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WLLN Draft/WLLN Draft

The effects of books

Posted by Shaoqin Li (He/him) on

we are living in a society that contains words and writing. People wrote down their experiences and knowledge in a book and pass it to the next generations to develop further. Therefore, reading and writing is a mandatory skill that we must obtain since it is the way to obtain knowledge. Unfortunately, I hated and suck at reading and writing since I was a kid. I could literally fall asleep when I read the Chinese book for more than five minutes because I could not understand what is the point of reading those “nonsense” kinds of stuff and it was hard for me to comprehend and enjoy the beauty of those writings. Hence my Chinese grade was always at the bottom of the class ranking. I thought I will stay in this position for my life until that day I met the book that would change my mindset to readings on the book affair. The book was called “Charlie IX”, a large adventure Chinese novel for children, it is pretty similar to the other book that was also very popular in our class at that time, called “A Case for You and the Tiger-Team”.

The 28th book in this series

But at that time, I was captivated by Charlie IX because we all know that children always have those imaginations about adventures. This book satisfied all my imagination because of its exciting and undulating storyline, exciting and slightly thrilling subject matter, imaginative writing, and exquisite illustrations. These elements captivated me。 I can still remember the first time I saw this book and was attracted by its exquisite cover and the abstract. The mood that was expressed by the cover and the abstract gave me a sense of mystery and the desire to open it to see what was inside the book.

After finishing reading the first chapter, I was totally shocked and addicted to this book. its descriptions and illustrations literally brought me into the book.

The illustration in the book

Furthermore, in which I think it is the key to this book is the puzzles in the book, there are different puzzles in each chapter, and the readers need to use the scanner provided by the book to solve each puzzle in order to move on next storyline. This creates interactions between readers and the book and I have to be focused on the details of the plot in order to solve the puzzles. Because I was so focused, I rarely spend my free time finishing this book and wanted to borrow other books in this series instead of playing games. During that year, I spend all my time finishing the entire series as the sixth member of the squad, experiencing different kinds of adventures, and getting familiar with each character in the book. And I benefited from the book so much besides having so much fun, first of all, my reading and writing skills were increasing at an incredible speed because I was able to understand the sentences in the Chinese book from all those practices and was capable to cite beautiful sentences in Charlie IX in my writing. But what was important was that I was finally interested in reading other readings. Also, my logic of thinking and the ability to capture details on different things are the results of solving these puzzles when I was little. Last, my personality was changed by the book, now I am in love with traveling, experiencing different views, and creating my own Charlie IX.

my random snapshot of the sunset in manhattan

Although the book now seemed to be a little silly when I bought a book from the series a couple of days ago. But without a doubt, the books gave me a wonderful childhood and their impact on me was unerasable.



Posted by Jia Yi Karen Li (She/Her) on

In August 2019, for two weeks, I was in Germany for the German-American Exchange Program I had applied for a year prior. I had applied to the program because I had always wanted to visit Germany and the program offered an independent study course that would’ve given me credit to lighten my future workload. I was of course expecting a huge shock, with the unknown language/culture and not knowing any other program members. 

Before August, I had started messaging my German exchange partner. I was a little surprised at how great her English was, her messages were just as good as what I would expect a native speaker/writer would. I found out that English was an integral part of the German education system, as well as other languages. When I eventually went to Germany, I was shocked to see how much English was used, even in a country where it is not an official language. Every restaurant that I went to had an English menu, every museum had plaques in both German and English, and even the allergy medication I had to get had everything in both German and English. 

Brochure/Map of a Museum in Heese, Germany

I initially thought this was because of tourism but when I went to my partner’s school, I learned that children start learning English in Germany when they are children, usually in the third grade. This shocked me as a second language is usually taken up in either middle or high school in the United States. However by this time in Germany, students would be taking their third language, usually a romantic language, and even after that they take a fourth language, a classical language. It was really shocking to see how I was able to communicate fluently with nine/ten-year-olds. It really made me put in perspective how poorly I knew my second language and how learning secondary languages wasn’t as valued in the United States. I found that in Europe, a second or third language is expected while knowing another language, even at the most basic level, is seen as extraordinary here in the States.

Exchange Students at the German School

It was even shocking when at the welcome breakfast, my partner and I were discussing whether the word she was using was correct. We ended up having everyone from our half of the table chime in, both American and German. When we asked the American teacher which one of us was correct, he did not even know himself and had to ask the German teacher for clarification. This threw me off guard as it really showed me the difference between the American and German education systems. I was watching how badly the American education system failed us and while I knew that it wasn’t the best, it was shocking to see how poor it was compared to other countries that are also world leaders. 

WLLN Draft/WLLN Draft

WLLN Draft

Posted by Samea Ahmed (she/her) on

One of my earliest memories of literacy is when I first became interested in reading. I had previously enjoyed reading books from what I can remember, but they didn’t last long, such as the magisterium series, charlotte’s web, or wings of fire series. It was always an on-and-off kind of thing where I would lose interest for a more extended period of time than when I gained it, right after finishing a book. However, it all changed in sixth grade, when my class read Percy Jackson for the first time.

In elementary school we often did read-aloud as a class, where the kids would sit on the floor surrounding the teacher, a copy of the reading in each person’s hands, following along as the teacher or another student reads aloud. Just writing this gives me nostalgia. I don’t recall another time when I was as excited for a story as I was for this one. Unless you count Judy Blume’s Fudge tales, but honestly even that doesn’t compare.  Everything was heightened in these moments, my participation, eagerness, discussion, and imagination. So much so, that I used to read ahead, always opening my mouth to rant about it, putting those colorful sticky tabs all around it, and even staying up late at night.

To this day it probably still is one of my favorite books. Nothing had a hold on me like the Percy Jackson book, and later the series. I thought I reached the max capacity for this beloved series but then at the end, I find out were doing movie night and watching the Percy Jackson movie. We got all cozied up in our PJs with popcorn and drinks, screaming “it’s not done yet!” before the end credit scene. The joy I felt was indescribable, I wish I could feel that again. 

This summer, I had a summer camp counselor in training job, watching over this small class of kids, and I was assigned to go diving in a storage unit for books for them to read.  I found a whole stash of Percy Jackson books, and brought two back with me, praying one of the kids would be interested in reading even though they were around 8-10 years old, I tried my hardest to convince them every day. It didn’t work, but another teacher did pick it up to read just as I did. Every day when the silent reading time came around, I sat on a chair and re-read Percy Jackson by myself after so many years, finishing it by the time my summer job ended. I realized how much of it I forgot and went on again talking to the teachers and friends and family. Then proceeding to rewatch the movie again just so I could pull at the differences.

Reading Percy Jackson really opened a window for me, one that I never thought I would stay in. Onward from this moment, for the rest of the year and even in middle school I stayed on top of my game always making sure to up my reading level and discover new books I loved.  Books such as the Divergent series, shadow hunter series, hazelwood trilogy, etc. I grew a love for getting lost in these worlds I created in my head from all the books that I read.

“Reading Gives Us Someplace To Go When We Have To Stay Where We Are.”

Mason Cooley

It became something I enjoyed doing that really benefited me, and this time it was a long-lasting effect, even though I don’t always have the time now. But when I do I take advantage of it. 

Digital Receipt #5/WLLN Draft/Digital Receipt #5/WLLN Draft

WLLN Draft #1

Posted by John Suquinagua (He) on

Stories have interested me in the past but those were mainly from what I remember shows from tv like Spider man or Spongebob. Books I had mainly seen when I needed to but I would usually choose magic treehouse series of books because I did like the stories and adventures the characters get me. They were all interesting but I haven’t known them much other than being fun until 9th grade. During 9th grade, I had an English class which was okay during the beginning, however when we reach I think the middle and end of the year. We began to analyze more about stories like what they have and all of that which we did do at the start but it got interesting with learning one part of writing some stories. The part we learned during the middle was foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is when a hint to something that happens in the story in the future. This had me interested a lot when I heard about it and the reading I think we had and analyzed was the Veldt. In there it had some analyzing we had to do and one I remembered while writing this was the lions. In the end of the story the lions had eaten some people and was heading out to drink, this was possibly foreshadowed with how in the beginning it talked about lions eating and it heading to drink water, exactly what the lion had done at the end of the story. This was a spark of interest with things later on in the future furthering my interest, an example was a show they revealed in that class being Black Mirror. It led to me searching the show with how interesting the concept was and how much detail is placed into each episode which has its own story in them. They had introduced me to something else in stories which was symbolism. Symbolism is when there they show something that has a meaning behind it. An example could be using pink to represent love or red to represent something dangerous. These two aspects in stories had me look into more stories and enjoyed them a lot more. Some of these stories were Attack on Titan, Death Note, Xenoblade and possibly more that I can’t think of off the top of my head.

Digital Receipt #4/WLLN Draft/Digital Receipt #4/WLLN Draft

WLLN: Draft 1

Posted by Ashraf Alam on

Ashraf Alam

Prof. Rice-Evans


Freshmen Eng. Comp. 

WLLN: First Draft 

A recent troubling moment that I had: was when having to write a scientific paper for both AP Capstone and AP Research. Having written loads of scientific papers before that point (credit to my science research class), however, these two papers were different in the sense that the language used and the way we had to format the paper was something I had never seen or done. Also, we were the pioneering class to take this course; there was no reference to go off of, and the papers themselves counted for about 60% of our final grade (the other 30% being the presentation). The hardest thing I can remember was the formatting: we needed to write the paper in a way such that our reference articles (which had to be all scientific papers/articles/journals) “needed to talk to each other”; the style was something I had never seen or written, and to say I had trouble was an understatement.

The AP capstone paper, in particular, was troubling due to the use of different lenses and the incorporation of stakeholders we needed to write about for each referenced article we used. There were eight lenses, but we had to use three. In the beginning, finding reference articles was not complex; having a science research background helped a lot, but the formatting and writing were other issues: I could not “solve” so easily. It took over four-six versions of the paper (all proofread by my instructor and peers) for me to get something decent. The first struggle came when detailing the findings; I was incorrectly listing the work under the wrong lenses/trying to make the articles fit into lense that did not. Trying to connect lenses when they did not fit was not fun. Considering my paper, how the socioeconomic status of adults and its effects on their levels of happiness in rural China: viewed from the social, economic, and political lenses was not an easy task. What was harder was the last paragraph: we had to interconnect all three lenses to make them “talk to each other” (this also acted as our closing statement).

Continuing to the next year (AP research), we had another paper, but it was our study. We had to conduct either a human subject study or an experimental study, collect, analyze, and interpret data; this was what we were doing in our science research class, but this paper was more scrutinized and harshly graded. The AP research paper followed the same format as any basic science paper: the abstract, introduction, methods, results, data analysis, and conclusion. The only troubling part was that the reference articles (background research) had to build off each other. If the idea did not follow a logical direction, it was marked wrong, and we would not get those points. One article introduced an idea, the following article built on that idea, and so forth until we came to our study and how it was relevant to modern society or our bigger “question”/”topic” that we answered. I had some experience at this point: granted my experience from writing the AP Capstone paper.

Digital Receipt #4/WLLN Draft/Digital Receipt #4/WLLN Draft

WLLN Draft

Posted by Shahed Ahmed (He/Him) on

Coding. It has been the single most thing that has changed my life forever. I took my first ever coding class, Intro to Computer Science, with Mr. Segal. I had this teacher for geometry from the following year so I was a little excited about what he had in hold for us in this class. So when I say that this class, along with my teacher, has changed my life, I meant every single word of it.

I was always very fond of the technological field but I never knew what I particularly wanted to do with myself. But after writing down my first line of code,

System.out.println(“Hello World”);

I knew that this was going to be a defining moment in my life. I’m not saying that this class didn’t have its downsides because it definitely did. Coding was really challenging but even though it was frustrating at times, I loved doing it. I would often take projects home with me so I can find out what line of code prevented the whole thing from working. But after hours of continuously working, I managed my way around it. All my hard work paid off and I finally got a point where I was the one helping other students and peers out with their code.

I felt so inspired by my love of coding that I created a club at my school called the Game Design Club with my amazing teacher Mr. Segal where I introduced coding to those who never coded before. I got to share the same passion I had with coding with others and that made me feel accomplished. And after introducing this to others in the community, I began working on creating some games with code which became really next level coding. I thought my class projects were hard but creating games doesn’t even come close to this. But I’m glad I got the opportunity to find what I love to do at such a young age. I’m really thankful for my teacher for taking the time to help me get better at coding and for making such a big impact on my life.

Rhetorical Analysis/Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical Analysis- Samar Normand

Posted by Samar Normand (she/her) on


Samar Normand

Backpacks vs. Briefcases: Rhetorical Analysis Response

Rhetorical Analysis is noticing the smaller details around you. Subconsciously you make quick judgements and analysis everyday. The main elements rhetorical Analysis includes are: the audience, purpose, medium, context, language and formality. 

In my day to day life, I have learnt to be a lot less judgmental as we are all going through something, however I definitely observe and watch how people move, act, speak, and style. I find it very interesting to witness human beings in their own worlds living. As well as people, I experience situations like a room with loud music and lights, and draw conclusions and judgements based on the environment, visual situation, and how I feel.  

Laura Bolin Caroll emphasizes being curious about rhetoric: Question the context, and formulate opinions on your beliefs after the message is heard/witnessed. Included in a persuasive argument are: Logos, Pathos and Ethos. Only using one component will likely not be as powerful as using all three appeals, which entails reason, emotion and credibility. Pathos can be conveyed through an anecdote, images, and humor. 

Rhetoric is used in various ways such as: cartoons, videos, images, graphs. All of these include an aspect of persuasion, meaning they would like you to believe a certain thing, and accept they are correct. Rhetorical Analysis helps avoid falling into a one way thinking mind trap, it allows for interest and question. This type of Analysis is also helpful to understand as we encounter a variety of different situations where we should be inquisitive about what is going on. 



Posted by Jesse Rice-Evans (she/they) on

Assignment #1: Multimodal Language and Literacy Narrative

We are what we say and do. The way we speak and are spoken to help shape us into the people we become. Through words and other actions, we build ourselves in a world that is building us. That world addresses us to produce the different identities we carry forward in life. —Ira Shor

As people tell literacy stories, they also formulate their own sense of self; with each telling, this self changes slightly according to a constellation of social and cultural factors, personal aspirations and understandings, the audiences being addressed, and the rhetorical circumstances of the telling itself, among many other factors. —Cynthia Selfe

Our perspectives on language and literacy don’t arise out of thin air. How and why we learned and presently “do” speaking, reading, and writing depends on our individual backgrounds, experiences, and motivations: where and how we grew up and what we want out of life, language, and literacy. And it depends on societal realities, including dominant beliefs that deem some language “good” and others not. We never speak, read, or write in isolation—there is always some history, issue, person, structure, institution, standard, or belief system affecting our language and literacy practices. One way to reflect on the reading, writing, and language experiences that shape a part of who we are today is to narrate these experiences. For this assignment, you will compose two separate yet interconnected language and literacy narratives, one delivered in writing and the other delivered in speech.

You’re asked in this assignment to zoom into a particular moment from your life. What moments stand out to you when it comes to how you use language and literacy? Can you recall any family, cultural, or social events related to reading or writing that you found enlightening, encouraging, awkward, challenging, or unjust? A key language or literacy moment when positive or negative emotions soared, where you struggled or triumphed? An object or artifact that serves as a memory of a place, activity, or person connected to your language and literacy development? The moment you write about forms the basis of your literacy narrative, so it should be a subject matter that you are comfortable sharing. Just as important are the reflections you include in your narrative or cover letter to help readers make sense of the moment’s significance and implications. You’ll also want to carefully consider your tone and language choices. The delivery of your written and spoken narratives should be personalized as you see fit. You’re welcome to draw on your “native,” “home,” or “other” languages, literacies, and ways of being as you so choose.

Written Language and Literacy Narrative (WLLN)

Your written narrative should be 2.5-3-pages and should contain

  1. a carefully crafted and revised story of a specific moment, event, or experience;
  2. vivid details that draw your readers into the scene;
  3. 3+ materials and media to support your narrative, such as pictures of artifacts, images, links, video clips, quotes, sound bites, etc. (As all of your major assignments will be placed on a WordPress site you develop, so creating multimodal texts is important.)
  4. your interpretations of the larger social significance of the event chosen. (After all, our individual narratives reflect larger trends in society, history, where you grew up, and identities like gender, race, culture, linguistic background, and ability. (Your interpretations may be explicitly included in your narrative or implied. But if left implied, be sure to be explicit about these connections in your Cover Letter.)

Cover Letter

Your Written L&L Narrative should be preceded by a Cover Letter when you submit the final version. Refer to the Cover Letter assignment sheet in our course materials.

Due Dates

  • The final draft of the WLLN (with cover letter)is due on 18 Oct 2022

Assessment Rubric for the Language & Literacy Narrative Assignment

Assignment Criteria
1. Appropriate Focus and Rhetorical Effectiveness of the Written Narrative. How effectively does the written narrative provide 1-2 concrete examples and specific details of the writer’s language/literacy experiences? How effectively does the narrative attend to description? How effectively does the narrative appeal to the intended audience?
2. Explicit Commentary on Significance and Implications. How effectively does the written narrative highlight some central idea about a larger social significance? That is, how well does the narrative implicitly or explicitly comment on the larger implications of the story, signaling connections to national trends or to the writer’s life, family, generation, gender, race, culture, linguistic background, ability, and/or geographic location?
3. Appropriate Focus and Rhetorical Effectiveness of the Spoken Narrative. How effectively does the spoken presentation draw classmates into the writer’s language/literacy experiences? How effectively are the 3 minutes utilized?
4. Use of Multimedia. How effectively do the written and spoken narratives integrate multiples modes (not just speech vs. writing but also the use of pictures, images, objects, props, links, and music)?
5. General Requirements. Were all requirements for length and due date met?

Assignment #2 – Rhetorical Analysis

You will study and write about three specific rhetorical strategies that you observed in any of the course texts OR submit your own text for approval!! CHOOSE ONE TEXT: e.g. a poem, a music video, a short story, an advertisement, political ad, op-ed, newspaper article.  

Your goal is not to critique or evaluate the text(s) or strategies. Instead, your task is to briefly review and reflect on the rhetorical situation. That is, your task is to introduce the text in which you have observed an interesting rhetorical strategy ~50 words); name and describe the rhetorical strategy you found of interest (~100 words); and explain what you found interesting about the rhetorical strategy (~100 words). As you explain what you found interesting, discuss what you suspect the author was trying to accomplish with this strategy. What was the purpose? Who is the intended audience and how did the author attempt to appeal to them? How might have the text/genre or context influenced the author’s choices?

***Repeat these steps for each of the three rhetorical strategies you have selected.***

Part 1 should be written in paragraph form, but it does not need to be essayistic. You do not need to tie the three strategies together or formulate a cohesive thesis in any way. USE FORMATTING – HEADINGS, BULLETS, LISTS, ETC. TO ORGANIZE THIS ASSIGNMENT

Your analysis should, however, follow the “10 on 1” rule of thumb—that is, it is better to make ten observations or points about a single representative issue or example (10 on 1) than to make the same basic point about ten related issues or examples (1 on 10). Thus, provide your audience (me and your classmates) with appropriate description and interpretation to show what connections you see given your rhetorical situation: What was your purpose? How did you attempt to appeal to your intended audience? How was your selection of genre, mode, language, style, and/or other rhetorical strategies a good fit given your rhetorical situation?

Cover Letter

Your Rhetorical Analysis Assignment should be preceded by a Cover Letter when you submit the final version. Refer to the Cover Letter assignment sheet.

Due Dates

  • Part 1 draft is due DAY, MONTH DATE.
  • The final drafts (with cover letter) are due on DAY, MONTH DATE.

Assessment Rubric for the Rhetorical Analysis Assignment

Assignment Goals and Evaluation Criteria
1. Observe the relationship between an author’s rhetorical strategies and the rhetorical situation of a given text. How effective are the observations of rhetorical strategies in our course texts? How effectively are these observations connected back to elements of the rhetorical situation (i.e., information about the author, text, context/exigence, purpose, and audience)?
2. Appeal to an intended audience with the creation of rhetorical texts. How effectively does the rhetorical text tailor its argument, genre, mode, rhetorical strategies, style, and language to meet the expectations of the intended audience?
3. Analyze rhetorical strategies in your own texts. How effective is the analysis of the rhetorical text that you created? How effectively is that analysis supported with explanation tying back to rhetorical terms and the rhetorical situation (i.e., information about the author, text, context/exigence, purpose, and audience)?
4. General Requirements. Were all requirements for length and due date met?

Assignment #3: The Researched Essay

(Download the Phase 3 Assignment Prompt | View the Phase 3 Calendar)

For this Researched Essay, you will examine a current, specific, and debatable topic to explore and present to a specific audience of your choice.

What will your topic be?

You have two choices:

  1. Investigate a theme that has emerged from our introduction to language politics. You could respond to one of the claims made in our texts or research your own question (personal connections welcome) to share a new or slightly different perspective not covered in the readings. Consider language and literacy’s relationship with one or more of these issues: identity, culture, and background; social and linguistic hierarchies; government, educational, and (socio)economic influences; public and cultural beliefs; family, personal, and other interpersonal dynamics and conflicts; accent politics; the dominance of standardized English; language subordination; colonization; race and racism. These are just broad themes. Your goal is to get specific: maybe investigate the obstacles facing new immigrants from the Dominican Republic when learning English in ESL classes in NYC public schools, or examine the ways in which language and race play a role in hiring practices. The more specific, the better. 
  2. Investigate any topic of your liking. While I encourage folks to seriously consider option 1, what’s most important is that you choose a topic that genuinely interests you or that you are motivated to learn more about. This is why option 2 is available. Whatever it is, the topic must be controversial or debatable in some way, allowing you to explore multiple perspectives and determine your own stance. While it’s not necessary that you already have a strong stance on the issue, having some background knowledge or prior experience with the topic could help.

Who will be your intended audience?

Will they be your classmates and instructors? Friends or family? The general public? An academic crowd? Is your audience informed or uninformed about the topic? What are their interests and values? Are they likely to agree or disagree with your perspectives?

What will your purpose be?

Your purpose will depend on your goals, how much you know about your topic, and what your audience needs. If you’re not all that familiar with your topic, perhaps your purpose will be to explore the issue and to inform your reader what you find. If you’re ready to take a strong stance on the topic, your purpose might be to argue your case, and you’ll have to decide whether to argue “gently” or “fiercely” depending on your goals and what your audience might find persuasive.

What sources will you use?

Your Researched Essay must include 4-7 sources comprised of the following:

  • 1-2 scholarly sources specific to your topic that you locate. This can take the form of a peer-reviewed academic research article, a chapter in a scholarly book, a scholarly website (.edu), or reference work (e.g., encyclopedia).
  • 2-3 non-scholarly sources. If pursuing the topic of language and literacy, you may fulfill this requirement by using 2-3 of our course texts. Otherwise, locate sources such as websites (public affairs, advocacy, government, commercial), statistics, essays, articles (newspaper, magazine, blog), press releases, documentaries, and literature.
  • 1-2 multilmedia sources: video/movie clips, photographs, images, memes, (political) cartoons, sound bites, links, lyrics, Tweets, graphs, etc.

What will you “do” in your essay?

You will aim to practice several writing strategies:

  1. Make some persuasive rhetorical “moves.” As you write this essay, consider your own goals alongside your audience’s needs and expectations: What will capture their interest? What sorts of evidence will they find credible and/or persuasive? What tone will appeal to them? What sorts of claims will be welcome? What sorts of claims will cause alarm? What sort of conclusion will compel them? How much do you want to adhere to or defy audience expectations? You are encouraged to personalize the delivery of your essay as you see fit—you decide the order, tone, style, and language you’ll craft in order to best achieve your goals. You’re welcome to draw on your “native,” “home,” or “other” languages, literacies, and ways of being as you so choose.
  2. Summarize, paraphrase, and quote. You will introduce each source in your paper by providing a brief (1-3 sentence) summary of the rhetorical situation (the audience, genre, publication, purpose, and context) and the overall argument. Then, in order to highlight more specific ideas/connections, you will strike a balance between paraphrasing and quotingkey ideas/passages from sources.
  3. Take a Stance. You might find yourself more aligned with one text’s ideas and feeling like your perspectives differ (a lot or even just slightly) from another; you might appreciate one writer’s ideas but want to complicate those ideas (yes, such-and-such is true, but…); you might find yourself generating an entirely new perspective as a result of seriously considering what others have argued; or maybe your stance is that you refuse to take a strong stance until more information is gathered. Whatever your stance, it is important to make it clear throughout your essay. Any claims you make should be relevant, explicit, specific, qualified, and complicated.
  4. Signpost. You will provide “signposts” (or “metacommentary”) throughout your essay, aka topic sentences, transitions, and other “guiding” language aimed at helping your reader follow along and make sense of what connections exist between sources, ideas, examples, you, and your claims. Sometimes this means using language like “According to X” to attribute an idea to its author. Other times this means making clear the relationship between one source and another: Do the sources support, extend, challenge, or complicate each other? And sometimes it means emphasizing difference: “While X believes Y, I argue that…”

How much source work and how much of “you” should there be?

About half of the essay will be your source work (summary, paraphrase, and quotations from sources) and the other half will be you (your interpretations, ideas, examples, transitions, connection making, and claims).

General Requirements

Your Researched Essay should be 5-6 pages (12-point font, 1-inch margins, double spaced) plus any images you choose to include. Please use MLA citation within the body of your essay and on a Works Cited page, and please compose a relative and inviting title for your essay.

“A” Option

If pursuing an “A” in the course, your essay will be 7-8 pages long and you will use the maximum amount of sources in what’s outlined above, though one of your academic sources must be a peer-reviewed scholarly article.

Cover Letter

The final version of your essay should be preceded by a Cover Letter. Refer to the Cover Letter assignment sheet in our course materials.

Due Dates

  • A proposal of your RE is due on DAY, MONTH DATE.
  • A full draft of the RE is due for peer review on DAY, MONTH DATE.
  • The final draft of the RE is due DAY, MONTH DATE.

Assessment Rubric for the Researched Essay

Assignment Criteria
1. Audience Awareness. How effectively are ideas, arguments, and sources introduced given the specific audience, their perspectives, and expectations?
2. Source Use. How effectively are ideas and sources delivered and developed in the essay? How specific and appropriate are the examples and passages used? How effectively and accurately does the essay introduce and summarize the rhetorical situations and main ideas from each source used? How effectively are more specific ideas/passages paraphrased and/or quoted?
3. Stance. How relevant, explicit, specific, qualified, and complicated are the claims throughout the essay? How effective is the relationship between stance and evidence? Are the claims made supported sufficiently by the evidence? That is, are appropriate/relevant ideas pulled out from the source use to establish the writer’s thesis/stance?
4. Signposting. How effectively are readers “guided” throughout the essay so that ideas, sources, and different claims are clearly attributed and distinguished from one another? Are the perspectives and relationship across texts named explicitly? That is, are ideas from across texts shown as supportingextendingcomplicating, and/or challenging one another?
5. Revision, Editing, and Formatting. Does the essay show evidence of thoughtful revision and editing? Has the essay been effectively formatted, including the title, in-text citations, and Works Cited page?
6. General Requirements. Were all general requirements for length, source use, and due date met?

Assignment #4: The Digital Portfolio & Self-Assessment Essay

(Download the Phase 4 Assignment Prompt | View the Phase 4 Calendar)

The Digital Portfolio and Final Self-Assessment Essay are in many ways the most important documents that you’ll create for this class. Assembling the Digital Portfolio will help you to see your progress as a writer over the course of the semester, and the Final Self-Assessment Essay will give you the chance to evaluate that work based on your own criteria as well as the course learning objectives. Plus, you’ll gain hands-on experience with digital technologies and developing a professional website. 

 The Digital Portfolio

Your Digital Portfolio will be composed on a WordPress site and housed securely on CUNY Academic Commons, a password-protected CUNY server. It will be read by your instructors, some members of the class, and other CCNY faculty and administrators. If you would like to opt out of creating a WordPress site, please make a Portfolio in Blackboard.

Your Portfolio should include, at a minimum, the Self-Assessment Essay; final drafts (revised based on instructor feedback) of your Language and Literacy Essay, Rhetorical Analysis Assignments, and Researched Essay. You can also choose to include additional documents (or screenshots/portions of documents) you composed this semester that help you demonstrate the extent to which you’ve met the course learning objectives and developed your understanding of writing and our course topic.

So what sorts of “additional documents” might you include? Consider including earlier drafts of essays, examples from homework, peer reviews, etc. Or, you may want to include copies of your annotations of course texts or copies of the notes you took while reading to demonstrate that you have developed strategies for critical reading. Use this same approach for all of the Course Learning Goals. (Be mindful that the documents you choose to include in your Portfolio should be referenced in your Final Self-Assessment Essay, which is further explained below. You will describe the documents, and their significance, in your essay. Thus, you’ll need to be very choosy in selecting which documents best represent your learning and development as a writer and be ready to refer to and analyze them in the Self-Assessment Essay.)

While the arrangement of the Portfolio is up to you, it should be easy to navigate. As with any Web site, you want viewers to be able to find what they’re looking for without any interference. This might mean scanning handwritten notes, taking screenshots of annotated Web sites, and turning your essays into .PDFs or Web texts.

The Self-Assessment Essay

The Self-Assessment Essay, which will serve as an introduction to your Portfolio, is a kind of research paper. Your development as a writer is the subject and your work this semester is your evidence. Thus, your task is to show, with claims and evidence, how you’ve developed as a writer and thinker this semester. Your claims will be statements about what you’ve learned. Your evidence may come in the form of a quote or screenshot of your work or through your retelling of a central learning moment. Your cover letters, homework assignments, and in-class reflections should serve as valuable pieces of evidence and provide you with quote-worthy passages. And you should include in your Portfolio any relevant items that you reference in your Self-Assessment Essay.

This essay answers the question, “To what extent have I achieved the course learning objectives this semester?” Importantly, then, your essay should quote and respond to each of our course learning objectives below. That said, your essay should not be organized in the bulleted format in which the objectives are presented.

The Course Learning Objectives you will address in your essay:

Students will

  1. Examine how attitudes towards linguistic standards empower and oppress language users.
  2. Explore and analyze, in writing and reading, a variety of genres and rhetorical situations.
  3. Develop strategies for reading, drafting, collaborating, revising, and editing.
  4. Recognize and practice key rhetorical terms and strategies when engaged in writing situations.
  5. Understand and use print and digital technologies to address a range of audiences.
  6. Locate research sources (including academic journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles) in the library’s databases or archives and on the Internet and evaluate them for credibility, accuracy, timeliness, and bias.
  7. Compose texts that integrate a stance with appropriate sources, using strategies such as summary, analysis, synthesis, and argumentation.
  8. Practice systematic application of citation conventions.


Your Self-Assessment Essay should be 3-4 pages (12-point font, 1-inch margins, double spaced) plus any images you choose to include. It will not be evaluated on whether or not you have achieved the course goals, but on how well you demonstrate your understanding of the goals that you have achieved and your thoughts about the goals that you have not achieved. Please use MLA citation within the body of your essay and on a Works Cited page as needed. Compose a relative and inviting title for your essay. As always, you are encouraged to personalize the delivery of your essay as you see fit. Thus, you decide the order, tone, style, and language you’ll craft in order to best reach your audience. You’re welcome to draw on your “native,” “home,” or “other” languages, literacies, and ways of being as you so choose.

Due Dates

  • A first full draft of the self-assessment essay is due for peer review on DAY, MONTH DATE.
  • A first full draft of your WordPress site is due DAY, MONTH DATE.
  • Your final version of the digital portfolio (with self-assessment essay)is due DAY, MONTH DATE.

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria for the Portfolio and Final-Assessment Essay
1. How effectively does your Digital Portfolio present the content so that it is easy to navigate and appropriate for digital audiences;maintain stylistic consistency from one page to the next;use color and contrast to make things simple for digital audiences;use font and page layout to create a neat, easy-to-read text?
2. How effectively does your Final-Assessment Essay make claims about what course learning outcomes you achieved this semester; identify (if relevant) any areas in which you have not progressed (e.g., because we didn’t spend enough time with them or you feel that you had a strong start in those areas);quote and address all of the course learning objectives (even those that you feel we did not spend enough time working on);provide evidence (in the form of quoting your own writing and/or retelling specific learning moments) to show how you have achieved our learning outcomes and developed as a writer?
3. How effectively and sufficiently have your Phase 1, 2, and 3 assignments been revised and edited?
4. Were all general requirements for length and due dates met?

Final Portfolio and Theory of Writing

The portfolio and theory of writing are in many ways the most important documents that you’ll create for this class.  Assembling the portfolio will help you to see your progress as a writer over the course of the semester; the self-assessment will give you the chance to evaluate that work based on your own criteria as well as the course learning outcomes.

The Self-Assessment will provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate that you’ve understood the rhetorical terms that we’ve been working with this semester and an introduction to your portfolio.  The portfolio should include, at a minimum, the technical description, the technical report, the RFP assignment, and the group presentation response.  You should also include freewrites, screenshots of group work, basically any and all proof of what you completed over the course of the semester.

The portfolio will be housed on a WordPress site. If you are concerned about privacy, consider creating an email account that you can use exclusively for course work.  It will be read by me, some members of this class, and other CCNY faculty and administrators.  You are, of course, free to share your portfolio with anyone else, but do not make it freely available. If you would like to opt out of creating a WordPress site, please let me know and we will arrange for you to make a portfolio elsewhere.  We will have one class time dedicated to creating your WordPress sites.  

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