In all the small group discussions last semester, Writ 1120 instructors asked for change when it comes to the samples in the book. There was consensus, for example, that the Y2K samples are dated.
But there was not consensus about how or even whether we should present sample papers in the book.
Samples or Not?
One instructor recently expressed the fear that if we put sample papers in the book, students will give them to their friends at other schools who will use them to plagiarize. This instructor also raised the concern that students "copy" sample papers, just replacing their topic and keywords for the ones in the sample paper, so they should not be allowed to take samples home but should only look at them in class.
Real Student Papers?
Another instructor recently raised the concern that students would be unhappy if they agreed to the use of their papers in the textbook, and then the text criticized the papers. Perhaps we would be better off inventing samples, rather than using students' papers, if we put them in the book at all.
How to Present Samples
Some instructors (and students) have requested that the book include both good samples and bad. I'm not sure we agree on what that would mean.
Some instructors have suggested that some of the sample papers in the book be annotated and some not. The ones without annotation could be used in class; students could be asked to respond to them and determine for themselves whether the paper effectively met the assignment's requirements.
One suggestion that came up in the meetings was that there be no samples in the book's chapters, but that there be an appendix made up of a series of papers that instructors could choose to use or not use.
Another suggestion was that there be an electronic database of samples that instructors could choose and use as they liked. The book could then have samples or not. One concern raised about the database approach was how we'd choose what to put in it. If it included papers that demonstrated common pitfalls, for example, new, inexperienced instructors might unwittingly present these as "good" papers.
Please weigh in. What does your ideal textbook do with samples? Where do the samples come from?