On the “About” page, where I say, “compose their paper as a project,” I mean students will pursue a quarter-long inquiry into a particular topic, using a certain method, through a piecemeal approach, in a space shared with their peers. This approach allows for feedback, revision, and consistent attention to process.
Here are some of the components of this process:
Cluster: Early in the quarter, students will form small clusters (of five people) around a similar interest. Throughout the entire quarter, they will share materials with their cluster and offer feedback on each other’s work.
Collect: Rather than having me provide students with the materials for their research, they will collectively aggregate those materials within and across their clusters. Those materials will be shared on the class blog, as well as through Twitter and Zotero.
Change: People change, and so do projects. For this class, students will be asked to treat their paper as a process, rather than an end-product. In so doing, they’ll chronicle those changes.
Here are the components of the project:
Change Log: Students will submit at least six “change logs,” or blog entries where they will write about what they are reading and how that reading applies to their project, their take on modernism, and their own educational interests.
Keyword: Early in the class, students will be asked to select a “keyword” that they want to use as a framing mechanism for their reading, writing, and research throughout the quarter. They will be asked to explain why they are selecting that particular keyword.
Example: Here, they will be asked to “mobilize” their keyword by using it as a lens for closely reading and writing about a specific modernist text that interests them.
Question: After they’ve written through one example, they’ll pan out and ask a broader research question about modernism. Their final paper will ultimately respond to this research question.
Annotated Bibliography: In the middle of the quarter, they’ll compile a list of ten texts, with notes, aggregated around their keyword. The texts will vary in medium (e.g., film, image, poem, novel, or audio) and source (e.g., scholarly database, popular site, or university archives).
Claim: Before they write their entire paper, they’ll be asked to articulate their argument in approximately fifty words.
Instances: With their claim in hand, students will write four “instances,” or four paragraphs that articulate possible trajectories for their paper. The point here is to demonstrate how their keyword and texts could be read in different ways, through different approaches. These instances may or may not become part of their final paper.
Abstract: To accompany their paper, students will write a humanities abstract, which will concisely explain their paper’s topic and its target audiences, stakes, and future.
Draft: During the week before exams, they’ll circulate a draft of their paper for feedback.
Final Paper: The final paper will be web-based and somewhere between ten and fifteen pages in length.