Writing Discussion

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Discussion 1: PowerPoint Presentation


We live in a visually dominated world. So much of the information you gain each day comes to you in a visual format. Some of it is reliable and compelling, and some of it definitely is not! You must learn to analyze visual rhetoric, and also learn to use it wisely, if you want to be able to create effective communication in today’s culture.

In this discussion you will outline the main issues in your topic in a format that balances your text with visual elements. You will create a PowerPoint presentation to share with your peers.


Instructions

  1. Research: Begin with the research and visuals you compiled in Module 2. Note where you need more information to understand the major issues within this topic, and find, evaluate, and annotate credible resources that help you thoroughly understand the topic. Access the CCCOnline Library Databases to find academic sources.
  2. Think: What are the main issues within your topic? What are the problems that need solving? What are the issues that people most tend to debate? How can you use or create visual data or visual rhetoric to help your readers understand these issues?
  3. Write: Create a PowerPoint presentation of the main issues or ideas of your topic. Create an introductory slide, 5-6 slides to develop your discussion of the main issues, and a Works Cited slide. Each slide should incorporate visual elements (e.g., pictures, graphs, charts, infographics, formatting, etc.) and should balance those visuals with enough text to make meaning. Be sure your visual elements help convey something important about the issues within your topic. Your presentation should give a clear, complete picture of the topic. Need help? Check out this Microsoft resource on basic tasks for creating a PowerPoint presentation.
  4. Tips:
    • Your presentation should not take a side on the issue, but present the topic objectively. You should attempt to stay neutral and fairly represent all sides of the issue.
    • You should use MLA citations within the slide to cite sources you use. You may quote or paraphrase as necessary, but be sure to cite your sources. Be sure to cite your visuals just as you would cite any other source.
    • Organize your information and slides logically so your reader can follow your presentation.
  5. Post your presentation as an attachment to your initial discussion post. In your post, reflect on the choices you made in your presentation. Why did you choose the images you included? How much text did you include and what was its purpose? How did you balance the textual and visual elements of your presentation to make the content engaging and effective?
  6. Post one original post, and reply to at least two of your classmates. In your replies to peers, respond to one another’s presentations. What did you learn? What was most engaging in their presentation? How did the visual elements add to the presentation of the information? Try to further the discussion in your replies by asking thoughtful questions, adding interesting information, or connecting your reply to the material we are discussinscussion 1: PowerPoint PresentationOverview

For your presentations this week, be sure to follow all the directions in  the prompt.  Specifically, do NOT take a side.  This is not the time for you to argue a thesis.  That will come.  For this presentation, just identify the key issues relating to your topic.  Be objective.

Here is a possible outline of slides for this kind of presentation:

  • Intro
  • Issue 1--what is the issue; why is it an issue; who cares about it; what needs to be solved (repeat for  each issue)
  • Issue 2
  • Issue 3
  • Issue 4
  • Issue 5
  • Conclusion
  • Works cited

Note--you must cite graphics as well as texts.  This includes in text citations as well as works cited entries.

When you create your slides, you want your text in PowerPoints to be more summary than exposition.  In other words, people want to see things like bullet lists rather than walls of text.  Generally you will be presenting or including audio to go into detail; you don't need to spell out every word on the screen.


Discussion 2: Interview

Overview

One of the best ways to gain valuable research is to interview an expert on a given topic. Interviews are excellent resources because you can ask the specific questions you want answers to, and you can follow up and get more information on the answers you find most interesting or confusing. You can’t do that with a printed text!  

Who is an expert? An expert is not your friend or relative who has experienced your topic. An expert is someone who works in the field you are researching or who studies and analyzes the topic you are researching. An expert might be a teacher or instructor, a business owner, a doctor/nurse/counselor, a police officer, a lawyer or paralegal, or a published researcher. Asking clear, specific questions of an expert will help you gain valuable perspective on your topic.


Instructions

  1. Research: Conduct a brief interview with an expert on your topic. Use the resources in your Exploration page to help you prepare your interview. This interview can be in person or via telephone or email. An in-person interview is always most valuable, but is not always feasible. Be sure to contact your expert right away to get your interview time scheduled! Prepare your questions before the interview, but also be ready to go in a different direction if your interview takes an interesting turn. Be sure to take careful notes as you interview. You might want to record it (be sure to get permission first, though).
  2. Think: What did you learn from your interview? What interesting perspective did this expert offer that you hadn’t gained from a printed source?  
  3. Write: In your discussion post, include the name, title, and organization of your expert. Interpret the interview results and write a summary paragraph of the most important aspects. In a second paragraph, evaluate the information you gained from the interview. How has it changed or added to your understanding of the topic?


Obviously, with the coronavirus crisis, this assignment has to change a bit.  DO NOT endanger your health or violate any public health orders to conduct an in-person interview.  Try to set up a phone or email interview.  If that fails, you may, instead, watch and report on a recorded interview.

For this week it is especially important to get an early jump on this discussion.  Be creative, be resourceful, and be industrious.  I've yet to have a student who legitimately put in the effort fail to land an interview.  That said, with all the virus-related disruption, the fallback option of reporting on a video interview is there, if you cannot get a response.

Also, please note that the discussion prompt asks you to summarize and analyze your interview. Do NOT just post a transcript.


Essay

Overview

Have you ever listened to an argument and wondered why the people in the debate were so passionate about their positions? Or have you ever wondered why more people don’t try to better understand their opponents in a debate?

In Module 2 you began to explore the idea that there are many sides, or perspectives, in a debate. In creating your literature review, you looked closely at the perspectives you found on your chosen topic. In Discussion 1 you looked carefully at the main issues involved with your topic. Now it is time to synthesize all the information you have found so you can construct an objective analysis of this topic. This is your opportunity to show your audience the complexity and depth of your topic, to encourage them to look beyond the simple “pro-con” positions.

In this assignment, you will conduct a stakeholder analysis on your topic. What is a stakeholder? Anyone with a real interest in your issue, anyone with something of value to gain or lose, is considered a stakeholder. These are the people who have material, social, cultural, or emotional interests at stake within your topic. These are likely to be the voices or perspectives you have been researching in the past few discussions and assignments. You will analyze the topic and the various stakeholders, or perspectives, from an objective viewpoint.

You should spend approximately 10 hours on this assignment.

Instructions

  1. Research: You have done much of the research for this assignment already! Consult the sources you compiled during your literature review and the information you reported in your PowerPoint presentation. Look over your notes from your expert interview. Decide whether you have enough information (and the best information) to create a comprehensive analysis of this topic. Decide if you have found information to answer all of your questions. If not, remember that research is recursive, and continue searching for, evaluating, and annotating sources until you feel you have a thorough understanding of the topic.
  2. Pre-Write: Who are your stakeholders? Identify at least four specific stakeholders or stakeholder groups. What are their values? Why do they think this issue is important? What do they have to gain or lose? What is their goal regarding your topic? How are their positions similar or different from one another? Look at this topic from their various perspectives and examine what these voices have to say.
  3. Write: Write an essay where you carefully and thoughtfully analyze this topic through the viewpoints of the stakeholders involved.
    • Introduction: In your introduction you should give a thorough overview of the topic. Give background information, history, and context to the issue. Identify the main points of conflict or debate. Finally, identify the stakeholders you will discuss in the body paragraphs.
    • Body: Explain the stakeholders and their positions. Devote at least one paragraph to each stakeholder’s position. Explain who they are, what they have at stake, and why the topic is significant to them.
    • Body: Analyze the stakeholders. How are the stakeholders’ positions similar and different? What are the connections between the stakeholders? Why are they similar and different? What makes this topic so complex?
    • Conclusion: Add your voice to the conversation. Synthesize the information you present in your body paragraphs. In your assessment, what is the future of this topic?
  4. You should use 5-7 sources for this essay. Your essay should contain 4-5 quotations from your sources, and should paraphrase other main ideas. Be sure to use quotation marks and in-text citations appropriately and responsibly.
  5. Your essay should be approximately 1,000-1,100 words.
  6. Please be sure to correctly format your essay in MLA Style and create an MLA Works Cited page. Need help with MLA? Please refer to the CCCOnline MLA Citation Toolkit


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