Category Archives: Uncategorized

Last Week Note to my IP Warriors!


Deep breath!  Eye on the prize! This is your final stretch!

I can see that many of you are continuing to work on your drafts based on my feedback, and several have made visits to the Writing Center. Eight of you provided some wonderful feedback on Opposition segments in the Blackboard assignment before Thanksgiving. Bravo to these students!

Several have asked if you should use MLA or APA citation formats in your IP. I suggest APA if you have no preference, simply because your IP likely falls in the social sciences discipline. However, if you feel more comfortable with MLA, please use that format. The important thing is to use ONE format consistently and correctly. If you have questions about how to cite sources (either in text or on the final citation document), a good source to consult is the Purdue OWL Cite or your Diana Hacker handbook.

This is the final culmination of all of your hard work in Univ 200 this semester. I urge you to send the link to your final project out to a friend or family member before you submit it and ask them to read it for writing errors and clarity.   At the very minimum, you immediately lose credibility on a website if you have grammatical and writing errors.  It is not cheating to ask a friend to go to your website and review it for readability and grammatical correctness.  I have friends ask me all the time to review their websites or their written work to assure these are grammatically and structurally sound.

As far as textual errors: don’t forget little things like placing titles of articles or movies in italics, and using correct capitalization in titles.  Paragraphing was also a problem in several beta drafts.  You must break your text into paragraphs — besides being grammatically incorrect to cram numerous ideas into one long paragraph, it’s simply visually unappealing not to have your text broken into paragraphs.  Use space to your advantage!

Think about what kind of supplemental information someone coming to your website would be interested in having.  If you have a long video that you do not want to include in your article/essay/argument, but it helps supplement your argument, you can create a tab or page for an Supplemental Bibliography of supplemental works.  Try out the tools available in your web template so that you can add side bars, headings, etc.

All of you should have created an About page in your website. Think about what you would like readers coming to your site to know about you.  If you have an About page in your Rampages blog, you can copy and paste this bio into your website’s About page.

Check the site as well as the #thoughtvectors Twitter hashtag, to see links to your peers’ work (from across sections) this week. I will be asking you to post a link to your final IP on Twitter as well.

Finally, please take the time to complete the course evaluation (which you can access in Banner if you have not seen the emails sent to you).   This feedback is very important to me. You only have until Friday to complete the evaluation Please take a few minutes to do this as you finish up your project.


Have I said that some of your work has been amazingly impressive?!! I can’t wait to see your final projects!

PS:  Hosna and Tran, please see my reply to your comment on my last post (your IP Google doc link). — I couldn’t open either of your Google docs to provide you feedback on them.

Drafting in Google Docs this Weekend

Hello IP Warriors!


Students wanting more feedback on their draft — especially students who are late to drafting — MAKE AN APPOINTMENT in the Writing Center now, since appointments book fast at the end of the semester!

writing center meme

This weekend is a drafting weekend, and to do this, please create a Google Doc. to draft your IP project.  

For those new to Google docs, see “How to Create and Share a Google Document” here:

Note last step:  “Type in the e-mail addresses for those who you want to share the document with.” My email address is   Make sure you give me permission to EDIT document and not simply VIEW it.  The default is view, so you’ll need to change this.  See these tips:

If you allow me to Edit, then I will be able to make comments and provide feedback on your draft.  If you do not allow me to edit, I will be unable to comment.

See assignments for your weekend work, and as soon as you’ve created your Google doc and begun drafting, post a link here —

POST A LINK TO YOUR GOOGLE DOC as a REPLY to this post.  (This allows me easy access to all Google docs).


Class Commentary on “How Slactivists Can Change the World”

For Monday, Oct 26th you will be reading  Justin Tubb’s “Feminists for the 21st Century:  How Slactivists Can Change the World,” found here:

Justin was a former #thoughtvectors student, and his final Inquiry Project (IP) is exemplary in many ways.

After reading Justin’s IP essay carefully, leave a one paragraph comment on this post about Justin’s IP using the prompts below. 

Prompts for your comment:  What does Justin do that impresses you, in terms of design?  What does he do that impresses you in terms of writing (be specific).  Finally, where would you say is the climax of his argument?  (“Climax” is a literary term usually reserved for fiction, but I would like for you to identify the climax to his argument.  Follow the link on “climax” to get a definition of it, if you don’t remember this word from previous English classes). After identifying what you see as the “climax” to his argument, make a brief case for WHY.

In addition to addressing the prompts; please comment on anything in the IP that you would like to discuss. Make your comments varied; please do not repeat the same ideas as your peers unless you extend that idea in some useful way.

(This assignment can be found in Week 9 Assignments)

Student Comment Echoes My Encouragement to you


Here’s a student comment on another student’s mid-term blog post that really resonates for me.  Read the student post, then the comment from Lindsay:

ALSO:  Look to the right on the Twitter feed, where you will see that Tom Woodward has featured Hosna’s blog post in his “another beautiful #thoughtvector’s post” tweet.  See the post he tweeted from Hosna, in our class, here:

Post your Mid-term Blog Self-Assessment on Blackboard

This week, DUE MON OCT 12, you will write a Mid-Term BLOG SELF-ASSESSMENT and post it on Blackboard (to allow for privacy).  See Week #7 Assignments on this blog site.

Once on Blackboard, click on “Assignments” tab (at left on Blackboard home screen). Open “Mid-term Blog Self-Assessment” link.  Copy and paste your blog self-assessment in the “Write Submission” box AND upload your Word doc with the blog self-assessment in the by “attach files” button.

Thus, you will submit your blog self-assessment 2 ways — copying and pasting into the “write submission” box AND uploading the word document.  Points will be deducted for late submissions as well as incomplete (only submitted 1 way) submissions.

The first notice about this gave a Friday due date, but I have moved the blog self-assessment due date to Monday, Oct 12th, to allow for careful reflection on your blogging practice.  Points will be deducted for late submissions to Blackboard.


Twitter Handles

This week you will be asked to tweet out to 3 students in our class to ask them about their IP project.  Make sure to include #thoughtvectors in your tweet.











—  Do the students below have an IP Project focus?






Check your blogs and email!

Hello everyone!

I have visited ALL blogs listed on the Google Doc, left at least one NEW comment, and emailed each of you with a blog update.

TO LATE ADDS:  If you have not added your blog url to our Google Doc — PLEASE DO SO IMMEDIATELY!    Our Google Doc can be found here:

Once you add your url to the doc, I can syndicate it on our class blog so that your posts will appear on our class blog page.  If you are not blogging consistently in this class, you are seriously behind in the work of the course and risk failing the course. If you do not add your blog url to the Google doc, I cannot access the work you are doing in the course.

As I said in my emails, I encourage everyone to try and organize their blogs so that I can find your work easily.  Creating pages for concept experiences, nuggets, and IP may help, or creating posts and adding the category “nuggest< “concept experiences” and “IP” will help.  Please see tutorials if you do not know how to do this.

I also encourage all of you to comment frequently on one another’s blogs and to keep track of your commenting history.  I will be asking you to self-report on your commenting on your mid-term reflection. You will have to note all comments and dates of comments at this time.  I expect students to comment on their peer’s blogs, even when they are not assigned specifically to do so.  The blog commentary creates a community of readers for your writing.


Monday Aug 24 Update

Post your blog url on Monday, August 24 (end of day)

Please post your Rampages blog url to our Google Docs so that I can collect all blogs and get them aggregated onto our class blog site.  Our Google Doc:

To answer a few concerns raised in emails:

Find a thinker post due Monday Aug 24 @ 11:59 pm

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 8.58.59 AMHow to find a thinker? In the screen shot here — see the row of headings in gray  — Home, About, SyllabusF2015, Join Us, All Blogs, etc —

Hover over “All Blogs” heading and you will see a drop down list of blogs — faculty, Univ 200 students, etc.  Click any one of these links and you’ll get the most recent page aggregating that group of blogs. If you scroll to the bottom of that page you’ll see numbers indicating you are on page 1 of many pages (since there are pages and pages of blogs).  I encourage you to go back to higher pages (which include earlier posts in the course) and see what students were writing about early in their thoughtvectors experience.  But you don’t have to do this — you can read any blogs anywhere on the site. Your choices are endless!

Rampages snags

If you are creating a new Rampages account, you may encounter a glitch in account creation.  Click the link on the page that reads “Account creation/password problems?”

Once you click that link you will see this screen, which you must read and complete. First it asks you to try a manual reset by following the link “manual reset here.”  If that doesn’t work, return to the page and complete the question and click submit.  This page also advises you to check your SPAM folder for possible emails about your Rampages account.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 9.24.15 AM


This Week’s Assignments Posted

I have posted the first week’s assignments under the heading “Assignments” on this site.  This list may see some minor changes after my meeting with the other thoughtvectors cohorts today (Monday).  But in general, this assignment list sketches out the first work we will do this week, including the reading for the week and the series of assignments we will do that are connected to the readings.

In general we will have the same structure each week, with a reading due on Monday, a “concept experience” related to the reading due on Wednesday, and a post related to your Inquiry Project due each Friday.  In addition, there will be other assignments, such as commenting on your peers’ posts, “nugget” posts, supplemental reading posts, etc.  But I will try to keep the basic structure of course reading due on Monday, concept experience due on Wednesday, and Inquiry Project reflection due on Friday will be consistent during the first half of the semester.

Since this first week you didn’t have the first reading to have read by Monday, Aug 24, you should try to read Bush’s As We May Think by Wednesday so that you can complete your nugget and concept experiences.

Cornel West is coming to VCU!

This is big news!  The amazing Cornel West is speaking at VCU on Sept 3!


“Invoking Our Collective Memory”
Sept. 3 at 6 p.m.
Cornel West
Stuart C. Siegel Center, 1200 W. Broad St.

The speaker series, “Race, Citizenship, and Memory in the South,” will get underway on Sept. 3 with a talk by public intellectual and Princeton University professor Cornel West, Ph.D. West has written 19 books, including “Race Matters,” “Democracy Matters,” and his new memoir, “Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud.” He has been a frequent guest on CNN, C-Span, “Real Time With Bill Maher,” and “The Colbert Report,” as well as on Tavis Smiley’s PBS TV and NPR radio shows.

It’s an amazing opportunity to have him on our campus.

So what say you, students?