Wrapping Up the Semester

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Can you believe it?? This coming week is the final week of class! Below is everything you need to know about what needs to happen between now and the last day of the semester.

Office Hours
If you need to see me for anything, my last days of office hours until the start of the Spring 2015 semester are Tu 12/16 (11:15am-12:15pm + by appointment) and W 12/17 (2-3pm + by appointment).

 

Final Draft of Research Essay
Your final draft (with 1-2 page Reflective Cover Letter, on entire Research Project Process) is due at the start of class on Tuesday, 12/16. I look forward to seeing how the research projects turned out! For more details about the assignment, please visit the Research Project page (scroll to the very bottom, Part 3, for information about the Research Essay, & Part 4, for the Reflective Cover Letter).

*As discussed in class, in addition to the individualized written feedback I provided on your first drafts, I also wrote up some helpful notes for revision that apply to everyone. You can read/download/print them here. Happy revising!

 

End-of-the-Semester Party
On Tuesday (12/16), we will be reviewing for the final exam, but also celebrating the end of the semester. I encourage you to bring in snacks to share with the class and we can enjoy refreshments during the review (I will bring in some goodies as well). Please leave a “reply” to this post letting us know what you will bring, so we have a good mix of refreshment (things like cups, paper plates, and napkins are also important items to bring). Looking forward to your presentations next week :)


Final Exam
As you know, your final exam will consist of actively reading a short article at home, writing a summary paragraph of that article (optional) at home, and then crafting an essay in response during class. The actual final exam (writing a response essay to the article) will take place in class on Thursday, 12/18.

I encourage you, if you have not done so already, to review the “Strategies for Summarizing” post I made earlier this semester on on course site and the Final Exam Review post I made recently.

Remember, for the response essay, while you should use your own experience (and the first person), you have to place that personal experience in dialogue with the text/article you are given (you must show connections between the article’s points–use details/quotes from the article–and your experiences/evidence).

All of the skills you practiced this semester (creating an Introduction, developing a thesis statement, paragraph development, creating strong topic sentences, critical reading, analysis, incorporating/citing sources, providing claims/evidence) apply here, so as long as you review those strategies, take the practice final exams I provide, and pay attention/take notes during our in-class final exam reviews, you should be all set for the exam.

*You may bring a dictionary (an actual, printed dictionary) to class to use on the day of the exam (but you will not be allowed to use your phone, tablet, or computer in class to look up words).

The final exam is worth 10% of your overall course grade, and you must pass it to pass the course.

Please remember to arrive to class on time both days this week, as we will begin the exam promptly at the start of class on Thursday (and the final exam review promptly at the start of class on Tuesday) and will end exactly at the end of class. If you arrive late, you will not be given extra time to complete the exam.

Final Course Reflections
Your Individual Final Course Reflection is due in class on Th 12/18 (this is a mandatory–not optional–assignment). Please visit the Final Course Reflection page on our site for more details on this assignment.


Final Course Grades

The deadline for professors to submit final course grades for the Fall 2014 semester is M 12/29 (though I plan to submit that much sooner than that). Please wait to view your course grade online through CUNYfirst (I will not be giving out final course grades via e-mail). Once you see your final grade posted online, you should feel free to e-mail me for your final exam grade (you will have all of your other grades already).

Final grades are non-negotiable, though I am always more than happy to discuss them/your work with you at any point in person. If you would like to discuss any of your grades/receive additional feedback on the final assignments/exams, you should e-mail me to schedule an appointment to discuss your work when we return to campus at the end of January when the new semester starts up.


Thank you, & stay in touch!
Finally, it was a pleasure to work with you all this semester. I wish you the best of luck wrapping up the semester and on your final exams, and in your future endeavors at City Tech and beyond. You all worked incredibly hard this semester, and I really appreciate your consistent effort and good cheer day in and day out (especially for a 10am class all the way up on the 10th floor!). I hope you enjoyed yourselves and learned a lot about happiness/well-being, the writing process, reflection, collaboration/peer review, critical thinking, reading, and writing. Have a wonderful winter break, & don’t hesitate to be in touch in future semesters to discuss your work in this course/beyond, and/or to just say hi  :)

Final Exam Review

Hi everyone:

I hope that your Research Essay revisions are going well. Now it’s time to start thinking about the final exam (which, as we discussed, will take place in class on Th 12/18). As promised, here are some sample final exams for you to take to practice:There are three sample exams, and you should take all of them before midnight on Monday (12/15):

Sample Exam 1
Sample Exam 2
Sample Exam 3

1. Print out the article and the instructions.

2. Actively read the article, annotating it, reverse outlining it, and taking notes (you may use a dictionary to look up words you don’t know). Take as long as you need for this part of the exam (doesn’t have to be done in one sitting).3 (optional, but strongly encouraged!) Complete Part I (the summary) for the article. You may take as long as you need for this part. You will not have to write a summary for the actual final exam (you only will be handing in an essay), but this is good practice in reading comprehension/understanding the article.

4. When you feel comfortable with the reading, sit down to work on Part II, the essay. This essay must be handwritten, done without any help from others (or from aids, like a dictionary or your phone), and in one 75 minute session. Make sure you go to a quiet place where you won’t have any interruptions, set a timer on your phone, and get to work. It must be written in one continuous session. Once the time is up, don’t make any further changes/revisions, even if you didn’t finish.

5. Practice Exams HW due by 5pm, Monday, 12/15. To submit your work, either:
  • Drop off your handwritten essays/marked up articles/summaries in my mailbox in N512 (open 9am-1pm & 2-5pm, M-F), and I will scan them myself, OR
  • Scan them in using a phone (there are many free scanning apps such as CamScanner and GeniusScan) or scanner and e-mail them to me, clearly labeled (three separate files, one for each practice exam).

I need to have your work, so that we can project it in class together to discuss it and brainstorm successful strategies for the exam.

Please don’t hesitate to e-mail me or come see me with any questions. And if you would like additional individualized feedback on your practice final exams (beyond our in-class writing workshops on them), please e-mail me schedule an appointment to see me during my office hours on Tuesday, 12/16. Good luck!

Cheers,
Professor Belli

This Week: Library End-of-Term Drop-in Workshops

Hi everyone:

I know a lot of you are still doing more research for your final essays, so I just wanted to let you know about this opportunity for additional workshops in the City Tech library this week. Of course, you can always go to the library and discuss your individual research project with a reference librarian at the reference desk.

Good luck researching/revising!

Cheers,
Professor Belli

Students who are looking for research help with that final paper or assignment of the semester can be directed to the Ursula C. Schwerin Library on these dates for our special drop-in workshops. All sessions are in room A441. No rsvp required.

Monday  December 8            12:30pm – 2:30pm     

Tuesday December 9             4:00pm – 6:00pm       

Wednesday December 10      12:30pm – 2:30pm

Thursday December 11          4:00pm – 6:00pm

Friday December 12              12:30pm – 2:30pm

ENG 1101 Essay #1 Extension: Final Draft Due NEXT Tuesday (10/28)

Hi folks:

I hope that you had good weekends. I’m just writing with some “happy” news for you: I have decided to extend the due date for Essay #1, to give you another week to work on your revisions (by now you should all have either met with me or receive your comments back via e-mail … if you didn’t, please make sure to check your e-mail again). The final draft is now due next Tuesday (10/28), instead of tomorrow.

You will be doing important in-class work this week, so please make sure to come to class and have a wonderful time with each other and the professors who will be covering classes. I’m heading up to Canada (for my two conferences) this morning, and will return in time for next Tuesday’s class.

Remember, you should be using this deadline extension to re-think your argument (many of you need to re-read the texts and analyze/think more critically through them), revise, edit, and proofread your essay, and you can also visit the City Tech Learning Center to get more one-on-one help with revising your essay. Just a friendly reminder that your updated Reflection Cover Letter for the final draft should take all of this work (including peer review and individual conferences with me, if you had one) into account.

Please “reply” here to let me know you read/understood this message, and have a great week. Happy revising!

Cheers,
Professor Belli

Please Read & Reply ASAP: HW for Tuesday (10/14), Peer Review, & Essay #1 First Draft Files

*I ask that each person read through this post carefully and then confirm that you read it/understand what is expected of you/will complete the required work by commenting below (just hit “reply” and write something like, “Yes,” or “I understand,” or “Got it”) no later than tomorrow morning (Monday, 10/13).

Hi folks:

I hope that you are having good weekends. A few quick (but important) reminders:

1. E-mailed Essay Drafts
As you know, essay drafts are due two ways: a printed copy (in class) and a correctly labeled file e-mailed to me before before class begins. The files of the Essay #1 First Drafts were due over three days ago, and as the syllabus and assignment states, if I do not have your work on time, you receive no credit for your work. We went over the file labelling procedures in class on Thursday, and I asked anyone who still did not send it to me (correctly), to do so by that night. However, I am still waiting for properly labeled files from about 1/3 of the class. If you did not send me your file (and I wrote back “Thank you” as a confirmation), please do so no later than tonight. If I don’t have your correctly labeled file by tonight (Sunday, 10/12), your draft will not count as being submitted and you will not be receiving written feedback from me on your work.

2. We’re doing Peer Review on Tuesday, and all relevant information (guidelines, assignment, groups) can be found on the ENG 1101 Peer Review page. Please make sure to read the guidelines carefully, and to print/complete the assignment for your two group members (this means answering questions on the assignment sheet and making marginal comments/annotations on the drafts themselves). Please show up to class on time on Tuesday, as we will get started right at the beginning of class. Also, bring an extra (blank) printed copy of your essay for yourself, so you can take notes during the peer review discussion (that is what the fourth printed copy is for).

3. Required Readings
We’ve had “writing”-related readings due over the past few classes, and I know a lot of folks haven’t gotten around to doing them yet. Just a reminder that this is required reading, and that it directly relates to the composing, revising, and peer-reviewing you are doing for Essay #1. If you need to catch up, please do so before our next class. Everyone should have printed/read/annotated all of the readings from last week (Tu 10/7 and Th 10/9) and this coming Tuesday (10/14) when we next meet.

4. Office Hours
I am more than happy to meet to discuss anyone’s first draft (and revisions) with them this coming week. If you would like to see me to discuss your Essay #1, please e-mail me ASAP to set up an appointment (as time slots fill up quickly).

Thanks, and don’t forget to “reply” here to indicate you’ve read/understand/will complete all this work. See you Tuesday!

Cheers,
Professor Belli

Strategies for Summarizing

*Click here to download this post as a PDF (and print it out)

We had some good conversation in class today about strategies for summarizing effectively. Thank you all for sharing your summaries and writing with the class and for asking important questions.

Here are some of the things we discussed about summary (as well as a few new additions). Please take some time to review them before Thursday’s class, and use them going forward (remember, each blog post you do for this course should incorporate a with a brief summary of the text/s in addition to your analysis/response).

I also encourage you to continue the conversation by posting comments to this post (just hit “reply”) with further strategies (I’d love to hear your thoughts) and questions about summarizing. I’ll be checking in on this discussion over the next few days and am happy to continue this conversation online here to help you become more comfortable with the summarizing work we have done (and will continue to do) this semester.

 

-The length of the summary will vary depending on the length of the article you are summarizing, but in general, summaries for a short article should be one paragraph that are each neither too undeveloped (e.g., 1-2 sentences) or too over-developed (e.g., 12-15 sentences).

-Since you only have a short space to convey the main points of the article, you should get right into the text’s thesis right away (remember, the thesis is not the general subject–such as technology–but a particular author’s argument about a particular topic or idea). While it may be useful/desirable in other types of writing (creative writing, more informal writing) to start with generalizations and/or questions in order to engage your reader or ease into the topic, in a summary paragraph you want to immediately and clearly state the author and title of the text and the text’s thesis. Doing so in the first sentence of your summary will help you to focus your attention on the task at hand: summarizing the text’s ideas (not bringing in your own ideas and opinions). Remember, a large part of writing effectively and successfully is to consider your purpose and your audience. In this case, your purpose is to convey information, in as straightforward a manner as possible, to readers about the content of a text (what the text says). You are not asked to respond to that content, or evaluate it. You don’t have to worry about grabbing your reader’s attention. Your primary goal is to summarize a text.

-You should only include discussion of the main point (thesis) and essential supporting points of the text. You will not be able to mention every detail or example the author uses. Use active reading to help you identify key words, identify the author’s claims, and locate important supporting points.

Summaries should be concise, which means to-the-point. You only have a short space to convey a lot of information (a pretty difficult task!), so every word you write is precious. If a word or sentence doesn’t help to summarize the text’s main points, then it doesn’t have a place in your summary. Instead of spending time repeating ideas, discussing something generally, or beating around the bush, be direct and clear. State the author’s main ideas and stay grounded in the particulars of the text itself.

-Summaries should be written in the third person (she, he, it, her, him, its, they, them, their), not the first person (I, we, my, our, us, me) or second person (you, yours, yours).

You should not include your own experiences, opinions, ideas, interpretation, analysis, bias, etc. You are not writing a subjective response or giving your point of view/response to the text. Remember that, when writing a summary of a text, your task is to concisely and accurately state the text’s thesis and supporting points. Therefore, your focus should be on an objective discussion of the main ideas of the text you read. Writing in the third person will help you to maintain this objective stance.

-In your summary (and all essays), write about the text in the present tense. Even though the author wrote the article in the past, you still discuss it, always, in the present tense. Some examples are: writes, states, claims, argues, examines, discusses.

You may use quotations from the text, but these quotes should be used sparingly, be short, and be relevant to the point you are discussing. Remember if you use the exact words from the text, you must indicate this by using quotation marks (” “) around the word and to provide a citation for that quote. We’ll discuss citation in greater detail this semester, but for now, remember that we using MLA (Modern Language Association) style. For MLA citations, simply provide the page number in parentheses after the quote. E.g., “Somerville officials hope to create a well-being index that they can track over time” (3).

(When you are discussing more than one text, you will also need to include the author’s last name in the parenthesis, but for this summary, which only is on one article, you can simply provide the page number.)

As always, I’m happy to discuss summarizing with you in more detail during my office hours, so stop by then if you’d like some individualized feedback on your summaries.

ENG 1101 HW for Tuesday (9/2)

Hi everyone!

So good to meet you all today, and to get to know a bit about you and your ideas on happiness. I’m going to take photos of your happiness lists and post them to this site for next week 🙂

I know we went through a lot of material quickly at the end of class, so just a few reminders about what needs to happen before our next class on Tuesday (9/2). You should check your homework (as always), on our dynamic course schedule (under Schedule, and then ENG 1101 Schedule).

1. Get an OpenLab account and join our course site. Follow these instructions here. You should do this ASAP (like today, so in case you run into any problems with your e-mail, you can go to the Help Desk).

2. Review the Syllabus & OpenLab Composing rubric & guidelines/expectations, (both of which were also handed out in class), and browse through the rest of the OpenLab site.

3. Make your Introduction post. You can find more info. about what I’m looking for here, and see the post I already made for myself. Here’s info. about posting/categorizing/commenting, and here is info. about adding links, images, and video to your posts.

4. Read “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know” (handed out in class, and also linked from our course schedule online) & blog in response. Check on the Schedule for information about what this post should include (and follow the OpenLab Composing Guidelines).

*All posts are due the night before class, so your Introduction post and your reading response posts (two separate posts) are due no later than Monday night. Make sure to go back and read through the posts before class, and comment on them if you can.

Whew! That’s it for now. I know it seems like a lot to do/learn, but once you get on OpenLab and get the hang of posting, it’s actually simple and fun. Please don’t hesitate to come see me in my office, Namm 520, today (I’ll be around from 1-2:30pm), e-mail me (jbelli@citytech.cuny.edu), or “comment” (click “reply” to this post) if you have any questions. And, most importantly, happy first day of the semester, and enjoy the holiday weekend ahead 🙂

OpenLab Workshops for Students

You’ll be using OpenLab throughout this semester for our learning community, and blogging will be a big part of our coursework (and, in ENG 1101, your grade!). If you want to learn more about how to use OpenLab, &/or have questions about the platform/posting, join the OpenLab team for a workshop (or two!) this Fall. See the poster below for more details!

Download (PDF, 72KB)

Getting to know Professor Belli …

Jill Belli, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of English at New York City College of Technology, CUNY (City University of New York) and Co-Director of OpenLab, the college’s open-source digital platform for teaching, learning, and collaborating. She is a founding member of the Writing Studies Tree, an online, open-access, interactive academic genealogy for the field of writing studies, and she serves on the Steering Committee, the Teaching Committee, and as the web developer for the North American Society for Utopian Studies.

That’s me, a few winters ago, in front of a big ol’ rubber ducky (part of an art installation for a big festival) in Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia!

That’s me, a few winters ago, in front of a big ol’ rubber ducky (part of an art installation for a big festival) in Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia!

I did my doctoral work at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and my current research interests are in utopian studies, happiness studies/positive psychology, composition and rhetoric, digital humanities, American studies, and the scholarship of teaching and learning (feel free to ask me what any of these areas are!).

I played ice hockey in college (right wing), and have played the violin since I was two years old (and currently play in the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra). I practice yoga pretty regularly, love Thai food (the spicier the better!), kale, & tzatziki, and adore watching old sitcoms from the 70s and 80s (some of my favorites are MaudeThe Mary Tyler Moore ShowRhoda, Soap, All in the Family, The Golden Girls, The Facts of Life, & Family Ties)!

I also really enjoy travelling: this summer I spent five weeks wandering abroad, in Russia, Finland, Czech Republic, and Switzerland (some of it was for conferences/work, some for vacation/fun)!

I look forward your reading your Introductions and getting to know you, first virtually and then in person, as the semester progresses :)

How to Add Links, Images, and Videos to Posts

Links
Adding links to your posts is really simple, and it’s also a wonderful way to share other resources with our community and to engage in dialogue with other authors/sources. To add a link into your post:

  1. copy the URL of the webpage you want to link to
  2. highlight the text in your post that you want to become hyperlinked
  3. click the “insert/edit link” button (looks like a paperclip above the post screen)
  4. paste the URL into the “URL” space
  5. type in the name of the link into the “Title” space (“title”)
  6. click “Add Link”

And you’re done. It’s that simple! And you can always edit or remove the link later on, if you need to do so.

 

Images
Here’s a quick tutorial about how to do add images:

1.  When you decide you want to add an image to a post, click either on the button with the camera/music notes and the words “Add Media” that is on the top left of the editing box (you can also. Remember that your image will show up within the post wherever your cursor is when you click “Add Image.” So if you want to insert the image in the middle of your post, make sure to put it there.

2.  If you are choosing a file from your computer, you can then browse for it (the same you would if you were uploading an attachment to an e-mail) by clicking “Upload Files” (if you add to the Media Library first, you can also select your image from there).

3.  Once you find the image you want, click “Select.”

4.  You can then edit the image (e.g., to rotate it) … make sure to click “save” after editing it.

5. You should re-title the image to make it easier to manage/find later on (ex: Jill Belli, Introduction Photo). If you wish, you can also add a “description” and “caption.”

5.  At the bottom of the screen you can change the “alignment” and “size” of the image.

6.  Don’t forget to click “Insert into Post” (NOT “Save Changes”) at the bottom.  If you don’t click “Insert into Post,” the image won’t show up in your post when you publish it (it will just be added to our site’s “Media Library” … more on that later in the semester).

7.  You can always click “Preview” before you click “Publish” to see what the post will like like after the images are added. Make sure, however, once you are satisfied with your post, to click “Publish” (you can also click “Save Draft” to continue to work on the post later, but no one else will be able to view the post–and I won’t be able to give you credit for it–until you hit “Publish”).

 

Videos
Adding a video to your post from YouTube is about as simple as it gets. Simply copy the URL of the video into your post, and click “Publish” (as with links and images, don’t forget to contextualize the video a bit, and tell us whose it is and why you’re including it in your post). It will automatically appear (and can be played) right from your post. Woohoo!

 

*Remember, if you don’t like something (either the post or the image), even after it is published, you can go back and change it (just click “Edit” and work away).  That’s the nice thing about blogs … you can keep revising 🙂