LEARNING GOALS: By completing this assignment, you will:
- develop a thesis for an argumentative essay
- use claims and evidence to support an argument
- practice entering into a critical conversation
- practice common methods of using sources in academic writing
- practice using common formats and conventions (e.g., structure, tone, mechanics, citation) for an academic argument
TASK: In this unit’s discussion, you spent time discussing the value of Wikipedia for college students and analyzing various arguments on the issue. Hopefully, you began to see that the subject of Wikipedia is a complex one, with many informed perspectives, angles, and positions. Now, your job is to develop your own position on Wikipedia by entering the critical conversation with an argumentative essay of your own.
To complete this assignment, compose an essay, between about 1,000 and 1,500 words, that expresses your position on the value of Wikipedia for college students. Assume that your readers are college students and college professors — not only your classmates and instructor for EN 105, but also college students across the USA. As you write, show your readers that you understand the “critical conversation” around Wikipedia by including references to this unit’s reading assignments and the perspectives offered in our class discussion. And, make sure to make a persuasive case for why your readers should share your perspective on Wikipedia.
One of your goals in this assignment should be to make careful use of reasons to support your claims. As you learned in your reading and this unit’s mini-lectures, reasons can take many forms. You might think about including relevant anecdotes from your own experience, describing your observations, using explicit logic and reasoning, creating a striking comparison, or analyzing patterns of facts and data. You may use outside sources, provided that they add to your argument in some way. Remember that experienced writers use outside sources to provide context to their own perspectives.
As always, you may use any of the material from your Writer’s Journal or our class discussions as a starting point for your assignment.
COVER LETTER: When you submit this assignment, include a brief cover letter (no more than 300 words) that answers the following questions:
- What is your purpose in this assignment? What is it you are trying to do or say in this piece of writing?
- What are you proud of about this assignment?
- What challenges did you face while completing this assignment?
- What sorts of feedback do you want from your instructor on this assignment?
Include your cover letter as a comment with your upload — not as a separate document. Your cover letter will not count for or against your grade, but will help your instructor respond best to your writing.
LENGTH, DESIGN, & FORMATTING: Your assignment should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words (this word count should not include your Works Cited pages). More important than length is quality. Make sure to fully argue your position, using development strategies that help you support, clarify, and extend your argument.
Use MLA guidelines for document design. This includes using 1-inch margins, double-spaced type, a page number in the upper right corner, and a Works Cited page.
Give your work a unique title — not “Wikipedia Argument.”
To allow your instructor the ability to post marginal commentary, you must submit this assignment as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file. You can save files in these formats with most word processors, including Web-based programs like Google Docs, Word Online, and Open Office. If you are using a web-based file storage system like Google Drive or Dropbox, be sure to learn exactly how to transfer files from your storage system to Canvas.
A NOTE ABOUT SOURCES: To demonstrate your familiarity with the critical conversation around Wikipedia, you should make use of sources in this assignment — specifically, the assigned readings for this unit. You may also include reference to outside sources in your assignment, although your focus should remain on arguing for your own position.
Whenever you use sources, cite them using MLA in-text and end-of-text guidelines for citation. This includes placing the quoted material in quotation marks, clearly indicating the author of the work, and providing a page number for the quotation, if applicable.Include a Works Cited page with an entry for each source that you referred to in the main text. Use MLA guidelines to create your Works Cited page. For examples and discussion of how to work with sources in writing, see the Easy Writer chapters on “Integrating Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism” and “MLA Style.”
INSTRUCTOR RESPONSE & GRADING: You can expect your instructor to provide substantive response and feedback to your assignment within 6 days of the deadline. Please review all instructor feedback, including marginal commentary, which you can access by clicking “View Feedback” once your assignment has been graded. You should use your instructor’s feedback to as a guide to revision and improvement for your future writing assignments.
Your assignment will be graded using a rubric derived from the rubric used to grade your final portfolio. Please note that the rubric for this assignment places importance on focus, development, and the use of explicit reasoning and evidence.
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