Assignments (online class)

Tuesday, December 20.

I just wanted to touch base about portfolios. Everyone who had a completed portfolio with cover letter on by last Thursday night passed portfolio assessment, with Erin earning a Pass with Distinction! Congratulations to all.

If you did not have your portfolio done, but will complete it this week, you can still submit it, but it will be early February before late portfolios are read, so you will receive a temporary incomplete until your portfolio passes. Your name will be on a list I’ll submit to the registrar of students who have complete the course, but are awaiting portfolio assessment; those students *are* eligible to take English 102 next semester.

If you do not get a portfolio ready to submit, you will receive a zero for your portfolio and most likely will not pass the class.

​As I’m grading portfolios, I will look over and grade any essays not yet graded. If you have a fourth essay (Essay 4 or an earlier one) that was not in your portfolio but that still needs grading, you can submit it by Thursday of this week (Dec. 22) to get credit for it.


Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Work for the next two weeks is given in the post Finishing up the semester. Note that portfolio is due to be posted on your blog by Thursday, Dec. 15 at 8 pm; the additional essay not in your portfolio, is it has not been graded, may be submitted up until Thursday, Dec. 22.


Friday, November 25.

Sorry, with rush of Thanksgiving I forgot to get this up sooner. In email with Essay 2, I gave overview of assignment for this week: to do preliminary thinking for Essay 4. Read over the assignment, and look at some of the videos that catch your attention on Brainstorming for Essay 4If your community has a local paper or online site, you may want to consult that for ideas, as well as talk to friends and family members about what improvements could be made to your community. I’ll give you a few extra days beyond the usual Sunday at midnight deadline to post a paragraph that addresses these issues (a proposal for your proposal, in effect):

  • Identify the problem in your community that you would like to address. Why and how has this problem caught your attention? Or are you interested in writing about a way your community can be improved, without necessarily identifying a problem?
  • Do you have an idea of how you might address this problem (if so, what is it), or will you need to do some research to find possible models in strategies other communities have successfully used?
  • Find and post at least three possible sources you might use in your essay. (See assignment for ways research may be used in this assignment).

Rough draft will be due Sunday, December 4. I know that’s a fast turn-around, but remember this is a rough draft. Concentrate in identifying your proposal, setting up framework of reasons why this will improve your community, and incorporating some research (you may not have time to find all your sources, but try to identify what info you’d like to have to support your argument). I will post some info about structuring an argument shortly.


Tuesday, November 8.

Rough draft of annotated bib part of Essay 3 will be due Sunday, November 13, with full assignment due the following Sunday, November 20. I will be grading the assignments submitted for the 20th as “final drafts,” but you will have the opportunity to revise if you would like, for regrading. 

First, please open a blog post to store all the reasonably good sites and sources you find, with electronic sources given as hyperlinks; I’d encourage you to spend an hour or two casting a wide net before getting “bogged down” in reading through sources.  Then select the five you’d like to use for annotated bib, and do a separate post with citations and annotations for those five sources. Don’t delete the sources from first post since you need to go back and select an alternate source if one of the initially ones you selected is not as relevant or credible as you had first thought.

FYI My face-to-face classes are collecting up some resources to help with tech aspects of the genres possible for second half of assignment (powerpoint, prezi, brochure, infographic, video). This info should be posted by early next week.


Tuesday, November 1.

Sometime this week, read the pages on Focus and Coherenceand apply the info there as you revise Essay 2, which is due Sunday, November 6. I believe I have made comments on all rough drafts I found on blogs; if I missed yours, or if you get a rough draft finished in the next few days and want some feedback from me, please send me an email to let me know your essay is up. Please email me your final version as an attachment by midnight on Sunday; I also strongly suggest posting your final draft on your blog (as a new post, not a revision of rough draft). 

I will be revising the Essay 3 assignment by tomorrow (Wednesday)–I’ll change this note once I’ve got it finalized. The rough draft of Essay 3 will be due next week, on Sunday, November 13. I’m expecting you’ll have a chance to get started on that assignment this week as well. 

NOTE: Sorry to take so long to get grading done on memoir–I got sidetracked with commenting on rough drafts. I should be able to finish that grading in the next few days, and will send along a completed grade report to date once I record those grades.


Monday, Oct. 24.

I. For Sunday, Oct. 30, please do a peer review of Essay 2 of the partner you are paired with below, responding to questions given. (If you have not yet posted your Essay 2 rough draft, please email me when you do get it posted, and I’ll try to find you a peer reviewer.)


  • Iveliz and Marc
  • Ariel and Josh
  • Jess and Shanae
  • Ben and Erin


  • Identify the thesis statement of the draft. Is it clear, well-crafted, and appropriately placed? (If not, indicate how statement could be improved.) Does the material in the body of the essay support the thesis statement?
  • Comment on the level of specific detail in the essay. Which details best show the writer’s careful observation and give the reader the clearest image of the store? Especially if the essay is short, suggest types of detail that could be added in revision.
  • Is each paragraph focused on one clear main idea? (If not, indicate which paragraphs seem unfocused.) Is the order of paragraphs logical; if not, explain where you see material out of order.
  • Does the essay follow the assignment guidelines about connecting observations to Gladwell’s article? Is the material from Gladwell’s article properly cited (if not, explain what problems you see)?

II. Also, for Sunday, Oct. 24, do the Exercise on finding and evaluating sourcesto be posted on your blog.


Monday, Oct. 18.

Rough draft of Essay 2 is due Sunday, Oct. 23, to be posted on your blog by midnight.

Also by Sunday, please read the pages Finding and evaluating sources and Citing sources: how and why.


Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Read page on Revision.

Since it’s taking my longer than I had hoped (way longer!) to finish comments on rough drafts, I’m going to push back due date on The Place Where You Live and Essay 1 to Sunday, Oct. 16. Comments will be done shortly!!

Rough draft of Essay 2 will be not be due until Sunday, Oct. 23, but there will be additional work assigned next week on writing with sources and the beginnings of info on research process.


Monday, Oct. 3–work for week 5. All due Sunday, Oct. 9.

Final drafts of “The Place Where You Live” and Essay 1 will not be due until Wednesday, Oct. 12. Please email these to me as attached files. I’d encourage you also to post them on your blogs as a way to archive drafts, but grading will be done on documents. I will try to get my commenting on rough drafts completed by Tuesday.

For Sunday, Oct. 9 in preparation for Essay 2, please read “The Science of Shopping.” As you’re reading, keep a list of the principles Gladwell discusses and post your notes on your blog. Read over Essay 2 assignment as well, and start to think what store you would like to visit and analyze.


Monday, Sept. 26–work for week 4. All due Sunday, Oct. 2.

I. Peer review for Essay 1:

Find your partner from the list below, read the memoir on his/her blog, and respond to the questions below as a comment on the writer’s blog:

  • Consider the writer’s use of specific detail. Identify any particularly sharp, effective use of detail (by para. number or context, as in “I really get a clear picture of Uncle Eddie”). Indicate places where you think the writer might add more detail (either because something is unclear or could be made more vivid or engaging or understandable). If possible, include questions for the writer: “Could you give an example of a time when your gramma was cruel?”, “This seems to be the crucial scene of the essay. Maybe add some dialogue here?”)
  • What seems to be the main “message” of the essay? What does the author seem to be saying about this experience/person/etc. that you can connect to on a more universal level? What does he/she seem to be saying about “home”? Point out any resonant lines that seem to have particular significance or emotional power (which may or may not be developed in the rest of the essay). Does the author include any commentary on the experience and what its significance was to him/her?
  • How does the structure of the piece work? What is its time frame? Is the order of events clear? How well does the lead work to engage your attention? any suggestions for possible changes in order?
  • What is/are the most successful aspects of the draft? What/s working well? You might indicate a particular part of the essay (lead, fight scene, reflection at the end) or point to the author’s voice or tone, choice of subject matter, vivid descriptions, wonderful style, etc.

Peer review partners: 

  • Ariel and Heather
  • Ashlei and Ben
  • Cam and Nick
  • Jeff and Kayla
  • Josh and Marc
  • Erin, please do Jess’s (I’ll send you email with password once she approves); Jess, please do Tash’s; and Tash, do Erin’s
  • Shanae, please do Trina’s (from MW 9:30 class)

NOTE: If you haven’t yet posted your Essay 1, I haven’t assigned you to a partner. If you want to give/get feedback, please email me once you get you ressay posted and I will try to find you a partner.

II. Reading

Read the article How to Read Like a Writer and the post Writing summaries.

III. Practice summary writing

Write a three-sentence summary for two of the following articles and post on your blog:


Monday, Sept. 19–work for week 3.

Read these three pages on stages of the writing process:

Read The Place Where You Live post for the person *below* you on the list of student blogs (bottom person, go up to the top). By Sunday, Sept. 25) in a comment to their post, answer the following questions:

  • Does the piece fulfill the guidelines of assignment? If not, why not.
  • What is the general impression the writer gives of his/her place? Identify any general statements that seem to capture the essential character of the place or the writer’s attitude towards it.
  • What are the sharpest specific details in the piece, the sensory details that give you the clearest picture of what the place looks or sounds or smells like? Identify any places where you think the writer could be more specific in order to sharpen the image. When possible, ask specific questions  to give the writer suggestions about details he/she might add.
  • Comment on the organization of the piece. How are the details ordered? Is that a logical order? (Explain why or why not.) Are the paragraphs broken logically?

Also (most importantly!) rough draft of Essay 1 is due Sunday, Sept. 25 at midnight, to be posted on your blog. I plan to write a “pep talk” post on the memoir assignment (notes for what I said in f2f classes) in the next day or two. If you want to write about a private subject that you are not comfortable sharing on the web, let’s discuss via email. It is possible to password-protect particular posts, and I have allowed htis in the past for personal essays.


Sunday, Sept. 11–work for week 2.

Read the following short pages on writing, from three different perspectives:

Read the post The Place Where You Live. Your main writing assignment for the week is the 350-word place description described in that post. Please post your entry on your blog by Sunday, Sept. 18.

The rough draft of Essay 1 will be due the following week, by Sunday, Sept. 24. In preparation for that essay, read the post Reading some memoirs, and do a short post on one of the “home essays” listed at the bottom, answering the questions labelled Reading response 1.


Monday, Sept. 5. The assignments for Week 1 are listed in the post Work for week 1. Take some time to play around and get comfortable with how the blog works. If you have any problems, please let me know asap. This work should be completed by Sunday, Sept. 11 at midnight.