Memory and Forgetting:

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From the RadioLab site:
Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we'll feed it with possibility.

From Season 3, Episode 4: Memory and Forgetting. This hour of Radiolab, a look behind the curtain of how memories are made...and forgotten. Remembering is an unstable and profoundly unreliable process--it’s easy come, easy go as we learn how true memories can be obliterated, and false ones added. And Oliver Sacks joins us to tell the story of an amnesiac whose love for his wife and music transcend his 7-second memory.





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Use a metaphor to explain a concept.



More mind-bending episodes of RadioLab.
On the ambiguous nature of time.Whale Fall (afterlife of a whale), a video compliment to Radiolab's Loops episode.Examples of concepts:






Cannibalism:

More reads about Cannibalism .
Gericault's Raft of the Medusa:
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(Hi-res image here) Write up at The Louvre.


Love:






















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The Brain On Love




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The Brain In Love




Some questions to help you get inside your concept:


What does it mean?
  • How does it influence or change people’s lives?
  • How does it influence people’s thoughts?
  • What is its primary purpose or function?
  • What emotions or thoughts are associated with it?
  • What behaviors are associated with it?
  • What consequences or effects does it have?
  • What is necessary to attain or have it?

How does it Matter to others?
  • Is the concept generally agreed upon?
  • Does the concept raise controversy? Why?
  • Why is it important that people have an appropriate understanding of the concept?
  • Are there complexities to the concept that people might overlook?
  • Does the concept need to be rethought and why?
  • In what ways does it contribute to everyday life?
  • Is this a popular or high profile concept in society?
  • What is the possible connection between the topic and public concerns?

Considerations:
  • What uncommon details reveal my point about the concept?
  • Can I avoid telling the reader that something is “interesting,” exciting,” etc., and instead create images or examples that show it to be so?
  • Can I use metaphors to make the reader see the intensity or scope or depth of the concept?
  • Can I show the reader a new way to see an everyday phenomenon?

Marianiello, Jean. “Concept Analysis Essay: #4.” [Weblog entry.] College Writing I. 7 October, 2005. http://collegewritingone.blogspot.com. 20 October, 2010.


How to proceed:

  • Consider what your readers know about the topic.
  • Develop an objective stance. Because this is an informative essay, you should not take sides. Your opinion has no place in this essay.
  • Compose a thesis that summarizes your knowledge of the topic. The thesis of an informational essay is not controversial, even if the topic is. Sharing knowledge about the concept should be your primary goal. See the essays in Chapter 4 for examples.
  • Provide context in the introduction.
  • Organize by classification and dividing the information into categories.
  • Illustrate key ideas with examples, anecdotes, visuals, lists of facts/details.
  • Define specialized terms and spell out unfamiliar abbreviations and acronyms.
  • Your conclusion should answer the question, “so what?”



WRTG 1310 EXPLAIN A CONCEPT ESSAY ASSIGNMENT,FALL 2012
The Assignment: Explain a Concept

Using any of the essays in Chapter 4 of your textbook as a model, write an essay explaining a concept that is suggested by the research you performed while writing your profile essay. The concept you select should be one that can be defined according to the explanation on page 129.
It should go beyond simple definition, and should not be about a process or procedure (in other words, not a how-to). Consider what your readers are likely to already know and then make decisions about what to include, what to emphasize, and what to omit. Develop a plan that presents the material in logical order that contains cues such as a forecasting, topic sentences, transitions, and summaries. This is an informational essay and is not argumentative in nature. If your topic is something about which people disagree, you should talk about the fact that they disagree, but you should not take one side or the other.

You may use both print and internet sources as long as they are credible, but do not use tertiary sources.

Your essay should be written in third person POV. (Essays using first or second person POV will receive a 5-point deduction in grade.) Revision: You MAY use first person in this essay, but DO NOT use second. (tip: Use CONTROL + F to find and replace all forms of "you" from your paper.)

Minimum Requirements:
  • Includes a clearly stated thesis in the first paragraph or in the first paragraph after the anecdote, if the essay opens with one. Please highlight your thesis.
  • Measures FOUR FULL PAGES in length (not including the graphic or Work Cited page, if applicable).
  • Cites all outside sources, includes a Work(s) Cited page, and is prepared using MLA format.
  • Represents a significant revision to the first draft.

Suggested Resources:
  • Chapter 4, “Explaining a Concept”
  • Chapter 16, “Defining”
  • Chapter 17, “Classifying”
  • Chapter 21, "Designing Documents"
  • Chapter 23, “Library and Internet Research”
  • Chapter 24, “Using and Acknowledging Sources”
  • RadioLab “Memory and Forgetting”

Assignment Details:
  • Select as your topic a concept that is suggested by the research you did for your profile essay. (You must be able to demonstrate a connection if asked, even if it is a tenuous one).
  • Consider what your readers are likely to already know about the topic.
  • Develop an objective stance. Because this is an informative essay, you should not take sides. Your opinion has no place in this essay.
  • Compose a thesis that summarizes your knowledge of the topic. The thesis of an informational essay is not controversial, even if the topic is. Sharing knowledge about the concept should be your primary goal.
  • Provide context in the introduction.
  • Organize by classification and dividing the information into categories.
  • Illustrate key ideas with examples, anecdotes, visuals, facts, and details.
  • Define specialized terms and spell out unfamiliar abbreviations and acronyms.
  • You may include a graphic to help explain your concept. If you do, be sure you have read Chapter 21, "Designing Documents." Your essay must measure 4 full pages not counting the graphic.
  • Your conclusion should anticipate your readers’ question, “so what?”

Criteria for Evaluation:
  • Contains evidence of careful planning and an attempt to present information vividly.
  • Concept: The essay is focused and the thesis clear; writer has mastered the concept; explanation is appropriate for the audience.
  • Plan: The essay is easy to follow; the writer forecasts the plan and provides transitions; information is arranged in a way that makes sense.
  • Writing Strategies: Writer makes good use of relevant strategies of presenting information: comparison and contrast, classification, cause and effect; examples have a clear purpose; adequate background/historical information; the writer maintains an objective stance.
  • Sources: material from sources is adequately paraphrased; quoted material is integrated smoothly into text; sources are cited and appear on Works Cited page.
  • Meets the minimum requirements stated for the assignment.

We will perform whole class peer review and one session of read-around peer review during class. In addition, you will receive a one-on-one peer review from one of your classmates. If you choose, you may come and speak with me during office hours about your paper (although I won't edit your paper or tell you "what's wrong with it"). You are required to attend one Writing Center appointment appointment per assignment (although you may choose to have more) during the brainstorming, writing, and/or revision stage.
There will be tons of feedback on which to base your revision, so please do revise. Students who turn in a shitty first draft for grading will be graded accordingly.
Interim Due Dates:

Due Dates for Writers:
  1. Save the essay with your first initial followed by your last name and then the essay type: Example: DMooreConcept
  2. Post your draft TO YOUR PERSONAL WIKI PAGE by the beginning of class on October 29.

Due Dates for Readers performing Peer Review:
  1. Download your classmate’s essay.
  2. Use the Peer Review Guidelines to make inline comments.
  3. Include your name as peer reviewer at the end of your comments.
  4. Upload your peer review to YOUR wiki page.
  5. Print 1 copy of the essay you peer reviewed and bring it with you to class on November 2.

Final Due Dates:
Your workshopped, revised essays are due for grading at the beginning of class on November 5. Upload these to your personal Wiki page with Final added to the document name: Example: DMooreConceptFinal

(Please see the syllabus for information about late submission of essay assignments.)




PEER REVIEW QUESTIONS SPECIFIC TO THE CONCEPT ESSAY ASSIGNMENT

Clearly mark your suggestions/comments in either the line-edits or the end comments to the essay. In order to receive full credit, you must completely address all 5 considerations below:
1. Evaluate how effectively the concept is focused:
  • Tell the writer, in one sentence, what you understand the concept to mean.
  • Give an example of something in the draft that you think will especially interest the intended readers.
  • Tell the writer about any confusion or uncertainty you have about the concept’s meaning. Does the focus seem too broad or too narrow for the intended readers? Can you think of a more interesting way to focus the explanation?

2. Assess how readable the explanation is. (Tip: Look at the way the essay is organized by making a scratch outline.)
  • Does the information seem to be logically divided?
  • Does the beginning pull readers into the essay and make them want to continue? Does it adequately forecast the direction of the essay?
  • Do transitions helpfully guide the reader from part to part?
  • Is the ending effective?
  • Give an example of where the essay succeeds in being readable — for instance, in its overall organization, its use of transitions, its beginning, or its ending.
  • Tell the writer where the readability could be improved. Can you suggest a better way of sequencing the information, for example? Can the use of transitions be improved, or transitions added where they are lacking? Can you suggest a better beginning or more effective ending?

3. Consider how effectively explanatory strategies are used.
  • Give an example of the effective use of writing strategies such as defining, classifying or dividing, comparing and contrasting, narrating anecdotes or processes, illustrating with examples or lists of facts and details, and reporting causes and effects. Point out places where definitions succeed in conveying information clearly, and places where visuals (if visuals are present) aid in helping readers understand important concepts.
  • Tell the writer where a different writing strategy might help in conveying information effectively. Point out places where definitions might be needed or existing definitions need clarification or expansion. Suggest places where additional information is needed. Note places in the essay where the addition of visuals such as charts, graphics, or tables could help in making the concept clearer.

4. Evaluate how smoothly sources are integrated.
  • Give an example of the effective use of sources — a particularly well-integrated quotation, paraphrase, or summary that supports the writer’s claims. Note any especially descriptive verbs used to introduce information.
  • Tell the writer where a quote, paraphrase, or summary could be more smoothly integrated. Suggest places where it would be better to summarize or paraphrase than to quote, or vice versa. If the list of sources used is less balanced than it should be, suggest types of sources that would strengthen it, or suggest sources that would be better left out.

5. If the writer has expressed concern about anything in the draft that you have not discussed, respond to that concern.

From Axelrod and Cooper's Guide to Writing Student Resource PageBedford St. Martins.