Week 4, Project, Peer Review Underway

Space man graffiti with the writing "Dnt watch tv."

I just wanted to send a note to everyone acknowledging that most of the peer review teams have started circulating their first drafts of the 500-word summary via email. Excellent work!

While it would be ideal to have drafts circulated and peer review feedback received by Wednesday when I post our next lecture, it is okay if you need a little extra time on this first project.

What I would ask students in need of additional time to do is please send an email to your peer review team members letting them know that you need a little extra time and that you will send your draft to them by such-and-such date and time. This gives your team an important heads-up about your needs and it helps them adjust their work to be ready to read and respond to your writing as quickly as possible after the time you promise to send it to them.

We will be making use of the peer review that you receive, so hold on to it for next week’s weekly writing assignment and the conclusion of the 500-word summary project.

Week 3, Weekly Writing Assignment

As discussed in the Week 3 lecture posted below, I discuss in detail the parameters of this week’s writing assignment and how it supports your overall success on the first major project: the 500-Word Summary. Please review the lecture carefully and make notes in your notebook. One of the nice things about taking notes from a video is that you can pause it while you are writing!

Here is an outline of what you need to accomplish for this week’s writing assignment:

  • Create a first draft of your 500-Word Summary
    • Turn your reverse outline memo into a first draft by removing the paragraph numbers and chunking your sentences into one long paragraph or several smaller paragraphs. The summaries that you wrote of each paragraph in the article allows you to quickly create a draft summary of the entire article. You will likely need to read over it and add language to create a flow from each sentence to the next, or each paragraph (of yours) to the next.
    • Add a sentence below the memo header and above your summary that states the purpose of the memo. For example: This memo is a 500-word summary of the article, “Write Title of Article,” by Some Author, a researcher at IBM (look in the article or online for information about the author that you can add to contextualize them). If you have multiple authors, you might have to leave off this information unless there is a common workplace. Another option is to include their affiliation in parenthesis after each name.
    • Find one sentence or phrase in the article to quote and cite in the body of your summary. Use APA style for the in-text citation (see third paragraph here).
    • Edit the draft as much as possible to hit the 475 < 500 < 525 window for your 500-word summary. Since this is a draft, it is okay if it is shorter or longer than the window, but more work that you do now on your writing will save you work later.
  • Conduct peer-review of your writing with a small team of students.
    • On Wednesday, Sept. 9 in the afternoon, I will begin sending emails to randomly assigned small teams of students. These will arrive in your official City Tech email account, so watch for them.
    • After you have completed your first draft (please do so as quickly as possible), click on “Reply All” (as shown in the lecture video) to the email that I sent you. This will send your email to Prof. Ellis and your teammates. Write a brief email thanking your team in advance for giving you feedback. Copy-and-paste your draft summary memo into the email below your message and then click send.
    • As you receive emails from your teammates, read their summaries and then click “Reply All” and include the following in your email: Salutation to the author of the summary you are responding to, a sentence or two about what you think works in their summary, a sentence or two about what needs correcting (and give advice about how to correct, perhaps one example), and whether their APA cited quote in the body of their summary and bibliographic reference at the bottom of the memo look correct (refer to the Purdue OWL APA pages here and here. Then, click send.
    • Collect the feedback that your 500-word summary receives as you will need this next week when you revise your 500-word summary for the final draft and for the weekly writing assignment.
  • Pro Tips
    • Remember to create versions of each document that you write in our class. For example, open your reverse outline memo in your word processor and choose “Save As” and save it with a new file name, such as “500-word summary draft 1.” Next week, you can do this to the “draft 1” file and save it as “draft 2” or “final draft.”
    • Before sending your emails, double check that you have chosen to “Reply All” so that your teammates and I will receive your responses.

Week 2, Weekly Writing Assignment

As discussed in this week’s lecture, the weekly writing assignment for Week 2 is connected to the 500-Word Summary project. The idea is to create a reverse outline of the article that you select to summarize, because this work will help you better understand each part of the article and it will generate text that you can utilize in the first draft of your 500-Word Summary.

After watching the lecture and making notes, do these things to begin the 500-Word Summary project and accomplish this week’s writing assignment:

  • Go to the City Tech Library’s website, navigate to Find Articles, click on the corresponding letters to find the suggested databases for your research (Academic Search Complete, Applied Science and Tech Source, Science Direct, Springerlink ejournals, Wiley Online, or IEEE Xplore).
  • Using one or more of the databases, find an article that is at least 5 pages or longer that is on a subject relevant to your studies and interesting to you.
  • Using the database’s citation tool or the Purdue OWL’s APA guide to references for periodicals, write a bibliographic reference for the article that you selected in your word processor of choice.
  • Then, read the article’s abstract and keep it’s overview in your mind.
  • Next, read the first paragraph of the body of the article (this follows immediately after the abstract–if there is one, otherwise, it is the first paragraph of text after the article title).
  • Put the article aside and pull up your word processing document with the bibliographic entry.
  • Above the bibliographic entry, type “1.” followed by a one sentence summary of that paragraph’s main point, terms, idea, etc. in your own words. It is important to keep the article out of view when you do this. Don’t quote anything. Put it all in your own words what you remember about that paragraph.
  • Return to the article and read the second paragraph. Put away the article and return to your word processor document. Below your sentence for the first paragraph and above the bibliographic entry, type “2.” followed by your one sentence summary of that paragraph. Continue in this way for all of the other paragraphs in the article, numbering each.
  • Finally, add a memo header to the top of your word processor document, TO, FROM, DATE, SUBJECT (refer to lecture for what you should write).
  • Copy and paste your completed reverse outline document into a comment added to this post. If you haven’t done this before, click on the title of this post and then scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the comment box. Make sure that you are logged into OpenLab. Copy-and-paste your reverse outline (memo heading, paragraph summaries, and bibliographic entry) into the comment box and then click “Post Comment.” Wait a moment to see your comment post on the site.
  • Post your reverse outline by the beginning of next week of class, Wednesday, 9/9.
  • Return to your word processor and save a new version of your reverse outline, which you can use as the beginnings of your 500-word summary first draft. Saving a new version of this file will allow you to return to your earlier work (think versioning) in case it is needed. In your new file, take out the numbers next to each paragraph summary and edit the document so that the summary sentences form one long or several shorter paragraphs. You may begin editing this into your first draft of the project, and we will discuss what we will do with this first draft in next week’s lecture.

Week 2, Lecture

I split this week’s lecture into two videos. Remember to have something out to write with as you watch the videos so that you can make useful notes on what I discuss.

The first introduces the overall week’s work, gives reminders about OpenLab and office hours, and discusses what Technical Writing/Technical Communication is.

The second covers the first major project–the 500-word summary, how to find an article using the library’s databases, where to find information about APA style and the memo format, and this week’s weekly writing assignment.

Useful links referred to during this lecture:

Week 1, Great Start!

I wanted to say that our class is off to a great start on the OpenLab! Almost everyone enrolled has joined the OpenLab Course, and I’m in the process of getting back to folks’ first weekly writing assignment/email introductions.

There’s still plenty of time to watch the lectures and complete this week’s writing assignment before next Wednesday. Though, as I mentioned in the first lecture, there is extra time to get assignments done during the beginning of the semester as I know we are all acclimating to this mode of instruction.

I’ll post the next set of lectures and talk about the first major project on Wednesday, Sept. 2, which begins week two.

Keep up the good work and good luck in your studies!

And, try not to fall asleep like Mose while studying!

Tuxedo cat Mose

Week 1, Office Hours, Wed, 8/26, 3:00pm-5:00pm

Greetings, all! I hope that you’re making your way into the OpenLab Course and beginning to watch the lectures. I’ve already received some of your weekly writing assignments, which I will respond to soon.

If you have any questions or want to talk about the class, you can find me in this Google Hangout today from 3:00pm-5:00pm. [link removed after office hours over]