Our lesson this session is on cohesion. This connects with recent lessons on clarity and cohesion, and with our application exercise on writing business letters and in writing academic papers (writing the first paragraph of our concept papers based on our research note cards).
Our peer-editing and writing exercises made clear to us how to write individual sentences with clarity, and how we make one sentence flow smoothly into the following sentences in a paragraph. But more than clarity and cohesion, we also need to look at how we can highlight the most important idea in our pieces.
Classroom Exercise 2:
Our lesson this week is on cohesion. This connects with last week's lesson on clarity, and with our application exercise on writing business letters.
Now that we know how to write individual sentences with clarity, we can look into how "to design them to fit their context, to reflect a consistent point of view, [and] to emphasize our most important ideas" (Williams 45).
Chapter 2 of Williams's Style: Toward Clarity and Grace is our main reference in learning how to:
We will check for readable paragraphs by peer-editing each other's writing output (business letters) from last week. We will check for clarity of sentences, then read for cohesion of the sentences in paragraphs.
Classroom exercise 1:
Our reading assignment for next week's session include the following:
You need to read the first two items above for the online quiz that follows. You will need to read the third item in the reading list for the in-class activity.
Please answer the questions in the online quiz below:
Stanley Fish, in the first four chapters of his How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One (2011), points out that sentences are the building blocks of writing. He quotes Anthony Burgess's Enderby Outside:
...the words slide into the slots ordained by syntax, and glitter as with atmospheric dust with those impurities which we call meaning.
He continues by citing some memorable sentences from several sources: interviews of celebrities, a line from a character in a movie, a student essay, and so on. He says that these building blocks, these sentences:
promise nothing less than lessons and practice in the organization of the world. That is what language does: organize the world into manageable, and in some sense artificial, units that can then be inhabited and manipulated. If you can write a sentence in which actors, actions, and objects are related to one another in time, space, mood, desires, fears, causes, and effects, and if your specification of those relationships is delineated with a precision that communicates itself to your intended reader, you can, by extrapolation and expansion, write anything: a paragraph, an argument, an essay, a treatise, a novel.
Fish makes writing sentences sound easy. He tells us to remember two things:
The structure of logical relationships Fish refers to are the "structures of logic and rhetoric within which and by means of which meanings...are generated."
As Ben Yagoda asserts, in Chapter 2 of The Sound on the Page, the meaning of a sentence we want our readers to comprehend should be what we intentionally had in mind when crafting it. He harks back to Cicero's classification of styles, and states his preference for the middle or transparent style. He quotes Richard Lanham's definition of the middle style:
The middle style is the style you do not notice, the style that does not show, ideal transparency.... The "middleness" of the middle style will lie...in the expectedness of the style.
Most style manuals like Strunk and White's also favor the middle style, but do applaud the writer who displays an aptitude in using the grand/high style in the right way (that is, for the right subject matter and the desired effect). That's why it's important to keep Cicero's classification (see table below) in mind when writing.
And, of course, the best way to achieve the right style when writing sentences is by writing and reading texts in the various styles. As Steven Pinker says, in Chapter 1 of The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century:
...[the] starting point for becoming a good writer is to be a good reader. Writers acquire their technique by spotting, savoring, and reverse-engineering examples of good prose.
And that's what he does for the rest of that chapter: he reverse-engineers (finding out how good prose is achieved) several chosen passages. Let's try that out, and then some. ✍
Ben Yagoda says the study of style began with the Greeks (as usual), though they might have called it "lexis" or "the way words are arranged," and associated that with oratory rather than with the written text (3).
Yagoda uses the pendulum as a metaphor for the history of style. He traces its beginning to Gorgias, considered the founder of oratory, known for his "elaborate figures of speech and hypnotic cadences" (click the link for an example of his prose). For his emphasis on rhetoric rather than "eloquent wisdom," Gorgias was criticized by Greek philosophers like Socrates and Plato (click link here). For Gorgias and the other Sophists, "the arrangement of words...can be an agent not only of persuasion but of beauty and expression as well," and that truth in language is not necessarily separate from truth in reality since "neither one [language and reality] can exist without the other." In contrast, Plato makes "a distinction between truth (the ultimate value) and verbal skill (which will tend to obscure truth)." Plato and his followers "[mistrusted] language...because of the irresponsible way it verges from reality" (4).
Aristotle, Plato's student, tried to "mediate between the two positions" by defending "rhetoric as not merely a series of ornaments or tricks but instead as an essential part of argument, investigation, and communication." He advocated a style "emphasizing clarity, transparency, and decorum" (Yagoda 5).
But Cicero, considered "the greatest commentator on rhetoric and style," swung the pendulum back. He "called for a union of res (thought) and verba (words); one cannot speak of expressing the same thought in different words...because in that case the though would be different." Cicero also codified rhetoric by classifying the five (5) faculties of classical rhetoric: invention, arrangement or structure, style, memory, and delivery. He also distinguished three (3) levels of style: high or vigorous ("magnificent, opulent, stately, and ornate"), low or plain (informal diction, conversational), and middle or tempered (a blend of high and low styles) (Yagoda 5-6).
References to style from Gorgias to Cicero revolved around the spoken text, and style referred not just to the speaker's "voice" but also the "delivery or presentation, as it includes body language, facial expression, stance, and other qualities that set speakers apart from one another" (Yagoda 6).
With the production of books during the Middle Ages, style was associated with the individual artistry of scribes. After the invention of the printing press and the emergence of individual authors, and when writing was read silently, style was seen in how "figurative language and rhetorical devices...[were used in] the choice and arrangement of words" (Yagoda 7). By the Renaissance period, the use of figurative language and rhetorical devices lead to what is called "ornate prose," exemplified by John Lyly, from whose Euphues came the word "euphuism" (Yagoda 8).
Post-Renaissance writers (like Francis Bacon, Montaigne, John Locke, Jonathan Swift) bring the pendulum back to Plato's side as they put stock in "simplicity, clarity, and humility as the great values in prose" (Yagoda 8). But by the 19th century, when publication became profitable for authors, the pendulum swings back to the side of Gorgias/Cicero once again, as "style-is-the-man [became] a commonplace"—with William Pater and the Mandarins (like Henry James) as its prime exemplars. Then it moves back to Plato's side by the 20th century, as writers like Samuel Butler asserted that "[a] man's style should be like his dress—it should attract as little attention as possible" (Yagoda 10).
And with the pervasiveness of mass media and new technology, there was less attention to writing well and to style. Some writers, perhaps as a reaction to this trend, "strove to forge a different style and form for each succeeding work, the better to suit its particular artistic needs and their own urge to 'make it new'" (Yagoda 17).
Another trend, brought about by literary criticism becoming an academic discipline, was a more "scientific" study of style. This brought about the popularity of "stylistics" as a branch of linguistic study. But this vogue lost currency as post-structuralism and deconstruction became more fashionable. The prevailing view soon became: "Style is not the man. It is not even the woman. It is, rather, the manifestation or symptom of core trends or truths next to which the personal projects of individual authors are puny and irrelevant" (Yagoda 18).
Such a viewpoint would make our study of style immaterial unless we make a case for it. So we quote Cyril Connolly: "Style...is a relationship between a writer's mastery of form and his intellectual or emotional content" (Yagoda 21). And it is in relation to the mastery of form, precisely because there is a lot of bad writing out there, that we make our point. ✍
So what is prose? What is style? Merriam-Webster's Reader's Handbook (1997) defines prose by its difference from poetry. Prose is marked by its "greater irregularity and variety of rhythm and for its closer correspondence to the patterns of everyday speech." Its similarity to ordinary speech hews to its Latin origins: prosa oratio (straightforward speech).
We readily recognize something as prose because it is usually written in paragraph form as compared to the lines of verse in poetry (see examples from Ernest Hemingway and Emily Dickinson below):
Aside from its form, we notice the irregular and varied rhythm in the paragraph as compared to the meter and rhyme in the verses above.
So if we talk about style as something distinct, we would point to Dickinson's poem rather than to the "straightforward speech" of the paragraph from Hemingway.
But it is prose style that we will study here. Ben Yagoda presents at least three ways of looking at prose style in his book The Sound on the Page:
While the first definition points to the basic rules in writing we learned since grade school, the second implies a more deliberate approach to composing our ideas on the page. But more than the conscious effort in writing, the second definition also suggest the appropriateness of choices made in composing written messages. This is what we'll try to master: how to make the right choices in writing copy for different genres, for different purposes, and for a variety of readers.
But why do we need to study prose styles? Why not just learn how to write?
Because understanding different prose styles will show us what the writer means through what, and HOW, it is said. It will help us imagine what the writer had in mind through how a piece is written. And because it will help us construct effective and appropriate texts ourselves.
And just like what Joseph Williams says in his "Preface" to Style, we'll focus our study of prose styles in business and corporate communication and in writing for media.
We'll also consider the four ways Yagoda mentions in studying prose styles. We'll practice tactical rules in good writing. We'll learn practical guides to achieving a particular style (depending on subject matter, purpose, audience, and genre). We'll also learn how to tone down generic characteristics of voice when content or message is more important. But we'll also learn proprietary principles when voice is just as important as the message.
And speaking of voice, Yagoda's third definition provides several metaphors. Answering a phone call, we recognize the person calling through his/her voice － the manner of talking, the choice of words, the tone used. Voice is also likened to one's fingerprints; it is something you are born with or into. But Yagoda favors the analogy of handwriting because it implies the individual's personality manifested in how one scribbles sentences on the page.
So we'll learn how to master our voices, make magic with our scribbling, and try out different handwriting styles. Let's see how we'll fare, this early in the term:
Classroom Exercise 1:
Classroom Exercise 2:
Joseph Williams, in his Style: Towards Clarity and Grace, accounts for two main reasons behind the proliferation of bad writing—historical and private.
Williams points to two main reasons for bad writing resulting from the historical development of the English language: (1) Latinisms and the inkhorn style, and (2) nominalizations. The first came about when borrowed words from Latin and other languages were "Englished" to express ideas in court or in other formal settings. The second is a stylistic trend among literate societies, according to Williams, where verbs are transformed into abstract nouns. Both causes lead to obscure and pompous prose (5-10).
[We'll learn more about how the English language developed, and how its development led to this historical reason for bad writing. But that's your homework for next meeting.]
Williams also mentions private causes for bad writing: (1) the use of pretentious language to sound more impressive, (2) grammatical amnesia caused by a memory of an English teacher who drilled students to write "perfect" sentences, and (3) "stylistic aphasia" resulting from a writer starting out in a new field with a different set of stylistic conventions (11-14).
Whatever the cause, historical or private, bad writing is what we shall learn to avoid. But how?
That's what we'll learn throughout this term: to write in a plain, simple, orderly, sincere, and transparent manner. Just like what Strunk and White as well as Zinsser prescribe. But we'll also try to learn how to construct sentences that are as "artful" (as Stanley Fish would say in his How To Write a Sentence) as they are appropriate and effective.
But first, we need to understand how prose got to be this way. Let's read up on the history of prose styles. ✍
COMA 109 or Prose Styles is a three-unit course where you'll learn how to analyze and practice different styles employed in prose works. This skill will help you write copy in your media production, public relations and advertising, and corporate or business communication courses. While the focus is on prose styles, you will also look into rhetoric and communication. Discussion and exercises will revolve around the role of persuasion in various contexts.
Make sure you've taken and passed the Introduction to Communication Theories course before registering for Prose Styles. The class will meet twice a week (an hour and a half per session) over a 16-week period. While classified as a lecture class, you'll be doing group and individual exercises (following the recommended learner-centered approach).
By the end of the semester, you're expected to be quite adept in analyzing and practicing the styles employed in various communicative formats. Specifically, you'd be able to:
To help you meet these expectations, you may refer to the following references below:
You'll be referring to these books and other source materials as you tackle the following topics [you may download a copy of the course syllabi at the bottom of this post]:
To answer these questions, you'll be assigned readings prior to class discussions. You'll also accomplish classroom exercises (individual or group), undergo peer writing exercises, and submit a final writing project (composed of your revised output from peer writing exercises). Your final grade will be computed from the sum of percentages earned from the following:
Aside from your academic requirements, you're also expected to attend not less than 80% of class sessions. You may refer to the Student Handbook regarding policies (and corresponding penalties for violations) on attendance and other academic concerns.
Points will be deducted from written requirements submitted late. Works that are found to be plagiarized will be returned for revision (only one revision allowed). Revised works will be considered as late submissions.
If you have any questions, please email your queries by posting on the comments section or by clicking on the mail icon on this page's footer. ✍
Here's a copy of our course outline:
Here's a TV documentary on how media influences and is influenced by audiences, especially teenagers. The documentary was made in 2001, but the insights one gets from watching it may still ring true for today's audiences.
We have a notion that media works as a check against the excesses in government and other monolithic institutions.
But Sheila S. Coronel's "Lords of the Press" (1999) reveals how government leaders have pressured proprietors to tone their newspapers' reports critical of these leaders' actions. To protect their business interests, media owners usually accede to these demands rather than face libel suits or tax audits.
On the other hand, media magnates are also known to use their newspapers to curry favors from the government as well as to influence public opinion towards their and their friends' business interests. While there are media organizations that "are merely mouthpieces of their owners," others enjoy lesser proprietorial intervention because of "the bargaining power of editors." As Coronel puts it (1999: 6-7):
Proprietorial meddling is open-ended and outcomes can vary. Some newsrooms are like marketplaces, where bargaining between journalists and owners occur, and where journalistic principles are often compromised, but sometimes also prevail.
With media operated as a mass-market business, ownership of media companies was limited among those who had the capital to fund newspapers "even if they lose money." After all, the "aim [of media moguls] is not profit but influence." It is no wonder then, as Coronel notes, that "[the] profile of newspaper ownership has therefore tended to follow the changing face of Philippine business" (1999: 8-9).
This reality in media production and distribution may be understood through the political economy of media approach. Paul Long and Tim Wall, in their book Media Studies: Tests, Production and Context, say that the political economy of media approach "concerns in essence [the study of] the nature of production and the conditions under which it takes place." The "political" refers to how economic factors are determined by political forces and other vested interests. They quote Vincent Mosco's definition of political economy as: "the study of the social relations, particularly the power relations, that mutually constitute the production, distribution, and consumption of resources." Long and Wall adds that this approach "[explores] the relationship between the range of meanings available in media and the underpinning economic interests and ownership across the different media spheres" (2009: 139).
Media groups, like those in the Philippines, battle it out under the capitalist system with its free market economy and laissez-faire competition. Media products are subject to the commodity relations determined by the modes of revenue generation [direct sales or advertising] that will ensure profits for the media companies (Long and Wall, 2009: 140).
With advertising as the dominant mode of revenue generation, Long and Wall cites Dallas Smythe's (1981) contention that an audience is the real commodity of media. Smythe contends that media constructs, promotes, and distribute texts for a specific demographic suited for advertisers. Programming is done for a common-denominator mass audience to maximize profits, and with media companies playing around with variations of the common-denominator programming to attract specialist audiences or niche markets (Long and Wall, 2009: 141).
With mass audiences and niche markets having fickle interests, media producers usually resort to branding (of formats, genres, stars, and so on) to ensure predictable consumption. And if audiences are commodities, their continued consumption of media products assures both media producers and advertisers a steady flow of revenue (Long and Wall, 2009: 142).
This may seem understandable, given that media corporations spend a considerable amount to produce media texts. Sometimes, these corporations practice economies of scale ("ways that a corporation can save money through size") that leads to the concentration of control and monopolies or oligopolies in the production and distribution of media products.
And this brings up the question of how media's role as the Fourth Estate, or as a check against the excesses of government and other monolithic institutions. Here's Noam Chomsky's take on how it operates, taking into consideration the political economy of media (Al Jazeera's Listening Post series):
A ghazal is an Arabic/Persian/Urdu poetic form that has become popular among poets writing in English. In its English version, the ghazal is made up of at least five stanzas of two-line verses with the same meter and with a rhyme scheme of aa ba ca da ea.... Some works that deviate from this traditional pattern are called "bastard" ghazals.
The traditional Arabic ghazal is usually about love that is unattainable or unrequited, though contemporary writers have used the form to deal with social/political issues (Marilyn Hacker's "Ghazal: The Dark Times" is an example). You may also find other modern ghazals in the Poetry Foundation website. Here's an example of a ghazal, one that is about the writing of ghazals:
Ghazal on Ghazals
For couplets the ghazal is prime; at the end
Of each one’s a refrain like a chime: “at the end.”
But in subsequent couplets throughout the whole poem,
It’s this second line only will rhyme at the end.
One such a string of strange, unpronounceable fruits,
How fine the familiar old lime at the end!
All our writing is silent, the dance of the hand,
So that what it comes down to’s all mime, at the end.
Dust and ashes? How dainty and dry! We decay
To our messy primordial slime at the end.
Two frail arms of your delicate form I pursue,
Inaccessible, vibrant, sublime at the end.
You gathered all manner of flowers all day,
But your hands were most fragrant of thyme, at the end.
There are so many sounds! A poem having one rhyme?
—A good life with sad, minor crime at the end.
Each new couplet’s a different ascent: no great peak,
But a low hill quite easy to climb at the end.
Two armed bandits: start out with a great wad of green
Thoughts, but you’re left with a dime at the end.
Each assertion’s a knot which must shorten, alas.
This long-worded rope of which I’m at end.
Now Qafia Radif has grown weary, like life,
At the same he’s been wasting his time at. THE END.
Are you ready to write your own ghazal? This will be part of your poetry collection due at term's end, so make sure it falls within your concept for your collection. Write your draft and upload it using this form.
Today's media audiences assaulted by "news" and "fake news" can learn some discernment from Roland Barthes's semiotic reading. This is taken from Al Jazeera's Listening Post series:
You may also be interested to watch the short videos on the works of Noam Chomsky, Stuart Hall, Marshall McLuhan, and Edward Said.
CW 120 or "Poetry I" is a three-unit course that focuses on "the art of poetry, particularly that of modern poetry, including a survey of the growth of its techniques" (2011 Academic Catalogue) and as " a workshop [course] on the traditional forms of poetry" (Revised BAE Curriculum). Students taking this course must have taken 12 units of English/Literature courses or accomplished a Consent of Instructor form.
The course aims to hone the students' poetic craft through the critical reading and discussion of selected texts, and through the production of individual poetry collections to be submitted for critiquing in workshop sessions. By the end of the semester, students should have:
The course is classified as a lecture and workshop class. Students will present their individual works for critiquing by their peers, and are expected to present a portfolio of their revised works at the end of the term. Students are also expected to have read selected materials to be taken up during class discussions and workshop sessions. Thus, students should come to class prepared for the scheduled discussion or workshop sessions.
Students must also refrain from missing classes and scheduled activities. They may refer to the University's Student Handbook regarding policies on absences and its corresponding penalties. They are also cautioned against plagiarism. Students commit plagiarism when they present as their own someone else’s work or ideas. Papers or projects suspected of plagiarism will be returned to students for revision. Repeated offenses will result in, depending on the gravity of the case: (1) a failing mark for the activity, (2) a failing mark for the course, (3) possible suspension/expulsion of students concerned (University policies will apply for the latter case). The rule for late submission will apply for plagiarized papers/projects returned for revision. Other forms of intellectual dishonesty will not be tolerated.
Students may access sources on the poetic craft as well as poetry collections found online or at the University Library. Some titles available at the University and CHSS Libraries are listed below. Specific titles of materials to be taken up during class discussions are listed in the course matrix.
Students will be assessed through formative and summative evaluation activities. However, only summative activities will be graded. Formative assessment will include participation in class discussions and workshop sessions. Summative assessment activities will include leading class discussions or workshop sessions, peer editing of poems discussed during workshop sessions, and the students’ final portfolios of their collection of poems organized around a thematic/conceptual framework.
Works for summative assessment submitted beyond the deadline will be marked one grade level down for each calendar day it is late.
Students’ performance will be assessed through formative and summative evaluations. Students’ output for summative assessments will be evaluated according to the rubric for specific activities (distributed prior to the activity). A student’s rating will be computed according to its corresponding percentage of the final grade: leading class discussions and workshop sessions (30%); peer editing of drafts (30%); and the final portfolio (40%).
The class meets twice a week, for one and a half hours per session, over a sixteen-week period, not counting dates for the final examination period (which will serve as deadline for the submission of final portfolios). After an orientation to the course, the class will proceed to the discussion of the following topics, and culminating in the workshop and revision sessions:
Media Arts 101 or "Media: History, Development, and Theories" is a three-unit course that looks into the nature, history, technological developments, operations, and theories relating to the different media. The course provides students an opportunity to do an in-depth study of media principles and processes which will better equip them in the writing and production in the different media. The course serves as a prerequisite for higher Media Arts courses. Students taking this course must have taken Communication Arts 101 (Introduction to Communication Theories).
By the end of the semester, students would have a good grasp of the historical and technological development of the different media as well as be adept in the application of media theories through the reading and creation of media texts. Specifically, they should be able to:
While classified as a lecture course, students will also be involved in activities designed to generate ideas for further exploration and for the production of papers/projects. The course is designed following the flipped classroom and active learning approaches.
Thus, students are advised to come to class prepared for the scheduled activity (see course syllabus handout). Students must also refrain from missing classes; they may refer to the University's Student Manual regarding policies on absences and its corresponding penalties.
To prepare for discussions and exercises, students may refer to the following sources found at the University and College libraries or access other sources available on the Internet. Handouts of other readings will be provided prior to their discussion in class.
Students will be assessed through formative and summative evaluation activities. However, only summative activities will be given numerical grades. Summative activities will include reflection papers, examinations, and the final term paper. For the final term paper, students should show their ability to apply the appropriate media concept, principle or theory in comprehensive analysis of their chosen media texts.
Work for summative assessment activities submitted beyond the deadline will be marked one grade level down for each calendar date it is late. Output suspected of plagiarism will be returned to students for revision, and the rule for late submission will apply for works revised due to suspected plagiarism. Repeated offenses for plagiarism will result in, depending on the gravity of the case: (1) a failing mark for the activity, (2) a failing mark for the course or (3) possible suspension of students concerned (University policies will apply for the latter case). Other forms of intellectual dishonesty like cheating during examinations will not be tolerated.
Students' performance in summative assessment activities will be evaluated according to the rubric for specific activities (to be provided prior to the particular activity). Students' ratings will be computed according to the corresponding percentages for the final grade: reflection papers (30%), examinations (30%), and the final term paper (40%). ✍
I'm assigned to handle HUM 3 (Humanities 3) this mid-year term (16 June to 24 July 2015). This is one of the seven General Education courses that our department offers (the other six includes: COMM 1 Dimensions of Identity: Understanding Ourselves through Reading and Writing, COMM 2 Exploring Ideas through Academic Writing, COMM 3 Effective Speech Communication, HUM 1 Adventures in Fiction, Poetry and Drama, HUM 2 Art and Society, and VISCOM 1 Visual Communication and Society).
The course was originally designed by Timothy Montes, who entitled it as "Significant Themes in Literature and Film." Tim's proposal provided the following rationale:
most literature courses are appreciation or introductory courses that introduce students to the different literary genres. This course, aside from introducing students to the beauty of fiction, poetry, drama and film, emphasizes the relevant themes in the content of these works. By making students apply aesthetic and philosophical concepts in the analysis of literature and film, they will learn to see how literature expresses the spirit of the age as well as the moral, social, and spiritual questions they address.
It was eventually approved and given the course code HUM 3, but with the title changed to “Search for Meaning: Philosophical Themes through Literature and Film.” HUM 3 is a three-unit course, with no prerequisites, and is usually offered every term.
HUM 3 fulfills the general and specific objectives of the Revitalized General Education program, namely (as quoted from the approved proposal):
By the end of the semester, HUM 3 students are expected:
To help students accomplish these objectives, they may refer to the numerous books on literature and film in the CHSS Library or access online sources through the Internet.
While the course is a lecture class, and while there will be short lectures on scheduled topics, students will devote most of their class time in generating ideas for further exploration in their required papers and other output. Class sessions will usually begin with a discussion of (or perhaps a short quiz on) the assigned readings or film screenings, to be followed by writing exercises and/or other class activities. After a series of class sessions, students will have conceptualized and produced the required output for grading.
I've redesigned the suggested 11 thematic groupings into three major units ("Fate, Faith, Freedom," "Passions Fleshed," and "Inferno/Paradiso"), bookended with introductory units and a concluding integration unit. At least one meeting per unit is devoted to a lecture on certain literary and cinematic elements or concepts. Succeeding meetings for each unit will involve students in discussions and individual/collaborative activities based on the selections listed below (titles are subject to change, depending on the availability of materials and equipment):
Orientation to the Course
The Search for Meaning, the Search for Truth
Making Meanings: Reading Literature and Film
Unit One: Fate, Faith, Freedom
Unit Two: Passions Fleshed
Unit Three: Inferno/Paradiso
Since HUM 3 involves a lot of reading and writing, as well as watching movies, students should come to class prepared for the scheduled discussion and/or activity. Students must also refrain from missing classes and scheduled exercises. They may refer to the university’s Student Handbook regarding policies on absences and their corresponding penalties.
Students will submit three individual papers corresponding to the units. They will also have regular exercises and the occasional short quiz based on the reading assignments and/or movie screenings.
Grades of papers submitted beyond the deadline may be deducted points for each calendar day the paper is late. There will be no make-up test for short quizzes since topics covered will be discussed during class sessions.
Students commit plagiarism when they present as their own someone else’s work or ideas. Output suspected of plagiarism will be returned to students for revision. Repeated offenses will result in, depending on the gravity of the offense, (1) a failing mark for the particular activity or (2) for the course, or (3) possible expulsion from the University (refer to the university’s Student Handbook regarding policies on academic dishonesty and its corresponding penalties). The rule for late submission will apply for plagiarized output returned for revision. Other forms of intellectual dishonesty like cheating during examinations will not be tolerated.
A student’s rating for every activity/output will be computed according to its corresponding percentage of the final grade: participation in class discussion (30%); individual/collaborative activities (30%); and the individual unit papers (40%).
Students may post their additional queries by clicking on the mail icon on this page's footer. ✍
Lebrun (2007) does not provide a body part metaphor for the methodology or materials and methods part of the scientific paper. But Katz (2006) likens the methodology section to a recipe, since it includes the ingredients (materials) and the step-by-step procedure for cooking (method).
Day (1998) says that the main purpose of the materials and methods section is "to describe (and if necessary defend) the experimental design and then provide enough detail so that a competent worker can repeat the experiments."
He also cautions writers that this section be carefully written since "the cornerstone of the scientific method requires that your results, to be of scientific merit, must be reproducible; and, for the results to be adjudged reproducible, you must provide the basis for repetition of the experiments by others.... [Or] the potential for reproducing the same or similar results must exist, or your paper does not represent good science" (Day, 1998).
Katz (2006) says more or less the same thing: "[the] core of a scientific article is the guarantee: 'If you follow my recipe, then you will get my results.'" He adds that the critical principle for this section is: "Every observation that you record in the Results section of your paper must be the product of reproducible procedures that are completely detailed in the Materials and Methods section."
I culled several tips on writing the methodology part for my students:
Lebrun (2007) likens the introduction to the "hands of your [scientific] paper," as it "provides guidance, greets, and introduces a topic not familiar to the reader," as well as "points to the related works of other scientists and to your contribution."
Katz (2006) says that the introduction "leads a reader from a well-known, easily visible landmark into the depths of science and right into the particular spot occupied by your paper."
Day (1998) says that the introduction serves "to supply sufficient background information to allow the reader to understand and evaluate the results of the present study without needing to refer to previous publication on the topic." He then points to the five parts of the introduction:
Katz (2006) provides a simple skeleton of the introduction:
Lebrun (2007) enumerates the purpose of the introduction for readers:
He then lists down the purpose of the introduction for writers (Lebrun, 2007):
Day (1998) presents several rules in writing a good introduction:
Likewise, Lebrun (2007) lists down the qualities of a good introduction:
I culled from the references some tips for my students:
The abstract is "the heart of your paper" (Lebrun, 2007). It should say: "We did. We saw. We concluded" (Katz, 2006). It is "a mini version of the paper...[and provides] a brief summary of each of the main sections of the paper. It should not exceed 250 words and...should be typed as a single paragraph" (Day, 1998).
Day (1998) classifies abstracts into two types: the "informative abstract...designed to condense the paper" and the "indicative (sometimes called a descriptive abstract)...designed to indicate the subjects dealt with in a paper."
Lebrun (2007) enumerates the qualities of a good abstract:
Day (1998), however, says that the abstract is "written in the past tense, because it refers to work done."
He also lists the purpose of abstracts for readers (Lebrun, 2007):
Lebrun (2007) also lists the purpose of an abstract for the writer:
He also points out what an abstract should NOT do (Lebrun, 2007):
Day (1998) adds that the abstract "should never give any information or conclusion that is not stated in the paper."
He describes the parts of the abstract and what these should do (Day, 1998):
Lebrun (2007) says that these four parts should answer the following questions:
I culled from the references some tips for my students on how to write the abstract:
The title of the scientific paper is the "face of the paper" (Lebrun, 2007). Titles are the most read part of scientific papers, mainly because they are free for readers to peruse. As such, they must be short as possible but must show the paper's contribution (Blackwell and Martin, 2011). Along with the abstract, titles are used in indexing and keyword searches and "form a small scientific report" (Katz, 2006).
What makes for a good title of a scientific paper? It is one that has "the fewest possible words that adequately describe the contents of the paper" (Day, 1998). Lebrun (2007) lists down several qualities of good titles:
Lebrun (2007) also lists down the purpose of titles for readers:
He also lists down the purpose of titles for writers (Lebrun, 2007):
I culled from several references some tips for my students to help them write titles for their scientific papers:
Listing the author/s and addresses
Writing down the authors is one of the most contentious part of doing the scientific paper. Day (1998) says that, "[unfortunately] there are no agreed-upon rules or generally accepted conventions [in listing authors.... [Though it] is now accepted form to refer to the first author as the 'senior author' and to assume that he or she did most or all of the research." He defines authorship as:
the listing of authors [to] include those, and only those, who actively contribute to the overall design and execution of the [study].... Further, the authors should normally be listed in order of importance [to the research conducted], the first author being acknowledged as the senior author, the second author being the primary associate, the third author possibly being equivalent to the second but more likely having a lesser involvement with the work reported. Colleagues or supervisors should neither ask to have their names on manuscripts nor allow their names to be put on manuscripts reporting research which they themselves have not been intimately involved....An author of a paper [is] defined as one who takes intellectual responsibility for the research results being reported.... ¶ Each listed author should have made an important contribution to the study being reported, "important" referring to those aspects of the study which produced new information, the concept that defines an original scientific paper.
Day (1998) recommends the listing of authors by their first name, middle initial, and last name. He advises writers to follow the journal's convention in listing addresses of authors, though convention usually follows the listing of addresses of multi-authored works in the same order as the authors. ✍
The BS Agribusiness Economics program sponsored a forum on Supply Chain last February 23, 2015. I asked my students to attend the event so they would have some material to work on for our next writing assignment: the Seminar Report.
A seminar report is simply a report about a conference/forum/seminar your institution required you to attend. The report serves as feedback on the time and money spent for your attendance. It may also serve as feedback to the conference organizers in terms of how they met the needs of their target demographic.
A seminar report usually runs not more than four or five double-spaced pages. It emphasizes the ideas presented during the conference/forum/seminar, with the ideas arrange according to main- and sub-headings (where appropriate). It may also include an appendix/ces of the relevant materials distributed during the event.
The seminar report is usually organized as follows:
Here are some tips I gave my students for pre-writing the seminar report:
Here are some tips I gave my students on drafting their seminar report:
I asked my students to write a Review Paper using the sources from the literature review part of research papers they submitted in their major courses. Like the Review of Related Literature in research reports, a review paper is "not an original publication" reporting research findings, but one that is written "to review previously published literature and to put it into some kind of perspective" (Day, 1998). Blackwell and Martin (2011) defines their purpose: "they review, or summarize, knowledge of the subject addressed...[and] critically appraise, relevant parts of many previous studies...rather than describing a single study."
Unlike the Review of Related Literature in research reports, however, the review paper is "the principal product." Some journals publish review papers meant "to compile and annotate but not necessarily to evaluate the papers on a particular subject during a defined time period.... [But other journals] prefer, and some demand, authoritative and critical evaluations of the published literature on a subject.... [Early review papers] tended to present historical analyses...[and] were often organised in a chronological order.... [But more recent review papers are] 'state of the art' reviews or reviews that provide a new understanding of a rapidly moving field" (Day, 1998).
Review papers are usually written following the IMRAD format, but with an expanded Introduction and Discussion part, and minus the Methods and Results (Day, 1998). A standard format would include (Blackwell and Martin, 2011):
Here are some tips I gave my students as pre-writing steps:
Here are some tips I gave my students in writing the review paper:
My BS Agribusiness Economics junior students will be writing works based on their previous papers submitted in their major courses. That means we can concentrate on the writing part; and that means I don't have to worry about the research protocols that may be unique to their discipline.
For their first exercise, I asked them to choose a scientific books they used in their previous studies. I limited their choice, however, to monographs and trade books. Scientific books may be classified into four types: (1) textbooks; (2) references like specialized encyclopedias, bibliographies, handbooks, etc.; (3) monographs or specialized texts written by scientists for other scientists; and (4) trade books or those "that are sold primarily through the book trade" (Day, 1998).
Having chosen a monograph or trade book, I asked them to analyze the readers the text addresses. While textbooks are meant for student readers and reference books may range from a general to specialized audiences, monographs are generally written for a specialized group of readers. On the other hand, trade books on agribusiness economics may include a general audience interested in the field but may also be valuable to specialists.
I reminded the students that their book reviews should do the following: (1) report on a book's contents and its treatment; (2) present an argument (the student's take on the book) and not just a summary; and (3) critically evaluate the book's contents and treatment for prospective readers.
I told my students to follow the book review format: (1) imprint information (book title, author, place of publication, publisher, year of publication, and number of pages), written after the title and separated from the body text; (2) introduction; (3) summary of contents; (4) analysis and evaluation of the book; and (5) the conclusion.
I gave my students the following tips before writing their book review:
Then in writing their book review:
After writing drafts of their book reviews, I asked my students to peer-edit each other's works. ✍
Got assigned this term to teach "Writing the Scientific Paper" for BS Agribusiness Economics juniors. The students, according to one of their professors, need to hone their skills in effective and clear writing. I'll focus on the "clear writing" part then, and work with the students in enhancing their prose (specifically the scientific or technical style).
I'll be using mainly Robert Day's How to write and publish a scientific paper (5th ed.; Oryx Press, 1998) as reference. In his book, Day has very succinct step-by-step chapters starting with a definition of scientific writing, followed by a brief history, then a description of the scientific paper, and chapters on how to write the title of the paper, the abstract, the Introduction, and so on.
Other references that will come in handy include: John Blackwell and Jan Martin's A scientific approach to scientific writing (Springer, 2011), Michael Jay Katz's From research to manuscript: A guide to scientific writing (Springer, 2006), and Jean-Luc Lebrun's Scientific writing: A reader and writer's guide (World Scientific Publishing, 2007). Michael Alley's The craft of scientific writing (3rd ed.; Springer, 1996), Emmanuel S. de Dios's Form and functions: A guide to technical writing in Economics (UP Press, 2004), and John Kirkman's Good style: Writing for science and technology (2nd ed.; Routledge, 2005) are also valuable references for the nitty-gritty of constructing clear sentences and coherent paragraphs that make up an effective scientific paper.
Because scientific papers are written "to communicate new scientific findings" (Day, 1998) and "for recording meaningful scientific observations" (Katz, 2006), they have to be written clearly and with the use of appropriate language. But it wasn't that way when the first scientific journals, Journal des Sçavans (France) and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (England), were first published in 1665. It was only in the 19th century, with Louis Pasteur writing (but still with rather long-winded sentences) and introducing the IMRAD format, that scientific writing soon got to be "tightly written and well organized." The IMRAD format (short for Introduction, Methods, Results, And Discussion) became the standard and, because it saved page space, allowed science journals to publish more articles. It also "convinced [editors] that it was the simplest and most logical way to communicate research results" (Day, 1998).
For this term's class, I'll start off my students with a book review, one type of scientific writing usually given as an academic assignment. This will prepare them for writing other forms of scientific writing: the Review Paper "designed to summarize, analyze, evaluate, or synthesize information that has already been published"; the Conference Report, "a paper published in a book or journal as part of the proceedings of a symposium, national or international congress, workshop, roundtable, or the like"; the Oral Presentation, a condensed version of a research report read in conferences; the Scientific Poster, a poster presentation of a research report; and the Scientific Paper, "a superbly prepared research report" published in a "primary journal or other primary publication" (Day, 1998). I'll also be requiring my students to attend a forum or conference so they can write a Seminar Report.
Here's to a grueling term ahead (good luck to marking papers, too). ✍
As usual, I began with an exercise before discussing what makes up the study of media. I adapted an exercise on constructing a media diary from Long and Wall's Media Studies: Texts, Production and Context (2009), and gave my students the following instructions:
As usual, I began with an exercise as jump-off point for introducing what makes up communication study. I told my students to recall their reading of the opening chapters of Griffin, Littlejohn and Foss, and West and Turner. Then I gave my students (working by groups) the following instructions:
Using their answers to the exercise, we talked about how communication may be defined according to the elements they've identified and they've diagrammed how these elements function. We compared their definitions with the 126 definitions mapped by Frank Dance in his 1976 study. We also differentiated their definitions following Dance's three (3) points:
Using the various definitions (Dance's and the students'), we go into a discussion of how communication has been studied through time. We looked at Griffin's drawing (seen below) to map how communication study developed through the years:
This term I'll be handling two sections this course on media history, technological development, and media theories. The first time I taught it, my students and I approached the subject generally from a mass communication perspective: we took up the history of different mass media, the technological development of each medium, and issues and theories related to the transmission of information to mass audiences. We had the following references:
The second time I was assigned to teach the course, my students and I followed a media studies orientation, taking a more critical focus on the content, production, and effects of media communication (not necessarily for a mass audience; though we still discussed the history and technological development of the different mass media). We'll still follow this orientation this term. So aside from the references listed above, we'll also use the following:
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