This week, we begin our transition into Phase II of the course. In Phase I, we examined the work of some pioneers in the field of technology and new media more specifically. We used the work of those visionaries to understand the modern world from a historical perspective. The concept experiences tied key concepts from the texts to aspects of modern media. We also used that work as texts for research; by doing nugget posts, for example, we undertook a process for how to work with key parts of a larger body of text.  Hopefully, this set us all up to dig deeper into our own research and to complete our final inquiry projects about the digital era.

Phase II is more explicitly about research and writing, argumentative or persuasive writing more specifically. We will spend most of our time learning to develop logically-reasoned arguments and crafting multi-modal compositions.  (Once again, I point you to the gold standard for logically-reasoned arguments crafted and designed for the Web). I don’t expect you to be Ta-Nehisi Coates, but we can all dream…

Monday, October 12 and Tuesday, October 13

Spend some time early in this week reading and commenting on what your classmates have proposed for their inquiry projects. Some are rougher than others, and a number of you are proposing similar topics. I’m confident you can all help each other by offering feedback and sharing resources.

To make this a little easier, I’ve shared all of your posts that used the research question/prompt heuristic to our Diigo group and tagged them all with “heuristic.” That allows me to share your posts with a single URL: (NOTE: if I missed anyone’s post, let me know!).

Tuesday, October 13 and Wednesday, October 14

  1. Read about crafting argumentative essays. Start by reading through a handy one-page resource from the University of North Carolina Writing Center. You’ll note that they link to other relevant handouts. Those are worth considering as well.
  2. Now go to Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) (arguably the best online resource for writing) and read about Establishing Arguments and Logic in Argumentative Writing. Please note that there are 4 and 5 subsections respectively for those topics. For example, under Establishing Arguments, there are subsections on developing strong thesis statements, research and evidence, organizing your argument, and rhetorical strategies. You are expected to read all of those 9 subsections.
  3. Now the fun part… you are to scour the web to find an example of a persuasive essay that you can share with the class via our Diigo group. Ideally, you’d find an essay that’s not only strong rhetorically (i.e. it’s a well argued essay), but also a good example of a modern essay, one that’s written for the Web. In other words, it uses the multi-modal (text, images, video, audio, etc.) affordances of the web to help make the argument. (I’ll add one more example to give you a nudge: The Case for Drinking as Much Coffee as You Like. Not much by way of multimodality, but it’s a reasoned argument supported by evidence). Once you have found the argumentative essay you’d like to share, bookmark it to our Diigo group and use the tag “argument“.