Improving our situations


–   Each and every person on this planet arguably has an idea of how to improve his immediate surroundings; you, as examples, might wish that the room you’re in was a different temperature, or you might wish that you didnt have to write the paper that this prompt introduces. Given that, I would also argue that each person on this planet has ideas concerning how to improve her household, town, country, or possibly even the world has a whole; as examples, you might have an excellent strategy to replant and maintain trees in urban societies, or you might believe that a global government would work better than our current system. So these ideas can exist on both the micro and the macro level.
–   Essentially, then, what I am asking you to do for this assignment is to explore your image of an ideal you think would be beneficial to you and others around you. Choose something that is important to your life and times, a real issue / problem you can reach toward solving. 
–   Given that, there are many approaches you might take to writing this paper: you could present a problem and your solution for it (maybe you have some fantastic technological advances that will revolutionize bathrooms, trash removal, human relations, technology, hunger, a specific social issue, etc.); you could start from scratch and revamp the political system, the government, religion, your neighborhood, the education system, your household, etc.; you might explore what our society would be like if a historical event had not happened (911, the Vietnam War, a particular hurricane, etc.), or the contrary, that is, what the world would be like if other disasters continue to happen. To be clear, this bullet lists examples or possibilities, not limitations.  

–   The bottom line is that I want you to explore the ideas that are the most important and central to your life and how you might reconsider them.

–   Find and convince a specific audience to understand your perspective, and use pertinent research to support / make your claims.
You are welcome to select the point of view / perspective (1st, second, etc.), but be consistent in its application.
–   You are welcome to take this paper in any of a number of directions. The above-mentioned examples are only a few ideas that you might utilize when preparing your research and organizing your paper: ultimately, the final decision on what you do and how you do it is up to you. If you have an idea you are unsure about, please be sure to contact me before you begin any major effort therein.



–    This assignment will serve as a continuation to effectively finding, evaluating, and incorporating outside sources into your writing.  
–    Please consider that while the topic you choose to write about and research certainly matters, we’re truly focusing on how you go about building and supporting your argument.
–    Along the way, we will discuss the larger question, why bother using sources in my writing? In short, the academic world calls it information literacy: finding, evaluating, incorporating, and properly documenting research.
–    You should become a bit of an expert on the idea you researchthat is, you should come to an understanding that is potentially outside of your own comfort zone. Pay attention to yourself as you write and research; you may, if you do this right, learn quite a bit about yourself (communications skills, reception to new ideas, etc.) and others around you.


–    You may organize this essay any way you see fitultimately, regarding organization, the final decision on what you do and how you do it is up to you barring the traditional five-paragraph essay approach.

–    Don’t abandon the other kinds of writing we’ve been focusing on this semester; rather, use them in combination in this paper–use your voice. 
Remember our conversations about balancing your own ideas and outside texts: 80% / 20%. . . . 


You owe a complete draft of your essay–printed for exchange with your classmates–during the class period(s) designated to peer evaluation. Check the Course Calendar for specific dates.  
The deadline is listed in the Course Calendar–submit your work via Canvas before class on the day of the deadline.  


5 pages for the final draft, and no, the cover page, skeleton draft, and work cited dont count toward page count. If you miss the page minimum, you will not earn higher than a low C on this paper.
1 page minimum skeleton draft (writing what you already know before getting into any kind of research). Include itclearly labeledafter your works cited page in your final submission. Details to follow in class.
Incorporate an interview with a person / people who are meaningfully associated with your topic. You will conduct the interview yourselflive (details tbd in class). Begin early; if you cant find an interviewee, you will be required to change topics. You may not interview family or friends for this requirement. 
You must provide contact information following the work cited entry for your interview. Failure to observe this requirement will cost you a full letter grade. 
 You must provide copies of your notes / interviews with the paper (or supply an audio file on the due date).
 You must incorporate a visual source specific to your topic (including proper documentation. This might be a photo, an image, a graph, a chart, etc.
 Use at least two other sources of your choice where necessary. Be certain to evaluate them (remember that Annotated Bibliography?! Apply those skills!), but do not annotate your citations.
 Use proper MLA research and documentation skills, including a proper Work Cited page. Refer to the resources provided to you in Modules during the Annotated Bibliography unit of this course as references.    
 Complete and attach a self-evaluation form.
 Submit your work as a single document with a .doc or .docx file-type.

A Bit of Advice:

Write to communicate a bigger picture. Remember: You’re not only writing about what you’re writing about; you’re also writing about what it means. 
Develop a strong thesis, and eventually use it (during revision) to unify and develop your essay with your audience fully in mind. 

A Bit of Gloom and Doom:

Failure to attend fully prepared during either of our peer evaluation days will cost you 25 points each from the course total.
This assignment link will become unavailable shortly after the final copy due date and time–any papers past that point must be turned in but will not be accepted for a grade; there simply isn’t enough time for you to turn your work in late.

Other Info:

use your voice.
fully develop your ideas according to your thesis.
please review the department grading standard included in the syllabus–it certainly applies.  
observe all minimum requirements.
there are no brownie points for exceeding the minimum requirements (honestly).
sentence level errors / mechanical errors should be kept to a minimum.
do not write the classic, five or six paragraph essay.