Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Out of service!

I am now communicating with my students via the Angel online learning system. I am keeping this blog online as an archive for my own reference and for the curious.

- Bill Ackerbauer

Friday, December 11, 2009

"Office hours" today

Wow. I just spent two and a half hours sitting in the library, and nobody showed up, including the people who had made appointments. At least I managed to get some reading done.

If you have concerns about your research project, be sure to contact me soon with questions.

Remember, the final test will be given on Wednesday night, and your papers are due. The test will have the same format as the mid-term. There will be questions on grammar, rherotic, literary analysis and research concepts.

See you Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

No class tonight

The college is closed today because of the weather, so we won't have class tonight. This throws a major monkeywrench into my gameplan for the end of the semester!

We will not have time for all of the remaining oral presentations next week, I'm afraid, so many of you are off the hook for that part of the assignment. However, I would like to give each student an opportunity to discuss his or her research project with me in person, so I will be available on campus this Friday, Dec. 12, from noon to 2:30 p.m. 

I plan to be someplace in the library, probably on the second floor near the top of the stairs. I would appreciate it if you call or e-mail me (210-6181 or to set up an appointment.

If you are not free this Friday afternoon, but you want to meet with me to discuss your project, contact me, and we will try to find a more convenient time.

Because of this snow day, I wish I could extend the deadline for the final paper, but I'm afraid that's not possible. They will still be due in class on Dec. 16. There also will be a final test that night, as well (it will be similar in format to the mid-term test).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Update for this week

I have not received the third essay assignment (about "Us and Them" or "Neon Tetra") from six students. If you are one of these folks, be sure to turn it in tomorrow (Dec. 2). I will not accept late papers after tomorrow. 

Also note:

1. Formal research proposals will be collected at the start of class tomorrow (Dec. 2). I will return them with brief comments next week.

2. Students who have not signed up for an oral presentation date will be expected to give their presentations Dec. 9.

P.S.: Several of you have expressed interest in reading more of Eric Puchner and David Sedaris' work. Here is a link to a site where you can listen to Puchner reading another one of his stories. The same site offers several audio clips of Sedaris reading from his work.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Research proposals due Dec. 2

At our last class session, I discussed the format of the research proposals, which will be due this Wednesday, Dec. 2.

Here is a summary: The proposals should be roughly two pages in length, and each should have two main parts. The first part will be your written proposal, which must explain your topic, your research questions, your working thesis and (briefly) the kinds of sources you've been looking at. The second part will be your annotated bibliography of at least three good sources. Refer to the handout on annotated bibliographies for assistance with this.

I will return your proposals with comments on Dec. 9. The final papers will be due Dec. 16.

See you Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Final project instructions

EN103 Fall 2009


Final project instructions

For your final project in the course, select one of the following research options:

1.) Art/lit option:
Research the life and work of one artist or writer and write a paper discussing how one of that person’s works (a painting, poem, story, play, novel, etc.) was significant in his or her career. I suggest you select an artist and a work with which you are already familiar and in which you are interested.

2.) Local history option:
Research a significant person, landmark or institution in a local community’s history and write a paper discussing the subject’s influence (good, bad or mixed) on that community. If you select this option, I suggest you take advantage of the Kenneth Dorn Regional History Study Center at FMCC’s Evans Library.

3.) Science/tech option:
Research a cutting-edge development in science, technology, engineering or medicine and write a speculative paper discussing what the future significance of this development might be. For example, you might research how scientists are developing a new technique for curing a disease, or how a software company is designing a new Web application.

4.) Education option:
Research a current development in education theory and/or practice and write a paper discussing how the development has affected schools and students (or how it might in the future).

No matter which option you choose, your speculation, argument or analysis must be based on evidence from your research sources, not merely your own personal opinions or “common sense.” You must acknowledge and address one or more counterarguments, citing at least one source with whom you disagree. I will be happy to help suggest specific sources for your individual project, and of course the staff at the FMCC library is available for research consultation.

The final paper will be 5 to 7 pages long (double-spaced in a standard 12-pt font) and will include a separate cover sheet and a separate “Works Cited” page listing your sources according to MLA style. Your paper must use at least five separate sources identified in the body of your paper with in-text citations.

Key dates:

Dec. 2 – research proposals due; oral presentations begin.
Dec. 9 –  oral presentations conclude.
Dec. 16 – final papers due.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tonight's class (Nov. 4)

Tonight, we'll brush up on some grammar rules, perhaps delving into another page of "The Seven Deadly Sins" of writing. I will hand back Essay #2 and assign Essay #3 (see below). We will talk more about analyzing literature, and I will briefly discuss "Neon Tetra" by Eric Puchner.

Essay #3 will be due Nov. 18 -- in two weeks. Note there will be no class on Nov. 11, which is Veterans Day.

Instructions for Essay #3:

Write a two-to-three-page analysis of "Neon Tetra" by Eric Puchner or "Us and Them" by David Sedaris. (If you're feeling ambitious, you may analyze a different story by Puchner or a different essay by Sedaris.) Your analysis must have a clear thesis that makes a comment on the piece of writing you choose. You must identify and discuss one or more the themes of the piece and discuss the writer's use of language (dialogue, description, etc.)

Furthermore, your essay must acknowledge and discuss another writer's published analysis/opinion of your subject writer. (Hint: Both the Puchner story and the Sedaris essay were published in collections that were critically reviewed, and those reviews can be found online.) You must use in-text citations to document the sources of any summaries, paraphrases or quotations of the other critic's writing. You need not cite references to the subject text, however. A "work cited" or "works cited" entry must be attached to the end of your essay. I will describe how this should look in class tonight.