Well, I just finished grading my 3:00p class’s Paper #2s (an argumentative research paper). Yay, finished before midnight, which was the goal. Tomorrow I’ll grade my other class’s papers.
Overall, I’m disappointed in these papers, unfortunately. Actually, come to think of it, though — I think that the quality of the focus-organization-development may be comparable to that of the first set of papers, but that other kinds of errors (lower-order concerns problems) are more blatant in these papers — and the number of them must have reached a kind of critical mass that began to really disappoint me. It just seemed as if in the first papers, much or most of the lower-order concerns errors they made were in the realm of the acceptable. Not this time.
Anyway, I am now re-thinking my decision to not spend much time in class on MLA documentation and on integrating sources. In the first paper — a synthesis of the ideas of two other writers and the students’ own experience/knowledge — since they have to work with only two sources, students have less chance to make MLA or integrating-sources mistakes.
But get this: it even occurred to me — to ME! the one who always says “students visits to the writing center should always be voluntary” — it occurred to me to require writing center visits, and not just once, but for EACH paper! Heheh, I know this sudden legalistic attitude will pass in the refreshing light of morning, but right now it sounds like a delicious idea. ;)
I’m also thinking about the order of the papers — for next term. If I did it in the order of Rhetorical Analysis, Synthesis, then Argumentative Research, I see two advantages: one, the weight of the papers would gradually increase (allows for more mistakes in the beginning, theoretically before they know better) — 15%, 25%, and 35%; and two, the students would gradually practice more and more complex integration of sources. The first paper uses only one source (with the possible addition of other side resources), the second paper two sources, and the third paper eight sources. A nice gradual increase.
Anyway, gotta think about it more. Meanwhile, gotta get some sleep. It’s almost 1:00am. Happy Sunday. Maybe my other class’s papers will brighten my spirits — their papers were somewhat better than the other class’s last time. Vee vill see.