Assignment Showcase: Rules Writing (Jean Schwind)

Nov 11 2009

Assignment Showcase: Rules Writing (Jean Schwind)

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Rules Writing

I. Blink: Gladwell’s book explains rapid cognition, making a case for the legitimacy and power of snap judgments. It suggests possible topics for how-to guides (one option for paper 4), since the theory of “thin slicing” involves how to make a little knowledge go a long way.

A. Illustrated argument exercise #3: Find the “clean-cut” and “wild-haired” author photos of Malcolm Gladwell to illustrate his explanation of how he got the idea to write Blink (4). Follow the guidelines for illustrating arguments (BB/Handouts) to caption and cite sources for the photos, and insert them into this agenda below.

Insert Gladwell photos here.

B. Extending the dorm room experiment (Gladwell 34-39)

1) Take the Big Five Inventory questionnaire (click on the link below). Answer each question honestly. This is highly respected personality test, and you might learn something about yourself. No one will see the results except for you. Submit the test to get your scores in each of the five areas, and record them in writing for future reference.

2) Partner with a class member that you don’t know (someone who doesn’t sit in your pod). Examine one another’s Facebook profile. Using the evidence of this page, fill out the Big Five questionnaire for your partner. (In other words, try to determine your partner’s personality on the basis of when you can tell about them on Facebook.)  Submit your data, record the results, and give them to your partner.

3) Examine data, determine if Facebook provides a “thin slice” index of who we are. On which of your “big five” scores did your partner’s rating of you come within .5 of your self-score? Indicate on the whiteboard tally chart.

C. Library databases, encore: One of the most famous practioners of rapid cognition is Paul Ekman, a scientist who developed a taxonomy of human facial displays of emotion that enabled him to “mind read.” (The Fox TV show Lie to Me is based on Ekman.) The taxonomy allows trained professionals to detect deceit, guilt, despair, and other states of mind by reading facial muscles. Find one article on Ekman using Newsbank, another via Academic Search Premier and a third using JStor. Be prepared to describe the difference between the materials indexed by these three databases.

II. Audience appeal: The “Rules Writing” assignment hinges on audience engagement. Your task is to find a subject, voice, and format that will interest us from the outset and motivate us to read on. Read the first pages of three drafts which I’ve pasted below. Which is the most engaging? Least? Explain your responses, and offer one suggestion about how to increase the audience appeal of the one you consider least engaging.

Excerpts of Examples

Writer 2: Introduction

Guys, first off let me make this perfectly clear; although this guide is entitled How to Get a Female to Tell You She Likes You More as a Friend, this is the absolute last thing you ever want to hear out of a girls mouth. If you follow my guide you will not ever get what you are looking for from a girl; whether it be a long-term relationship or just a one-night hookup. Use the personal stories and experiences of myself and some of my dearest, though still miserably single friends of mine to learn what not to do.

Stage One

Obviously, the first place where we have to start is actually talking to someone of the opposite gender. For purposes of all examples and stories, that girl will be named Laura.

So you are out at a social situation, a party, a club, a wedding reception, whatever it may be, and you see a woman who is exactly the type of woman who you think you would want to be around. You’re thinking about going up to talk to her but you are a little nervous. Before you even approach her you are already on the path towards the vaunted line of, “I’m sorry, but I only like you as a friend.” When you let fear enter your body before talking to someone of the opposite gender you have already lost the war. Guys, you have to say to yourself, “So what if I get rejected, I’m out, I’m having fun, and yes there are other girls here so even if this woman does say no to me, then I can walk to the other side of the room and try to find a different girl.” If you are nervous, the woman will be able to sense that from a mile away. And like a shark who tastes/sees/smells blood, she will go in to tear your heart up.

Eric, a friend of mine, is an expert in the field of not having enough/any self confidence. We were standing around one night at some social outing and there was this girl that fit perfectly into the aforementioned description for him. But he was scared. For whatever the reason may have been, the possibility of rejection was his kryptonite. Eventually he worked up enough confidence to walk over to

Paper 3: Southern Transplant

I am a Northern Girl—born and raised. Over the past 19 years, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has become more a part of me than any city ever will. I am a master at dressing in layers for days that begin at 50 degrees and warm to 85 by noon. I exclusively squirt Pittsburgh’s own Heinz Ketchup on my Primanti Bros. Pitts-Burgher Cheese Steak sandwich. Never had one? You’re missing out on a mouthwatering heart attack—steak, coleslaw, tomatoes, onions, provolone cheese, and fries on Italian bread.  I shed a tear on February 5, 2006, when the “Stillers” won their fifth Super Bowl. I go to breakfast at Eat ‘n Park and have never set foot in IHOP.  I am a European mutt—Irish, Polish, German, and Welsh. Pittsburgh has shaped me from the inside out.

When I arrived at Elon University, it only took a few days for me to experience an intense culture shock. Southern belles and gents, dressed in sherbet colored polo shirts, seemed to appear everywhere I went. I started to feel like an alien on Planet South.  After having a few good laughs about feeling different, I made a decision. Since I would be living in North Carolina for the next four years, it would be best to accept the differences and learn to adapt. This is a list of tips for Northern Girls of how to deal with a few traditional Southernisms that still mystify me. You may never truly fit in below the Mason-Dixon line, but there are polite and easy ways to acknowledge the southern way of life without betraying your northern roots.

1. SWEET TEA…Never confuse iced tea and sweet tea. They are as different as northern sarcasm and southern charm. Iced tea is a chilled, refreshing beverage often served during


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