Published on September 9, 2007
Week 3 Lecture: Week 3 Lecture Revising a Response Essay, Writing a Peer Review and Writing a Writer’s Log Revision 101: Revision 101 Revising an essay can be a daunting task, however, it is absolutely necessary! The rest of chapter 2 (i.e. the assigned reading for this week) deals with the revision process. Please, please read it!!! Example on Pages 60-61: Example on Pages 60-61 On these pages, you will see an example of how a writer revises his/her essay. Notice the thought bubbles – while you do not have to write in these, do make notes on where you can expand (I notice most of your essays are a bit short. Note that the syllabus states that this essay is to be 2-3 pages long.) Also notice the marks the author uses to denote words she needs to omit, grammar mistakes and such. Things for Which We Revise: Grammar: Things for Which We Revise: Grammar Make sure you have commas where there should be commas. Make sure you are using the right words for things like 'their' and 'there' Make sure you do not use contractions Never use the word(s) 'a lot' Read for fragments – do what it takes to make fragments into 'real' sentences. Watch your apostrophes – its and it’s are very different words. Of course, never end a sentence with a preposition! We tend to do this in our every day speech… 'Which bus do I get on?' 'What do I have to write about?' – reword the sentence to put the preposition elsewhere. Things for Which to Revise:Style: Things for Which to Revise: Style Check for 'awkward' sentences. This is where a proofreader can be invaluable. Reword sentences with the word 'you.' Reword 'I' statements – 'I think,' for example, does not belong in academic writing – of course you think what you write! Otherwise you’d quote what someone else thinks. There are more style things listed on page 64. Things for Which We Revise:Adding Your Own Voice: Things for Which We Revise: Adding Your Own Voice On pages 66 and 67 the book talks about adding your own voice. As you become skilled writers, you will become more comfortable with using your own voice and developing your own style. But, do read these tips and try to integrate them. Things for Which We Revise:Stressing Verbs: Things for Which We Revise: Stressing Verbs This is an important one. You want to give your readers a sense of confidence in your writing. One of the ways you do this is by choosing strong phrases – meaning, use strong verbs. Read the examples on pages 67-68 Things for Which We Revise:Ineffective Expressions: Things for Which We Revise: Ineffective Expressions If you are using Word, grammar check points out a good number of these expressions. 'Basically,' 'each individual,' and 'first and foremost' are just a few. Things for Which to Revise:Sexist Language: Things for Which to Revise: Sexist Language Yes, this is actually a consideration. Pages 68-69 explain this in detail. Citations: Citations Make sure that in your revisions, you have properly cited credible sources (never, ever cite Wikipedia). Make sure that you have cited everything that you have paraphrased from elsewhere – if you do not, you are plagiarizing (BAD!). Format: Format Always check that you have formatted your paper correctly according to MLA format. Call your instructor 'Professor' – reason being, you often do not know if your professor is a Dr. or not, and while you will definitely offend a female PhD by calling her Mrs., you will never offend any college teacher by calling them 'Professor.' Rant Time: Rant Time From some of the emails I have been receiving, it is obvious that many of you have not read the Syllabus or watched the Orientation Presentation. It is time to do so. Also: I will not grant ANY extensions for any assignment AT ALL, so please do not ask. You know when the assignments are due for weeks in advance, plan your time accordingly. Online classes require a large amount of self discipline. They are no easier than on-campus classes – and in most cases, they are actually harder! Peer Reviews: Peer Reviews Many of you are worried that if you make negative comments about one of your peer’s papers, he/she will be offended. So: NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO BE OFFENDED IN MY CLASS. There, now that worry is out of the way… moving on. Peer Reviews: Peer Reviews We use the term 'criticism' when we refer to analyzing writing. 'Criticism' implies some negativity, but it also implies critical thinking. You want to tell the person you are reviewing your honest opinion, and think honestly about how they could improve their writing. Criticism is a very important part of writing – you must be able to see/find the mistakes of others in order to find your own. Also, it is virtually impossible to know how your writing will 'sound' to someone else. That’s why we have other people proofread and critique our writing before submitting it for a grade (or to a publisher, in the real world). Peer Reviews: Peer Reviews So, what is it I expect in a peer review? At LEAST 200 word responses in which you answer all of the questions posed in the topic. It will take many, many words to write a good critique. Be specific!! I also expect you to offer constructive advice – tell the person you are reviewing how they can improve the piece. You all want good grades, so help your fellow classmates in this common goal. Writer’s Log: Writer’s Log This is very simple, and explained in the Syllabus. You can attach it as part of your paper if you like, just put a page break after the Works Cited and enter it there. I expect a paragraph or two, around 100 words. Final Thoughts on your Final Drafts: Final Thoughts on your Final Drafts Revision can be the difference between a 'blah' paper and a work of academic genius. Remember that you can also use the writing labs on the various PSTCC campuses. There is much wisdom to be gained there. Once again, the only acceptable file formats for this class are .rtf and .doc – not .docx, not .wps or anything else. Sharpshooter: Sharpshooter You will find a neat comic made by a couple of instructors in the computer department in this week’s course module. It introduces the book quite well, so it is worth the time it takes to download. Sharpshooter is not exactly an 'easy' read, but we are going to talk about it and work our way through it together. Please do not work ahead in the discussions – the questions will change from week to week and will be posted at the last minute. Please plan to attend a few of the on campus celebrations of the book. These experiences will be very helpful on the Sharpshooter paper and the final exam. A tour through Bleak House would also be highly beneficial. You can go on your own, or you can go when I go – I will be sure to tell you when I plan to venture that way. Have a Great Week 3: Have a Great Week 3 Happy reading and writing, everyone!!