Help write a research paper
Students write articles for various sections of this online college newspaper (sports, en- tertainment, opinions, travel, etc. Examples of hypertext essays from past class Web sites include a guide to Florida beaches, reviews of local restaurants, opinion essays on the parking problem at FSU, and a research hypertext on Pete Rose and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The first time I tried this assignment, I knew very little about Web publishing. I found that many of my students had already published their own Web sites, and I relied on these com- puter-literate students to both create the site and act as technical support for the other students. In fact, my role in the actual cre- ation of the Web site was minimal. Students simply e-mailed their essays to editors, who added links and images and published the final version. Students also look at the online version of the FSView and help write a research paper other local newspapers and magazines, and we compare the online versions to the print ver- sions.
We analyze the use of images and links and the ways hypertext differs from printed text. Last semester, for example, we discussed the way an image of the Seminole mascot holding a flaming spear seemed to undermine an article in the online ver- sion of the FSView that argued in favor of Native American mas- cots.
One student pointed out that even though the article claimed to respect the point of view of Native Americans, the list of links that appeared at the end of the article all led to other pro-Native American mascot articles. Catego- ries students have chosen in the past include fiction and poetry, opinions, health and fitness, entertainment, sports, and travel. After the class has decided on the basic design of the hypertext, I choose two or three of my most computer-literate students to be editors. I ask students to e-mail their articles to the editors for publica- tion to the Internet, although I also give students the option of creating their own Web sites with the assistance of the editors. Usually, the editors use free Web publishing tools such as AOL Personal Publishing, Tripod, or Geocities, but some editors choose to use Netscape Composer and publish the hypertext using FSU server space. The editors are collaborators, and they add images and links to the articles. Because they are editing the articles, publishing them, and adding links and images, editors are as- signed less writing. If I use this project to organize my class for the entire semes- ter, I have students write in similar genres and divide the assigned essays by sections of the hypertext.
For the final three weeks of class, I let students choose the genre of the articles and the section of the Web site they want to write for. As we practice different genres of essays, we analyze examples from the student newspaper.
I organize my class in a workshop format, but because of the need to analyze hypertext in terms of links and images, we hold both print and online workshops.
Theorists such as James Britton (1975), James Moffett (1968), and Toby Fulwiler and Art Young (1982) argue that genres such as the personal essay, poetry and fiction, and diaries and journals should not be abandoned in first-year composition if we want students to gain experience writing across the universe of discourse. Students also get an authentic sense of audience and rhetori- cal situation with this hypertext project.
Because the format is a school newspaper online, and because they know their peers will be reading their articles, students have a real audience other than the teacher. They also know that the hypertext will be made pub- lic and used in my classes the next semester, so there is a sense of audience beyond the classroom. This focus on an audience be- yond the teacher helps create a more realistic rhetorical situation as well.
When students write movie reviews or editorials to a student audience, they have a sense of purpose, audience, and genre that was difficult for me to achieve help write a research paper help write a research paper before I began using this assignment to organize my class.