Sample Assignment Response: A Commentary Essay for ENGL 112 at DeVry University

To continue on from earlier work (here, here, here, here, here, and here), I will do more to round out the assignment sequence expected of the students in ENGL 112: Composition and develop the assignment students in the class are asked to do for their seventh week: a finalized commentary paper. I continue to hope that, despite the errors that are in any work, what I do will help my students and others to better understand what they are asked to do and so help them do it better.

Keep on doing it.
Image from tenor.com.

For the exercise, students are asked to revise their work from the previous week as needed and to add to it the remaining bulk of their papers, bringing their commentaries to a full five pages (1500 to 1750 words) plus title page and references list.  To complete it, I began by opening the document I’d made for last week’s exercise and saving it again as a new file for the final. (Keeping the earlier version separate allows for more radical revision in some circumstances.) Looking over it again, as it had been a few days since I had last done, so, I noted that I still had not settled on a thesis because I was still puzzling through my issue. I noted also that I had addressed appropriation but not appreciation; it was to the latter that I set myself.

I picked up writing where I had left off, moving directly into drafting as I thought through the issue and angle I had set for myself in the earlier work. As I drafted, too, I was able to determine a thesis, which I inserted into the usual place for such statements in first-year composition papers–the end of the introductory paragraph–before ensuring that connection to it sufficed throughout the rest of the text. I also made sure I offered the kind of conclusion to the paper–not filling out the repetitive “tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em, tell ’em, and tell ’em what you told ’em” model, but moving ahead from the thesis–I want to see from my students and, indeed, from most of the writing I read.

The content made ready, I reviewed my document for style and mechanics. After making the adjustments that needed making, I put the document into an accessible format, which I present here: G. Elliott Sample Commentary Final. I hope it will help others.

Help me keep doing this, please!

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Sample Assignment Response: A Commentary Rough Draft for ENGL 112 at DeVry University

To continue on from earlier work (here, here, here, here, and here), I will go further along the assignment sequence expected of the students in ENGL 112: Composition and develop the assignment students in the class are asked to do for their sixth week: a draft of a commentary paper. I continue to hope that my efforts will assist in my students’ work and others’ to write better and help still others to do the same.

From teachingenglish.org.uk, which seems reasonably appropriate for discussing discussion in a college English class…

For the assignment, students are asked to generate the first three pages (excluding title page and references) of a five-page commentary essay–in effect, a position paper of the sort I’ve taught in one form or another before (here, here, here, and here, among others). Introduction, thesis, and an at-least-cursory overview of current discussion of the topic are requested, as is the beginning of the argument’s development. More will follow, of course, but three pages should be enough to establish the idea to be borne out, to provide it context, and to start developing it. Additionally, the project is a continuation of last week’s work, so what was done previously should still fit the current purpose.

To begin my response to the exercise, I opened my proposal and summary from the previous week. I also opened a new document, formatting it for submission; I set up a title page, main text, and references list, putting the whole into double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman type with one-inch margins on letter-sized paper. The title page, running heads, and page numbers were set as they ought to be, while the internal title and references note were centered horizontally, and lines for references set up with half-inch hanging indentations.

With the formatting set up, I began to bring things into the new document from the old. The specific issue, the balance of appropriation and appreciation in my topic, was the first to come over; although not a thesis, as such, I copied it twice, highlighting the second in green and positioning it to serve as a moving target as I developed further materials. I also stubbed out space in which to position the thesis to come, as well as for some items I knew from the earlier work that I would want to put in place: definitions of terms relevant to the discussion. Those were highlighted in teal to remind me to attend to them.

From there, I moved to fill in context for my discussion, giving a description of my topic. I looked through earlier work done in the present session to begin with, since I could reasonably include that material in my current work without trouble.  Some details in that line were forthcoming, and I was happy to incorporate them into my work to offer background. I supplemented them with my own experience, as well, since I have it to bring to bear.

A passable attempt at an introduction started, I moved to insert my relevant definitions, working from the two sources identified in the previous exercise. Citations pulled earlier also made their ways into the appropriate part of the paper, developing a short references list. I found that I needed more material for my definitions to make sense, so I ran another search for material in Academic Search Complete and found a particularly useful piece, which I incorporated similarly to the other pieces I’d noted.

It also occurred to me that I would need to incorporate primary source materials into my project. Knowing that I would be making use of it–a thing cannot be discussed without reference to that thing, particularly in a scholarly context–I incorporated the primary source into my references list. And with that done, I used the materials to offer an overview from which to conduct further discussion.

With context reasonably established, it came time to begin to reason out the argument and to work towards a thesis. When I entered the project, I did not know how the matter would fall out, so I began writing with the intent to learn as well as to convey information and understanding to my audiences. And I had to address what I saw as a glaring issue; it seemed to need doing, and it seemed to emerge well from the way in which I had established context. Too, it allowed me to meet the requirements of the exercise and position myself to undertake the next.

The content made ready, I reviewed my document for style and mechanics. After making the adjustments that needed making and eliminating highlighted passages, I rendered the document into an accessible format, which I present here: G. Elliott Sample Commentary Draft. May it, like its predecessors, be helpful!

I continue to appreciate your support as I develop yet more material for my students and others to use to improve their own.

Sample Assignment Response: A Topic Proposal and Summary for ENGL 112 at DeVry University

To continue on from earlier work (here, here, here, and here), I will go further along the assignment sequence expected of the students in ENGL 112: Composition and develop the assignment students in the class are asked to do for their fifth week: a topic proposal and source summary for a commentary paper. As previously, I hope that my efforts will assist in my students’ efforts and others’ to write better and help others to do the same.

If only it were so simple a choice…
Image from Giphy.com.

For the assignment (which aligns fairly neatly with the ENGL 135 Topic Selection assignment), students are asked to answer a series of prompts in advance of drafting an essay. The prompts–identify a topic and outline personal involvement in it, summarize two perspectives on it–are meant to help students identify a current, complex topic in which they have some personal investment and to refine their understanding of the topic and the ongoing conversation of which it is part before moving into writing a commentary-style essay on that topic. The University explicitly discourages topics “overly emotional or rooted in religious or moral subjects,” to which proscription my teaching traditionally adds political ideology, gun control, abortion, and the legalization of marijuana.

The first challenge in addressing such an assignment is to identify a field of inquiry. Experience teaches that students, particularly students in first-year writing classes, will try to treat too broad a topic and one for which they are not necessarily well-equipped–not because they are stupid, but because they believe they have to treat major philosophical and cultural concerns to do “real” work. The truth is that working on a narrow topic will yield better results than trying to grapple at a pass with questions that have been debated for millennia without resolution; it is more true in the short sessions at DeVry than at many other schools.

I decided to address the matter by falling back on the topic I seem to have been treating throughout the sample responses I’ve been developing for the present session: roleplaying games, specifically the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying game, with which I have ample experience, as I’ve attested. It is, admittedly, not a topic of serious heft, but it is one I am confident is little treated, which will help me produce an example for my students–both because it will help me to show them that they can move beyond simple reporting and that they can pursue topics relevant to their interests even when those interests seem to be relatively minor concerns.

With a general topic in mind, I set up my response document. As with the other planning materials I’ve developed during the session, I eschewed the template provided by the University in favor of addressing the prompts directly. I pulled up the most recent planning sheet–that for the Rhetorical Analysis from the third week of the session–and mimicked its formatting in the new document. I then transferred the prompts from the University’s materials into my own, formatting them for ease of reading. This included setting up hanging indentations for the sources the assignment needed summarized.

The document set up, I proceeded to address the prompts provided as I could from my own background knowledge and understanding. Those identifying the topic and my engagement with it were the easiest to address, being closes to me and longest established in my mind. (Too, since I was working as what amounts to an extension of previous work, I felt justified in borrowing from the earlier work I had done–something that I have had students ask after doing. It is a fairly common practice, although anything that is formally published will need to be cited and attested if it is used in another work.) Audience was also addressed fairly easily, as I have been working with a clear idea of whom I am addressing throughout the session.

The matter of the specific angle for me to treat was a more difficult one to address. There are many concerns attendant on roleplaying games, dating back at least to Michael Stackpole’s Pulling Report (I’ve noted addressing roleplaying games in my academic work before, and across a fair span of time, I believe.) While the ire of popular culture towards roleplaying games has largely cooled, it remains present, and those of us who were on the receiving end of that fervor remain wary of it. Too, games which concern themselves with emulations of cultures not necessarily those of their players always run into questions of appreciation versus appropriation–but it seemed that that issue beckoned for attention in the current project. It was therefore to that issue and angle that I attended; I will admit that my engagement with the material biases my angle and approach to it.

Consequently, I asserted a specific issue and angle to treat in my coming commentary essay, working toward what might well serve as a tentative thesis–namely, that the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game is more an issue of appreciation than appropriation, although there are certainly problems to be found in the manner in which it goes about incorporating materials into its narrative milieu. I knew, though, that my own opinion might well change based on research I would do, so I did not advance the idea as a formal thesis quite yet.

Instead, I went then to search the University library for materials regarding my prospective project. I first searched Academic Search Complete, pre-limiting my search to full-text peer-reviewed journal sources from 200 onward and searching for “cultural appropriation” in the hopes of finding a useful definition of the term. The search yielded 534 results, which was unworkable for the scope of the project and the time available to it, but I was fortunate that one of the early results was a philosophical piece–and such pieces often make much of asserting definitions before engaging with them. I pulled that source, taking its citation data and summary into my own document.

I then looked into the other term most germane to my treatment: cultural appreciation. A search of Academic Search Complete for the term with the same restrictions yielded 469 results; no stand-out among the early results was forthcoming, so I narrowed my search to “cultural appreciation definition.” Only 13 results returned, which was a small enough number to survey sources individually. One source was culled from that set of results, cited, and summarized into the document.

The content made ready, I reviewed my document for style and mechanics. After making the adjustments that needed making, I rendered the document into an accessible format, which I present here: G. Elliott Sample Proposal and Summary. May it, like its predecessors, be of good service!

I could still use your support as I develop more materials for my students and others to use as they further their own understandings of the world.

Sample Assignment Response: A Rhetorical Analysis for ENGL 112 at DeVry University

To continue on from earlier work (herehere, and here), I will go further along the assignment sequence expected of the students in ENGL 112: Composition and develop the assignment students in the class are asked to do for their fourth week: the rhetorical analysis for which they (and I) planned last week. As previously, I hope that my efforts will assist in my students’ efforts–and others’.

No, it’s not the Illuminati. Just the rhetorical triangle, traditionally and simply conceived.
Image taken from http://www.ou.edu/englhale/triangle.html

For the assignment, students are asked to draft a rhetorical analysis of the advertisement they selected in the previous week, asserting whether or not the ad is likely to be effective at its presumed purpose for its presumed audience. The analysis should take the form of a brief (title page and three to four pages of text) thesis-driven essay, formatted according to APA standards and making minimal if any use of outside information other than the assessed ad–which need only be cited by way of providing its URL. It is a fairly standard assignment, calling for a fairly standard response, and one that should emerge easily from the work done in the previous week’s assignment.

To begin my own work, I opened the advertisement being assessed and my earlier planning sheet. I also set up a document for my response, formatting it on letter-sized sheets with double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman type. I then set up my title page and main text, inserting running heads and page numbers as appropriate. (How to do so has been covered during class time; it is also in video tutorials in the University’s online materials.) I hadn’t yet determined a title for the project, so that received attention before I moved further into the work.

Because the current project is an extension of last week’s work, or last week’s work was preparation for the current project, I felt justified in bringing the text over from the planning sheet to the main document wholesale. I had done a fair bit of work on it, and, as I told my students during class time, the more work done on the planning sheet, the less would (in theory) need to be done on the essay itself. I did strip out the headings from the planning sheet, as I do not think them necessary in so short a paper as the exercise calls for; explicit transitions and clear statements of ideas serve to guide readers through the document.

I did notice, though, that I had quite a few paragraphs beginning more similarly than I like to see. Several consecutive paragraphs started with “The ad,” and, while pattern-forming can help to unify a document and to establish argument, the flat beginnings threatened to come off as uninspired and pro forma–and if I am merely going through the motions with something in which I am invested, I cannot hope that readers will engage with it. Consequently, I adjusted my transition into one of the paragraphs, offering some variety in the hope of maintaining readerly interest.

As I made the change, I also noted places where I could connect my prose back more strongly and explicitly to my thesis. The paragraphs treating logos, ethos, and pathos in the advertisement could each stand to have an overt return to the thesis at their ends, so they received such. The third paragraph, describing the advertisement, also looked like it would accept an explicit motion towards the thesis; it received one, as well. (The offers of explicit return to the thesis also helped me make page length; I was a bit short of the full essay in the planning sheet, which is to be expected–and corrected before the full submission.)

Additionally, one or two comments about the desirability of the advertisement’s target audience seemed called for; I made them. Further, given the relatively specialized nature of what was being advertised, I felt it appropriate to offer more context for my discussion as a whole; I expanded my initial paragraph a bit to accommodate that contextualization, which I hope will make clearer what I am talking about.

The content made ready, I deleted my highlighted notes and reviewed my document for style and mechanics. After making the adjustments that needed making, I rendered the document into an accessible format, which I present here: G. Elliott Sample Rhetorical Analysis November 2018. May it be of good service!

Help me to keep helping others; send some money my way.

Sample Assignment Response: A Rhetorical Analysis Planning Sheet for DeVry University’s ENGL 112

To continue on from earlier work (here and here), I will follow further the assignment sequence expected of the students in ENGL 112: Composition. The second paper they are asked to write is a rhetorical analysis of a classroom-appropriate* advertisement; as with the earlier profile, they are asked to precede their work on the main paper with a planning sheet. Since they are asked to do it, I will be doing it, as well, in the continued hopes that I can help my students and others by doing so.

It’ll be about this.
Image taken from https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2018/11/6/those-who-serve/.

The first task was to select an advertisement to review. Given the sheer number of such available, even within the rubric of “classroom appropriate,” it was not an easy thing, at least at first. Faced with the over-abundance of examples, and feeling that I ought to make the exercise work for me as well as for my students, I focused my attention on my own interests and prior efforts for the class. (Following up on earlier course materials helps in many cases.) In terms of Google image searches to run, I went from “advertisement” to “classroom appropriate advertisement” to “advertisement Legend of the Five Rings.” Said search yielded a plethora of results, so I applied my existing knowledge to winnow the results down to those reflecting the current holder of the intellectual property of the game, Fantasy Flight Games. And, since I primarily play the role-playing game, I focused on that, selecting the promotional material for a specific supplement.

With the advertisement selected, I moved on to setting up the document for my response. As before, I eschewed the University-provided template, setting up a document on letter-sized paper with one-inch margins and single-spaced 12-point Times New Roman type. (It is not APA standard, I know, but the document is not of the sort as demands it. Rather, it follows the sample profile plan I did earlier.) I also stubbed out sections and prompts from the assignment documentation. Directions for completion were highlighted to attract attention and to serve as a reminder for later deletion. The called-for URL linking to the advertisement was easily inserted early on; I did so to be sure it got done.

I began then to address the other prompts in the document. Context for the advertisement and a description of it received attention, followed by specific work on the advertisement’s deployment of logos, ethos, and pathos. Along the way, I checked APA style guidelines to be sure I was presenting materials in a way that would oblige minimal adjustment later.

I had needed to do the descriptive work because I had needed it in place to come up with the thesis for which the later analysis calls. Once I had that work done, I was able to address the issue of whether or not the advertisement would likely succeed with its presumed purpose and audience, and I needed that information to draft the introduction and conclusion for which the current exercise called. Having it, I did so.

The content made ready, I deleted my highlighted notes and reviewed my document for style and mechanics. After making the adjustments that needed making, I rendered the document into an accessible format, which I present here: G. Elliott Sample Rhetorical Analysis Planning Sheet November 2018. May my readers use it in good health!

*As might be imagined by those who know me, either in person or from reading what I write, I have…issues with such a term. Since I’ve already treated the matter, I’ll not belabor the point at this time.

I hope I can count on you helping to keep this kind of thing going.

Sample Assignment Response: A Profile Essay for DeVry University’s ENGL 112

To continue on from earlier work (here), I will be drafting a profile essay of the sort my students are asked to write. For the assignment, students are asked to draft a two- to three-page profile of a person, place, or event familiar to them; the profile should adhere to APA formatting standards, although no outside information is expected or required.

Painted City Homepage
As it looked as I was drafting this.
Image taken from the forum where the event occurred, used for commentary.

I’ve written profiles before (here, for example), so the idea of one was neither foreign nor intimidating. And in starting one, I first set up my document to align to APA formatting guidelines: double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman on letter-sized paper with one-inch margins. I also set up a cover page with title, my name, and affiliation (for purposes of the assignment), as well as page numbering and running heads. I also opened the planning sheet I had previously drafted; since it was meant as a guide to completing the profile, it made sense to have it open while I worked. And I opened the website that hosted the role-playing game event I meant to profile, which does move a bit away from the assigned guidelines–but I needed the refresher.

With the documents and website open, I began to stub out points I meant to address in the profile. As is my personal practice, I noted the angle I wanted to push in the profile–that the play-by-post role-playing game offers a fulfilling experience well worth undertaking–highlighting it in green so that I could see it easily (and remember to delete it when done composing). Then I sketched out the beginning of an introduction and gave myself informal labels for what would follow, something like section headings that I would later delete (and so highlighted in blue, per my personal practice, to differentiate themselves from the green target of my angle while still noting that they needed to be addressed and then deleted).

That said, I started writing. The topic was one with which I was intimately familiar, so finding things to say was reasonably easy. I did need to review it for concerns of my audience; my putative primary readers are familiar with the kind of thing I discussed, though not the thing itself. Still, that was a relatively minor issue, the more so since I’ve introduced many people to the kind of thing my topic is.

With the content compiled, the formatting was re-checked to ensure ease of reading. A review of content for style was conducted, as was proofreading. All that done, the document was rendered into an accessible format, presented here: G. Elliott Sample Profile November 2018.

I hope, as ever, that the work I do is of use to my students and to others. And I am grateful for the opportunity even to try to be so.

Your kind support remains greatly appreciated.

 

Sample Assignment Response: A Profile Process Planning Sheet for DeVry University’s ENGL 112

To continue my practice of drafting sample assignment responses for my students, I am working to follow the pattern my first-semester composition students are asked to follow and work through a series of writing assignments ostensibly meant to introduce them to the processes and demands of academic writing. Unlike ENGL 135, ENGL 112 does not ask students to address a single project, but instead calls for them to address different writing tasks throughout the term, working in small pieces to foster a skill-set that will, hopefully, serve them well in their future coursework and in their continuing lives outside the classroom.

It’s not a bad model to follow.
Image taken from Giphy.com

The first piece of writing students are asked to do is a profile essay; in the first week of class, they are asked to prepare for it, reflecting writing as an ongoing process. Specifically, that preparation asks students to conduct an initial rhetorical situational analysis, examining their prospective profile topic, their angle of approach to it, their purpose for treating their topic as they do, characteristics and needs of their audience, and their own authorial perspectives and biases. It seems a good exercise to have students do, certainly, and one that would be helpful to have repeated with more detail in successive writing classes. (That it is not part of the standard assignment sequence in those classes, I know–I teach said classes.)

As with my efforts in the previous session (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), I eschewed the University-provided template as I began my work on the exercise. Setting my Word document to 12-point, single-spaced Times New Roman with one-inch margins on letter-size paper sufficed. And, given the exercise’s constraints, I did not set up a title page or running head for the document of my response; I did, however, insert page numbers, and I offered something of a heading and title, following my practice in assignment documentation given to students. (Students will please note that this is not APA format.)

With my document’s layout set up, I proceeded to address issues of content. I started by copying the relevant questions over from the University template. That done, I began to address them, answering openly and honestly as best as I could. Given my predilections and associations, as well as the exercise’s guidelines, I opted to focus on an event–and a particularly nerdy one, at that, which can be found here: http://shadowsovernaishou.com/paintedcity/index.php. Answers to the several questions emerged easily from that decision, and I addressed the prompts of the exercise with little difficulty.

The content made ready, I reviewed my document for style and mechanics. After making the adjustments that needed making, I rendered the document into an accessible format, which I present here: G. Elliott Sample Profile Process Planning Sheet November 2018. I hope it will be useful for my students and others in the days to come.

Help me help students do better better? (Parse it; it works.)

Sample Assignment Response: A Final Draft of a Researched Paper for DeVry University’s ENGL 135

Continuing on from earlier work (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), I mean to narrate my process for compiling a final draft of a researched paper. (I offer it even though the session has ended when I began the project.) As before, I’ll not be using the template provided by the University, though my results will be similar, given the formatting constraints placed on it. I hope that my students and others’ will find my continued efforts to be of help.

It can feel like this, even if the paper’s a sprint rather than a marathon.
Image taken from the Huffington Post, here.

For the assignment, students are asked to compile a conference-length paper of approximately 2500 words (excluding title page and reference list) that incorporates illustrative graphics. It is a fairly standard final assignment for second-semester composition classes, and the requirements of the University present no unusual challenges for it.

Since the final draft is supposed to be a reworking of the earlier materials, I began by opening the earlier documents and reincorporating the main text of the labeled first draft into that of the second. Prewriting and references were excepted from the copy-over, the former due to irrelevance, the latter due to already being in the second draft’s materials. The file-name and title were changed, too, to reflect the current exercise.

Reviewing the materials I had showed me that I was somewhat short of requirements for the exercise–a page or two, in the event. As such, I knew that I needed to develop more material for presentation, and a direction to move for doing so suggested itself quickly. I am in a community band, and began looking into support for such ensembles in part because I am in one. Applying my findings to my own situation was an obvious step to take to do expand my paper, and offering something of a prospective test case is a common motion made by academic papers, of which the overall course project for ENGL 135 is supposed to be an example.

Consequently, I stubbed out a place for me to make such a presentation and left the paper itself aside for a bit; I knew I would need more information to present the test case, as well as to develop another graphic (because I recalled the assignment asking for two; the template provided to students includes two, for example). Data regarding the population in my local communities and regarding charitable work done in the area seemed to me to be good places to start looking, so I delved into the local municipal and county websites and records, as well as a directory of charitable organizations with which I am familiar from other work I do (GuideStar, to be specific). US Census Bureau data was also incorporated. Income and assets information was pulled out and made accessible (including graphical representation) before being explained in terms of how it conduces to the idea of local support being ideal for my own community band.

With the content compiled, the formatting was re-checked to ensure ease of reading. A review of content for style was conducted, as was proofreading. All that done, the document was rendered into an accessible format, presented here: G. Elliott Sample Final Draft September 2018.

I find that I have some comments to make about revisiting my old practice of composing sample assignments for my students. I think they will go into the reflective comments on the session that are forthcoming. I hope they will be of some value to my students and others in time to come.

Help me help my students move forward?

Sample Assignment Response: A Presentation Related to a Researched Paper for DeVry University’s ENGL 135

Continuing on from earlier work (here, here, here, here, here, and here), I mean to narrate my process for putting together a presentation of the sort my students are asked to compose during the sixth week of the session. There is not a template available for the students, but I am hopeful that my work will provide them something they can use to guide their own work–and something that will be helpful for others, as well.

Presentation Screenshot
I did a lot of staring at this sort of thing.
The image is a screenshot from while I was working.

For the assignment, students are asked to develop a five- to seven-minute slide presentation with embedded audio and slides that follow basic design principles. The presentation should give an overview of the project as a whole, since a full read of a conference-length paper will generally take eighteen to twenty minutes; students are encouraged to frame their issue, present their thesis, and support that thesis before offering a conclusion and a slide displaying their references in APA citation style.

In putting together a slide presentation, it is necessary to have a consistent color scheme that allows for easy reading and that conveys an appropriate impression. Working in this webspace fortunately gives me the basis of an easy one to use; I mean for my sample work to reflect my other work, as well as to travel with me if and when I must go elsewhere. (I remain contingent “visiting” faculty at DeVry.) I had earlier developed a color scheme working from that of this blog, adding complementary colors according to common design principles and using the tools available at Paletton.com.

Color scheme in place, I opened the earlier exercises to cull information from them. Following the recommendations made to students, I copied my thesis and major arguments over to another document, as well as my references list. I also copied my title over before adjusting it to suit the present exercise; consistency across the project suggests itself as something useful to maintain. And as I did the copy-over work, using the fact of the ongoing project as justification for doing so, I arranged my materials for presentation on individual or related slides. The order differs from that presented in the paper itself, something that the shift in medium seems to warrant.

That done, it remained but to generate and populate the slides. I first generated a title slide, coloring it in the accent color I had chosen and filling in title and authorial information. I next developed a blank content slide, establishing it as a basic pattern for use in the rest of the presentation. Looking at my notes, I determined that I would need a slide for a presentation overview, at least six for content, and at least one for references, totaling at least eight slides; I consequently made as many, duplicating my pattern slide until I had enough to start. I also left one blank at the end in case I would need to add or insert others later.

With the basic presentation set up, I saved my work and began to insert text into the slides. First, I worked to insert my references, knowing that I would have to make adjustments to formatting and the like to make them legible but not overpowering. Having them ready to hand helped, as well. At length, I was able to get all of them into the presentation, although it took several slides to do so; the first of them got an audio note explaining matters, one swiftly followed by an audio note on my title slide. I determined I would position the audio cues consistently on slides throughout my presentation, making it easier to find them for my audience and presenting a more uniform–thus more polished–appearance.

Afterwards, working through the content slides, I made sure to work with bulleted text only, eschewing complex sentences and more erudite vocabulary in favor of ease of reading and orientation. And, because I was working in PowerPoint, I made sure to save my work repeatedly as I went along, not wanting to have to go back and re-do work if it could be avoided.

I worked through the slides in order afterwards, moving from the presentation overview through the thesis into content and the conclusion. Along the way, I inserted the text before inserting audio, using the former as a guide while I put in the latter. And, again, I saved my progress after each component of each slide. I have had to reconstruct work before, and it never goes as well the second time as the first.

The materials compiled and saved, it remained but to put them where they can hopefully serve as a helpful example for my students and others’. To wit: G. Elliott Sample Presentation September 2018. (It is a PowerPoint presentation, so it requires software that can open a .pptx file to view.)

Please help support me as I support my students’ learning.

Sample Assignment Response: A Second Draft of a Researched Paper for DeVry University’s ENGL 135

Continuing on from earlier work (here, here, here, here, and here), I mean to narrate my process for putting together a draft of the sort students are asked to compose in their fifth week of the session. As before, I’ll not explicitly use the template provided by the University, though the results will still hopefully be similar enough to what the school requires that my students–and others’–will find my efforts helpful.

Although not quite right, this is what most people think about when they think of revision.
Image from Inside Higher Ed.

For the assignment, students are asked not so much to revise what they have already submitted as to add onto it, completing the paper begun in the first draft. As such, the assignment title is something of a misnomer; it is a second first draft rather than a second draft, as such.

Rather than starting a new document and formatting it, I added onto the document I had generated for the first draft, making sure to save the new version under a different name (i.e., replacing “First Draft” with “Second Draft” in the file name). I made similar adjustments to my title page and first page of actual text, ensuring consistency across the material being developed. I also marked the prewriting for deletion from the current exercise, as it is not called for in the putative second draft, but I retained it at the outset of development due to its notes for expansion.

I then moved to the end of the already-written text, placing the notes for expansion I had on hand where I could use them most readily. Noting that doing so brought up a source for which I had an annotation but had not yet included in my document, I made sure to enter that source’s citation into my references list, ensuring that I would not forget to do so. The citation came, as had several others, from my earlier annotated bibliography–and, since I was working on that part of the paper already, I decided to develop that idea for a bit (working from the summary and earlier discussion in the annotated bibliography, as well as from the original article) to see how it could work.

That source introduced and put to the service of my stated thesis, I moved back up the page and addressed the other development note I had brought down from the first draft of the paper. Its source was already in my references list, so I had nothing to do on that score, but I did pull up the original article again to be sure I all of the information available from it that I would need. Or I attempted to do so; library services disallowed access to the article I needed, despite my having logged into the University’s library. I was obliged to put that part of the work aside for a time as a result, which rankled.

Fortunately, there was much else for me to do. I realized swiftly that I had exhausted my previously-acquired resources and, given the difficulties I had had with the University library, I turned to an open online search to help fill the void. Doing so led me to Google Scholar, where I searched for “supporting community organizations,” restricting the initial search to pieces published after 2010. Unfortunately, the results that came up were located behind paywalls, but I recalled that my local library has database access, so I ran a similar search on its databases, adding restrictions to articles, book chapters, and case studies. One article suggested itself for inclusion in short order; information was integrated from it.

That done, I used my local library resource to pull up the article I had earlier searched for in the University library. I was able to bring it up without any trouble, and so I integrated the materials I needed from it into my essay, as well. As doing so took me to the end of my notes from earlier, I deleted the prewriting materials; they had outlived their utility to my present purpose.

Still needing more support to make the case, and needing information more narrowly targeted to the specific thesis with which I was working, I ran another outside search. It was a simple Google search for “community band.” More than 693 million results were returned, but the first page offered enough material–or a gateway to enough material–to make a reasonable case. Information was culled from websites to make the necessary case–as well as to generate the graphic for which the overall assignment calls. (The second draft in itself does not, but it is not a bad thing to look ahead when composing a project in explicit stages.) The information was entered into an Excel spreadsheet and used to generate a graphic that was subsequently cut-and-pasted into the Word document in which I did my composition. Necessary figure data was incorporated, as well, and citations for the sources for my graphic’s data were integrated into the references list.

As I reviewed assignment guidelines to ensure that my work would continue to serve as a useful guide for my students, I noted comments that only the latter sections needed to be developed in the second draft. To align my work more fully thereto, I deleted the text I had developed for the first draft–although I did not adjust the references list further.

Looking at the document at that point, I noted that I had enough material developed to move on to a conclusion. My earlier materials had pointed towards final remarks looking for a call to action. I drafted my conclusion with an eye towards my own purposes and my own ensemble; I have an idea for how I might further expand it for a final draft, if I find I need or want to do so.

With the content compiled and directions for further development set, the formatting was re-checked to ensure ease of reading. A review of content for style was conducted, as was proofreading. All that done, the document was rendered into an accessible format, presented here: G. Elliott Sample Second Draft September 2018.

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