homewriting program writing center bird library google

195.2 Summa Google

The Assignment
Our second project this semester, like the first, is distributed across a three-week period. Throughout this time, we will continue to deepen and enrich the conversations we have started: on the changing nature(s) of reading and writing activity, on the (dangerous?) omnipotence-ambition of Google, and on the ways literacies new and old mix and mingle, complementing each other at times, and also competing in most of our read-write engagements with new media.

In addition to working further with the ideas above, we will also continue to write, focusing more carefully than we have thus far on practices of paraphrasing, summarizing, analyzing, and critiquing, each of which will play an indispensable role in the sustained research project awaiting us in Unit Three. As you become more consciously grounded in the conversations and ideas listed above, you will also develop facility with these four ways of welcoming texts as sources into your own writing.

In the weeks ahead, we will read and write about a series of articles; for Unit Two, you will revise and fine-tune a selection of at least three summaries based on the readings we take up. As a regular feature of class, you will be asked to write summaries of certain articles; for the project, however, you may choose from among articles we read together in class and a couple of additional pieces for writing summaries/critiques that expand beyond the initial drafts you produce as daily assignments and, thus, become your second project.

Readings for Unit Two Summary/Critique Collection
"Blinded By The Letter," Wysocki and Johnson-Eilola (PDF in drop.io)
Selections from The Googlization of Everything blog, Siva Vaidhyanathan (online)
"Twilight of the Books," Caleb Crain (online)
"As We May Think," Vannevar Bush (online)

Working this these articles, you will produce the following:
1. A focused summary and critique of either "Blinded by the Letter" or four entries from one section of The Googlization of Everything.
2. A tag cloud and summary of one of the four articles listed but not used for 1 (i.e., no duplication).
3. A summary of one of the four articles listed but not used for 1 or 2.

Provided items 1-3 adequately answer to the evaluation criteria listed below, you can strive for an 'A' on this project by producing a fourth--bonus--summary accounting for Cory Doctorow's "Scroogled." It is, of course, up to you whether to produce only the three required pieces or whether to add this fourth item.

Remember that the purpose of this work is to ground your sense of writing practices useful for research-based academic writing while also introducing you to possible lines of inquiry or focal questions for Unit Three. Your close work with the readings during this project will reward you with a preliminary set of sources for your research project later this semester.

Formal Details
Each piece should be 500-words in length, or approximately one page, single-spaced. The collection is due on Thursday, October 2. Please use MLA Style for internal citations within the body of your essay, and include a properly formatted works cited entry at the end of each piece.

WC Incentive
Include evidence of an hour-long consulting session at the Writing Center in your Invention Portfolio to earn extra credit valued at one grading increment (i.e., a 'B' becomes a 'B+', a 'C-' becomes a 'C', and so on.

Evaluation Criteria

[1] Did the writer synthesize the article, carefully restating the general premise of the piece, while also identifying selected rhetorical dimensions of the piece (audience, circulation, register, genre)?
[2] Did the writer account for distinctive features of the text by explicitly paraphrasing certain of the article's key arguments, propositions, and insights?
[3] Did the writer identify key words and phrases that the author of the piece used in distinctive ways? Did the writer explain the special usages or recurrent terms in the context of related points from the article?
[4] Did the writer provide a properly formatted MLA citation at the end of the piece?
[5] Did the writer edit for grammar, style, and usage effectively?

Contact Information

Derek Mueller
Office: HBC 002
Fall '08 office hours: Thur., 11-Noon
Phone: (315) 708-3940
Class listserv: wrt195@listserv.syr.edu


"Google has been my best friend lately." -Anonymous student commenting on research-in-progress

googol n. - A fanciful name (not in formal use) for ten raised to the hundredth power (10100). -Oxford English Dictionary

Creative Commons License
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.