Once you have finished reading Cathy Davidson’s essay, carefully reread the passage reproduced on the next page. Find all the details and take notes as you do so, asking yourself the following questions in particular: What question or problem is this passage exploring? What are its key terms? Its themes? Its examples? What broader implications might the ideas contained in the passage have for the text as a whole? Then, reread the passage again.
Once you have taken thorough notes on each passage, complete the following pre-writing steps, including the responses in your submitted rough draft:
List the FIVE most confusing words in the passage. Look up each word in your dictionary. Then, paraphrase what each means within the passage.
Underline (and copy) the most confusing sentence. Write six to ten observations about this sentence. For example: what are the KEY TERMS? Do any words have more than one meaning, or an additional implicit meaning? How do the words connect to each other (are they opposites, synonyms, etc.)? What are the transition words (if any)? Do they suggest a logical connection within the sentence or between sentences? What do the sentence structure or key words imply about Davidson’s tone?
Now, put your observations into the context of the passage as a whole: how do the first and last sentences relate to each other? How, in other words, do the ideas develop from the beginning of the passage to the end?
Once you have completed these steps, you are ready to begin writing. Using quotations from this passage and at least one other, produce AT LEAST TWO substantive paragraphs of at least 250 words each in response to the following question: How can technology enable, enhance, or inhibit crowdsourced thinking (as Davidson defines it) and thereby “unlearning”?
As you write, work to ANALYZE the ideas you encountered, while avoiding SUMMARY.
ANALYSIS explores and explains; it says something new. It requires that we consider implications, that we interpret the language and structure of a text. Analysis looks for patterns, dissects concepts, and explores (rather than merely presenting) evidence. It asks (and answers!) HOW and WHY
SUMMARY reports on what has already been said. It generally asks and answers WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and WHO Summary adds nothing new to the conversation, and says nothing the original author (the source material/evidence) doesn’t already say.
Crowdsourced thinking is very different from credentialing, or relying on top-down expertise. If anything, crowdsourcing is suspicious of expertise, because the more expert we are, the more likely we are to be limited in what we even conceive to be the problem, let alone the answer. While formal education typically teaches hierarchies of what’s worth paying attention to, crowdsourcing works differently, in that it assumes that no one of us individually is smarter than all of us collectively. No matter how expert we are, no matter how brilliant, we can improve, we can learn, by sharing insights and working together collectively. (Davidson 51)
You must proofread carefully. There should be no typos, grammatical, or syntactic errors, and ideally there should be accurate and correctly-formatted in-text citations (see above).
Quotations should be carefully transcribed, punctuated, and attributed (using in-text citations). For bibliographic conventions, use MLA style. Use 1.0-inch margins on all sides, double-spacing, and twelve-point Times New Roman font. Number all pages. Your submission should have your name, the date, and course information on the first page. Submit your work via Canvas in either .docx or .pdf format. Google docs and .pages files are not acceptable. Email submissions are not acceptable.
SUCCESSFUL TEXTUAL ANALYSIS EXERCISE CHECKLIST
Your Textual Analysis Exercise should…
Consist of at least two substantive paragraphs, each of which begins with a topic sentence that sets out the project of that paragraph
Identify at least one KEY TERM – a word or phrase that explores and explains HOW something works. KEY TERMS are NOT examples (e.g., technology); they are ideas that help us think more carefully about examples (e.g., credentialing; unlearning; etc.)
Identify and quote AT LEAST TWO textual moments per paragraph that relate to your KEY TERM
Analyze your quoted moments, explaining how they help us better understand your KEY TERM
Conclude by discussing what your analysis teaches us about the passages and their complexities…
…and by discussing how the passages you cite relate to, further, and/or complicate Davidson’s overall argument
Your Textual Analysis Exercise should NOT…
Summarize the passages (i.e., report what is said without adding anything new) at length
Attempt to address EVERYTHING in a passage (or in Davidson’s essay, for that matter!)
Reference non-textual examples (i.e., relate something you find in the text to something not in it)
Rely on factual quotations (i.e., quotations that merely report facts or examples; these will feel like they could be said by anyone rather than only Davidson herself)