COPYRIGHT 2000: JULIA KEEFER, PH.D. MidSemester Lecture: HOME SWEET HOME
WWII: During the first half of the semester you did very well with the in-class creative writing assignments opening your minds and expanding your linguistic talents with poetry, personal essay and narrative. You were able to write anywhere anytime as long as you could take into those inner resources. Now that you have to write a college term paper, many of you are getting writer's block. Keep writing, researching, thinking and read the following lecture carefully for ideas on how to help you structure your work. Although you haven't really mastered the APA format yet, most of your projects show possibilities for original research in the social sciences--visiting hospitals, corporations, hospices and homes. The challenge of the second half of the semester is to write a college research paper in a distinctive, orginal yet academic style which is more formal than personal writing, more analytical and argumentative than descriptive writing, and more linear than poetry. Most of you have already brainstormed your topic with interesting questions and extensive reading. This is a time to let the mind go, to wander where it likes, to ask irritating, confusing and embarrassing questions, to read and think and dream about the topic at all hours of the day and night. You have found interesting people to interview and places to visit but some of you do not have academic bibliographies. While the class theme lends itself to popular culture and business articles, you must include some scholarly articles written in APA or MLA style, and some psychology, philosophy, literary, or medical books in recognized academic disciplines. For contemporary research, the internet is best but while funky websites may offer original insights, you must also go to sites such as Medline for reputable scientific research. Keep collecting and organizing as many books, articles, interviews, audio and videotapes as possible, but don't get caught in a datasmog.
You may notice that during the first half of the semester, I encouraged a lot of personal writing in both weekly and in-class writing assignments. Personal essays provide the fuel for more original research because they come from deep convictions, memories, emotions, unique stories. While a college research paper is not a personal essay, some of the best ones grow out of your unique experiences. In the example, I could reflect on two memorable educational experiences that illustrate the thesis and antithesis. Years ago I received a Masters in Literature equivalent from La Sorbonne, Paris. While the Sorbonne is open to every student financially because it costs relatively nothing to attend, the stringent exams, difficult writing requirements, and the need for independent, disciplined, yet creative research, quickly weeded out most students. After every exam period, over half of the students flunked so that by the end of the first year, only about 10% of the original class remained. It seems that the objective is still to teach for the intellectual elite, although there is no apparent prejudice regarding income, race or other disability. One could argue that students must already come from privileged homes to be properly prepared but the list of graduates of the Sorbonne disproves this hypothesis. One thing is for sure-- there was no "dumbing down" at the Sorbonne. I passed all the exams, in part because of my ability to come up with original theses on a variety of topics, to argue my points logically and unconventionally, and to write quickly. I did not have to worry about the painstaking, detailed, relentless quantitative work of inductive research popular in so many American colleges. Because I went to the Sorbonne at the formative age of nineteen, it still has a profound influence on my teaching. From these experiences I realize the advantage of expecting high standards, of rewarding the best thinkers and writers, and of not tolerating laziness, or excessively dull-witted, unimaginative thinking. I also realize the dangers of an elitist approach to education, especially in a democracy. Of course we are talking about higher education, not the minimum requirements for every citizen.
On the other hand, as a fitness professional, I have to renew a number of certificates every two years, for which I need Continuing Education Credits. I must attend international workshops, do home study programs, and online tests. All of these certificate exams test convergent thinking through multiple choice questions. The texts are repetitive, easy to read, simplified at times to the point of being incorrect regarding subtle variations of the problem, but this seems to be the only way California can design multiple choice tests for an international group of instructors of all levels of cognition, aptitude, expertise and education. Almost all of the certiifiers are based in Los Angeles which is why the whole program bears a striking resemblance to mass media propaganda with its lookism, pretty packages, and and simple, easy applications. As such, the programs very rarely challenge me. Nevertheless, I get a review of the material, a few new exercises or concepts to think about, and a renewed understanding of the limitations of teaching for the mass market. I feel that the continuing education in my fitness career provides the best antidote to an intelligence that might become a little obtuse or esoteric if I stayed exclusively in academe. The goal of fitness education is to appeal to a mass market by dumbing down, making everything seem easy and simple. There are advantages to this. So I could pretend to be a full time fitness instructor and argue with that esoteric Sorbonne professor, creating an antithesis that says that "every student who comes to class must feel successful, no matter how challenged or disabled they are." But what about the elite students? Rarely does the mass market challenge them. But health clubs also don't teach exclusively for elite athletes or their classrooms would be empty.
By drawing on personal experience, creating two opposing personae out of my background and role-playing, I have matched the thesis with the antithesis. However personal writing must undergo a rigorous transformation to become suitable academic research writing. We must step back and look at the bias inherent in our point of view, at the personal qualities that color the research. Because I think so quickly, I have trouble teaching very basic courses over and over again, but a professor who is slow and methodical but just as smart if not more intelligent, might appeal to students I can't influence and obtain results I could never achieve. We must study other people who are different from us, expose ourselves to different studies, periods of history, approaches to the material. In the example, I should really investigate two or three other writing instructors in depth in order to get a little more objectivity. Ideally I would investigate the whole department. If you are doing just one hospice, psychiatric facility, corporation, person or family, you may need to expand your research through close textual analysis of a number of academic texts. When research stays on the personal level, it is called anecdotal. Different disciplines require different levels of objectivity. The purer the science, the more "self" is apparently removed from the results, yet the secret to the methodology of great thinkers like Einstein and Hawking is that they were willing to listen to their dreams and the simple, childlike questions that popped into their heads.For this paper, you can use "I" but you must identify yourself in terms of your research. For example, I identify myself as a WWII adjunct professor in the nineties, not as an ex-professional wrestler, which was another career I dipped into. I would not discuss all my childhood memories and biases and prejudices as if they were the objective findings of my research.
To avoid datasmog, you must have a steering wheel to drive your car through the data. This is the purpose of the thesis. When students are asked what their thesis is, they usually cite a descriptive clause as an answer: "My thesis is how we are addicted to the internet" or "My thesis is about how Rastas are different" or "My thesis is about Dorian Gray" or "My thesis is about how prisoners are denied a true home." These are topics, not theses. A thesis should be a complete sentence that contains a question, a statement and a dilemma that is big enough to grow throughout your paper and specific enough to limit your study to avoid excessive generalization. Some of you do have a thesis but it does not develop throughout the paper. A good thesis must weave itself around your evidence, making everything relevant. To do this, you must keep refining your thesis.
Think of a thesis as a long complete sentence: the noun, object and verb describe an action that contains the question and statement designed to solve the problem; the "or" encompasses the dilemma-- the juxtaposition of thesis and antithesis; and the subordinate clauses qualify the study to mitigate the logical fallacies incurred from too much generalization. For example: Should NYU Writing Workshop II Adjunct Professors in 1995 set high standards, seek to develop intellectual potential and demand rigorous, original work thereby risking bad evaluations, poor attendance, negative transferences to the professor, frustration, complaints to administration, and acting out or should they dumb down and pander to their adult degree students, reduce the complexity and ambiguity of the work and sell their courses like ice cream in order to be as popular as all the other products of a mass culture? Make sure your thesis is not a question that can be irrevocably answered "yes."
In 2001 very few questions can be answered that way. Even the statement "all men are mortal" can be contested with cloning. Do not pick a thesis and topic that is entirely materialistic. That is the danger and challenge of the home sweet home sweet. Home must be a metaphor, a symbol for more abstract intellectual issues. You are doing academic writing, not business writing or journalism, even though you may be doing timely interviews and field trips. Your thesis should contain words that are ideas that need defining, that must be interpreted. Part of your introduction involves defining. In the example, "intellectual potential," "negative transferences," "rigorous, original work" and other phrases must be defined according to what the researcher means. The English language has a huge somewhat vague vocabulary and has been spoken by so many people for so many years in so many places that defining is essential. You must also look at the implications of the sentence as an action of a subject performed on an object by a verb. Professors are doing something to students and students are doing something to professors.
This complete sentence implies a teaching problem. Students come to a course that demands painful intellectual growth. Adult degree students may not have the time, the background, the aptitude nor the inclination to work as hard as they should. That is the problem. The researcher offers two hypothetical solutions, preferably a thesis and an antithesis in order to clarify the argument, although there are usually more than two solutions. At the end of the research a compromise, an entirely different solution, or a question could be the new answer. However, working with a hypothesis allows you to explore your problem with a sharp focus, build your arguments and organize your evidence. The adjectives and subordinate clauses of the sentence qualify the study. You must use adjectives to be specific: for example, we are talking about NYU WWII adjunct professors in 1995, not any writing professor anywhere at any time. Most of you forget dates, places and demographics. This does not mean you could not have a historical or conceptual discussion in your paper that encompasses different times and places in order to emphasize the importance of the problem; it just means that your specific research is confined to a specific place, time and group of people.
It would therefore be possible to have a discussion about the theory and history of education, citing Aristotle, Locke, Rousseau, Dewey, contemporary cognitive scientists in order to give your problem depth and perspective. However, when you open up like that you must choose only the aspects of history and theory that relate to your thesis, that is what develops the most successful writing class. The purpose of limiting a study is not just to avoid fallacies but also to develop originality. In this age of recombinant and plagiarized internet culture, originality is increasingly important. We are not interested in how well you paraphrase and regurgitate the work of others-- we want to read about your original contribution to the field through experimental research in the social sciences, which could be qualitative or quantitative, empirical or more theorietical, or fresh interpretations of written material through close textual analysis. Therefore limit your study so that you can control the data, all the while being open to new knowledge and possibilities. In the example given, the researcher will obviously observe writing classes, interview students and professors, and record changes over a period of time, let's say 1995 to 2001.
You may also want to compare and contrast two or more studies, people, places, works of literature etc. in order to clarify and distinguish characteristics. In scientific drug studies researchers give one group the drug, another group the placebo and then they compare results. Many literary critics compare and contrast different works of literature. You may compare and contrast two or more nursing homes, prisons, hospitals. In fact it is best if you do so. Likewise in the example, it would be more effective to compare writing classes in 1995 with writing classes in 1980 or writing classes in another country, or follow the same professor for the next 6 years until 2001 which is what we will do in the example, all the while being solicitous of time, place and demographic limitations. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the comparison/contrast is the thesis however. For example, many literature majors say "My thesis is about how Keats differs from Shelley." This may be a good start but it is purely descriptive; it leads to a grocery list of categories, not the development of an argument with thesis and antithesis. If you don't control the comparison and contrast with a thesis, you will lose your focus as you collect more and more information. Remember that a thesis is a ribbon that must be wrapped around all your presents.
Some students can't get a thesis until they have done extensive research. This may because of the nature of the problem, the complexity of the topic but usually it is because the student's mind works more easily in an inductive fasion, moving from the specific to the general. If your mind works this way, you must go to the library after the first class of the semester and start reading as much as you can as fast as you can; you must constantly ask questions and brainstorm with colleagues to try to develop hypotheses; you must think of your brain as a camera and zoom back to a wide angle lens to see the big picture. The problem with inductive thinking is that it can lead to so many fallacies of division and composition. For example, examine this syllogism: The candies that I took from this bag are made of chocolate. The bag is full of candies. Therefore all the candies must be made of chocolate. So many drug studies are based on this thinking. A drug company wants to convince everyone that Viagra is good for every man who wants a fuller, more long lasting erection. Therefore they do studies, picking men who will probably respond well to the drug. Based on their limited studies, they then assume that all men will do well with Viagra. Over the years we may see that this is not entirely true, especially because of its cardiovascular implications. Therefore inductive thinking, unless it encompasses a wide range of studies, can lead to fallacies because it is based on probability.
Don't worry about this too much for this course-- just do your studies as best you can, but be skeptical when you read specific studies. If you are primarily a deductive thinker, you see the big picture and can easily develop hypotheses on almost anything. This is great but only if you can eventually do the detailed work to prove your hypothesis. Because you have so many ideas you may have to work with more than two or three as you do your research. You will have to read very carefully instead of always quickly. You will have to keep filling in the details. Deductive syllogisms are classically based on truth such as: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is mortal. At the beginning of the twenty first century knowledge is so complex and abstract that deductive syllogisms can sometimes become reductionist and too simplistic. If your ideas seem trite, simplistic or formulaic, go deeper, examine more thoroughly, and develop layers of complexity. The best researcher combines inductive and deductive thinking like an accordion, moving gracefully in and out like the zooming of a camera lens.
If you examine the example carefully you will see the assumptions. It implies that most students are ill prepared for WWII and that they will resent painful intellectual growth and look for someone to blame when they don't "get it" right away or when they don't get the A that they want to continue to get money from their corporation. To defend or challenge this assumption, one would have to describe the students-- their age, background, proclivities, objectives, schedule etc. The example also implies a somewhat defensive position on the part of the adjunct professor who is not only badly paid, but in the precarious position of having to have her contract renewed every semester. As we begin to think about all the aspects of the problem, we can start to go around in circles the way a child does when it keeps asking questions. In a way, logic is recursive but try to build your castle before you tear it down. You may be frustrated by the binary nature of the dilemma, that you see in topics like for or against capital punishment or abortion or euthanasia. Your answer may be "It depends, because there are so many variables."
This is where fuzzy logic comes in. Fuzzy logic is not fuzzy thinking in a vague way as if you were drunk. It was created in reaction to the rigid blueprints of Aristotelian logic. It's the kind of thinking that allows Japanese air conditioners to adapt to subtle climactic changes. It is based on a complex graduated system of cause and effect that encompasses the unpredictable as well. As we know, life does not always fit into neat logical packages. As you investigate your problem, you will have to describe the conditions, the exceptions, the variables that complicate your hypothesis. Don't avoid or ignore these in favor of a pat solution. Some of the best research ends by saying "I was wrong" or "I found a completely different hypothesis" or "My antithesis is true" or "I don't know." But this does not mean that your paper should be vague and disorganized. We want to know why you came to this conclusion. In the example we will see that some students want to be intellectually challenged, even if it means painful growth, sacrifice, confusion, frustration. But the question is whether the majority of the class seeks this kind of challenge and whether it is more important to develop intellectual potential or create an easy, pleasant learning experience. Or is there a way to do both?
As the researcher follows students over the six year period from 1995 to 2001 the trend may change. For example, there may be more students who want to be intellectually challenged, who relish an extensive reading list, provocative questions and problems to solve, complex, fast-paced lectures and demanding, original work to do on their own. Does the professor cater to these students even if it means losing some of the slower ones? Is there a way to have the advanced students help the more challenged ones? Could the entire class occasionally benefit from going back to basics and asking simple, seemingly obvious questions. The question constantly arises: For whom does one teach? Implied in that question is that one must teach the whole class. Is there a way to teach differently for different students? As these secondary questions creep into your research, incorporate them, don't discard them. Restate your thesis in terms of new discoveries. That is how you refine your thesis. As you refine your thesis go back to your evidence.
Organize your bibliography in terms of those who most support your thesis and those who support your antithesis. You may say "But my work isn't argumentative. It's not about capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia." If you look deeply enough, most research implies an argument. There are very different ways of interpreting literature, history, philosophy. While much testing in health science involves multiple choice questions that seek a right answer, therapeutic practices reveal that there are very different ways of treating a patient. For example, some doctors may want to treat back pain with drugs and bed rest, others with exercise and massage. Some corporations may favor telecommuting because it saves money and enhances creativity; others may disfavor it because it discourages conformity and accountability. As you brainstorm, collect evidence, makes notes, and develop your style, but keep organizing.
Organizing is different from logic; it is more akin to housecleaning,
finding a place for everything and putting everything in its place. But just
as a house can be clean, tidy and visually pleasing but empty of any deep significance
or meaning to its owners so a paper can be organized well like a business article
but lack a logical structure in the academic sense. You need both logic and
organization and this means a good outline. An outline is not a grocery list.
The reason students stop at the grocery list is because they think of topics
and categories but they don't weave the thesis around them. Sometimes they still
haven't developed their thesis enough and that thesis "ribbon" is too thin and
frayed to wrap around the presents. Or the presents themselves are empty or
You must have a balanced bibliography of excellent primary and secondary sources in order to provide the evidence needed. In the example I could just do interviews of students and professors and make my own conclusion from that. But an academic paper requires that I frame my research in the field. I must read similar studies in education journals, and possibly engage in a theoretical discussion based on the theories of recognized philosphers and educators throughout the ages. I can't get distracted by this work; I have to stick to my thesis but I need to relate it to the academic community at large. The outline is best organized like a matryoshka doll, I, A, 1), a), i. embedding statistics or quotes, depending on whether it is APA or MLA, in increasingly smaller topics until you get to your statistics or quote. In a 15 page paper you can have around VI divisions. Write a complete, complex sentence for each division that reflects a variation of your thesis statement and that refers to the evidence presented in that division. Choose around three subdivisions of that division under A,B, C. Divide each subdivision into categories such as 1), 2), 3) and each category into subcategories a), b), c). Each subcategory divides into statistics and quotes. By organizing your evidence in this fashion, you avoid the logical fallacy so often used by the media to just quickly cite a statistic to prove a point. You can find statistics to prove anything. Let's see how you develop your argument.
To write a good outline, you must have a developed, refined thesis and antithesis, specific studies or texts organized by categories, a good overview of the discipline, definitions for all your concepts and a curious, but patient mind. Don't be frustrated if everything does not fit together as perfectly as a matryoshka doll. This is the frustration an attorney feels when piecing together a circumstantial evidence case. Expose the holes in your research, discuss and analyse them, and keep asking questions. Let the reader investigate the problem with you. But do not stop at a grocery list because it means you have made no attempt to use your research as evidence to back up the development of your thesis. If we want to write a six part essay from the example we could choose four divisions based on the subordinate clauses or qualifying adjectives to include a discussion of the goals of education in terms of intellectual potential, the psychological transferences that occur between and among professors and students, the evaluation of professors by students and admininstration as well as hiring and firing procedures, and finally the consumer culture that encourages the dumbed down approach to learning. This is the tricky part because each of these topics could lead to encyclopaedias of theory and fact.
The first division of the paper could clariy the thesis, give a background and history, examine the problem, and hint at or describe the procedures for solving it. The introduction should include definitions as well as a brief review of the literature if necessary. However some students make their introduction as long as their paper, describing the very basic facts and theories of the field. This is not necessary. Write for an educated audience, not The New York Post. To use a cliche you understand, cut to the chase. Naturally you must frame your work in an academic context but assume your readers are already professionals in the field. Otherwise you will spend all your time repeating common knowledge instead of focusing on your original contribution to it.
The second division of the paper deals with the most important objective, which in this case, is to encourage better thinking and develop better writers. The process is just as important as the product of a final research paper especially because so many final papers can now be bought for as little as $39.95. A good professor must see the growth that leads to the paper, hence the need to define intellectual potential, painful growth and high standards more extensively.Even though the study itself may be confined to a specific time, place and group of people, we can jump around in history and philosophy to find evidence for our conceptual discussions. We can turn to the great educators of Classical Greece, Italy, France, America. For example, if we wish to include thinkers like Aristotle, Socrates, Locke, Rousseau, Dewey, Montessori, Gardner, Postman in a discussion of the goals of education we must not drown in their work but choose only those passages that could pertain to making adult degree students better thinkers and writers. We must constantly remind ourselves what we are NOT talking about. Therefore while we may discuss the value of respecting the different cognitive domains of our students according to Gardner, we must remind ourselves that the goal is to become better writers, not necessarily better mathematicians, artists or musicians, although developing creativity in one area could certainly overflow to others. We must also respect the historical context of each theory, realizing the needs of students who live in the datasmog at the turn of the twentieth century.
After discussing all these issues, we must bring them back to our thesis so that we have a refined definition of intellectual potential and how to encourage it, a deeper awareness of the impediments and facilitators of good writing. We must restate the thesis with this refined definition of intellectual potential and high standards. This creates a problem which could be solved by a multimedia approach to writing, allowing students to develop web sites incorporating images and sound as well as different formats in their journey towards the standard college research paper. By having the work of the great education thinkers readily available for them to peruse online, students can also be aware of what their professor is worrying about and make their own suggestions and contributions. Socrates developed intellectual potential through the relentless nature of his Socratic dialogues. This can be done in a traditional discussion/debate mode in the bricks and mortar classroom or through discussion threads in a listserv. Adjunct professors usually do not have regular weekly conference hours during which they can consult privately with students, another reason why it's hard to develop the intellectual potential of each student. But through email, students can express their frustrations and hopes (not why they couldn't come to class or what they missed) for their writing. We see that after researching the second division, we are developing the prescriptive aspects of the paper, a creative new solution to the binary dilemma presented in the introduction. WWII NYU adjunct professors could allow adult degree students to exercise individual cognitive domains through a multimedia approach to student websites which show all kinds of writing, a listserv that encourages regular discussion, one-on-one mentoring through email when meatspace contact is impossible, and access to stimulating, extracurriclar lectures online.
When building the arguments it's important to see the transitions between sentences, paragraphs and divisions. As we look deeply into the concept of "high standards," we may choose to look at its antithesis-- low standards, or dumbing down for the mass market. After questioning most of the students we might find that they grew up with television and that they still regularly watch TV every night for a few hours when they come home from work. They may even keep the TV on while reading, writing, studying. NYU is situated in Manhattan, the world capital of advertising at the end of the twentieth century, and students are so used to sound bytes that it is hard for them to concentrate on abstract intellectual material for hours at a time. When this abstract material is complex or ambiguous, it makes matters worse, as lawyers, politicians, and the media are constantly reducing concepts to jingles. Adult degree students just aren't digesting or remembering the long, complicated and frequently obtuse writing in academic research. So what does the beleaguered professor do now? How does she solve this problem? By setting up her own website with lectures, sources and links, interspersed with colorful fonts and backgrounds, enticing or startling images and other ploys to get attention. She does not choose to actually dumb down the material but rather to make her website so interesting students want to surf it. She may upload pictures of herself, personal facts and her own articles to develop a strong web presence. In other words, she tries to make concepts as appealing and sexy as the latest packaged good. The researcher then restates the thesis:WWII NYU adjunct writing professors can make difficult, abstract concepts more palatable to adult degree students at the turn of the century by creating their own websites, using colorful images and the creative combination of objective and subjective data to make academic material as appealing and sexy as perfume, or as delicious as ice cream.
The researcher then does a website analysis of this mushrooming site over the six years to see how it changes in response to students' needs. This leads to another problem-- psychological transference. The students may love the website so much that they transfer to the professor. Since the professor now has a strong web presence and dazzling website, is choosing the standards and evaluating the students accordingly, and acting as mentor for intellectual growth, it is natural for students to make negative as well as positive psychological transferences which may interfere with potential and performance. Therefore, this seems like the most logical problem to explore next. Again, we may choose to jump around in time and place to find thinkers to support our ideas. We may read Freud, Melanie Klein, and contemporary psychoanalysts only to get evidence to support our findings on the transferences and counter transferences between professors and adult students (who may be close in age) as they affect the performance and intellectual growth during the semester. Again there are so many variables and degrees that would affect the binary nature of our thesis.
If the professor is also a psychoanalyst or has an extensive background in that field, if she is excessively motherly, or naturally sexy, or cold, aloof and androgynous, she will have a different kind of influence on students. Likewise some students benefit from transference while others do not. However adult students are not normally in a position where they have to have this transference the way a young child would. The researcher's conclusion to this problem might be to try to offset negative transferences by having the students write for a wider audience such as the World Wide Web. The promise of uploading final papers not only puts performative pressure on students but reminds them that they are, in fact, grown up and worthy of a grown-up audience that transcends the limitations of their professor. The thesis must be restated in terms of this new evidence. WWII NYU adjunct professors could mitigate the possibility of negative psychological transferences by having adult degree students write for a wider audience, the World Wide Web, and upload their final research papers to those creative web sites begun earlier.
We still haven't solved the problem of faculty evaluation. Interviews and field work might demonstrate that adjunct professors are only rehired after the administration reviews favorable student evaluations, usually given midway through the semester when students may be the most frustrated. Faculty are also evaluated in terms of attendance and enrollment. Because adjunct faculty can rarely use research or publications to offset negative evaluations, they are prey to the whims of their students and forced to be popular. The problem is rephrased: "How can one be popular when forcing students to work harder, more rigorously, carefully, and thoroughly than they want to work?"
At this point we may quote Skinner or one of the behaviorists to see what they did in similar circumstances. If the work itself goes through difficult times, is there anyway to push the students through it with the promise of a reward? In grade school they are given gold stars and parties, so why not have a party? Suddenly the researcher develops the idea of a Cyberperformance, an end-of-semester party when students can eat, drink, be merry, role play, project their webfolios on a big screen and celebrate their painful achievements. At this point Cyberperformances are instituted with one professor who is then followed until 2001. This involves photodocumentation of the Cyberperformances and how they improved professor popularity as well as celebrating the students' accomplishments. Cyberperformances also provide a live forum to which administrators are invited to see how successful the semester actually was. Sometimes this is more effective than computer printouts of numerical evalutions. But the thesis must be restated here in terms of the evidence: WWII NYU adjunct professors could improve popularity with an end-of-semester Cyberperformance where students can eat, drink, be merry, dress up in costumes, and project their webfolios on the big screen, which could act as living testimony to the accomplishments of the students, providing a more memorable evaluation of the professor's work than the standard faculty evaluations.
In division six, the conclusion, the researcher could restate the findings in all sections, explaining how judicious use of the internet and online pedagogy could solve the binary dilemma presented in the introduction. This would involve webfolios, listservs, a faculty website and cyberperformances in addition to traditional lecture, discussion, Socratic dialogue and one on one mentoring. The researcher is now taking a position regarding education, showing how to integrate technology and the world wide web with the best of traditional teaching to solve a specific problem. WWII NYU adjunct writing professors could develop intellectual potential, improve standards, appeal to all levels of student aptitude and background instead of dumbing down or favoring the elite, avoid or lessen negative psychological transferences, bad evaluations, and poor attendance by combining a creative use of computer technology and the internet with the best aspects of discussion, debate, oral presentations, lectures and library research. The following is the sketch of an outline based on the example. Naturally the subdivisions, categories and sub categories would be filled in with specific readings if the essay were written. It is difficult to fill in an outline until you have analysed the sources in your three page bibliography and know what quotes, what theories, and what statistics pertain to your work. Therefore, you too, could do a blueprint like the following and fill it in as you choose your best evidence. For now, just look at the larger arguments and how they grow from the binary dilemma to the prescriptive conclusion: (Note that html makes indenting difficult--do this on your own because you don't have to upload outlines.)
I.: Should NYU Writing Workshop II Adjunct Professors in 1995 set high standards, seek to develop intellectual potential and demand rigorous, original work thereby risking bad evaluations, poor attendance, negative transferences to the professor, frustration and complaints to administration, or should they dumb down and pander to their adult degree students, reduce the complexity and ambiguity of the work and sell their courses like ice cream in order to be as popular as all the other products of a mass culture?
1) intellectual potential
2) rigorous, original work
3) negative transferences
B. Historical Background
C.. Review of Literature
1) Similar studies in field II.WWII NYU adjunct professors could allow adult degree students to develop intellectual potential and improve standards by exercising individual cognitive domains and creativity through a multimedia approach to student websites which show all kinds of writing, a listserv that encourages regular discussion, one-on-one mentoring through email when meatspace contact is impossible, and access to stimulating, extracurriclar lectures online.
A. Intellectual Potential
1) Socratic dialogue
2) Gardner's cognitive domains
B. High Standards
a) Possibilities of plagiarism and templates
a)Difficulty of evaluating process
III.WWII NYU adjunct writing professors can make difficult, abstract concepts more palatable to adult degree students in 2001 by creating faculty websites, using colorful images and the creative combination of objective and subjective data to make academic material as appealing and sexy as perfume, or as delicious as ice cream. Again examples or statistics would occur with i. ii.
A. Madison Avenue rules for creating a pleasing product
1) pleasant to look at
2) easy to use and understand
3) 24 hour accessibility
4) trageting deep human needs such as desire for sex, power, comfort
B. Application to Faculty Websites
1) how to use Adobe Photoshop to enhance web development
2) how to simplify material without dumbing down with buttons, bullets, and a user friendly interface
3) the web is accessible 24 hours a day-- it's also immortal as long as you back up your files
4) ways to create a new persona for the online professor
IV.WWII NYU adjunct professors in 2001 could mitigate the possibility of negative psychological transferences by having adult degree students write for a wider audience, the world wide web, and upload their final research papers to those creative web sites begun earlier.
A. Psychological Transferences
a) oedipal transference
3) Contemporary theories
B. Effect of Transferences on Performance
V. WWII NYU adjunct professors in 2001 could improve popularity with an end-of-semester Cyberperformance where students can eat, drink, be merry, dress up in costumes, and project their webfolios on the big screen which could act as living testimony to the accomplishments of the students, providing a more memorable evaluation of the professor's work than the standard faculty evaluations.
A. Faculty Evaluation
1) Student computer printouts
2) Faculty observations
B. Cyberperformance Documentation as an alternative evaluation
VI.WWII NYU adjunct writing professors in 2001 could develop intellectual potential, improve standards, appeal to all levels of student aptitude and background instead of dumbing down or favoring the elite, avoid or lessen negative psychological transferences, bad evaluations, and poor attendance by combining a creative use of computer technology and the internet with the best aspects of discussion, debate, oral presentations, lectures and library research.
One of the most difficult things to do after you have been working on a paper for a while is to renew your commitment to it. Just as many people prefer the chase and conquest parts of a relationship to the commitment phase, so many students get sick of their thesis, bored with their research, or frustrated with their limitations. Nothing in life is perfect and you can't suddenly change your topic at the end of the semester. How can you work with what you have? What new angles can you explore? How can you keep your mind open while staying on your thesis track? How can you see the problems and solve them? How can you admit that everything you have been doing is wrong? How can you just acknowledge the limitations? All research is flawed.
Close Textual Analysis
We can't read everything the same way. Some books can be chewed, swallowed, thrown up, tasted, nibbled, memorized, forgotten or torn up. When perusing a huge body of technical data, you may have to read quickly, looking for how the thesis of the author compares to yours, quickly evaluating the abstract or germ of the argument. Great literature can be reread carefully at every time of your life. It should be savored with the senses in the same way that we would enjoy great sex, food, nature. Analysis is not meant to dissect and destroy its vitality but rather to enhance our levels of appreciation. Great writing provides not only momentary enjoyment but the inspiration to think deeply and understand new and different approaches to life. In objective academic research, we should find books to enjoy, ways to connect great ideas to our thesis, even if the exact topic is not similar. The biggest problem for beginning researchers is choosing what books to analyse carefully. In literature you read a quote out loud for days, reflecting on the choice and arrangement of words in terms of prosody, building the "matryoshka doll" from the inside out, looking at how the words reflect the descriptive style, narrative voice, orchestration of characters, choice of dialogue, sequencing of scenes, plot, dramatic structure, premise and theme, awareness of audience, moving in and out of the layers of meaning that those printed symbols convey. From this you construct your interpretation of the work which hopefully expresses a thesis as you focus on a particular kind of imagery, characterization, structure and rhythm. For example, you may study the themes of nakedness and disguise in King Lear, using specific quotes and actions from the play as evidence, or the themes of light and darkness, seeing and blindness in Oedipus Rex. You are working inductively but you need a deductive understanding of dramatic structure (Aristotle's Poetics as well as contemporary dramaturgy), kinds of narrative voice, character development, conflict, and transformation, descriptive techniques, prosody-- scansion and figures of speech. You should know the difference between dactyllic and anapestic feet, how to scan iambic pentameter, and the names of the major figures of speech including metaphor, simile, personification, assonance, consonance, alliteration, etc. In addition you want to place the work of literature in time and geography so you should have some historical, biographical and literary background. However, the most important "evidence" for all your theories are the author's exact words and your interpretation of them.
Close textual analysis isn't just for literature. It is one of the most useful techniques needed to do well in multiple choice science tests. As I stated previously, I must renew fitness certificates with Continuing Education Courses. By reading the texts carefully, in the same close textual analysis I would use for literary analysis, I am able to get 100 on all the tests. So many students with a science background don't do as well on multiple choice as they should because they lack the meticulous attention to language needed to decipher the variables in the multiple choice tests. Not only must we read the texts carefully, but during the test we must calm down enough to read every word in the questions and answers. Unfortunately it's by reading carefully that I see the subtle errors and discrepancies in the test itself, but since these are international standardized tests, there isn't much I can do about it. At least I always choose the "right" answer! As a professor I value divergent thinking as much if not more than convergent thinking. So while close textual analysis is important, the brain doesn't stop there. After learning the norms, ask yourself how and why you disagree, what would you change if in a position of power, and how can you imagine things differently? How can you play with and distort the information, put together different concepts and events to create new patterns, and compare and contrast things that aren't usually combined together? Keep saying: "Here are the rules. Now that I know them, how can I break them?" That also goes for everything I am saying in this lecture. :)
The greatest challenge for adult students is to transcend the literal, business-like way they read so that they can embrace the larger meanings and rich sensory fabric of the writing. This is also true in expository research writing except that so often you only use fragments of a source. Sometimes I say that WWII students should have the reference book beside their notebook or computer at all times to make sure that your writing is as important as what you are reading. But the visual sign of a successful intro to lit text is a well worn book of poems that has journeyed through bathtubs, beaches, subways and libraries with its owner. WWII should find texts they want to live with also and literature students should peruse secondary sources succinctly and aggressively for background material. Bad writing and sloppy thinking creep into our daily datasmog of email, newspapers, journals, TV jangles, websites, advertising posters. Sometimes you must clear the mind with meditation, erase the screen so to speak, so that you can hear your own thoughts and pursue your focus without being distracted by data. It takes knowledge, maturity and judgement to evaluate sources in order to choose what to analyse closely. In close textual analysis, you must always see the forest as well as the trees, stepping back with your wide angle lens to see above and inside those printed symbols on the page. But the printed symbols must be read very carefully and understood completely in order to do this. There is always a delicate balance between your creativity as writers and your allegiance and adherence to the text. For years universities stressed the importance of critical over creative thinking in the humanities. Both are needed. You should not be so in awe of the text that you cannot create words of your own. You should not be so stubborn and short sighted that you cannot be influenced and moved by the words of others. But the biggest problem in 2001 is that so many students lack the patience, depth, imagination and discipline to read thoughtfully and carefully.
The cumbersome, long winded sentences in the outline should not be repeated in the final draft of the paper. The outline is like the solid, but sometimes ugly foundation of a building. If the foundation is strong enough, you can design a gorgeous edifice. In other words, write with originality, humor, style and imagination. So much research writing is pedantic and dull because the researcher writes the way she constructs the arguement. We spent a good part of the first half of the semester developing your voice as creative writers. Develop a strong voice and distinctive style as a researcher. Needless to say, if you are writing a medical article for a nursing journal, you will have to do it their way, but the point of the university is to develop academic freedom and encourage self-expression when possible. The research style is more formal than personal writing: you must use complete sentences, well-structured, progressive paragraphs, and avoid slang unless it's in quotes. Some professors do not want you to use "I," contractions or even begin sentences with "But." In this course you can do all these things as long as you write grammatically correct sentences with no spelling mistakes. It is important to read your paper aloud to friends or colleagues or even to tape it to yourself, and to proofread slowly and carefully. Whether you are writing in APA or MLA format, you should use parenthetical documentation every time you quote. Footnotes or endnotes are unnecessary, especially since the papers will be uploaded. Your bibliography should include everything that influenced your work, not just works cited in your paper. It should be organized alphabetically, in MLA or APA format, with meticulous attention to the correct punctuation and spelling. Your bibliography should include books, professional journals, internet websites, interviews, and audio and/or video material. It should be varied reflecting different angles of your thesis and antithesis and up-to-date with a historical perspective or review of the literature that is academic. If you feel constricted artistically in the APA format which its categories of abstract, procedure, findings, discussion and conclusion, you may write in a more fluid MLA style provided that your research and organization follow the APA format. You may use the word "I," humor, description, different persuasive techniques and some personal observation as long as there is some objectivity in your research. However, you may not use the informal style of verbless sentences, slang, and impoverished vocabulary that is a part of most daily conversation and TV. Vary your vocabulary, sentence and paragraph length and structure. Do not be afraid to use complex, technical words or concepts. Write for an educated audience. You, fortunately, do not have to dumb down.
The course theme of Home, Sweet Home lends itself to multidisciplinary research in the health and social sciences as well as literature, philosophy and history. Home is a reality that can be investigated, leading to field work, interviews and empirical observation. You can analyse the personal home or the corporate home, the homepage of a website or the nursing home, the conquest or pillaging of homes in a war or the exile from homes in a natural disaster. As appealing as this theme is, it does present challenges to the adult student who is used to concrete, business writing. You must present abstract, conceptual work as well as materialistic research. There is nothing more basic than the human need to return home and all of the books of the literature reading list involve some kind of return home or establishment or division of home as a plot element. Home has a natural antithesis: adventure. It should therefore be easy to develop an antithesis to your point of view. Try to relate all projects to the course theme. It is another way of avoiding plagiarism and pre-packaged papers. I want to know that you wrote this paper now in this course.
Attendance, Punctuality and Performance: No matter how imperfect you feel or how intimidated you are by the challenges presented here, you must come to every class on time. Half the battle is over when you show up. I have gone over these concepts every day since the beginning of the semester. We are fortunate to have fairly small classes at NYU, conducted in workshop style, and you are always free to ask questions and initiate debate and discussion. Syllabi will be revised based on your needs as the above example indicates. You must write every week. If you can't do the assignment, write about anything related to your project, even if it is just a page. Discipline is the beginning of any performance. When you are absent, do not ask me what happened. It is your responsibility to get notes from a classmate. I give individual conferences only on your struggles with your work, not on what I have already covered painstakingly in class. While it is difficult to get an A, half of your grade is assured if you show up.
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