Digital Revolution Pre-Draft: Annotation of Scholarly Essays

Lesson Plan on: Annotation of Scholarly Essays; Structure and Development; CUNY+

Primary lesson objective: This lesson plan is meant to build on skill sets begun in the 3rd project. After reading and carefully annotating a long academic essay, students will begin thinking about and doing more extensive research while also working collaboratively on a series of blog posts. The first in-class part of this assignment will take place during one session, individual and group work will occur between classes, and the second in-class part will occur in the following class.

Total estimated time: Part 1: Approximately 60 minutes (25 minutes in groups; 5-7 minutes per group report back); Part 2: Approximately 60 minutes (10-15 minutes per group)

Additional outcomes: Seeing the length of academic articles can be daunting and intimidating. Students will need to individually read the entire essay, but to help prevent getting stuck at the amount of information, students will work in groups to take apart, annotate, compare, and prioritize the information relevant to the perspective of their project. By doing this, students will understand organization and patterns of development better, as well their own reading practices. The second part of the essay will ask students to work together on several blog posts – which they will then show or present to the class – that, in part, document their research findings.

The project involves students writing from one of four perspectives discussed in the article. This advance work will also help them think about voice, development, supporting details or facts, and audience.

This assignment would work for any long-form piece of academic or scholarly writing, whether from a journal or a book.

Assignment sequence underway: This assignment will occur in two classes at the beginning and middle of the 4th project.

Work completed prior to class:  Students will be working in one of four different groups – wizards, bureaucrats, warriors, or hackers – and this will be determined by the instructor. Prior to the first in-class part, students need to have read the entire essay. Each group is to annotate the essay in one of, at minimum, two ways. First, each group will highlight the parts that are specifically relevant to their perspective in one color. Second, in the margins, students should, in short form, paraphrase at least seven “key points” relevant to their particular position.

The two parts of this assignment will move students towards being able to complete the 4th project. Finding the “voice” of these different perspectives, identifying key points, articulating critiques or counter-positions, and, especially, discussing larger theoretical implications might be difficult without annotating and taking apart a longer, scholarly article.

Step1: Students will meet for 25 minutes in their individual groups: wizards, bureaucrats, warriors, and hackers. For the first 15 minutes they should compare – page by page – their individual annotations, focusing especially on the highlighted sections. For the next ten minutes, they should try to come up with a short list of ten key principles, ideas, or issues that are relevant to their particular perspective.

Each group should then, for 5 minutes or so each, report back their list of key points. These will be posted on the blog by the instructor or a student as they are presented. Afterwards, class discussion might focus on what large issues are central to all perspectives and then differentiate between specific ideological or political concerns relevant to these different groups.

Between classes: Groups will work on creating 5 blog posts per group that do two things. Blog posts should focus largely on the perspective of their group and they should be about further information that Rosenzweig mentions in his essay, sources that he uses, or outside information that students find that seems directly relevant. Students need not have read these sources, but blog posts should show exploratory work and preliminary research. At least three of the sources should be materials found through CUNY+.

Note: Doing this work will enable students to learn to do specific exploratory research beyond random Google searches, to be in dialogue with specific issues in a piece of scholarly writing, and to begin using CUNY+ resources. Students should become more proficient at looking at a number of possible resources and skimming or reading summaries and abstracts to determine relevancy and also looking at table of contents or indexes.

Guidelines: Each blog post should be at least 200-250 words and have some combination of text, images, video, or hyperlinks. Each post must have at least two of these things in it. Students should not just summarize or cut-paste long quotes. Rather, students should discuss the possible relevancy of a source or link to their issue.

Individual and collaborative authorship: Each student must create one new blog post for their group and also comment further on or add links to a blog post written by someone else in their group. Blog posts will be created on the main blog.

Step 2: In the following class, students will meet in their groups for 5 minutes to discuss presentations. Each group will then, for 10-15 minutes or so, present on their group of blog posts. Presentations should focus on two things. First, each group should further articulate the issues and information as it specifically relates to their issue. Second, students should, in describing resources looked up or researched, discuss how they specifically found things, especially with materials found through CUNY+.

Download:  Digital Revolution Pre-Draft-Annotation of Scholarly Essays (PDF)


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