The Conversation

What do effective writers do when they write? 

Throughout the semester you have thought and written about the writing activities that successful writers use. You began by considering the role of critical thinking in writing and how that carried over to reading. You have explored various invention strategies to get you started on writing and the importance of feedback in strengthening your thinking and writing. This lead you to look closely at what it means to revise and to write for an audience and a community. You have explored the writing process: What has that been like? What do you think about what you have learned? How do you think you will put it to use moving forward?

Now, in groups of 2 or 3 you will hold a written conversation where you explore the above questions and topics with your fellow classmates. As you fashion your essay, make use of your previous writings to help you flesh out your ideas, but also respond to the new ideas that come up in your “conversation” with your peers. Your portfolio readers will be looking forward to an engaged and thoughtful discussion about your writing process and learning.

Project Requirements: Failure to meet requirements results in a failure for the assignment.

  • The Conversation is one of two projects that you will submit in a portfolio at the end of the semester.
  • The essay should be 6+ pages in length, double-spaced, 12 pt. font, 1″ margins.
  • The essay should be posted to a Google Doc in the CIDocs folder The Conversation.
  • The essay must use at least 4 of the sources linked below and cite them directly in the essay.
  • Your conversation should touch on all 6 reading topics detailed below, but need not treat each equally.
Portfolio due Week 14*


Important Considerations

In part, this writing assignment was inspired by The Conversation, a feature in The New York Times. In the column, 2 opinion writers discuss current events from their own perspective. The column is written as a dialogue and looks a lot like a play on the page. And like a play, some exchanges between speakers are short with quick responses back and forth. However, also like a play, there can be paragraphs and even multiple paragraphs in a single response. There are also references to outside sources in the conversation.

Your group essay should have these same sort of features. It should be a conversation that makes use of sources as you move back and forth between speakers. You should have both short and long exchanges in your essay. One thing that is different is that you should have in-text citations and a works cited section at the end, which all should be in MLA 8th edition formatting.

Example: This is a student example from last semester. I would recommend that you read this to see what high engagement looks like for this assignment. It is longer than necessary, but the conversation is engaging and appealing. From my standpoint, a better job could have been done discussing their own writing processes.