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T Assignment 3: Skills Related Tasks.pdf __EXCLUSIVE__

Why does this attention to audience and genre seem to matter so much to student writing? In recent years, several studies (Adam, 2000; Beaufort, 2004; Belfiore et al., 2004; Freedman & Adam, 2000; Spinuzzi, 2010) have explored the reasons why writers attentive to specific contexts are more successful. In particular, workplace literacy and socio-cognitive apprenticeship theory (among related theoretical perspectives) both emphasize the role that knowledgeable mentors within a workplace play as they initiate newcomers to the communicative context. (See especially Beaufort, 2000, and Ding, 2008, for social apprenticeship studies and Paretti, 2008, on situated learning and activity theory.) As Dias et al. (1999) explain, writing is not a fixed set of skills that we learn once and then simply plug into as we need to communicate. Rather,

T Assignment 3: Skills Related Tasks.pdf

Scaffolded assignments, such as the agricultural economics assignment noted in the Additional Resources section, help students reach a larger goal by asking them to collect resources in stages. A final stage requires that students transform each of the earlier stages in a final document. Sequenced assignments, on the other hand, each stand independently, but each task builds on particular skills and challenges to enable students to meet a larger set of goals. Herrington (1997) describes a scaffolded assignment (71-72) with a preliminary plan for a major project followed by an annotated bibliography, early draft (with cover note focused on successes and challenges thus far) and final draft (with cover note). Mulnix & Mulnix (2010) also describe a similar argumentative assignment that uses sequenced tasks to repeat and reinforce critical thinking skills. See also Sin et al. (2007) for a sequence in accounting, Howell (2007) in materials science, Fencl (2010) on a sequence in physics, Zlatic et al. (2000) on pharmaceutical education, and Harding (2005) on freshman mechanical engineering. Coe (2011), on the other hand, describes a series of scaffolded writing tasks to help students build argument skills in philosophy, Alaimo et al. (2009) explain their project for sophomore organic chemistry students, and Lillig (2008) looks at upper-division chemistry.

Good analytical writing is a rigorous and difficult task. It involves a process of editing and rewriting, and it is common to do a half dozen or more drafts. Because of the difficulty of analytical writing and the need for drafting, we will be completing the assignment in four stages. A draft of each of the sections described below is due when we finish the class unit related to that topic (see due dates on syllabus). I will read the drafts of each section and provide comments; these drafts will not be graded but failure to pass in a complete version of a section will result in a deduction in your final assignment grade. Because of the time both you and I are investing in the project, it will constitute one-half of your semester grade.


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