Blog Entry #3: Shitty First Drafts & Responding to Other Students’ Writing

Jan 23rd, 2013 Posted in Blog Entries |

Before tackling this blog entry, you’ll first want to complete our week four readings which are Anne Lamott’s short essay “Shitty First Drafts” and Richard Straub’s piece “Responding—Really Responding—to Other Students’ Writing.”  After reading these pieces, please do the following:

  • Briefly summarize each of these essays.  (3-4 sentences per essay is fine.)


  • Compare and contrast who you think the audience is for each essay.  Who is Lamott writing to?  Who is Straub trying to convince? (Again, 3-4 sentences per essay is okay.)


  • Next, tell us what you learned from Lamott’s and Straub’s pieces.  How can you apply these readings to your own writing, to peer workshops, or to other academic or non-academic settings?


  • Finally, choose a quote from each of these pieces that you find interesting.  Share that quote with us and talk about why you found it intriguing.  (Hint: Remember to properly introduce quotes by saying something like “According to Lamott,” or “As Straub points out,” etc.  Here’s a nifty website that demonstrates a variety of ways to introduce and talk about quotes. Keep these suggestions in mind as you’ll need them once we start the research process in a few weeks.)


Blog Entry #2: Life Lessons from an Ad Man

Jan 15th, 2013 Posted in Blog Entries |


Take a moment to watch Rory Sutherland’s video “Life lessons from an ad man.” It’s about fifteen minutes in length and, I think, rather entertaining.


Afterward, write a response in which you talk to us about the following:

  • Rory mentions that social media has the potential to add “value” to something intangible or preexisting. In your opinion, do you think this is true? If so, how might social media use rhetoric to this end?


  • Rory also mentions that interface is essential in helping people make decisions. Do you agree with this statement? Also, do you think interface shapes the way people experience web-based writing? Why or why not?


  • Did Rory’s lecture reveal anything to you about the rhetorical strategies used in advertising? If so, please provide an example from the video to demonstrate your point.


Before posting your response, take a moment to review the blog entry guidelines posted under the “assignments” tab on this course website.  Remember that late posts will not be considered for credit.

I look forward to reading your responses!

Blog Entry #1: Aristotle’s Rhetoric

Nov 15th, 2012 Posted in Blog Entries |

If a friend were to ask you “Who do you think is the most famous classical philosopher and rhetorician of all time?” you would likely respond “Aristotle.”  That’s because Aristotle’s theories regarding rhetoric, writing, and oratory are still very much alive in our modern Western culture and underwrite many of the persuasive techniques we use as writers and speakers today.

With this in mind, I invite you to read Part II of Book I from Aristotle’s Rhetoric. It’s a bit dense, but I think you’ll still find it interesting and compelling. If you run across anything that seems too weird or obscure, don’t worry—we’ll talk about it in class.

After reading Part II, consider the following questions:

  • What are the three “modes of persuasion” that Aristotle refers to?


  • In what ways are these modes important to writers and orators today?


  • Choose one or two terms from Rhetoric (such as syllogism, enthymeme, proof, etc.), define it for us and then provide an example of how it might be used. Feel free to use the internet to search for definitions and examples, but do your best to find trustworthy sites. Also cite any sources you use by providing a link to the webpage or embedding a link into your post.


  • Finally, feel free to discuss any other aspect of the piece you found intriguing, confusing, noteworthy, etc. Or—use this space to ask questions you’d like to bring up in class.


Before posting your response, take a moment to review the blog entry guidelines posted under the “assignments” tab on this course website. Remember that late posts will not be considered for credit.