Monthly Archives: October 2017

Beginning of Class Writing: Delegating Responsibility

Today, we’ll begin with this brief writing assignment using the reading that you brought into today’s class, and then we’ll spend most of today’s class working on your research project.

The beginning of class writing assignment is a memo delegating responsibility for researching topics for an upcoming meeting. You are the person designated to lead this project, so you will do the delegating. As a team leader, it’s important that you learn about your co-workers so that when you delegate responsibility, you do so by giving the right task to the right worker. You’ll have a chance to try this out on this assignment by imagining how your co-workers’ skills make them suited for researching a topic found in the article that you read for today’s class.

For this assignment, you will need to do some prep work that will take a few moments. First, identify three topics, names, companies, etc. in your article that one could research further. Second, make up two co-workers’ names, which you will use in your delegating.

Now, write a brief memo addressed to your two co-workers (memo block: to, from, date, subject). Begin your memo explaining that you all have been tasked with preparing a talk based on this article that you had read followed by a colon and a blank line:

Write your APA Bibliographic entry for your article here.

Then, explain that management has asked you to lead this team. Next, write that you will research topic [name the first topic], because [give a reason supporting why you will research this topic]. [Give name of first co-worker], please research [name of second topic], because [give a meaningful reason]. [Give name of second co-worker], please research [name of third topic], because [give a meaningful reason].

Finally, set a deadline for the research and tentatively set a date and time for you all to meet and discuss your results.

Copy-and-paste your work into a comment made to this blog post.

Beginning of Class Writing: 140-Character Summary and Citation

Today’s beginning of class writing will be very brief, because we want to spend more time on your research project. Your response for this writing assignment includes two parts.

First, write a summary of the article that you read that is only 140 characters long. How will you do this? Twitter, until recently, limited posts or “tweets” to 140 characters. This limitation actually opens new opportunities for how you think and write. Instead of being too verbose, you have to focus what you say with a laser-like intensity. Use this online tool to write your summary.

Second, write an APA bibliographic entry for the article that you read for today’s class. Your APA bibliographic entry does not have a character count. It may be as long as necessary.

Third, copy-and-paste your 140-character summary and APA bibliographic entry into a *single* comment (your one comment will include your summary and citation) made in response to this blog post to receive credit for your work.

Creative Job Applications

Awhile back, I shared the story of my friend James who applied for a job with the WWE by stenciling his resume onto a metal, folding chair. Here’s another example of creative job applications. Originally spied on Reddit, designer Andy Morris created this LEGO minifigure package as his professional calling card. On the reverse, there are links to his resume, LinkedIn Profile, and other contact information.

Beginning of Class Writing: Research Questions Memo

With the article that you read for today’s class, you will be writing a memo outlining several research questions.

When I say research, I mean it as a synonym for investigate, explore, and discover.

While you should have learned something from the article that you read, what can you follow up to learn more about? It could involve something named in the article. It could involve an idea not fully explained in the article. It could be something that the article referenced in passing that you would like to learn more about. It could be anything connected to the article.

So, the goal for this writing assignment is to think of four questions that you could conceivably answer given the time and resources to research on your own.

Your memo should follow this format:

Memo Header (to, from, date, subject)

One sentence describing this memo’s purpose.

One sentence summary of the article.

List of four questions.

APA Bibliographic Entry for the article that you read. Use the Purdue OWL APA guide.

Copy-and-paste your work into a comment made to this blog post.

Beginning of Class Writing, Letter to Your Article’s Author

For today’s beginning of class writing assignment, you will write a different kind of letter than the one that you wrote to an editor. In this assignment, you will write to the author inquiring for more information about something discussed in the article. Your letter should demonstrate that you read the article and did some research on your own. Never ask for more information about something without performing your own due diligence to research and learn on your own. Google, Wikipedia, the City Tech Library, etc. are your friends in this regard.

Follow this template for your letter. When you are done writing in Google Docs or Microsoft Word, copy and paste your letter into a comment made to this blog post.

Your Street Address
Your City, State  Zip Code


Author’s Full Name
Search Google for their work address–if not available, write c/o Editor First Last Name, Magazine, Address

Dear Mr./Ms. (or Dr. or Prof.–find out!) Author’s Last Name,

In one or two sentences state the purpose of this letter–to inquire about something mentioned in the article titled “something” in the Month Year issue of Magazine.

I enjoyed reading your article about … one or two sentences demonstrating that you read it.

My question is … state it clearly and remember to add a question mark? Write one or two sentences about what research you have done and what you have learned that left you hoping to learn more from the author. For example: I read the Wikipedia article about the iPhone and learned about the different versions released over the years, but it does not explore the behind the scenes development of the iPhone alluded to in your essay. I was hoping that you could tell me more about the first iPhone prototype’s development that was not included in your article.

Thank you for your time and considering my request. I hope to speak with you at your convenience.


Your Full Name

Turning In Project 1

Before our next class, follow these directions to submit your Project 1 portfolio to Professor Ellis.

After you’ve created your profile and populated it with the information from your resumes, full work history, and profile photo, find Professor Ellis’ profile and add him to your network.

Create an email from your City Tech email account to Professor Ellis (

Use this subject: ENG1133 Project 1 Portfolio

Write a brief, professional email explaining to me that this is you Project 1 Portfolio.

If you’re using Google Docs, and need to download your documents to attach to an email, from inside Google Docs for each of your documents, choose File > Download As > Microsoft Word docx.

Give your documents meaningful file names (e.g., Ellis Skills Resume.docx, Ellis Experience Resume.docx, Ellis Job Letter.docx), and attach your documents to this email in Microsoft Word docx format.

Send your email, and watch for a confirmation email from me. I will be actively watching for your work. However, if you send your email moments before class begins, I might not be able to reply before class begins.

Beginning of Class Writing: Explaining Complex Ideas Using Only the Most Common Words

It is important to recognize who your intended audience is and how best to communicate your ideas to that audience. As a technologist, you work in complex ideas that can be difficult to explain to an audience who does not share your educational background and workplace experience. It is important for you to think about how to take complex ideas and terminology and make the accessible and understandable by a general audience. We will use this idea for the basis of your beginning of class writing assignment.

For today’s assignment, you will write a memo summarizing the article that you read for today’s class using only the 1,000 most commonly used words in English. To help you with this task, see this xkcd comic about how this works and use this xkcd tool called simple writer to write the summary in your memo. Follow the format below for your memo:

TO: A colleague sitting next to you

FROM: Your name

DATE: Today’s date

SUBJECT: Simple Explanation of “Article Title”

One sentence explaining in your own words what this memo’s purpose is.

Your summary written using simple writer (linked above).

APA citation of your article. Remember to use the Purdue OWL APA site for guidance on writing a bibliographic entry for your article.