Tracy Mendham Revised 9/26/07

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Tracy Mendham

Revised 9/26/07

Semester-long Research and Writing Project

for A Blog of One’s Own: Women and Authorship in the Digital Revolution

In this course, we are examining the ways in which technology is reshaping the relationship between reader, writer, and text, and the role of women’s voices in the digital revolution. The semester-long research and writing project you challenge you to explore and respond to a chosen topic related to social computing as a means of empowerment for women and other marginalized groups. Once you choose your area of focus you cannot change it.
Here are four guiding questions that you need to think about when selecting the question you want to explore:

1) Is your question/issue/focus something that people can and do debate?

2) Is your question/issue/focus important? Why? To whom?

3) Is this question/issue/focus big enough—can you make it big enough to matter?

This is the big “So what?” of writing.

4) How does what you are saying contribute to the pre-existing conversation/debate about this issue?

You probably will not be able to answer these questions immediately, but keep them in mind when you select an area. Do not write about something that is self-evident and most people know about already.
Your final instructor draft will be a 15-20 page research essay which states and supports your complex, debatable claim (thesis statement) about some aspect of the topic--in what particular way you think social computing empowers, fails to empower, or both empowers and disempowers women or another marginalized group. You’ll write multiple drafts over the course of the semester, refining your research question, defining your topic and your thesis statement, conducting library research, and incorporating feedback from your instructor, your peers, and tutors at the writing center as you revise your long writing project. Since good writing is about process as much as product, students must attach to their completed work all preliminary notes, drafts, peer reviews and instructor feedback—everything which led to the final draft.
Assignment Dates

9/13, HW 6 due: Complete interest statement for semester-long research & writing project. What aspect of social computing will you investigate, and what about this technology/practice do you find interesting? What marginalized group does this technology empower?

9/20: HW 10: Bring completed Topic Interest Form to Library Instruction Meeting with Library Liasion Deng Pan

9/25: HW 12: Peer draft: Proposed introductory paragraph of semester-long-writing project, including thesis statement with preliminary works cited. Identify at least two books and two popular magazine or journal articles you can use in your research.

10/2: HW 15: Instructor draft: Proposed introductory paragraph of semester-long writing project, including thesis statement, with preliminary works cited, and at least two books and two popular magazine articles, as above.

10/11: HW 20: Annotated bibliography (works cited list) due with reflection assignment on research (explain why you’re using the terms you are, why you’ve chosen the works—sources—that you have). You should have at least two books, two popular magazine articles, and two peer reviewed scholarly article in your annotated bibliography, formatted in MLA style. Bring to scheduled individual conference on 10/11 or 10/16.

10/25: HW 24 B: Peer draft. Full early draft of semester-long research and writing project due; this should be at least 7 pages long. Schedule appointment at Center for Writing if you have not already done so.

10/30: HW 26: Peer draft: Revised draft of semester-long project, incorporating multiple sources. (Sources should include at least two books, at least two popular magazine articles, and at least two scholarly, peer reviewed articles.) This should be at least 10 pages long.

11/6: HW 29: Instructor draft: Revised draft of semester-long project, 10+ pages incorporating multiple sources.

11/20: Bring current draft of essay to individual conference.

11/29: Peer draft. Last peer draft of semester-long writing project due. This should be 15+ pages.

12/6: Instructor draft. Semester-long Writing and Research Project due in print with portfolio (include all previous drafts, and all peer and instructor feedback received) and on Blackboard.


Social computing includes but is not limited to: blogs (weblogs), bulletin boards and forums, chat rooms and text chat, e-learning and distance education, email and email lists, instant messaging, online collaboration tools, online reputation economies, social bookmarking, social network services, tagging systems and “folkisonomy”, virtual worlds (including massive multi-player online games and non-game worlds), Web 2.0, and wikis.

Empowerment in general means increasing the economic, political, social, or spiritual strength of individuals or communities, and often involves overcoming barriers, biases, or inequities. See the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for feminist perspectives on power.

Popular magazines are targeted at the general population and often cover current news or popular interest. The authors are not necessarily scholars or experts in a specific field and the articles are not usually peer reviewed. (Popular magazines usually also have pictures.) Examples: Bitch, Ms., Wired.

Scholarly and professional journals present in-depth research in a specific field. The articles have usually been reviewed by other scholars in the field to meet certain standards for validity. Articles usually have abstracts and cite sources. (Scholarly and professional journals usually do not have pictures.) Examples: Frontiers, Women's Studies, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communications.
These are excerpts from the ITW 101 Syllabus:

Peer Review. In addition to writing drafts of the semester-long project, each student will be responsible for completing in-class peer reviews for their classmates. I will be looking at these reviews for thoughtful, honest, enthusiastic, and constructive dialogue between two writers.

When a peer draft is due, that means that you have to bring a first (or rough) draft of the essay to class to use in peer review; another student will read it but it will not be graded.

When an instructor draft is due, bring in a revised draft of the essay to give to your instructor. Attach your peer draft and any peer review or other feedback you’ve received.

For your semester-long project, always bring a printed copy to class and submit it online through Blackboard as a Word (.doc) or Rich Text (.rtf) file. Any sources you use should be documented in MLA style. You are responsible for consulting A Writer’s Reference to correctly cite any texts that you quote, paraphrase, summarize, or borrow ideas from in your writing and research drafts. Dictionary and encyclopedia articles are not acceptable sources for your writing and research project.
Assignments are due at the beginning of class. Drafts and other writing assignments will drop a letter grade for each day they are late. Computer crashes and lost or damaged files are not acceptable excuses for late assignments. Back up (save) your document every 5 to 10 minutes while working on the computer. Print out the day’s work before you log off or shut down the computer, or at the very least, email a copy of it to yourself.
Remember that the Writing Center has a trained staff of student tutors who can work on-on-one with you with all phases of the writing. To make an appointment, drop by the Center for Writing building on Blake Street or call 358-2412. You are required to attend one appointment at the Writing Center. (At your request the tutor will email me to confirm your attendance at the appointment.) You can also make additional appointments to meet with Writing Center staff whenever you like.
All students will be held strictly accountable for adhering to Keene State College’s policies regarding academic integrity (see your ITW 101 syllabus, the College Catalog, or the Student Handbook).
Please note that your work may be randomly selected for review for the purposes of assessing the effectiveness of the Integrative Studies Program. Your work will be reviewed only by faculty responsible for assessing the effectiveness of the Integrative Studies Program, and your confidentiality will be maintained.

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