Assignments Week 11


Read: Read this article from The New York Times Magazine as another model for the IP.

Wallace-Wells, Benjamin. The Case for the End of Modern Zoos. The New York Times Magazine.

 After reading:  Study the structure of the article, using my prompts below:

Notice how and where Wallace-Wells integrates outside sources into his argument,. He begins by referencing an earlier piece that fueled his own interest in this topic, and he calls out the original writer because he had side-stepped another, very real question, about whether there is any need for the modern zoo at all. This is the question that Wallace-Wells works to answer, and thus argue about, in his piece.

He gives us some background context for his argument in the paragraph that includes “there has been a case against zoos for a long time…” and he quotes a Rilke poem and then discusses a 1983 study. Please read his discussion here – because he tackles the study using a serious, but very readable voice. Then he breaks his text with an image.

After this image, he moves the reader to a more current situation – the 2013 documentary Blackfish. He doesn’t assume we know about this documentary, but gives the reader details about it that caused the outcry for better legislation. He includes a link about new laws, which I would’ve liked to have seen discussed more fully in his text (were it an Inquiry Project).

His argument develops because he calls on evidence from his research. His reasons for his case against modern zoos are clear: that animals are not fooled by the illusions zoos create for humans, that animals in captivity display psychological conditions similar to humans, etc. At the end he calls on Costa Rica, since they have vowed to ban all zoos, and looks ahead to the next few decades, where he argues we should do the same.

So I can imagine your making an argument called The Case Against… (or For) … in your Inquiry Project. For example, the Case For GPS Tracking of Criminals.. or The Case for Closing your Facebook Account…Your case would be your OWN argument – but it would be supported by research, which you discuss and use in a way that helps you develop your points.

It’s important, then, for you to understand 1) that the IP is YOUR argument, crafted by you.  What argument do you feel prepared to make, do you feel passionate about making, after all of your research?

2)  Your inquiry project must have a clear claim, a clear argument, readers must see logical reasons included in your project to support your claim (as both Justin Tubbs (last week) and Wallace-Wells (above) do in their arguments. Note: You think up reasons yourself, based on all of the research you’ve done.  In some cases, reasons are embedded or even stated in your research trends assignment.

3)  Use evidence from your research to support all of your reasons. Evidence can be taken from one of your Research Nugget posts or from the article itself.  You may use personal anecdotes and interviews with others as evidence, but your project cannot solely rely on this primary evidence.

4)  You may use (and I encourage you to use) primary evidence taken from specific digital platforms you are studying.  For example, if you are writing about Instagram, you can search Instagram for evidence to support a point you are making.   Several of you found scholarly articles who used this methodology.  Justin’s research on Tumblr comes to mind.  If Justin is discussing activism on Tumblr, it is perfectly acceptable that he find evidence of that activism on Tumblr and include it in his project.


READ:  IP Inquiry Project Assignment

Study:  Study Wallace-Well’s introductory paragraphs.  Like Justin, he begins with a personal anecdote.  Go back and review Justin Tubb’s IP if you have forgotten his opening.

Draft:  Draft an introduction to your Inquiry Project, grounding your project in relevant personal experience.  Think of a compelling story to tell, one that sets up the PROBLEM your IP will address.

Post:  Post BETA draft of your IP introduction.

Review:  Review your sources, looking for an idea that helps you ground your argument or thinking about your IP Project.  Both Justin and Wallace-Wells position their arguments against a specific source that they read.  Justin positions his entire argument against Gladwell (who is critical of slactivism). Wallace-Wells positions his argument in relation to another recent NY Times article that features the veterinarian who works to make the space of zoos more psychologically appealing for animals.  In both cases, the writers USE a KEY IDEA from the source to help establish their own argument.

At the end of your BETA Introduction post, list at least ONE IDEA from a source that you have already read that you think can help you GROUND or FRAME your argument.  Quote the idea that you think will help you make your argument (just a sentence or two).  Then reflect on why this idea helps you

W and Fri NOV 11 & 13

Review:  Review my comments (and your peer’s comments) on your Research Trends slide and your IP Beta Introduction.

Comment:  Comment on ONE of your peer’s Beta Introduction draft.  If the peer already has one student comment, please move on to a peer whose draft does not have a student comment.  Based on the introduction 1) what argument do you infer the student will be making? 2) Give the student one suggestion for specific sentences he/she can remove from the opening.  3) Give the student one suggestion for a place in the opening where you need more details.  4) Finally, tell the writer what is working in this introduction.

“Real Estate” Search Blog Post:  This week, give some thought to where you will house your Inquiry Project.   It should have its own space.  That space can be a new Rampages blog, or a new section of your #thoughtvector’s blog dedicated only to the project.  If you choose the latter option, your IP should be clearly marked and easy to access on your blog.

One option then is a stand-alone page (or set of pages) on the RamPages site you’ve been using for this course. Some other options for your project real estate:

  • A whole new Rampages site (you can have many!)
  • A new website entirely (e.g. Wix or Weebly or any web hosting site.
  • A Google Site or wiki
  • (my understanding is all you need is a Twitter ID to be able to write for the Medium platform; this is a particularly intriguing platform).
  • Try one of a number of new digital storytelling platforms, including HatchorAtavist. Or, maybe there’s one you know about that hasn’t been mentioned here…

Spend time experimenting with sites.  Once you decide on your real estate (a home for your IP), set up an account and create the space.  Experiment with banners, themes, etc.  Then write a short blog post including a LIVE LINK to your chosen site, and answer the key question below:

Key Question to frame the Real Estate Search Blog Post: What does your selected platform provide you to best create your Inquiry Project, and why?  Don’t forget to include a live link to your IP real estate, and Tag the post “realestate”

Create: Create a Google Doc. to draft your IP project.   See “How to Create and Share a Google Document” here: