Module 4

The purpose of Module Four is to revise Essay #1 rough drafts and move ahead with Unit Two, “Brief Argument.”

Objectives

The Module Four assignments will guide you toward the following objectives:

  • Engage in the process of revision to create and submit a strong, polished final draft of Essay #1
  • Gain a more in-depth understanding of academic argument
  • Demonstrate knowledge of academic argument in a quiz Identify a meaningful topic for Essay #2
  • Develop a working thesis and outline for Essay #2

Overview

Now that you have learned about rhetorical techniques and strategies that writers use to persuade readers to change beliefs, attitudes, or actions, you are ready to apply these techniques and strategies to your own written arguments. In this module, you will learn more about argumentation and begin to generate ideas for Essay #2, your brief argument essay.

Readings

Essay #2

The first reading for this module is the instructions for Essay #2. You will also want to glance through the Essay #2 grading rubric. Click on the titles below to open the instructions and rubric in separate browser windows.

WikiBooks

Oregon Writes Open Writing Text

Optional – Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL)

Additional Optional Readings

Below are links to two separate writing resources for writing that will help you with revision and with future pieces of writing. Click on the titles to open the resources in separate browser windows.

  • General Writing Resources: This section of Purdue University’s OWL site contains links to lessons related to grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and other areas.
  • Guide to Grammar and Writing: This website, which is sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation, contains extensive resources related to all aspects of the writing process.

Because all of you have different strengths and weaknesses concerning essay writing and grammar, you are not required to read all these online resources, but you should become familiar with them so you can bookmark and use the ones that will help ensure your essay is developed, focused, well-organized, appropriately formatted, and polished. Also, by becoming comfortable using reputable writing resources independently, you will develop skills that will help you write not just WRT 101 essays but professional and polished pieces of writing for school, work, and personal communication. Taking care to create polished writing will allow you to come across as knowledgeable, credible, organized, and articulate to your readers, no matter the situation.

Essay #1 Revision and Brief Argument: A Few Notes

Revision

Your main goal for revision of Essay #1 will be to push your rough draft to a strong rhetorical analysis essay. Keep all the feedback in mind while working to fulfill the main assignment goals and creating a substantive, polished piece of writing that represents your understanding of rhetorical analysis and grasp of college-level essay principles. The readings from the past modules should guide you as well.

Another helpful resource is tutoring. You should have access to tutoring services at your institution as a student, which is a great resource to use. If you do visit a writing tutor, be sure to provide the tutor with a copy of the assignment instructions so the tutor can know your assignment goals.

Brief Argument

Are you ready to write your own argument – to persuade readers to change in some way, perhaps by seeing your perspective, adopting your stance, or shifting attitudes or beliefs? Now is your chance! This unit will move quickly, as you will compose and peer-review rough drafts in the next module, so the sooner you decide a topic, the better.

Both of the online discussions for this module are aimed at helping you move forward with the essay. CD4a will give you an opportunity to brainstorm topic ideas, and CD4b will allow you to practice thesis statement development. The readings will help with thesis development, so be sure to use them to guide you. Keep in mind that a thesis statement typically fulfills the following criteria:

  • is a single sentence
  • is placed at the end of an introduction in an essay
  • expresses the writer’s main idea, or argument (or stance/position on an issue)

Note the following two statements:

  • Mega Transit Company workers in Deep Creek City began striking last summer and did not relent until a deal was reached 42 days later.
  • The Mega Transit Company strike proved to be a major financial and organizational burden for thousands of Deep Creek City residents, and to prevent inconveniencing the ridership in the future, all sides need to collaborate on a logical and fair multi-year plan for worker treatment and benefits, rider safety, and fare increases.

Only one of these is a thesis statement. Can you tell which?

If you chose the second, you are correct. How can we tell? The second is a thesis statement because it expresses a stance. It tells us what the writer believes about the Mega Transit Company issue. It is arguable – some could agree, some could disagree.

In contrast, the first statement simply reports information. This information is not reflective of a writer’s stance or position; thus, it is not arguable.

Use this example and explanation to guide you as you develop and discuss thesis statements for the CD4b discussion.

You can work ahead on Essay #2 by creating a working thesis statement and outline for your topic. An example follows below. You are not required to complete a working outline, but doing so might help you gain a solid plan for your brief argument essay and to feel more confident about writing a rough draft.

Essay #2 Working Thesis and Outline: Plastic Grocery Bags

Working Thesis Statement: “Deep Creek City should ban use of plastic shopping bags to protect and preserve the environment while increasing environmental responsibility in the community.”

Working Outline:

  1. Paragraph #1: Introduction
    1. Introduction of topic
    2. Thesis statement
  2. Paragraph #2: Background information about topic provided
    1. Explanation of how plastic bag use is a problem in Deep Creek City
    2. History of plastic bag use banning
  3. Paragraph #3: Explanation and support for how banning plastic shopping bags would protect the desert habitat
    1. Explanation
    2. Support
  4. Paragraph #4: Explanation and support for how banning plastic shopping bags would reduce waste
    1. Explanation
    2. Support
  5. Paragraph #5: Explanation and support for how banning plastic shopping bags would encourage responsible resource use
    1. Explanation
    2. Support
  6. Paragraph #6: Counterarguments
    1. Cost concerns
    2. Concerns about plastic bag alternatives
  7. Final Paragraph: Conclusion
    1. Sum up main points
    2. Emphasize how banning plastic bags would be beneficial for Deep Creek City
    3. Reveal final conclusions concerning the importance of being environmentally responsible when preparing for the future

Assignments

Discussions

CD4a: Essay #2 Topic Brainstorm

“Thought, Idea, Innovation, Imagination” by TeroVesalainen. CC-0.

The purpose of this Class Discussion is to begin thinking of ideas for Essay #2, for which you will be asked to use your strong knowledge of argumentative and rhetorical techniques to compose your own argument about a specific issue that affects your locally. First, it will be valuable to brainstorm ideas; with this in mind, use this discussion to discuss and share ideas about local issues. As noted in Module Three, “Local” means issues that concern communities of which you are a part. Specifically:

  1. First Post: Compose a post of about 150 words in which you note a specific issue that concerns you on a local level and that you feel would be a great topic to write about for Essay #2. Do a bit of initial research to find out more information on the topic. (Be sure to consider the credibility of your sources when you do your research.) You might even chat with friends, family members, and acquaintances about the topic to gain ideas and perspectives. In your post, describe: (1) the issue and controversy, (2) why you feel it is important, (3) your current stance or view on what should be done to address/solve the issue (your argument), and (4) why your stance/view is logical.
  2. Replies: Post at least three responses/replies of at least 100 words each to others in which you engage in a discussion of the issues. Maintain an appropriate academic tone when debating and discussing the issues, and use this as an opportunity to gain more insight into various perspectives concerning your topic and classmates’ topics. Use the ideas you gain in this discussion as you move forward with your argument. Note: You do not need to commit to whatever topic you post on here. You can change your topic if you’d like. Feel free to contact your instructor if you would like guidance with topic ideas.

Complete the above by the due date noted in the Course Schedule. Use this forum to gain a stronger understanding of “argument” and to begin thinking about a good local topic to focus on for Essay #2.

CD4b: Argument-Based Thesis Statements

The purpose of this discussion is to gain a more in-depth understanding of argument-based thesis statements. You can then apply the skills you gain to your own thesis statements. Be sure to read the Module Three readings and notes on the Module Three page for guidance with thesis statement development. Specific instructions:

  1. First Post: Create and post a one-sentence argument-based thesis statement. This statement can address any local topic. For guidance, reference the “Developing a Strong, Clear Thesis Statement” chapter from Oregon Writes Open Writing Text, paying particular attention to the importance of creating precise, specific statements that reveal arguable claims.
  2. Replies: Offer feedback for classmates’ thesis statements by answering the following questions: (1) Does the thesis statement reveal an arguable claim? (2) Is the thesis statement precise? (3)  Is the thesis statement specific? (4) What could be done to strengthen the thesis statement? Respond to at least three classmates and explain your answers in posts of at least 100 words.

While your statements should address local topics, you do not need to commit to a topic for Essay #2. In other words, the topic/issue you focus on may or may not be the one you focus on for your actual essay. The goal here is simply to gain skills creating strong argument-based thesis statements. Of course, the sooner you identify a topic the better, and if you are able to focus your thesis statement here on the topic you will write about for Essay #2, you will be able to get ahead with your Essay #2 rough draft.

Complete all of the above by the due date listed on the Course Schedule. Question? Please contact your instructor!

Dropbox

Essay #1: Final Draft

Complete and submit Essay #1 final draft via the Dropbox tool.

Quizzes

Quiz #2: In addition to participating in two online discussions, you will want to take Quiz #2, which contains nine questions and is worth twenty points. The purpose of the quiz is to test and strengthen your knowledge of thesis statements and source use. Material from the quiz is covered in the readings for this module. You can use any resources for the quiz, and you will have sixty minutes to complete it.

Looking Ahead

In Module Five, you will write and peer-review your Essay #2 brief argument rough drafts.

Quiz #2

1. The Module Four readings describe and define the concept of “thesis statements.”  With these pointers in mind, determine which of the following satisfies the requirements of a “thesis statement” for an argument essay.  (Select one.)

  • a. Tucson should create wide bike lanes along Speedway to reduce accidents and promote the local Tucson bicycling culture.
  • b. There are a lot of bicyling lanes in Tucson.
  • c. Tucson has spent millions of dollars on making Tucson more bike-friendly.
  • d. I can see why some people in Tucson like to bike, but I prefer driving everywhere.

Answer: _____

2. The Module Four readings describe and define the concept of “thesis statements.”  With these pointers in mind, determine which of the following satisfies the requirements of a “thesis statement” for an argument essay.  (Select one.)

  • a. While allowing readers to post anonymous comments to online newspapers exemplifies true “freedom of speech,” these comments ultimately harm honest, open discussions, encourage divisiveness, and impede progress.
  • b. I like reading the anonymous comments that readers post to online newspapers, as these comments make me realize how strange people are.
  • c. There was a time when commenting was not so common on online websites.  Why do websites allow users to comment?
  • d. The comments people post anonymously make me upset.  I do not understand how people can be so judgmental and mean and bitter toward people they don’t know.

Answer: _____

3. The Module Four readings discuss how a thesis statement must express a position that is able to be argued.  Which of the following is an example of a statement that has this quality?  (Select one.)

  • a. Tucson gets quite humid during the annual monsoon.
  • b. I get cranky in humid weather.
  • c. The City of Tucson should fine residents who do not maintain their properties during the monsoon since stagnant pools of water and overgrown weeds allow harmful mosquitoes to flourish.
  • d. It seems like we experience less of a monsoon here every year, but maybe we’re just in some kind of cycle or trend.  I know also that it depends on where you live.  My relatives in Oro Valley got tons of storms last summer.

Answer: _____

4. The Module Four readings discuss how a thesis statement must be specific and precise. Which of the following is an example of a statement that has these qualities?  (Select one.)

  • a. Things need to change.
  • b. Tucson needs to become a better city.
  • c. We have problems related to the border that need to be fixed.
  • d. The Federal Government needs to provide Arizona with more support and more resources if it expects Arizona to improve its ability to secure the border.

Answer: _____

5. The Module Four readings discuss how a thesis statement must be specific and precise. Which of the following is an example of a statement that has these qualities?  (Select one.)

  • a. The Arizona budget privileges certain groups and individuals and needs to be fixed to make sure that every group and organization that needs money gets it.
  • b. The Arizona legislature needs to restore the budget levels of 2008 for secondary education to allow more funding for school improvements and to ensure an educated populace.
  • c. Many people are upset about the Arizona budget, but some people will never be happy; therefore, everyone should just recognize that we are in difficult times and that not everyone gets what they want.
  • d. We need substantial education reform in Arizona.

Answer: _____

6.  What is the purpose of addressing opposing ideas in arguments? (Select two.)

  • a. To engage and persuade undecided readers.
  • b. To demonstrate an awareness of other perspectives.
  • c. To distract readers from the real issues at hand.
  • d. To alienate those with contrasting perspectives.

Answers: ____________________

7.  The Module Four readings discuss the importance of using “credible” sources.  Which of the following are questions we can use to help us determine if a source is “credible”?  (Select three.)

  • a. Who authored the source?
  • b. How long ago did this information get written or published?
  • c. Will my audience consider this source to be credible and useful?
  • d. Is this source interesting?

Answers: ____________________

8.  Which are characteristics of strong primary support?  (Select two.)

  • a. Specific
  • b. Relevant
  • c. General
  • d. Tangential

Answer: _____

9.  The Module Four readings discuss how judgments differ from opinions. Which statement expresses a judgment?

  • a. Recent literature and research show that photo radar enforcement is ineffective.
  • b. Photo radar enforcement always seems to cause traffic jams during the most inconvenient times.
  • c. Residents who do not support photo radar enforcement should not drive.
  • d. Trusting photo radar enforcement to issue traffic infractions and not on real human police officers is disturbing.

Answer: _____