. The book suggests Peer editing as a valuable resource to help catch any mistakes that one would normally read over. The peer reviewing the paper, should make sure that everything supports the thesis, as well as correct any grammatical or usage errors. The writer must then go over the paper themselves and check that everything is organized–to do this, an outline can be created. The writer must also make sure that the visuals do not detract from the writing, and that the title and introduction draw the reader’s attention. The writer must the check the conclusion. The conclusion should show a full discussion, and leave the reader satisfied. Once this is done, the writer must check that the proper tone is used throughout the writing. If the wrong tone is used, the reader may stop reading altogether. The author should go on to check that the paragraphs are in a logical order, and the paper has the layout that the writer intended. This is NOT the end! In order to ensure that the writing is the best it can be, the writer must then go through this process again. This is done by reading the paper aloud, and ensures that simple mistakes are avoided.
Chapter 29 discusses the development of paragraphs. The reading describes strong paragraphs as those that contain important information, a topic sentence, the middle of the paragraph expounds upon the topic, and the end of the paragraph sums it all up. In order to achieve strong writing, paragraphs must be unified. By this, they mean that there should only be one topic sentence, and everything in that paragraph should be about that topic sentence. The paragraph should also hold the attention of the reader. If the writing is too dry, and boring, the reader will not read it and the author’s message will be lost. Special paragraphs are designed to add interest to the writing. Special paragraphs, therefore, tend to be anecdotes, dialogs, and even hypothetical situation, to name a few. All the paragraphs in a paper should be linked together via transition sentences and should all relate back to the original thesis. This chapter even went on to offer suggestions on how to post paragraphs online. The book says that to indicate a break in paragraphs, simply add line space between the alerts readers that one is moving on to a different idea.
These readings directly relate to what we did in class on Tuesday which was peer review each other’s stage two of the proposal essay. The readings gave us insight into how we should review other’s work, as well as how were should make changes and reread our own. These readings will also be useful to those of us who will be blogging this week and writing a reflection of this blog next week. Revision and the ability to be critical of one’s work is a skill that will never prove useless in life. You will use it in all fields—from basket weaving (You never know. Those descriptions could be tough) to management (Because chances are, your boss won’t know how to write or send out mass emails without making hilarious mistakes.) to engineering (Yes, engineers, you will have to communicate with other people!).
In my opinion, very few improvements could be made in this area. The first would be to spread the revision readings over the entire week, rather than just one day in class. The second would be to shorten the WOVEN text chapters. (They like to go on and on about a basic idea. We get bored reading it.) The last improvement I suggest would be to actually talk about them in class. A lot of us forget what we are supposed to read about in that book that is inconveniently located. Also, it is extremely possible that there are some that do not fully understand what the book is talking about. Class discussions allow us to ask questions and dispel any confusion.
Revise, Revise, Revise…
(Image credit: http://thewritecorner.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/revision.jpg)
The tail end of Tuesday’s class consisted of peer revisions of stage two of the Proposal essay. As with any revisions, there was a set of criteria that we were to look for. In this revision assignment, we were to look for:
Are they on track? Why/why not
Can we summarize their ideas?
What are two things that would help them in this stage?
In order to revise our partners stage two, we were told to copy their document and paste it into an edited form of the document.
From this review, we gained our peer’s perspective on the scope of this particular stage. We also gained an idea of what others thought about our proposal, and whether or not it would be enough to fully convey our message. This is useful, because the audience in this stage is our peers. We must appeal to them, so others will want to do our topic in the final project. If no one wants to talk about your topic, or agrees with you, then more than likely, your voice will be lost in the see of democracy. That is not to say though, that you will not have a chance to convey your opinion. (There may be a group that thinks along the same lines as you! )
Improvements can be made, however. If we were to do this again, I would suggest making sure that everyone posts their comments in a public document—so the original author can actually see them. I for one was unable to even see the comments that were made on my stage two. Another improvement would be to allow time for more than one person to review a draft. One person will not catch all the mistakes, nor will they give the entire class’s perspective on the assignment. Therefore, allowing others to made comments on the draft gives the writer a better idea of what the class as a whole thinks ths point of the assignment is.
Tuesday’s class also included a Q&A session with Dr.Wharton and the rest of the honors 1101 class. Each member of the class had to ask one question that they had about anything related to the class. A list of Questions and their responses can be found below.
Questions and their answers
How can we center our position on current controversial issues?
-In order to center your position on controversial issues, look for issues that are controversial now. Also, do not be afraid to look for controversies in other nations, not just the United States.
How do you prepare for class?
-Our class uses many different methods to prepare for class. Some methods include reading the articles twice, taking notes, summarizing, outlining, and RHA–Read, Highlight, and Annotate. To prepare for class, use the method that fits you best.
How do we actually post our recap to the class website?
-Using the login information provided by Dr. Wharton, log into the website. Select add new. And then post your recap blog.
Is the proposal essay supposed to be corollary to the Peach Kucha?
-In the proposal essay, we are taking our ideas from our Pecha Kucha project, and comingling them with the ideas of others. The final project which comes later, can be different from your Peach Kucha. In both the Final project and the proposal essay, we are to come up with a solution to the rapid advancement of technology. In the proposal specifically, we are to identify how we would accomplish our goals stated in the Peach Kucha project. So, essentially, the proposal essay is like an experiment in building support for our position.
Proposal essay should be about 1500 words? How are we adding on to it?
-To add on to the proposal essay, we should include examples of any multimedia that we will want in mockup of our website. The proposal essay is in three stages. In stage one we decide what we want to do. Stage two is how we plan to accomplish it. Stage three is telling or peers about it. Dr. Wharton commented that no matter how much we have written, we will have to cut, to stay under our 1500 word cap. She went on to say that this is to get you to think about what is the specific action that needs to be taken and how we will specifically get people to care about this.
Can we go into deeper analysis?
-We can go into deeper analysis; we just need to be sure everyone knows what the reading is actually saying first.
Can I be late to class to register for my classes?
Yes, you can come late to class. You can also just register during class.
For the final project, should we use the articles?
We may include the articles, but we should not allow them to limit use. If we use them, we cannot discuss them as if everyone knows about the. In the final project we are to draw our own conclusions based on the research we do. The readings were designed only to help us develop a position.
What is our end goal for the group project?
-The goal of the final project is to combine everyone’s opinions into one project. We have to blend everything into one, cohesive argument. Each group will have its own opinion, and, therefore, it will be an exercise in democracy. One way of putting it is this: the proposal essay gives us all a chance to argue our thought, but in the final project we are responsible for coming up with a consensus.
When do we need to have our groups by?
-Dr. Wharton will be putting us into groups based on our positions. We will have the opportunity to choose the size of the group. Dr. Wharton commented on the fact that since we live so close together, it would be easier to have larger groups. She announced that she was open to suggestions of the dividing of groups, and went on to inform us that we will be in groups by the end of stage 3 of the proposal essay.
Are the groups going to be along similar interests?
-Because the groups will have to form a consensus of opinion, in some case will the groups all have the same interests, and in others they will not. In any case, everyone will have to agree on the issue, just not necessarily how to accomplish it. We will be submitting a skill sheet so that the groups will not be unbalanced in terms of all the CS people in one groups, and all the n00bs in another.
For stage two, will we be receiving comments on it?
-We will have comments on stage 3, but only on stage 2 if we go in and meet with Dr. Wharton.
Is there any way we can get a general idea of our grades at this point?
-She will give us a spreadsheet and we can enter in our own grades. Dr. Wharton said that she would email those that asked a spreadsheet, which we would then enter our grades thus far and find out our overall grade in the course.
What is the purpose of the stage?
-If we fail to complete each stage, then we will not receive full points in the final grade. These stages are needed for the portfolio, to show that we have made changes to our initial drafts.
What are we supposed to do for Stage 2?
-For stage two of the proposal essay, we were to come up with something that supports our idea. We were to talk about how we planned to mobilize our ideas–basically, we would find a way to raise awareness on the issue. Because we will eventually have put the website together, poster, and public presentation together, anything that we could use in the final project is good to include in this stage. YouTube videos, audio clips, and images are all good ideas to include in this stage, as well as any ideas for a physical object like a pop-out book.
What is the purpose of Stage 3 of the Proposal Essay then?
-Stage three of the essay is designed to show our peers what we believe and how we plan to convince others to believe it too. It needs to be multimodal, and more physical than just idea’s Dr. Wharton commented that she is not asking us to do the final project now. She just wants us to get an idea of what we want to talk about, and how we plan to share our ideas.
What if we change our minds? Do we need to create a new proposal essay?
-Thankfully, if you happen to change your position, you do NOT have to go back and redo any of the previous stages. These stages are to serve as a process, and to ensure you don’t put everything off to the last minute. (You know who you are)
It is exceedingly rare, that we can just ask questions in a college level class. From this unique experience, we learned just what Dr. Wharton expects of us—something that would be nice to know in other classes. We also got a chance to really hear what our peers thought or were concerned about. These discussions may be the most beneficial things we have done in class. It helped clear up any questions and allow us to hear how others are completing the assignments .It also gave us insight in how Dr. Wharton will be grading said assignments—I can’t begin to say how useful this is. It is my hope that we have more of these discussions in class, as well as in other classes.
I propose…what exactly?
Tuesday, November 1st, stage 2 of our proposal essay was due before class time. Despite what seemed like a straightforward assignment, this stage turned out to cause the most confusion among the class. There was a discrepancy over the purpose of stage two: were we supposed to expand our original position statement, or come up with a way to communicate our ideas? Dr.Wharton clarified that the intention of stage two was to come up with a way to effectively communicate our position statement.
**For an audio recording of Tuesday’s Lecture, follow the butterflies. I mean links!
Webdesign and Dreamweaver…For dummies?
(Image credit: http://www.gfxtra.com/uploads/posts_images/1/4/14428/0015dc2325746422575715.jpg)
Thursday’s, November 3rd, class was a change in pace. Instead of meeting in our usual, humid room in Skiles, we ventured over to the Homer Rice center on the second floor of the library. There we were met with a crash course in Dreamweaver. This course gave us the basic tools we needed to start planning our final project’s workload as well as show us whether or not we had a “knack” for web design. The run-through was very helpful, and even included a packet of examples for us to work though.
Overall, this crash course enables us to plan our final projects, and decide just how much time we will need to spend on building the actual webpage. It also gave us insight on just how much effort goes into making webpages and communicating ideas via the internet. I don’t know about you, but, I’m going to be spending quite a bit of time in the multimedia lab so that my opinion is effective in communicating what I believe.
Because I know some people lose things as soon as they get them (I do it too, don’t worry.), the nifty PowerPoint Ms. Valk made for us. For the example packet, you can send her an email by just typing in Alison E Valk into the to bar of mail.gatech.edu (In an effort to protect her email from being spammed, I have not included it.)
Sorry, no butterflies here.
For a very basic introduction to HTML simply follow the link:
In summary, this week was not as demanding as the others before it. Discussions are now running more smoothly than ever before, and it seems as if everyone has taken a liking to the class. That being said, much was discussed and much remains to be discussed. The methods being applied to this class are unique, and it is my opinion that they should stay that way. Any comments on how I feel a particular aspect of this class could be improved, are just suggestions on what I would prefer, and may not prove to be “better” than what currently goes on.
With the semester rapidly coming to a close, projects and tests will pile up. It is my sincerest hope that this blog serves as a tool to allow those of use who had to miss class for whatever reason to keep up with what went on while you were away. Thank you for your time. Comments are greatly appreciated!