EN 105 Week 1 Discussion | Park University | Assignment Help

EN 105 Week 1 Discussion | Park University | Assignment Help 

Week 1 Discussion


Welcome -- but first, a discussion about discussion...

Welcome to this unit's discussion! Discussions are one of the most important elements of this class, because discussion is where you will work with your classmates and instructor to construct knowledge.

What does it mean to construct knowledge? A constructivist view of knowledge assumes that knowledge is not acquired simply, but is generated through a complex interplay of discussion, debate, and analysis. Constructivists view knowledge as something that groups of people create together by interacting in a social environment. 

You might be saying, "Okay, but so what?"

Good question! What this means that you should use discussions to try out new ideas, test your interpretations, debate important questions, and experiment with new perspectives. Discussions are also important because they are one of the places in this course where you will have a significant amount of interaction with your instructor. Your instructor will act as guide and mentor: asking questions, pointing out avenues for further exploration, offering corrections, identifying areas for improvement, and modeling good discussion habits.

For each unit's discussion, you will see a list of learning goals, a description of your discussion task, a note about working sources, details on grading, and other reminders. At the end of each unit, your instructor will use a rubric to grade your performance in discussion.  

With some practice, you will emerge from this course an excellent contributor to both online and face-to-face discussions!

LEARNING GOALS: By participating in this unit's discussion, you will:

·         Better understand the rhetorical triangle

·         Analyze this unit's readings by David Sedaris, Malcolm X, and Plato

·         Discuss the genre of the learning narrative

TASK: To participate in this unit's discussion, please choose 2 of the prompts below, and craft a 1-2 paragraph response to each prompt. Remember that your instructor is interested in your ideas, interpretation, and analysis, so take your time to craft a thoughtful response! There are many possible "good answers" to each of these prompts. Choose the prompts that most interest you. Please tell your classmates which prompts you are responding to!

1.      Plato's "The Allegory Of The Cave" has proven to be one of the most important texts of Western culture. Plato's allegory can be dense and intimidating, but at its heart, "The Allegory Of The Cave" is a straightforward parable about the power of knowledge. Let's think about Plato's work as a story about learning. Who or what is doing the learning in Plato's allegory? What is being learned? What happens as a consequence of this learning? And what does Plato's allegory suggest about the nature of learning, education, and knowledge? How do you know?

2.      In the final paragraph of "Learning To Read," Malcolm X writes: "As I see it today, the ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive. I certainly wasn’t seeking any degree, the way a college confers a status symbol upon its students. My homemade education gave me, with every additional book that I read, a little bit more sensitivity to the deafness, dumbness, and blindness that was afflicting the black race in America." Discuss this quote in the larger context of "Learning To Read." How has Malcolm X's "craving to be mentally alive" been stifled earlier in his experience? What does he mean by "deafness, dumbness, and blindness" in this context? (For instance, is he suggesting that his fellow African-Americans are deaf, dumb, and blind -- or that American society is deaf, dumb, and blind to their experiences?) Finally, what do you make of Malcolm X's choice of the word "awoke" to describe his learning experience? 

3.      David Sedaris is usually described as a humorist, meaning that his purpose as a writer is to make his readers laugh. Did you find Sedaris's essay funny? If so, what specific moments in the essay were most funny? What made them funny to you, exactly? Besides humor, Sedaris seems to describe something important about the nature of learning -- what is that? To Sedaris, what is learning best compared to?

4.      All three of the readings this unit could be classified as learning narratives. Let's imagine that the learning narrative is an authentic genre, or type, of writing, using these three pieces as examples. First, discuss what is similar about each of the pieces, and what is different. Then, describe your experience of reading these pieces together. What connections did you discover? Finally, based on these three pieces, what would you say are the important aspects of the genre of the learning narrative?

5.      Choose one of the readings (David Sedaris, Malcolm X, Plato) and compare that writer's learning experience with your own experiences as a learner. Do the writer's ideas about the nature of learning hold true to your experience? Why or why not?

6.      In the chapters from Ruszkiewicz's A Reader's Guide To College Writing, you read about audience. Review the readings from David Sedaris, Malcolm X, and Plato, as well as any relevant background information you can find online. Who seems to have been these writers' original audiences? How do you know? (Note: if you learn anything from a web source, please cite it by identifying the name of the web site and providing a link.)

A NOTE ABOUT SOURCES: One of the primary differences between everyday writing and college writing is that college writers are usually expected to cite their sources in particular ways. Let's start this unit. If you decide to quote any of the readings in your responses, please cite your source by placing the quoted material in quotation marks, clearly indicating the author of the work, and providing a page number for the quotation, if applicable. For instance, if you quote John Ruszkiewicz's A Reader's Guide to College Writing, you might form a sentence that looks like this:

According to John Ruszkiewicz, good writers should use "strategies for inviting readers to join their audiences" (29). To me, this means that...

Notice how the example identifies the author of the quotation by first and last name, includes quotation marks around the quoted material, and includes a page number in parentheses so that readers can quickly find the original quote if they so choose.

For more examples and discussion of how to work with quotations in writing, see the Easy Writer chapters on "Quotation Marks" and "Integrating Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism" and Appendix B in A Reader's Guide to College Writing. If you are still confused, don't worry! Try your best to cite your quotations, knowing that you will learn more about how to work with sources in academic writing in the coming units.

GRADING: Please see the rubric for this assignment to see how your participation in discussion will be graded. Please note that the rubric places more importance on thoughtfulness, insight, and creativity than on grammar, punctuation, or even citation style. So, make it your goal to create posts that fully explore the prompts.

REMINDERS: Your initial discussion post is due by Wednesday, 11:59pm (Central). Your follow-up posts are due Sunday, 11:59pm (Sunday). For a possibility of full credit on discussion, you must not only create a well-crafted initial post, but also engage in constructive, thoughtful follow-up discussion. Finally, remember that in most discussions, you are required to post before seeing your classmates' responses. Why? Because your instructor is interested in your responses, your ideas, and your interpretations. 


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