Multi-Draft Writing Project 1: Entering Discourse Communities A discourse community refers to all forms of communication contributing to a particular, institutionalized way of thinking used by a certain group of people who use, and thus help create, a particular discourse. For example, your textbook, 75 Readings Plus, is used by first year college students at many US universities. You, a college student, will become part of this discourse community. Another example of a discourse community are subscribers to my TOEFL blog at Better TOEFL Scores. Prospective international students desiring to pass the Test of English as Foreign Language so that they can gain admission into English-speaking universities are part of this discourse community. You are not part of this discourse community. Like countless others, these two discourse communities have their own unwritten rules about what can be said and how it can be said. For example, students in my English 102 class would not appreciate an article about how to pass the TOEFL exam. Or, Better TOEFL Scores subscribers on my E-mail list would not appreciate reading 75 Readings Plus since it does not apply to them at their current stage of English learning. Most people move within and between different discourse communities every day. This is what you will do in this writing assignment. 4 According to American linguist John Swales, a discourse community shares six characteristics ● has a broadly agreed set of common public goals. ● has mechanisms of intercommunication among its members. ● uses its participatory mechanisms primarily to provide information and feedback. ● utilizes and hence possesses one or more genres in the communicative furtherance of its aims. ● in addition to owning genres, it has acquired some specific lexis. ● has a threshold level of members with a suitable degree of relevant content and discoursal expertise. In this writing assignment, you will enter two discourse communities: an academic community of first-year composition students and an online community of subscribers at http://www.sbsun.com . To get more familiar with what can be said and how it can be said in an academic discourse community, it is recommended that you read chapter 10 in 75 Readings Plus whose argumentative articles focus on economics, social responsibility, free speech, and global warming. To get more familiar with what can be said and how it can be said in the online community of subscribers at http://www.sbsun.com , you will need to frequent this web site so that you can have access to the opinion articles. Over a period of two weeks, spend time reading the opinion articles expressed by the columnists. You should also read the “voices by the people” who react to the opinions expressed by the columnists. Keep in mind that you will be summarizing and analyzing three opinions expressed by these columnists. You will become one of the “voices of the people.” You can think of this writing project in three parts: academic summaries/anlayses, a letter-to-the-editor, and a reflection. Part 1: Academic Summaries/Analyses (3 Pages) Write this part of the paper using typical language and form encountered in the articles that you read in chapter 10 or our textbook. Be sure to address the following as you write your academic response. A. Summarize three columnists’ opinions that interest you at http://www.sbsun.com . CLICK HERE B. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the opinions expressed by the columnist(s). To support your position, you may include your own experience, the experiences of family, peers, and friends, and you MUST include three academic sources to add credibility to your point of view. You should use MLA documentation, including in-text citations and a works cited section. 5 Part 2: A Letter-to-the Editor (1/2 Page) Write this part of the paper using typical language and form encountered in the opinions and forum comments that you read online at http://www.sbsun.com. CLICK HERE for video explanation Choose one of your summaries/analyses that you wrote and repackage it as a letter to the editor. Keep in mind the following guidelines by The San Bernardino Sun: The Sun welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must be signed and include an address and phone number. Letters may be edited for length, clarity and grammar. Letters should be e-mailed to [email protected] Your letter to the editor should not exceed 200 words. Upon completion, you will E-mail [email protected] your 200 word letter as well as submit it to me as part of this writing project. Part 3: Reflection (2 Pages) This part of the writing assignment is a reflection of parts 1-2 of your assignment. Though you certainly are free to discuss more, at least address the following in your reflection response: A. Considering race, gender, politics, and class, how are the two discourse communities similar? Different? B. Considering language and form, how are these two discourse communities similar? Different? You may want to pay attention to paragraphing, sentence style, vocabulary, use of sources, and any other relevant writing conventions. C. When you repackaged the academic response as a letter-to-the-editor response, you had to make language choices. Which issue did you choose and why? What criteria or process did you use to limit your response to 200 words? For example, how did you determine what to keep or delete? D. Based on your experience in writing in two different genres (an academic response and a letter to the editor) and in two different discourse communities (1st year writing class and online subscriber forum for The San Bernardino Sun newspaper, what are some of the most noticeable differences in terms of can be said and how it can be said. Be sure to provide some specific examples to support your analysis. E. Which of the two discourse communities do you feel more a part of? Why? What could you do that would better prepare you to become a more meaningful contributor to one or both of these discourse communities?
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