Focused Inquiry Language Mentors 2018-2019

A service learning course focused on intercultural communication and space and place

Palestinian checkpoints and thinking about boundaries


  • The main message of “A Palestinian’s Daily Commute.”
  • What was it like reading this text?
  • What emotions did you feel?
  • What were its strengths and weaknesses?

Now compare it to this version of the article?

  • How is the experience of this article different?
  • What “modes” of communication did this version use?
  • What do they add? Do they detract anything?

With The City and the City, there’s a lot to possibly discuss with the concept of “boundaries” or “borders.” On page 74, Borlu describes attending a conference on “policing split cities,” where they “had sessions on Budapest and Jerusalem and Berlin, and Beszel and Ul Qoma.” Borlu and Corwi are shocked that Beszel and Ul Qoma are understood as a “split city,” so in what ways is The City and The City different than a place like Palestine/Israel?

Name places where we create boundaries or borders? Or where we recognize those borders, when they are more “natural”?


For class on Wednesday

(If you didn’t read the welcome back post, please do!)

For class on Wednesday, be sure you have a copy of City and the City and get reading! You’ll need to read the WHOLE BOOK and annotate by next Wednesday at the latest. For Wednesday also read “A Palestinian’s Daily Commute” in the FI Reader, write a brief summary on your blog, bring laptops to class.

Welcome back!

Welcome back! I look forward to UNIV 112 and a second semester with you! If we have any new students joining us, welcome! As in UNIV 111, you’ll find all of your assignments and daily announcements and the syllabus on this website. Please spend some time familiarizing yourself with it and let me know if you have questions.

If you don’t have a Rampages blog yet, you’ll need to create one, right away. Please go to and create a new account, then start your blog, and send me the URL once you find your HOME PAGE (email me at If you are new to the course, please come see me during office hours, I’m happy to help you with this. If you already have a blog from another class, you are welcome to continue blogging on that, send me the URL. Just don’t delete your old posts–the whole point is to preserve your work for posterity.

For everyone: in class on Friday, we’ll discuss an essay called “A Palestinian’s Daily Commute,” in the FI Reader. Please read this article and summarize it on your blog for Friday’s class. Also, please remember your first big assignment is to carefully read The City and the City, by China Mieville. If you haven’t bought this book and started reading yet, I strongly recommend you start immediately! You will be asked to complete the book and share your notes next week. Specifically, I’ll want to see evidence of some form of annotation–this could be comments on post-its, in margins w/ underlining, or a separate typed up set of chapter summaries w/ page references. It’ll need to be comprehensive, so don’t just read and summarize the first half of the book! You’ll be using these notes to guide you through the TWO assignments we’re going to do using this book, so make sure your notes are helpful!

As a brief preview:

Online surveys and evals

Please complete this survey:

And please complete the evaluation for this class:

And double check that you’ve posted your unit 3 paper on Assignment box

Beginning next week, we’re going to start working on a project where you’ll take action on your unit 3 topic. Read this over, and begin to brainstorm for how you might accomplish this project.



Final paper due Friday

For class on Friday, please complete your Unit 3 paper, and bring paper copies to submit. Your paper should be 1000-1500 words in length, it should appropriately cite all your sources in APA format both in the text itself (remember, signal phrases) and in a References page at the end. Also, include a short self-assessment attached to the end of the paper–in this paragraph, identify your own strengths and weaknesses at writing this argument paper.

ALSO, I’ll ask you to submit this paper on your blog and HERE, in Assignment Box.

For class on Friday, please bring laptops, fully charged, to class.

****Also, double check on your hours. Have you updated your log? Are you on track to complete the required 20 hours for the semester? If you have concerns, please come see me!

Survey and intro paragraphs

Please complete this survey:

And for class on Wednesday, please draft your introductory paragraph for the unit 3 paper (due Friday).

Research workshop and Toulmin due Monday (Nov 26th)

In class today, we’ll work with evaluating sources (with what’s known as the CRAAP test!). We’ll also work on narrowing your research question, finding good keywords, looking for credible sources with stuff like Google Scholar or Academic Search Complete. And last, but not least, you should preview the Toulmin outline, again.


For Monday Nov. 26th, when you return from Thanksgiving break, please come with a completed Toulmin outline. I AM GRADING this completed Toulmin outline, so be sure to bring it to class (either paper or digital copies, please).

Final presentation day, and prep for Monday

In class on Friday, we’ll see Kailey, Andy, Austin, Owen, Andro,  Derrick, and Peter present.

For class on Monday, please come with laptops and, on your blog, at least 3 credible and relevant sources for your unit 3 paper linked in a blog post, with a brief summary of each. While these summaries may be brief/written in bullet points, you should be prepared to explain what each source offers, and how they differ from one another. We’re going to do a research workshop in class, and I’d like you be able to talk about the strengths/weaknesses of these sources with classmates. This blog post should begin with your research question, so I know what question you’re using the sources to answer.



For class on Wednesday–solo presentations day two

On Wednesday, we’ll see presentations from: Michael, Bea, Paul, Nardeen, Eric, Mariam, and Emmalee!

Presentations begin Monday

On Monday, we’ll begin with presentations from: Gladys, Autumn, Sean, Sarah, Stephanie, and Angie. Come prepared to give these presenters some quick feedback on their research ideas. I expect EVERYONE to contribute during the Q&A.

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