Class Coffee House: General Questions and Discussion about ENG 241

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Class Coffee House: General Questions and Discussion about ENG 241

SteveBrandon
Administrator
Use this thread to ask questions and get answers about how the class works or about assignments, reading, etc.

In the colonial era, coffee, tea, and chocolate houses were brand new, and they were all the rage. As with parties and golf today, more real business went on in coffee houses than most know. Loyds of London--the shipping and insurance house--started out as a coffee house/tavern, and visit the newly restored Coffee House in Colonial Williamsburg to learn of how much of our own revolution happened in the backrooms over coffee.

In our class, the coffee house thread on the General Assembly Discussion Forum is a place to discuss general questions about the class or just to meet and talk.

Here is a bonus for finding this thread and looking for a place to ask questions about the class:

A word about your weekly workflow and how I grade each exercise: Once you pick up the weekly routine/workflow, the week's work is more than doable. Until you do, the work might drive you a tad crazy.

Part of my job in the lit class is to teach you how to consume a lot of reading, write about it, discuss it, and learn (hopefully) to enjoy it. This means--oddly enough--you have to read, write, and discuss. I've sat things up as a repeating weekly cluster of tasks.

Those of you who are readers and leaders and find this thread, make sure to show it to your committee members as a general guide to how to budget their work over the week.

Here's the basic break down of what you'll do each week:

1. Read the weekly assignment description and write me with any questions about the exercises.
2. Plan out how to do the background and primary reading for the week, and complete as much of the reading as you can. Post any questions which you have for answers from the class or from me.

Note on the reading: Don't try to do all the reading at once. It's designed to be consumed in small chunks over the course of the week and to be read slowly and, often, read more than once. Be more concerned with getting some of the reading completely consumed rather than just skimming it all and then promptly forgetting it.

Note two: You don't *have* to do the background reading I post. You only *have* to do the reading I assign from the Heath Anthology; however, the reading from the Heath makes a lot more sense and is a lot more fun if you do as much of the back ground reading as you can first.

3. Write a blog post/weekly short essay for the week.

Additional Hint: Don't compose on Word. Compose the essay in Blogger. Draft it early, then go back and revise, adding in examples, quotes, summaries, etc. from the reading to support and develop your ideas.

You can usually write each essay without doing the reading, but the difference between a "C"/"B" essay and an "A" essay is how well developed it is and, in specific, in how well it *shows* you understanding, using, and challenging the reading, your own earlier thinking, and that of your classmates. Don't just tell me; show me. Don't just offer your opinion; give me many good reasons why you hold the opinion you do.

4. Post an initial response to the topic(s) on General Assembly's discussion thread(s) for the week. Hint: The same general rules for good writing apply.

5. Check back and read and respond to what others have said on the General Assembly's discussion thread topic(s) of the week.

Hint: Ditto on what makes or breaks good writing and discussion. Use and respond to the ideas of others. Second Hint: The difference between a "C"/"B" and an "A" here is usually in quantity and quality of response to others. The "C" student writes a response to the topic. The "B" student might write a second response or third response and sometimes acts like an "A" student. Several times throughout the semester, the "A" student gets other students thinking, challenges others students to change their thinking, changes their own thinking based on what other students say, and writes and discusses the topics regularly throughout the week, not just once.

6. Open discussion thread on topics you want discussed. The "C" student rarely if ever does this. The "B" student does sometimes. The "A" student asks questions because they want to get the literature and are invested in others getting it.

7. Write quick comments on the blog posts of your committee of correspondence for their blog post/short essay from the previous week. Post these either as a post to your blog or as a post to your committee's General Assembly discussion thread. The "C" student write comments which doesn't really help their committee members or challenge them. These are comments which boil down to "Good job" or "I agree." The "B" student helps other students improve their writing by sharing what in the posts they found interesting in thought provoking. The "A" student regularly takes on the content of other student's posts in their responses and helps other students improve both their thinking and their writing in the process.

Note: To be effective in terms improving writing or thinking, comments don't have to be long; instead. focus on the things the writer is doing the best at, the ideas which are most thought provoking or challenging, or the one thing they could do to best improve the quality of their posts. Always be kind and considerate. You're there to help your fellow committee members succeed not to denigrate their ideas or writing, but the best way to help someone succeed is to offer true, insightful criticism of thinking and writing. Your grade here is tied to how much you've helped your group grow and think about the literature.

8. Write a learning reflection for what you learned the previous week. Post reflection to your blog. The "C" student tells me what they've learned. The "B" student tells me what they've learned and the reading or writing exercises where they learned what they learned. The "A" student learns how to learn better by learning how they learn, where they learn, and articulating it to me and to them selves.

Note: This first week, this routine will be altered. For instance, you'll be writing and posting your first blog post/short essay, so there won't be any committee blog posts to which to respond. Also, again since this is your first week, there won't be any learning reflections to write. In their stead, you'll be creating your blog and learning how to post to it. Get in touch, if this is new or you have questions. As always, write with questions.

Steve
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Re: Class Coffee House: General Questions and Discussion about ENG 241

Alex Smith
Hello, this is Alex Smith and I have a few questions to ask.  First one is why we are unable to use microsoft word to create our essays?  And the other is, what does the symbol ~ mean?  Does it mean "no less" or "no more"?
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Re: Class Coffee House: General Questions and Discussion about ENG 241

SteveBrandon
Administrator
Alex,

To answer your questions...

Why do I suggest that you use blogger to compose your essays?  Microsoft Office sticks in a lot of background code users rarely see, and Microsoft is in the business of keeping customers locked into their products.  The background code has information about formatting, etc., but the essential fact is that it's proprietary to Microsoft.  When you attempt to copy and paste from a Microsoft document into blogger--which is not a Microsoft produce, you also bring along all that background code.  Sometimes blogger can make sense out of the background code, and sometimes it can't.  The end result is that it's easier to learn to compose in the blogger editing window, or you can sometimes save a Word document as plain text, open it in another Word Processor--like "Notepad"--and then copy and paste.  Your choice, but most students have found it easier to just compose using blogger and not copy and paste.

What does the symbol "~" mean?   The symbol means "approximately."  How approximate?  Let's go with plus or minus 100 words, that is, assuming your posts are well developed and fully use examples.

Steve

Stephen Brandon, PhD
Associate Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)


On Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 1:03 PM, Alex Smith [via General Assembly Discussion Forum, Fall 2010] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello, this is Alex Smith and I have a few questions to ask.  First one is why we are unable to use microsoft word to create our essays?  And the other is, what does the symbol ~ mean?  Does it mean "no less" or "no more"?




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Re: Class Coffee House: General Questions and Discussion about ENG 241

Alex Smith
Thank you Professor Brandon.
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Re: Class Coffee House: General Questions and Discussion about ENG 241

Alex Smith
Proffessor Brandon,  

Where do we go to find out our grades for the class?
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Re: Class Coffee House: General Questions and Discussion about ENG 241

SteveBrandon
Administrator
You send an email to me directly at [hidden email], and we discuss your progress.

Steve

Stephen Brandon, PhD
Associate Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)


On Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 8:27 PM, Alex Smith [via General Assembly Discussion Forum, Fall 2010] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Proffessor Brandon,  

Where do we go to find out our grades for the class?