for Writing Successful Response Papers
Response Papers give you the opportunity to express your thoughts more informally
than in a longer academic paper and open them up for discussion with your
classmates. Throughout the second half of the semester you will be asked to post shorter (150 - 300 word) weekly responses that are more interactive and conversational than the longer responses we did so far (see below). You are free to reminisce on a past class discussion or write a reaction to the reading for next class. You should, however, engage other postings, if you are not the first one to post. These weekly shorter posts will account for half your great on the Response Paper assignment (10% of total class grade); I will grade this portion at the end of semester. If you like feedback earlier, please come and see me during office hours.
In addition to those conversational postings, you will have to complete FOUR (instead of the originally assigned seven) slightly longer and more formal Response Papers, including those you have already submitted. The guidelines for those 350 - 500 word papers remain the same as before and are stated below.
You will be
asked to complete FOUR Response Papers (350 - 500 words) throughout the course of the semester. Your first response has to be submitted via e-mail to the instructor on the date indicated on the syllabus. The remaining six response papers are to be posted on toolkit at any point of the semester but no later than by week 15; I highly recommend that you post them early and regularly!
When you post responses on toolkit, try not to duplicate the postings
of others. This should be an incentive to post early and also an incentive
to read what others have posted. If one of your colleagues has already
posted something very close to what you wanted to say, make sure to refer
to that particular posting by providing commentary and adding a new perspective
and new references. In your formal paper, you will be required to reference and quote two of your peers' in a meaningful way, so stay on top the tooolkit postings.
include these types:
free to write in the first person. Possible approaches include, but are
by no means limited to:
Response: Before class, reflect on the reading and explore a question
that interests you. At least two of your response papers have to be reading responses. Reading Responses are due by 8:00 p.m. the day before our class meeting.
- Afterthoughts: After class or a class period, reflect back on the
readings and discussion synthesizing what you take away. At least two of your response papers have to be afterthoughts. Afterthoughts are due by 8:00 p.m. the day before the classmeeting following the discussion on which you are commenting .
- Debates: Engage your classmates in a debate about readings by responding to others' postings. At some point during the semester I may ask you to take a particular position and argue with those who represent an opposing view.
a passage or episode that puzzles, moves, or upsets you;
different versions of tales;
the significance or motivations of a character;
this week's reading with last week's;
- reflecting on what you have learned in a particular unit in the form of "afterthoughts";
- evaluating a discussion;
with ideas presented in a critical article.
is different from paper writing. In your Response Papers you can be more
intuitive and less formal than in the 5-7 page paper. However, a few basic
guidelines might help you to write successful responses:
for Writing Successful Response Papers
- Audience - Your classmates and professor. Assume you are writing for an audience
that is familiar with the texts and our discussion and that your reader
is intelligent and curious.
a choice - A good response paper focuses on a specific idea
and explores it in some depth. Choose an idea that you know is your
own, one that is not based on a cliché, and does not present
a broad generalization.
specific and concrete - A good response paper is like a mini
argument using concrete examples and evidence from the reading to support your point.
beyond expressing your emotional reaction - Refer to your emotional
response to a reading only if you proceed to analyze how it presents
a key to an understanding of the text.
- Proofread your response for grammatical correctness and show that you have read
the texts by referring to characters and authors by their accurate names.
in your response paper on time.
v good (B)
v- average (C)