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Writing and Reflecting

Writing Assignments

Source-Based Essay (15%)

Inquiry-Based Research Essay

Research topic reflection (2.5%)
Research proposal (2.5%)
Report on research in progress (5%)
Post-essay reflection (10%)
Essay (20%)

Composition in Two Genres (20%)

Presentations (10%)

Letter of Introduction and Portfolio (15%)

These assignments might seem challenging or even overwhelming for you. I want to assure you that while I do want this class to be challenging, I will also support your work throughout the semester so that you don’t get overwhelmed. This class provides you with the opportunity to study the subject of your choice. While this can be challenging at first–it’s easier to be told what to do, even if it’s not that interesting–the more you can align your interests outside of college with your classes, the more engaged you will be. The more engaged you are, the more you learn.

Reflection Series

The assignments in this list are all stand-alone assignments or embedded in larger assignments. I group them here together to emphasize the importance of reflection in composition. Over the course of the semester, you’ll be thinking about what you’re planning to study or what you’ve learned every two or three weeks. The best reflections happen after a walk, so before you write get up and take a stroll in one of your favorite spots!

Introductory Message (Week 1)

Please tell me a little bit about yourself! Please provide me with a brief overview of your experiences with Language Arts in high school. Tell me what you learned in these classes, and how you might apply that knowledge in college. If English is not your first language, please let me know how long you have been speaking and writing in English and how comfortable you are with it. Please also tell me about your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. I am here to support you and to provide useful responses to your essays. The more I know about the kinds of support that work for you, the more I’ll be able to help. 

Inquiry Based Research Essay Reflections

Writing Genre #1: Research Topic Reflection

This reflection will be based on your topic exploration and initial research. You’ll reflect on what may have inspired the desire for further inquiry, including how you came up with the question, why it might be important, and how you plan to explore the question in your research. If you can’t decide on a single question at this point, write about the top three you have in mind. We’ll work together on narrowing your focus into one final research question, and we’ll evaluate examples of strong research questions.

Writing Genre #4: Post-Essay Reflection

Your purpose in this assignment is to reflect on your most recent essay to demonstrate what you know about writing. If you can, you should also describe what you have learned about writing–what do you know about writing that you didn’t know in August?

Before you begin your essay, write a brief paragraph in which you identify your audience and the impact your audience has on your genre, language, and tone. Some possible audiences include next year’s entering students, a human resources department at an agency that hires communication specialists in your field, or the US Secretary of Education.

Address the various aspects of writing that we have practiced–generating thoughts, peer review (both in and out of class), research (finding sources and generating your own material through interviews and observations), synthesis (making connections between your ideas and the ideas in your research sources), your drafting process, and anything else that seems important to you.

Mid-Term Reflection: What you’ve learned about rhetoric so far (Week 6, 9/27-10/1)

During the first six weeks of this course, you’ve been introduced to several terms–rhetorical situation, author, audience, tone, purpose, stance, language, genre, and medium. Describe how this approach to the study of writing builds on or departs from the way you studied writing before you came to CCNY. Explain how you understand these terms by providing examples of how you’ve used them, and describe how your understanding of these terms has affected how you approach writing in other classes or outside of college.

Length: 250-500 words

Composition in Two Genres Reflection

Short Assignment #3: Reflection on Your Composition

In this reflection, you will analyze the process of moving from your research essay to your composition project, as well as think through questions that involve the key terms. Think about what rhetorical choices you have made, and consider the following questions: 1) Audience–what barriers in communicating to your audience(s) did you encounter? How did you overcome these barriers? 2) Process–how was the composing process different from your research essay? 3) Genre–why did you choose the two genres that you did? How did the genre affect the audience choice? 4) Reflection–what rhetorical practices did you find yourself using? Were they effective in the way you presented them?

Final Reflection for Portfolio (Week 17, 12/13)

The Final Reflection provides you with an opportunity to think about what you’ve learned this semester and how you might be able to use it in future writing contexts. For this assignment, choose at least two of the rhetorical terms that we’ve used this year and that have had a noticeable impact on any aspect of your writing, from initial brainstorming to final draft. Describe the impact. Use examples from your writing to illustrate what you mean. You do not need to limit yourself to this class–you can write about things you’ve done for other classes, your job, or your life at home. Finally, speculate about how you might use these or other rhetorical concepts in future writing contexts. 

Length: 250-500 words

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