Course Update

I’ve updated our course readings for tomorrow. They’re short community analysis from popular media sources. They are quite good. Please read them before coming to class, and we’re going to break the readings up and identify content analysis points. I think once we do this, you’ll see how easy content analysis can be.

Here are the readings:

  1. “NCAA Out of Bounds with Penn State Sanctions” by David Zirin
  2. “Penn State Hit with Unprecedented Penalties for Sandusky Scandal” by Edith Honan
  3. “Short Film Highlights the Work of Horton’s Kids in Ward 8” by Shaun Courtney
  4. “Taking a Peek Inside Tim Hortons Camp” by Sarah Bisonette
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Didion’s “Why I Write”

We read Orwell’s “Why I Write” for discussion. It’s a wonderful piece about writing and invention. Joan Didion, one of my favorite writers, wrote a riff on Orwell’s piece, which was also titled, “Why I Write.” It might be worth a read, especially as you move beyond our course into other avenues of education.

It’s important to remember that writing (and all discourse) is the basis for our society and culture. It’s how we record our history, spread ideas, and explore our world. Didion’s piece provides a nice juxtaposition to Orwell’s: “Why I Write” by Joan Didion

Take a gander and let me know what you think. Why do you write? How would you write your version of Orwell and Didion’s “Why I Write?”


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How to Win Arguments?

Here’s a recent comic from xkcd. I love these strips, and I thought this one was particularly funny.

So, how do you win arguments?

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The Design of Cities and Communities

We will be watching a documentary from filmmaker Gary Hustwit tonight: Urbanized. It’s about the design of cities, but, more importantly for our work, it is about the design of communities. The film is an interesting viewing, and I hope you all will like it. We will use it as a prompt for our work as we launch into our third major assignment.

Here’s the film trailer:

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Course Schedule Update

I’ve updated our course schedule to reflect the recent changes. I’ve moved some readings around, and I’ve officially changed the due date of our second major assignment.

Please check out the course schedule and make note of the changes. We will have peer review next Tuesday, so please make sure to bring in your hardcopies.

I do have a film for us to watch, but I’m trying to figure out where it fits into our schedule. The film is called Urbanized. It’s a fascinating film about the design of cities and community spaces.

Let me know if you have questions, and I hope everyone has a pleasant weekend.

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An Advertisement That Makes You Go, “WTF?”

During Thursday’s class meeting, we talked about gender stereotyping and commercials. We looked at several commercials, and we deconstructed them. We didn’t get a chance to really look at any print or still image advertisement, but it’s important to understand that we can analyze almost anything as an artifact of discourse.

Here’s an advertisement from the Belvedere Vodka company that caused a huge controversy. See if you can pinpoint the objections to this advertisement:

Why would people find this advertisement objectionable? What does the advertisement tell use about alcohol, culture, and women? How do you feel about this advertisement?

Here’s a story about the advertisement and the outrage that followed.


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Is Comic Sans Really That Bad?

As you’ve noticed on the assignment sheets, I’ve encouraged you to not use Times New Roman or Comic Sans as fonts for your work. The former is old and small, while the latter is considered “childish.” Indeed, it is often misused when more “serious” fonts would be better suited. There are many reasons why we should or shouldn’t use particular fonts, and it mostly depends on context and audience. We’ll talk more about this in the next few weeks.

Knowing the hatred directed toward its use, Comic Sans has taken up a defense. It’s quite humorous. Read it and see what you think: “I’m Comic Sans, Asshole.”

How often do you think about the font you use? Do you just use whatever the preset font in your word processing program is? Or, do you change it to your favorite font?

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Course Facebook Group

I’ve created a Facebook Group for our course. We’ll use this group as another avenue for communication, and we’ll use it as a place for use to deposit examples of discourse we find in the wild. This way, there will be a place for everyone to see what others are finding as they think about and work through projects and analyses.

You should feel free to post what you think is appropriate. This will be our online community. You can use it to post info, post discourse artifacts, praise, critique, etc. The main rule is this: Always be nice. I generally do not like pushing my will upon my students, but in order for our community to grow and succeed, we need to be nice and supportive. We can still disagree, debate, and discuss issues from divergent points of view, but we should always do so respectfully.

I encourage you to join our Facebook Group, so we can make it a supportive and thriving community! You can find your way to our group through the link below the banner image above, or you can just click here.

Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

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Some Changes for June 28

I mentioned in class on Tuesday (June 26) that we would be starting our rhetorical analysis of a community assignment soon. As such, I changed the reading and what you need to bring to class on June 28.

Here are the changes:

  1. You need to read “Criteria for Rhetorical Analysis” by David Russell.
  2. You need to come to class prepared with these things:
        1. Select a specific community that you will rhetorically analyze.
        2. Consider why you think the community you selected is worthy of analysis and why it interests you.
        3. Bring some artifacts from the community you’ve chosen to class for group analysis and discussion. These artifacts can be almost anything as long as said artifacts are attempting to communicate something. You don’t have to bring in the item if it’s cumbersome or isn’t conducive to movement (e.g. a billboard); you can just bring in a picture.

We’re going to attempt some deep analysis in class, and we’re going to put together cursory mind maps for the items you bring in. 

I have updated the Course Schedule to reflect these changes.

Let me know if you have questions.

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The Writing Process of Community (the Show)

Last Thursday, we watched the below clip from the writers of Community; they talked about the writing process of the show and how it fits in with their lives. I thought it was quite interesting about how they formed their ideas or “embryos” and how those ideas moved within the story.

How are our writing processes dictated by our surroundings? In the show, they use a whiteboard to map out their story ideas. What do you use? How does it work? Why do you do what you do?

These are important questions to understanding your own writing process, and each of our processes is different from our peers.

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