HW for Wed 3/25

Hi All,

So… I hope to see many of you on Zoom on Wed from 230-3p or so.  I hope we will have a chance to do some listening to and writing about music together, using some of Zoom’s “party” features that I learned about this weekend. 😉

For Wednesday, I’m going light on you with the assignment because I want people to catch up on the work that’s been assigned so far–as well as on essay feedback for others in the class.  To that end, here’s what I’d like you to do:

  1. Re-read as much of the course website as you can (including blog assignments, essay assignments, other students’ essays, links to videos, links to library resources, quizzes, etc.).  Then, find at least one assignment you’ve completed and revise it—OR—find one assignment you haven’t done yet and DO IT.  In your response to this blog post, under #1, simply write the title of the assignment you did or revised.

2. Find a text that connects to your Essay 2 song in some way and which you think you WANT TO READ.  Next to #2, below, write the text’s title, author name, and publication/website (e.g., NYTimes, Medium.com, etc.).

3. Provide Essay 1 feedback for Jennessy Jiminian and Shania Newsam (essays available in “Course Docs -> Student Essay 1s”, titled by student last name).

That’s it. As always send me your questions… I’ll do my best with them!


HW for Sun 3/22 (due 5p)

Ok, everyone–thanks for hanging in there.  Here’s what I’m looking for you to do for Sunday.  As always, e-mail me with any questions:

  1. Take Quiz 2.  Note that it will automatically close Sunday at 5p.
  2. Re-read K-Hole’s “Youth Mode” and Jerry Salz’ “Art at Arm’s Length.”  Pick one of these texts to write a bit about (and post below).  When writing about either K-Hole’s or Salz’ work, I want you to do whatever you like in addition to doing two things:

    A) Introduce the text and a quote from it using the following format:
    In “_Title of Text_,” _Author Name_ observes that “___quote___” (AuthorLastName_p. #).

    B) Identify and discuss one key term that the author tries to define and explain to me the ideas the author uses to try to define this key term.  Also discuss any questions you have about the way the author has tried to define this term.

  3. Write and post Essay 1 feedback for Joseph Azor and Denis Hasancevic.  Both are available in the Essay 1 Drafts folder (linked in the “Course Docs” page).
  4. Post below any questions about this week or last week’s reading or writing assignments that you want me to address during the Zoom session I will be holding with students on Wed at 2:30p.


Feedback for Denis Hasancevic


UPDATE (w/my feedback):


I’m glad to see you getting some reads and feedback on this draft—it’s a really, really good draft, and I’m looking forward to seeing how you expand on it.  I also really hope that other students read it for inspiration because of how good I think it is.  There’s obviously a good deal of room for improvement and expansion, and thus I’ve posted here my feedback in hopes that other students can access this as well.  None of it is personal and there’s obviously no grade, so I assume this is ok–let me know if not, though, and I can take it down.

NOTE: to see my comments on the highlit sections of the PDF, you may have to download it and open it in a PDF reader on your device.  To download, click the down arrow in the bottom right corner of the embedded PDF frame.

To summarize a couple big points of feedback (in addition to my comments on the draft): I agree with Brittny that we don’t need the opening sentence of reflection and can just begin with sentence two.  I also totally agree with Shanice that there could be an expansion on the last line of reflection/”take-away”: what does learning to conform to someone else’s wishes have to do with learning content in school?  It occurs to me that while you tell us you ended up doing well in the class, you do not mention any of the content you learned in it.  Note that I am not suggesting that you should include content you learned in the class: my point is that maybe the fact that you haven’t mentioned much in the way of course content is a way of telling the reader that while you managed to get a good grade, Jeremy’s way of interacting with you didn’t necessarily help you absorb the content of the class.  What do you think?

My own big picture thought is that you could continue expanding on Jeremy’s manner of communicating (or not communicating) with you as it relates to your ability (or inability) to learn from him.  I think that this is the underlying theme/conflict in this draft that could be elaborated on–and have made a couple highlights/notes on the draft where this theme could be opened up.



Feedback for Joseph Azor


(To see my comments, download PDF by clicking down arrow in lower right and open in PDF viewer.)


This is a good first draft with a lot going on in it.  I hope you continue to receive reads and feedback from more classmates.  That said, David’s feedback, in particular, is tremendous; please read and absorb it carefully.

My comments are on the draft itself, but here are a couple of the big picture take-aways:

–At times, I get a bit lost due to grammatical and typo issues.  Proofread this and correct what you can.  You can also look up these grammar issues online and feel free to ask me any questions you have about them (they were the ones I noticed repeating in your essay): run-on sentences, verb tense changes, fragments, quotations.  Let me emphasize that I do not think these issues prevent your writing from being engaging because you’ve included so much content that truly is interesting to read.  But I do want you to get a bit more control over some of the grammar/typo stuff so that your writing and ideas can really shine.

–Because *so much* is going on in the essay, I’d recommend trying to re-write it with a focus on one (or a couple) of the following “problems” or themes:

1) the conflict with your parents/mothers…

2) why is it so hard to say “I love you”?  What is meant by “love”?  How is it related to fidelity/infidelity/cheating?

3) why do you think things “dried up” once you actually said “I love you”?  is there something about desire that depends on conflict or struggle (having to elude your mothers, struggling to say “I love you,” etc.)?

4) what do you think it is that drew you to the other person?  who was this person and why do you think you did that?

Once you decide which of these you want to focus on, you can go back over the draft and eliminate anything that doesn’t help develop the reader’s interest in these questions/themes/conflicts.



Research Resources

Genius.com (lyrics, background info on them, interpretations of them)
ONLINE LITERARY & &ART PUBLICATIONS | search within these sites, or Google your topic and add the publication title
REFERENCE SOURCES | a good place to begin: big-picture info on a word/topic
Gale Virtual Reference Library (encyclopedia/tertiary sources)
Google Trends (search usage of key terms in Google searches, from 2004–present)
Google Books Ngram Viewer (search usage of key terms in books, from 1500-2008)
RESOURCES FOR GENERAL/NON-SCHOLARLY ARTICLES | use non-scholarly sources for deepening your understanding of a topic
CUNY OneSearch (search everything in CUNY’s library system)
Opposing Viewpoints (tertiary source on debates; especially good for topics in politics and news)
RESOURCES FOR SCHOLARLY ARTICLES | here is where you will find the most detailed, rigorous (i.e., challenging-to-read and also writing that has been “challenged” by an editorial board of experts on the topic) academic work on a topic
Google Scholar (general array of scholarly texts; not discipline specific)
Project Muse (humanities and social science articles; theory)
Academic OneFile (general academic articles; not discipline specific)
Applied Science & Tech Database (science & tech sources)
Academic Search Complete (general database of scholarly and non-scholarly articles)
Kanopy (full-length films and documentaries)
Underground & Independent Comics (comics and graphic novels)
JSTOR (literary criticism & theory)
MLA Bibliography (literary sources)

HW for Sun 3/15 (REVISED: Wed 3/18)

Assignment for Sunday–this is long but contains important course content: please read all of it!

  1. Connecting the dots; linking items in a list.  You’ve probably noticed that we are spending a good deal of time working on our ability to describe carefully what we see and what we hear in time-based media (music and/or video).  My aims in doing this are two-fold (at least):

–to help you improve your ability to write cinematically so that you’re able to install images and sounds in the imagination of your reader (this will help you write a compelling narrative for Essay 1)

–to help you write more carefully about “texts” that other people have made, including songs, videos, and writings–the latter of which can be even harder to write about than the former (this will help you write creatively and critically about media and your research in Essay 2)

What I want you do now is look at your list of visuals or words that you took notes on while watching or listening to your media choice from last week.  I want you to connect these terms in a paragraph or two, using complete sentences.  There are numerous ways of connecting details of this kind, but for now I want you to write sentences that show us how these visual or sonic details are connected IN TIME.  What comes first? What comes next?  What comes before?  What comes after? What comes at the end?  Below are some linking words and phrases you might find helpful in forming your sentences:

–“____title____,” a song/video by ___author name___, starts off with_____

–A moment later, the sounds/visuals change to ________

–In the middle of “____title_____,” we notice that _________

–This part of the song/video reminds the viewer of an earlier moment in which _________explain similarity between two parts____.

–We begin to sense that “____title_____” is ending when _________

–__AuthorLastName___ ends the song/video with ____________.

  1. Reading for Thesis Statements & Definitions. We are transitioning toward Essay 2, which will introduce you to several fundamental facets of academic paper writing (in a fun way, hopefully): thesis statements, definition, question-asking, research, and logic/idea-connecting.  WIth that, return to the readings on internet addiction I suggested for this past week (#7-9a) and choose 1 of the following prompts to write about

    A. Thesis Statements
    .  A thesis statement is a debate-able claim made by a writer that his or her whole essay revolves around (if it is a thesis-based essay, that is).  “The wooden chair is brown” is not a great thesis (at least if the chair appears to most people to be brown) because it is factual rather than debate-able.  “The wooden chair is uncomfortable” works a bit better as a thesis because it is debate-able; however, it is subjective–comfort is in the eye of the beholder–and doesn’t give specific reasons that would make clear to the reader why the wooden chair is uncomfortable.  “I’d propose that many schools may well have stopped using wooden chairs in classrooms because of the associated costs, the effect on the environment, and student complaints of discomfort”; now here is the best thesis so far (although it’s probably far from perfect): it offers a debate-able theory as to why schools have stopped using wooden chairs (debate-able because someone could disagree with this theory), and it gives specific reasonswhich support the author’s thesis.

That said, not all thesis statements are clearly stated at the beginning of an essay–in fact, many aren’t stated clearly anywhere in a writer’s essay.  So instead of looking for a sentence that sums up a writer’s thesis, we have to read their whole essay and then think about the different points they make, add up those points, and decide for ourselves what the main point or thesis is.  With that, I want you to re-read Lauren Duca’s “The Viral Virus” and write a paragraph in which you tell me about 3 points she makes in her essay and what you think the thesis (her biggest or most general/overall “point”) is.

B. Definition of Terms.  Another very important thing to keep in mind when doing college-level reading and writing is how certain terms are defined–by writers who you are reading and by you yourself when you are writing.  In academic writing, you will often notice definitions of key terms and ideas that are longer than dictionary definitions–way longer.  In fact, entire essays and books have been written by academics trying to better define certain ideas.  For an example of this, you could do a quick search for articles and books on the idea of “trauma”; you will find many different ways that people (especially since Freud) have attempted to define and understand this concept.  OK, this is why I had you read these other texts on internet addiction–they revolve around how this term is defined.

First, re-read Block’s DSM article on internet addiction, then re-read Lane’s “Addicted to Addiction” and respond with your observations on the following:

–how does Block define internet addiction? List at least three points he makes in trying to define what he means by this term.

–what do YOU think of Block’s definition of IA?  List any thoughts or questions you have about any part of his definition.

–what does Lane, in his article “Addicted to Addiction” think about Block’s definition of “internet addiction”?  Give us a quick sense of any problems Lane notices with Block’s ideas.

  1. Developing Questions for Essay 2. In preparing to do a bit of research, it can be helpful to develop a list of questions you might consider trying to answer.  What I want you to do here is write a series of questions about 1-2 of the social issues you identified in a song you’ve selected to work on.  The paragraph can only be questions, but there are different kinds of questions I want you to use.  For instance, I want you to ask at least one “why” question that asks for reasons why something is the way it is.  I want you to ask at least one question about  the connections between two ideas related to the issue you are exploring.  I also want you to ask one “how” question that points towards the way the artist has put together the song.

In Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam,” what are the connections between the sampled recordings and the lyrics?  What is the connection between the history of racism alluded to in the song and the faith indicated by the lyric “this is a God’s dream”?  Is Kanye religious?  Are his listener’s religious?  Why and how is he connecting racism and religion?  How and where does Kanye use moments of silence in this track?

  1. Readings for next Wednesday’s assignment:K-Hole “Youth Mode” and Jerry Salz, “Art at Arm’s Length” (#10-11).

HW for Week 6 (writing prompts on media, readings on internet addiction…)

REMEMBER: Next week we meet at the library, so don’t go to our usual classroom; meet in front of the library on the fourth floor.
1. Pick a song whose lyrics speak to you in some way—this can be the same as the one you may have already written about or a different one.  Listen to the song.  As you do, make a list of all the different broader “social” or psychic issues that the lyrics and/or sounds evoke (e.g., incarceration, education in America, drug addiction, love, cheating, etc.). Post your list here.
2. What Was Seen & What Was Said.  Find a video you like (could be one you already wrote about–or not) and watch it at least twice.  The first time you watch, make a list of all the visuals you notice.  The second time you watch, transcribe all of the words exactly as they are spoken for 1-2 important or interesting minutes (see Serpell’s “What Was Said” for a sense of what this might look like).  When done, re-watch/re-listen and double-check your work.  Post both parts here.
3. Read through texts #7-9a in the Readings folder, all about different ways of thinking about what internet addiction *might* be.
See you at the library.

HW for Week 5 (3/4)

–Write and post responses to the in-class writing prompts from today (below).  Due Sunday 5p.
–Post revisions of Blog Response 2 and Blog Response 3 by Sunday 5p.  Email me if you are behind or have an “F” for Blog Response 1 (for Week 2).  If you haven’t written a blog post yet, I want you to write two drafts of each post.  For your first draft, simply write a response to the prompt.  For your second draft, I want you to read through the feedback given to other writers in the class and then apply that feedback to your own first draft, revising it accordingly.
–Read: Namwali Serpell’s “Triptych: Texas Pool Party.”
I) Describing the “appearance” of a media object.  Cue up your current favorite song, video, meme, etc. and re-watch/re-listen to it.  Another option, following Tortorici (5-6), re-read posts you made on a social media platform awhile ago.  Now think: if you were unable to play or show your chosen piece of media to a stranger, what words would you use to get them to experience it in their imagination?  Jot down some of those words.  Things to consider mentioning:
–the sensory/affective details of the media object: what does it look, sound, feel like? How is it designed?  How do you interact with it? What does it make you feel/think?
–analogies, similes, etc that compare the details of this media to other things that your stranger might be familiar with: e.g., the bass drop on the Kanye track sounds like thunder, the images in my IG home page look like bathroom tiles…  
   Try to come up with 2-3 sensory details and 2-3 comparisons.  You might start off by making lists, but try eventually to put these descriptions and comparisons into sentences.
III. Showing a transformation in your experience of a media object. 
Below is the format for a quick exercise for getting yourself to think of how to show the way your perspective on a piece of media changed over time (and as you experienced that media object multiple times).  It is quick, but the ideas generated can be used and developed in a longer essay (this material could be helpful for either Essay 1 or Essay 2, which will deal with your experience of a piece of music).  
  OK, write your way through the below form (e.g., The first time….  The last time…) several times, each time including different details or impressions you had of the media object you’ve chosen.
The first time I heard/read/saw/experienced ____[media object title], I noticed….
The last time I heard/read/saw/experienced ____[media object title], I noticed…. 

HW for Week 4 (2/26)

A–Read Dayna Tortorici’s “My Instagram.”  This essay is LONG.  If you have time to read all of it great; if not, I’d like you to focus on reading the following sections: Pivot to Image, Inception, Dysmorphia, Mimetic Desire, Inside and Outside.
B–Writing Response (due Sunday 5p): 2 parts
1.) Identify and write about a connection between something in Tortorici’s text and what you wrote about today in class.  Recall that our prompt dealt with the Unit 1 theme—the idea that appearances can be deceiving—and can be viewed in the Course Notes doc).  In your response, include one quotation from Tortorici’s text and an explanation of why you chose this quotation.
2.) Tortorici’s essay is one that describes many facets of her relationship to a piece of media: Instagram.  Next class, I would like for each of us to do a bit of writing about a piece of media of our own choosing—an image, video, song, video game, app, etc.  To prepare, please include a piece of media (or a link to it) at the bottom of your post as well as 1-2 sentences explaining what it is and why you chose it.

HW for Next Week (2/19)

–Complete Quiz 1 (link above) by Friday at 5p if you haven’t yet.  I will be closing the Quiz at that time on Friday.
By Sunday: Reply to my response to your post about Chu’s “The Pink” with a revised version of your original post.
–Post 1 paragraph of specific feedback for each person whose essay was read in class today.  Post each paragraph of feedback as a response to the post I’ve made with the writer’s name (under Essay 1 feedback).
–Read: Mirene Arsanios’ “April-May-June” (in “Readings” folder).
–Write and post below (as a reply to this post) your response to Arsanios’ text.  You can write about any aspect of the essay that interests you and/or consider responding to (any of) these questions: What does Arsanios’ text show us about the differences between text-based and spoken communication?  What makes this text a “narrative”?  How is it different from a “thesis”-based/argumentative essay?
In addition, as we did this past week, I want you to quote one sentence from Arsanios’ text and analyze the language in it carefully: how does the word choice, word order, length, etc. produce certain effects on you as a reader?  Explain.
–Remember, there is no class next week (2/12), so we will meet next on Wed 2/19.  Between now and then, I will be responding to your blog work and available via e-mail (monroe.street.alt@gmail.com).

HW for Week 2

–Complete Quiz 1 (online)
–Reading assignment: Andrea Long Chu, “The Pink.”
–Writing assignment (due Sun 5pm): I’d like you to respond to Chu’s essay in two different ways.  First, I want you to respond *generally*: tell me what you think this essay is about on the whole, what  you like about it, what you don’t like about it, what you find interesting, weird, boring, etc.
Then, I want you to choose and copy into a quotation one sentence that stands out to you from somewhere in Chu’s essay.  Tell us what stands out to you in this sentence, being as specific as you can.  Try not just to speak about the content/ideas in the sentence; try also to speak about the way that it’s been put together (the sound and order of the words, the kind of words used, etc.)  Try to respond to the question: What, specifically, do you think makes this good/bad prose (writing) and why?
Post your response to these two sets of questions below (as a “comment” on this thread).  I suggest you also save your work elsewhere as you write because OL doesn’t have an “auto-save” feature (like Google Docs, for instance).  You may also use parts of your responses to prompts like this in your essays, so it’s good to have it saved somewhere in document format.
–Write and email me a draft of your Essay 1 by Tuesday at 5p.  Fine if this isn’t yet complete, but try to get at least 2 pages written.  (You can write about a couple of unrelated things if you’re still deciding what to write about.)