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February 29, 2008

Week 6 notes

Next week the rubber really begins to hit the road with essay 2. Your research plans are due Monday by noon on WebVista--see the link on the homepage for where to turn those in. No need to submit an attachment--just copy and paste your plan into the submission box.

On Tuesday, we'll talk a bit about how to structure this draft. We'll also go over the research plans you submitted on WebVista and do some peer review/workshop. Thursday's class is cancelled, but I will be scheduling conferences--sign for those will be in class on Tuesday. They are required, and we'll be talking about how your research has gone thus far. Come having already done some research to talk about.

For the many of you who missed class yesterday, be sure to read the blog summarizing the changes we made in the class then. Most importantly, the Wednesday research time next week has been cancelled--you're on your own to do research at a time you see fit. Please email me with any questions about that.

February 28, 2008

Notes from today's class

Many people weren't at class today (you all are using the revised schedule, right?), so I wanted to post a couple of important notes for next week. I also handed out the short research plan assignment, which is now also posted in the Course Materials section of WebVista. The link to turn that in is now on the WebVista homepage as well.

First, there's two readings on the schedule for next Tuesday. One, "Polaroids" we've already read. I've decided we can read the other one in class--it's a sample paper for this assignment. So no reading needed for that class--just show up.

Second, it sounds like the North High students have decided to just focus on Nicollet Mall for their observations. I'm not crazy about that, since it limits the amount of collaboration we'll have available. But it is what it is. With that in mind, there's not a deeply compelling reason why all groups need to do their observations at the same time--the point of it was to do that with the North students. So after discussing that with people in class today, we voted to cancel that Wednesday observation time.

That means that you are now responsible for setting up a time to do observation and interviewing at space you've chosen to look at. We'll have conferences starting next Thursday to talk about your observations, so it's important that you start those soon--I'll expect you to have done a significant amount of research by that conference time.

One other note not covered in clas: if you were really interested in a particular site but didn't get put in that group, I'm willing to listen to requests to shift sites, with the exception of Central Library, which has already got plenty of attention. If you'd like to switch, send me an email by the end of the weekend (Sunday night) explaining why you'd prefer the new site. This could be a site we've already listed, or somewhere else you'd find interesting. No changes will be allowed after Sunday, however, since you need to start your research after that point.

February 22, 2008

Week 5 update

Next week we'll be laying the groundwork for this fieldwork project. On Tuesday, we'll be talking about observation, using the reading "Learning How to Look" as a guide for that. You'll actually be doing some observation on campus for this class, fyi. You'll also begin brainstorming research questions and a plan for what to do during the research time. On Thursday, we'll talk a little more about interviewing, again using a reading: "Researching People." We'll practice with that a bit in class and also get to know the digital recorders I'll loan you for the research time.

Not everyone was in class on Thursday, but we assigned people to research sites on that day. I might need to create one more group to fit everyone, which we can talk about on Tuesday.

One last note--I'm in conferences with my other two sections next week, which includes all my office hours. If you'd like to get together to talk, send me an email and we'll set up a time.

February 19, 2008

More on tomorrow

Just a reminder that we're meeting in 120 Burton Hall from 3-5 tomorrow. Here's a map:


We'll be talking about our shared observation with North High Students. For the last 30-60 minutes, we'll be showing them around campus, so be thinking about spots you might want to show them to get a taste of life at college. Coffman, for example, or maybe even a nearby dorm (anyone in Sanford?).

February 15, 2008

Week 4 update

Just a short blog this week. Next week we begin transitioning to the next essay assignment. Your final draft is due on Tuesday--print that out and include two copies of feedback you gave. I highly recommend purchasing a pocket folder for this and your other assignments this semester. We'll continue brainstorming for the first assignment during this time and talk about our collaboration with North High. We meet with North High students on Wednesday next week from 3-5--see details on the course schedule. On Thursday we'll begin talking about doing ethnographic observation by reading "Stepping In and Stepping Out" and begin developing your research strategy.

February 8, 2008

One more note on peer review.

Just to restate what we talked about in class on Thursday about revision groups. You should come to class with comments on your classmates drafts. That means both specific notes in the paper itself and a more global endnote. You can do that by printing out the paper and commenting on it that way or by using Word.

If you choose Word, in 2003, click on "Tools" then choose "Track Changes." That should enable that feature. In Work 2007, click on the "Reviewing" tab to get to that track changes button. Let me know if you have trouble with that. Once you're done, you can save your draft (add your initials or name on the end of the filename) and reply to your classmate's post with the revised file as an attachment.

One other problem that people might have is downloading those new .docx files. For some reason, Microsoft Vista has trouble with those--you end up getting a blank file. If that happens, then click on the box next to the message in your group's topic and click on "Create Printable View." Then "Save File." That should download it OK.

Let me know if you have any problems.

Week 3 update

Next week we'll continue revising drafts. We'll go over another person's draft on Tuesday, as well as doing some work on grammar and style and debriefing the first round of revision groups. On Thursday, it's revision groups again. We'll also begin seriously thinking about the next project. You've got a reading for that day (listed on the schedule) and we'll also practice observation by looking at a couple of movie cityscapes. Remember to post in Reading Discussions before this class.

A couple of other brief notes on your drafts--remember to put your names on your drafts. It gets confusing otherwise. Also, remember that I require a works cited on all drafts--you'll be penalized if it's not there.

Let me know if you have any questions about things as we go. Have a good weekend!

February 1, 2008

Microsoft Office info

If any of you have Office 2003 on your PC, you may need to install additional software to read files from the newest version of Office (2007). This is the link to Microsoft's site where you can download that software.

If you'd like to just upgrade, you can do that cheaply through the U. Go to the following address: http://www1.umn.edu/ucs/Microsoft/ms4students.php. From there, you can order Office 2007 for PC and either download it for free or pay less than $10 to get the DVD version (I'd recommend the latter in case your computer ever crashes or you get a new one).

For Mac users, there's no perfect solution, but this should work:

Here's the link

This will convert those files to RTF format, which you can read in Mac Office 2004 (or any other word processor). According to their website, the U will also have Office 2008 for Mac available in about 10 days with similar terms to the PC software.

Week 2 Update

Next week marks a change of direction for us. Your first draft is due on Tuesday and should be posted on WebVista--all the links for that are in the Essay 1 folder. You have to sign up for a group in your section before being able to post your draft, so if you missed Thursday's class be sure to do that. Let me know ASAP if you have problems and try to be specific about what's not working. Remember that those drafts should be in Word 2003 (.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf).

In class next week, we'll work on revising these drafts. On Tuesday we'll talk about peer revision and go over someone's draft in class as well as talking about the revision process more broadly. On Thursday, you will share comments on your classmates' drafts (which you should have read and written on prior to class time) and talk some about formal style. We may also look at some media representations of urban life during that class. Other than reading classmates' drafts, we're done with reading assignments for a few weeks (yay!).

If you're looking for a sample paper,


One other important note: We had an issue come up in our collaboration with North High School for the second project that has required some schedule changes. That mainly affects the 3-4 weeks before spring break. I've made a revised schedule that's now posted on WebVista. I'll also have copies of that revised schedule in class on Tuesday. Dates for that second assignment will change as will the dates we'll be meeting on Wednesday afternoons--now 2/20, 3/5, and 3/26. Let me know if that causes a problem for anyone.