In each of the 8 informal assignments, you are asked to write critical responses to the readings by offering your own insights and opinions about the works in each grouping. In other words, these assignments require you to read through the works in order to know exactly what each author is saying (picture all of the authors in the set as sitting at a table having a discussion); once you do this, then picture your response as being yet one more voice at the table engaged in the discussion. Thus, your responses need to be insightful, concise, comprehensive, and highly opinionated—yet written entirely in the third person voice (of which all 1302 students should be capable). While IA responses are informal, this means grammatical errors here and there will not affect your grade (within reason, given the fact that your writing should generally be at 1302-level and not entry level for 1301).


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These responses will not attempt to merely retell what the authors are saying (which would be a very weak response if that is all they did). Rather, strong responses will briefly and concisely capture the thesis/claim of each essay, along with other key elements of a “Toulmin Argument” (see chapter 7 for everything you need to know about Toulmin arguments and the six elements associated with them). In addition to Toulmin’s six elements, Aristotle’s three forms of appeal (ethos/credibility, logos/logic, and pathos/emotion) should also be frequently incorporated into the language you use to discuss the appeal of the essays and/or arguments you read.


So, to sum it up, these Informal Writing assignments need to demonstrate the following skills: strong reading comprehension, concise/accurate analysis of what the authors are saying, synthesis of multiple authors’ opinions and ideas (on a range of topics), connecting common denominators between the works (this is huge), construction of opinionated thesis/claim statements in third person voice, Aristotle’s three forms of appeal, and a clear understanding of Toulmin’s elements of argument (the language of these six elements should guide your discussion and analysis of what the authors are saying (Toulmin elements are: claim, grounds, warrant, backing, qualifiers, rebuttals). It is not necessary to approach the Toulmin elements with an exhaustive “list mentality” for every essay in the set, as though you need to thoroughly address all six elements for every essay, BUT the general language of your discussions should consist of frequent references to the most prominent elements in a naturally-flowing way (i.e. the various authors’ “claims” should always be named)!

With that said, if Informal Writing responses do not demonstrate the qualities described above, they will lose significant numbers of points—even to the degree of no points at all! In these responses, and in English 1302 especially, it is not satisfactory to: 1. Merely generalize about the essays, 2. Be highly selective/minimal as to which essays you mention and/or discuss; 3. Not incorporate specific terminology (of Toulmin and Aristotle in this case) into your discussions; 4. Write without a thesis/claim statement of your own and/or not treating these responses as third-person, issue based responses and not personal narratives.    

NOTE: Please keep in mind that these are exploratory analyses! While I have grouped the essays together because I happen to see certain connections between them, such groupings are by no means some sort of absolute relationship with every connection somehow known by me alone! Every semester students blow me away by the (new) connections they see between these readings! Such exploratory learning is the extreme opposite of studying material for some sort of standardized test in which you are hunting for all of the “correct” answers to regurgitate on a Scantron form! So, for modules 1 and 2, in which you need to incorporate the additional work (from More, Stace, and Auden) into your set, just relax and try your best to make critical insights!


Informal Writing # 1 Read EAA “Redskins Insult and Brand” and Dan Snyder’s letter regarding the name of the Washington Redskins

Informal Writing # 2 You have read EAA “Hunger on Campus: The Challenge of Food Insecurity for College Students”. Now read

Informal Writing # 3  – Read EAA “Getting Personal about Cybersecurity” and EAA “How Privacy Became a Commodity for the Rich and Powerful”

Informal Writing # 4  – Read EAA “Visual Argument: The Issue of Privacy” Analyze this Visual Argument.

Informal Writing # 5 Read EAA “70 Percent of Employers Are Snooping Candidates’ Social Media Profiles” and “Creative Ways to Get Noticed by Employers on Social Media”

Informal Writing  #6 – View and analyze/discuss FIVE of the videos in the Media Gallery on Technology (at the beginning or top of your IA assignment, be sure to list the specific titles of the videos you select). Videos on this topic run throughout the media gallery, so don’t just select the ones at the front. Also, most of these are in the form of spoken-word poems.

Informal Writing # 7 – Evaluate an Article from a Peer Reviewed Journal related to your capstone argument

Informal Writing # 8 – Evaluate an Article from a Peer Reviewed Journal related to your capstone argument






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