How to Print a Draft from WordPress

I’ve posted a quick video showing you two options for printing your RA1 draft tomorrow. I made it because I know that it’s sometimes hard to figure out how to print your draft when you’re writing online.

This isn’t required watching, but if you’re new to WordPress or uncomfortable with digital technology, please take two minutes and check it out:

And if you’d like to talk through a draft with me in person, I have lots of office hours today (Tuesday). (They’re in the sidebar if you forget when they are!) Please drop by Scarborough 117 any time during those hours and I’ll be here, even if you didn’t make an appointment. If they don’t work for you, you’ll need to check with me first to make sure I’ll be here.

Good luck!

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Rhetorical Analysis 1: Analyzing a Text

UPDATE: I’ve posted a sample essay on this blog. Check it out here.

Introduction

We’ve talked in class about rhetoric, a word that is often defined as “the art of communicating effectively” or sometimes “the art of persuasion.” This is an assignment where you’ll practice analyzing someone else’s rhetoric–that is, the strategies someone else used while communicating.

Specifically, you’ll ask yourself 3 main questions about a text:

  1. “What is this author trying to accomplish with this piece of writing?”
  2. “What strategies does the author use as he or she tries to have an effect on an audience?”
  3. “How effective were the author’s strategies?”

Assignment

Write an essay that analyzes the rhetorical strategies used by an author of an online article that was primarily designed to persuade.

The article you analyze must be something that you found through Twitter. (You’ll prove this by supplying me with a link to the tweet that led you to your chosen article. See below for technical details on how to link to a specific tweet.) If you’ve already “followed” all the authors whose work we’ll read in class, you can find an article simply by reading the tweets in your feed, looking for one that has a link to an outside source, and then judging whether or not the outside source is primarily designed to be persuasive. But if you don’t find anything there that looks interesting, feel free to follow anyone else who you think is more likely to post links to online persuasive articles you find interesting.

See the Tips section below for advice on what rhetorical strategies you might want to write about.

Additionally, your essay must cite the article you discuss in two ways: the first time you mention the title of the article, you must link to the article itself (like this: “How Well Has The Times Advanced a Story That It Didn’t Break?”). Secondly, you must include a Works Cited or References section at the bottom of your post (depending on whether your major discipline uses MLA or APA format). In this Works Cited or References section, you must also include a formal citation of the website. For example, in MLA format the above article would look like this in a formal citation:

Sullivan, Margaret. “How Well Has the Times Advanced a Story That It Didn’t Break?” New York Times. The New York Times Company, 22 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Aug. 2013.

If you don’t know how to formally cite a webpage, a good place to start is the Purdue OWL’s pages on MLA format and/or APA format.

There is no length requirement. Write enough to reflect this assignment’s importance to your final grade (see “Assessment,” below). Show me that you’ve carefully considered the author’s strategies and judged their effectiveness.

Submission

You’ll write this essay as a new post on your blog. It must be posted publicly before class begins on Friday, September 6. Once it’s posted, you don’t need to do anything else; I’ll be able to visit your blog to see it.

On Wednesday, September 4, we’ll spend the day discussing drafts of each other’s work. Therefore, you must bring a printout of a complete draft to class that day (for a completion grade in the Small Assignments category).

Assessment

This essay is worth 10% of your final grade. It will be assessed using a rubric that breaks down your success at communicating quality ideas, evidence, organization, and sentence style. (For a pdf of the rubric I’ll use, click here.)

You’ll post your essay on your blog, but the content of your essay will still follow many conventions of academic essays. Think of this assignment as a merging of the two genres.

Specifically, I expect your post/essay to follow these guidelines:

  • As in most academic essays, please use strong organization, including logically ordered paragraphs, clear topic sentences, and a sense that you are purposefully guiding readers toward a conclusion you understand.
  • As in most academic essays, support your claims with evidence. For instance, if you want to suggest that the author’s word choice implies that she is writing for an audience of people who already agree with her, you may find it helpful to quote the parts of her article that prove your point.
  • As in most blog posts, you don’t need to start with a formal academic heading listing our class or my name or the date. After all, I already know whose blog belongs to whom, and WordPress automatically records the date you publish your post.
  • As in most blog posts, you may use links to guide your readers to outside pages that seem pertinent to your discussion.

Technical Considerations

Linking to a Specific Tweet

On Twitter, every tweet mentions how long ago the tweet was published. In the image below, look for the “3h” in the upper right of the tweet, meaning it was tweeted 3 hours ago:

If you click that timestamp on any tweet, you’re taken to a unique page where all you’ll see is that tweet. For instance, if I click the “3h,” I’m taken to this page:

From here, I can copy the url (the “http” stuff in the web browser’s address bar) and paste it somewhere else, allowing someone else to browse directly to this tweet.

In your essay, I’d like you to paste that url into the very top of your post. That way, I’ll be able to see what tweet led you to the article you decided to write about for this project.

Linking to Outside Pages

In WordPress, you can highlight any group of words and make that group a clickable link. Here’s how:

1) While editing your post, highlight the words that you want to make a link. (It’s common practice to not highlight any spaces before or after the words you want to link.)

2) Click the button that looks like a chain. (Get it? It’s a link.) (This button won’t be clickable until you highlight some words first.)

3) In the box that pops up, paste the url of a website that you want readers to go to when they click those words. Be sure that this url includes http:// at the beginning.

4) Click save. While you’re editing the article, the link won’t work yet, but when you preview or publish your post, it should work just fine.

Tips

  • You should assume that your audience (me and the rest of the class) has never read your article. Therefore, it makes sense to give some background information about where this article was published, what sort of site it seems to be, what you can find out about the author, and what ongoing argument this piece seems to be a part of, if any. (In rhetorical terms, all of these things could be called a description of the rhetorical situation of the author.)
  • Focus most of your essay on the strategies that you see the author making as he or she tries to persuade an audience on the topic. Some examples:
    • Does the author use humor to try to make the article fun to read, or is the piece serious and somber?
    • Does the author draw attention to his or her credentials in an effort to win over skeptical audiences?
    • Does the author tell any stories that seem designed to affect the audience’s emotions, like a sob story?
    • Does the author use statistics or rely on outside sources (like scholarship, statistics, news stories, etc.) to help make his or her point?
    • Additionally, see this excellent list for a few more things that are commonly included in a rhetorical analysis: http://rhetoric.byu.edu/pedagogy/rhetorical%20analysis%20heuristic.htm. Feel free to discuss the answers to any of those questions in your essay.
  • You don’t have to include all of these things–just the ones that make most sense to you as you write your analysis.

Technology Requirements for Early Assignments

Greetings!

This post is to give you details about some of the homework due in our first couple of weeks. Before our second class meeting, for example, you’ll need to have a Twitter account, and before our first day in the computer lab (Starr 108C on Monday, August 26), you’ll need to have a Tweetdeck account and start a blog.

Online Identity

Before I get to the details, let me mention one thing that you’ll hear me say a lot in class: you will never be required to identify your real self online for this class. In fact, some students make a fake Gmail account at the beginning of class, use it to sign up for services with fake names throughout the semester, and then trash it all when the semester is over. This kind of fakery is absolutely okay with me. If that feels like a lot of trouble, though, it’s also okay if you use your real name. Just be smart; your future friends and enemies will surely Google you in the future when you least expect it.

Okay, on to the three things you need to do (in addition to the readings listed on the schedule):

1. Create a Twitter Account

It’s easy at twitter.com. We’ll mostly use Twitter to read what others are saying, but occasionally we’ll play with it in class, as we try to decide what we think about its strengths and weaknesses as a communication tool in real time. As I said above, if you don’t want your real Twitter followers to see the weird stuff you talk about in class, feel free to make a new account with any fake name you choose. As you know, people often have more than one account to manage the different sorts of things they talk about with different audiences.

For instance, I have a real Twitter account that I use for my personal and professional life (@kstedman), but I also have one that I only use for my RHET 351 classes (@rhet351).

Whenever I want to share something with you on Twitter, I’ll include the hashtag #rhet351, and you should feel free to use it as well. Any tweets with that hashtag will appear in the sidebar of this blog.

(Optional: if you’re unfamiliar with Twitter, you might want to read a good introduction to the service, like this one.)

2. Create a Tweetdeck Account

To do so, head to tweetdeck.com. Tweetdeck is one of many ways to read your Twitter feed. I’m going to require that we use it in class, as I think it’s one of the easiest ways to follow multiple tweet streams at the same time. (Don’t worry, I’ll explain all this later.) For now, just having an account when you step through the door on August 26 will save us considerable time in class.

Be sure that you create a Twitter account first, before you create a Tweetdeck account.

3. Create a Blog at WordPress.com

(It’s important that you go to wordpress.com, not wordpress.org.) Your blog will be your main way to share information with me (and each other!) throughout the semester. You’ll use it to write short responses to readings, longer essays, and to share links to work you’ve done elsewhere.

And because this course page is hosted at WordPress.com, you’ll also be able to comment on any page here once you’ve created a WordPress account. Feel free to post questions or comments at the bottom of any post I make.

As with much of the work you’ll do in this class, your blog will be public to the entire world. Keep this in mind when you choose the title of your blog and the url where people will find it. It’s up to you if you want to give it a fun name or a boring name, and it’s up to you if you want to explain to the public that your blog is for a class or not.

For instance, you might make a blog called Thelma’s Thoughtful Thoughts, found at http://thelmasthoughts.wordpress.com (whether or not your name is actually Thelma). Or you might make a blog called RHET 351 is a Class My College Requires Me to Take, found at http://rhet351sux.wordpress.com.

My main concern is that your blog exists before we meet in the computer lab on August 26. In class, I’ll ask you to log in and fiddle with a couple of things, but until then it’s fine if all you’ve done at WordPress is create a blog. (Of course, if you’re bored and want to play around by adding widgets and customizing the look and writing an “About” page, please go ahead!)

Okay, this is enough for now. As always, let me know if you have any questions or problems. I’d always like to be in the loop. My email address and everyone else’s is in Moodle, or you can just send a tweet to @kstedman.