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Fall 2019 Orientation Schedule and Texts


Syllabus, Assignments and Schedule 



Where To Find RWS100 Teaching Resources

This page is the main resource for RWS100 in fall 2019. It contains a lot of teaching material, so you may want to focus on the
sections in each unit below titled "Main Teaching Materials." 


There is also a "Contribution" page that contains past teaching resources created by TAs, and a Homework page where TAs have published
a lot of 100 materials.  You can also take a look at the wiki sites created by several 100 teachers.  These contain teaching material and homework.


Main Teaching Materials for Weeks 1-3 


If you are interested in using video texts to introduce course concepts you could consider these: 

  • This 4 minute video op-ed, "We either Buy Insulin or We Die" could be shown in class and you could ask students to 
    identify, analyze and discuss the claims, evidence, and persuasive strategies. You could then ask students to read
    this short, 2 page text on the same topic, by Smith-Holt, “I Had to Bury My 26-Year-Old Son Because He Couldn’t Afford Insulin.”  
    Compare the way 
    claims, evidence, and persuasive strategies are presented.
  • Colin Stokes, How Movies Teach Manhood. TED talk, 20 minutes. This video argues that the stories that surround us in popular 
    culture have a subtle but powerful persuasive force, influencing the way we think about gender roles and identity. This could 
    be used early in the semester with passages in the textbook that consider how small personal narratives and large cultural narratives
    are used to persuade.  At the start of the semester this video could be put in conversation with short texts about how we use stories to make sense of the world
    and ourselves. Coffin's "My Father, Out to Sea," and May's "The Stories We Tell Ourselves." Both consider how stories make arguments
    and are used to persuade.



More Materials for Weeks 1-3 


Unit 1: Thompson's "Public Thinking"


Main Teaching Materials for Unit 1


Text and Author Background


Examples of Public Thinking

  • If you wish you can show students some contemporary examples of tools and publishing experiments that embody Thompson's ideas. These may help
    understand what Thompson is on about, but also evaluate the extent to which his claims are plausible.
  • This page contains some examples of public thinking - of social annotation, commenting, and reading. 



Unit 2 Strategies & Sources: McNamee, Tufecki, and Golumbia 


Main Teaching Materials for Unit 2


Texts for Unit 2


Videos for Unit 2 and/or to Introduce the Topic


More Teaching Materials for Unit 2


Fun with Online Sources

  1. Examine these two sites. Can you quickly determine if they are credible? Gateway Pundit  Natural News
  2. Compare the web sites for two organizations, the American College of Pediatricianshttps://www.acpeds.org/and the American Academy of Pediatrics
    https://www.aap.org/  Before looking these up, start by examining  the two sites. Which seems more reliable, credible or authoritative, or do 
    they both seem reliable, credible and authoritative?
  3. Now use your search skills to determine which source seems more reliable. What do you find?  How did you make your determination?
  4. National Vaccine Information Center 



Unit 3 Options


Option 1: Boyd and Critical Digital Literacy 

We have a large collection of teaching materials you could use to teach Boyd's "Literacy: Are Today's youth Digital Natives?"

You are welcome to select materials from this collection, or select a different text and topic.  In the past, teachers have used
Boyd's text to explore the related issues of critical digital literacy or fake news. That is, students have worked on extending, 
updating, illustrating, or challenging Boyd's text by reading related texts on critical digital literacy or fake news.


An alternative approach might be to have students read Boyd, then write a review of the McChesney documentary, 
Digital Disconnect: the Internet & Democracy 


Option 2: The Codes of Gender 

The Codes of Gender: Identity and Performance in Pop Culture. This documentary provides viewers with a "lens" for understanding
patterns in advertisements. It argues that advertisements use a small set of cultural "codes" to represent men and women, and this 
shapes the way we think about gender. The documentary suggests male and female bodies are portrayed very differently, and 
these differences reveal important cultural norms.

The documentary is from 2009, and looks at traditional broadcast and print media. It does not consider recent online media or online 
advertisements.  But since 2009 we have seen huge changes in the way people consume media. This video could be used as a 
"lens" to look at online media - for example, at male and female instagram stars, or at the ads in online men's/women's magazines
(Students could examine the poses of Instagram model and celebrity Alahna Ly, and compare these to the poses shown in Gentleman
Quarterly's "20 hottest male models on Instagram") At the same time, students could see if today's advertisements have changed in 
ways that challenge the framework, and suggest the analysis needs to be updated or revised.

Students could also draw on some recent research to help with their projects. For example, "Advertising Stereotypes and Gender 
Representation in Social Networking Sites
" might be a helpful text. 


There are 2 versions of the video, the full version, which is 1 hour and 13 minutes, and the abridged version which is 46 minutes.

A pdf transcript of the video is available for students to use. 



Option 3: "We Buy or We Die"

"We either Buy Insulin or We Die"is a short, 4 minute video op-ed makes a remarkable argument about inequities in access to insulin. 

Students could analyze the strategies in this video, and compare them to strategies in two or three print texts on the same topic (see below).
The video includes comments by New York Times readers. Some are doctors, some are patients, some are researchers, etc.  The comments
could be used for a synthesis exercise, as there are very clear patterns. 


Also, a Diabetes Association has tips on writing an op ed on the subject.  The tips are awful. I can imagine an assignment in which students try
to help the group write better advice for more effective op eds (perhaps by looking at model ones). 

Sample op eds on the topic



Option 4: The College Admissions Debate 

A collection of short texts that make a variety of arguments about the 2019 college admissions scandals. You could ask students to 

synthesize these texts, mapping some major points of similarity, connection, and difference, then select their own texts in order 
to "enter the conversation" and make their own argument.



WPA Teaching Materials 2019

  • The WPA prompt, the WPA rubric, and sample readings used in WPA placement tests in 2018 and 2019.
  • powerpoint on the WPA, handout on the the difference between 8 and 10 (and how to get a 10). You may wish to use this in the final two weeks. It explains why the WPA exists, what is expected,
    how it works, etc.  It also includes some light PR in order to address some of the misinformation that has come to be associated with the WPA. If you use it you will likely want to edit it down to whatever you are comfortable with (and perhaps change the slide design, which is hideous).
  • Main WPA site  contains an explanation of the test, sample texts, the scoring criteria, a powerpoint that dissects the WPA, and some instructional videos.  Here's a file of information that I've used for a final unit on the WPA that could work for 100 or 200. It includes info on the WPA, an outline on the lesson plan, sample article, essay and WPA evaluation. Here's an evaluation assignment (students respond to a classmate's essay) that partners with the unit.    
  •  More End of Semester Resources & WPA material





1.       Students could analyze the strategies in this video, and compare them to strategies in the Smith-Holt text.

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