Focused Inquiry Villa Mentors 2018-2019

A service learning seminar investigating space and place…

A Palestinian’s Daily Commute


  • 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 to UNIV 112!

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:

Surveys and evaluations and the final project of the semester

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 (mostly in class) 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.

Unit 3 papers 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, remember we’ll have our final Villa Visit of the semester! Hope you can make it to Shafer by 11 for lunch, and we definitely hope you’ll help finish movies and play games in 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 introduction 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 outlines 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 presentations and class Monday

In class tomorrow, we’ll see Kev, Sofie, Ty, Marina, Cameron, Jaedon, & Mariam 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 Wednesday–day two presentations!

Our presentation line-up for Wednesday: Armond, Marina, Gabby, John, Eeshan, Katie, and Raj!

And remember, Wednesday is the extra credit night: there will be an extra credit assignment for attending Valeria Luiselli’s talk at the Siegel Center on Wednesday, Nov. 14th, at 6 p.m. You’ll need to stay for the ENTIRE event, and take a selfie of yourself at the end of the event, plus write a blog post commenting on the speakers. But it’ll replace your lowest blog post grade (so it can wipe out a zero, if you have one) or, if you’ve never gotten a zero, I will give you a few bonus points.

Presentations begin Monday!

In class on Monday, we’ll listen and give feedback to these student presenters: Tyler, Amanda, Michelle, Luke, Moira, Tee, and Naomi. Plan to ask them questions about their research plans!

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