Monday, December 17, 2007

Check the Calendar for 6th Essay Spec's

Please check the course calendar for specification of the requirements for the sixth essay.

WSB-09: Next/Final Typing Trial Topic for 2007

I've posted the next and final typing speed trial topic for 2007 in the usual place on the Writing Studio Wiki. If you haven't visited the wiki recently, you should. If you haven't reviewed the wiki completely, you should - starting with News & Updates.

If you have yet to surpass the typing speed target for fall semester, you should practice:
  1. on topic, &
  2. with the tools in the wiki sidebar.
I hope everyone will pass this time around.
[81 words]

Friday, December 14, 2007

More Christmas Iconography

Here is a slick commercial video clip that I gleaned from Dr. Macenstein's representation (Dec. 13, 2007). It puts a techno-twist on a classic Christmas animation series by Rankin/Bass.

If you like it, check out the Rankin/Bass site, and look for the videos in the library, or at your neighborhood rental outlet.

[55 words]

WSB Bulletin 2-08: Let's Do the Math!

Posts on this blog passed the century mark (100 posts) in November. How about on yours?

100+ posts (more like 120+, starting in April) is a good benchmark for the total number of your blog posts to date. How many have you made? If you entered the Writing Studio fall semester, you already should be in the neighborhood of 75 posts out of 90 required for this semester.

90+ posts was the projection for Writing IVc (September 27, 2007); it is 150% of the requirements for Writing IIIc.

We're just a few weeks away from the end of the semester. So your current post count, and proto-portfolio, should include six essays (as of Dec. 21, 2007) of the required length (or longer), and should soon include:
  1. 18+ book reviews - longer than quick posts; &, do the math -
  2. 66+ other posts!
[Proto-] Portfolios comprising all of the above will be due 7 January, 2008.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Learning with Computers: 2nd Mindmap

This is the mindmap generated during second period on December 12, 2007. Please review it to make sure that the outlines you've prepared for your essays on Learning with Computers cover all of the main points (main branches of the bird map, and attached nodes):

If you have questions about this mindmap, how to use it to develop your outline, or how to cover all of the main points in your essay, please post your questions in comments on this post.

[81 words]

Learning with Computers: 1st Mindmap

This is the mindmap generated during first period on December 12, 2007. Please review it to make sure that the outlines you've prepared for your essays on Learning with Computers cover all of the main points (main branches of the bird map, and attached nodes):

If you have questions about this mindmap, how to use it to develop your outline, or how to cover all of the main points in your essay, please post your questions in comments on this post.

[81 words]

Learning with Computers: WinK Resources

As you plan and prepare your Learning with Computers essays for next week (due Dec. 21, 2007; see calendar), I'd like to ask you to review some of the resources available to online writers like yourselves who are Weblogging in Kumamoto (WinK). What follows is a fresh mindmap of the WinK community, including links you that can follow (on the nodes marked with tiny globes) to browse WinK resources online.

Please check out those resources, and add any of them that you have used this year to your outlines, along with any others that you've used from beyond the WinK community. You can go straight to the mindmap site by clicking on the title of this post (or this link). More detailed, and broader ranging mindmaps from classes on Dec. 12 will follow in separate posts.

[136 words]

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wow! Get a Load of These Demographics.

Informative, powerful, thought-provoking.... What more need I say? After viewing this video, I would appreciate hearing your reflections on it in comments on this post. Enjoy!

[26 words]

WSB 2-07: Plagiarism - FINAL Warning for ALL

Plagiarism is stealing the writing, work, or ideas of other people, and presenting that writing, work or ideas as your own. Much to my dismay, this kind of stealing has occurred again and again in Writing III and Writing IV.

Until today, I have given students who plagiarized in posts on their blogs a single, individual warning. If they had plagiarized any part of a book review or essay, they got no credit for that particular assignment. When I found that one of the students whom I already had warned plagiarized again, I decided that he or she would get no credit for the course.

In a post on this blog that I pointed out and read aloud in each class on November 7, 2007, I wrote that plagiarism is "completely unacceptable", and "forewarned of a zero-tolerance policy" with regard to plagiarism (WSB 2-03: Problems and Suggestions, §3. Plagiarism, and §5. Wrap up; Nov. 6, 2007). Yet I found another plagiarized essay today.

So I have given the student who plagiarized part of her or his fifth essay the final individual warning. Moreover, he or she will get no credit for the essay itself. Here is the core of that warning:
I am sending both you and Mr. T... [the course supervisor] a snapshot of your blog ..., along with this clipping of the passage that I have highlighted in it, which is plagiarized. As I write below, I expect you to contact Mr. T... immediately to find out what to do about this problem.
  • Since it first became commercially available.... HDTV costs more than normal TV but is becoming more available.
(..., ¶¶ 1-2 [text details removed, pab])

That passage is not original; it appears on numerous other websites. For that reason, you will get no credit for your fifth essay.

However, that's not all. Part of the next paragraph in your essay (..., ¶1) is plagiarized, too, as indicated in bold in this clipping from Google:... [clipping removed, pab].

This is your last warning about plagiarism. If Mr. T... or I find any other plagiarized passages on your blog, you will get no credit for Writing IV this semester.

Please contact Mr. T... immediately for a more detailed explanation. If you cannot reach him right away at his office, please call his cell phone (090 ... [number removed, pab]).
(pab, personal correspondence, 2007.12.11, at 17:32)

I will give no more individual warnings. This post is a FINAL warning for ALL students in Writing IVc.

This zero-tolerance policy with regard to plagiarism in Writing IVc takes effect at 00:00 JST, Wednesday, December 12, 2007. There will be a 12-hour grace period in order to allow any student not already disqualified for repeated plagiarism to remove all plagiarized work from her or his blog.

As of 12:00 noon on Wednesday, December 12, 2007; if I find plagiarized work in any post, for any assignment, on any blog a student uses for Writing IVc (Sept. 26, 2007, to end of term); that student will get no credit for this course this fall semester. Moreover, if the course supervisor or any other Writing IV teacher finds plagiarism on any of your blogs for Writing IVc, this zero-tolerance policy will apply equally.

[541 words]

PS: If you have questions about this plagiarism policy, or how to make sure that you don't plagiarize, please post your questions in comments on this post.
pab, 2007.12.13
[+ 29 words]

Christmas Card

To view & listen to an interactive Christmas card from Ashland University (2004), please put on your headphones and click on the link below (opens in another tab or window):


[33 words]

WinK in Perspective (Mind42)

In preparation for the next essay assignment, on learning with computers, I'm inviting you to explore (or revisit) all of the main sites linked to WinK in a Mind42 mindmap (WinK). To give you a rough idea what it looks like, here's a screenshot of what it looked like yesterday:

This post backlinks to an mindmap view of the Weblogging in Kumamoto network on a blog that I use for experiments and notes (pab's potpourri: Publishing directly from Mind42 (beta)). The title of the post there, like the one on this post, includes an enclosure link.

So clicking on the title of this post will take you to that one, where you can get a preview of a mindmap that Pukman and I are composing collaboratively. Then clicking on the title of that post on pab's potpourri will take you straight to our WinK mindmap. Please browse the main site you find with links there.

[155 words]

Thursday, December 6, 2007

TVinJapan02 (Writing IVc2)

This post includes an image of a concept map started in class to explore possible essay topics and sub-topics related to TV in Japan - the subject of the essays due by Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007 (WSB Bulletin 2-06).

Following the image (below) is a very rough outline derived from the concept map itself. You need not, indeed should not try to cover all of the topics in that hierarchal list. However, that rough outline should help you find topics and sub-topics related to those that you chose to write about, and may guide you in organizing your ideas into paragraphs for your essays. Please click on the image to view it in a new browser window.

Rough outline

| ????
| technologies
| | ????
| | broadcasting
| | | ????
| | | satellite
| | | local
| | | national
| | | cable
| | | | ????
| | | | MTV
| | | | stations
| | | | | ????
| | | | | MTV
| | | international
| | equipment
| | | ????
| | | displays
| | | | ????
| | | | color
| | | | | ????
| | | | | screen sizes
| | | | LCD
| | | | | ????
| | | | | screen sizes
| | | | B&W
| | | | | ????
| | | | | screen sizes
| | manufacturing
| | | ????
| | | domestic
| | cable
| weather
| ????
| technologies
| programs
| | ????
| | international
| | domestic
| | local
| | favorites
| | weather
| | national
| | genres
| | | ????
| | | music
| | | | ????
| | | | stations
| | | comedies
| | | animations
| | | dramas
| | | | ????
| | | | docu-dramas
| | | sports
| | | news
| entertainment
| ????
| | ????
| | NHK
| Japan
| | ????
| | qualities
| | | ????
| | | entertainment
| | characteristics
| | manufacturing
visual noise
[roughly 381 words (auto-count from Word)]

TVinJapan01 (Writing IVc1)

This post includes an image of a concept map started in class to explore possible essay topics and sub-topics related to TV in Japan - the subject of the essays due by Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007 (WSB Bulletin 2-06).

Following the image (below) is a very rough outline derived from the concept map itself. You need not, indeed should not try to cover all of the topics in that hierarchal list. However, that rough outline should help you find topics and sub-topics related to those that you chose to write about, and may guide you in organizing your ideas into paragraphs for your essays. Please click on the image to view it in a separate browser window.

Rough outline

| ????
| broadcasting
| | ????
| | programs
| | | ????
| | | dramas
| | | | ????
| | | | docu-dramas
| | | movies
| | | news
| | | | ????
| | | | educational
| | | animation
| | | | ????
| | | | Cartoon Network
| | | sports
| | | favorites
| | | | ????
| | | | dramas
| | | educational
| | satellite
| | cable
| | | ????
| | | Cartoon Network
| | | MTV
| | stations
| | | ????
| | | Fuji TV
| | | cable
| | | commercial
| | | | ????
| | | | Fuji TV
| | | | KKT
| | | | commercial messages
| | | | MTV
| | | national
| | | | ????
| | | | news
| | | | Fuji TV
| | | satellite
| | | local
| | | | ????
| | | | news
| | | | KKT
| | | non-profit
| | | | ????
| | | | NHK
| | | | | ????
| | | | | educational
| | | | | docu-dramas
| | | | | sports
| | | | | movies
| satellite
| | ????
| | screen sizes
| colo(u)r
| in
| Japan
| | ????
| | ????
| | qualities
| | colo(u)r
| | characteristics
| | | ????
| | | colo(u)r
| | | screen sizes
| | | commercial
[roughly 406 words (auto-count from Word)]

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

WSB Bulletin 2-06: Next Essay Topic

In addition to routine typing speed trials (the new topic is on the wiki, so practice up), and making comments on peers' recent essays, we'll be brainstorming (and outlining, if time remains) the next essay topic in class on Dec. 5, so bring your ideas about TV in Japan.
[49 words]

Friday, November 30, 2007

Links from Widget in Sidebar

Having added a new link to other websites that I've collected in a sidebar widget, I decided that it was about time to introduce them in a new blog post. I've copied from the sidebar and pasted into this post the content of the sidebar widget (Course Links, below), and expanded the list with notations that don't appear in the sidebar to explain each link briefly here. The list from the sidebar served as a working outline for this post about...

Course Links

  • Writing Studio Wiki
    • At the wiki is where I recommend starting every day in class. Shortcuts (links) in the sidebar there will open almost every other site that you'll need for classwork.
  • Writing Studio Blog
    • You are at the Writing Studio Blog now. So maybe keeping this link is a bit redundant. It made the list look longer months ago, as one of the three sites that I originally listed when I set up the sidebar widget to list links on this blog. It still works as an easy way to return to the top page from pages displaying individual posts (and comments).
  • WinK HomePage
    • The Weblogging in Kumamoto Homepage (above) covers virtually everything that Tomeiter, Pukman and I have been doing with with a growing community of student bloggers for the past few years. (There is too much stuff there to mention here. So please have a look around when you have some quality browsing time on your hands.) Tomeiter & Pukman are university teachers that have been blogging and wiki-building longer than I have. You can find their blogs via the next two links (below).
  • Tomeiter's garden (a Vox blog)
    • [Tomeiter maintains this blog as a model for students in various classes.]
  • Pukman@WinK (another Blogger blog)
    • [Pukman maintains this blog as a model for, and for guidance of, students in various classes.]
  • MyBlogLog
    • This link is new today; it's the addition that prompted me to explain my current sidebar links here. MyBlogLog is a free service listing two other blogs that I work on when I'm not busy with the Writing Studio Blog. That service also cross-links with the WinK HomePage.
  • Gmail Signup
    • This is another of the links included in the sidebar for the first class meeting last spring. It was there in case you hadn't found your way directly from the Writing Studio Wiki to the Gmail Signup (and Blogger Account Setup) tutorial.
  • Computers & English
    • Computers & English is a Blogger blog that Tomeiter set up to model blogging tips and tools not only for the C&E class, but also for overseas studies prep. courses and other writing classes as well.
This was going to be a quick post, but it turned out much longer than I had planned.

[443 words {+ 28 words (08.01.15)}]

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

tomomi's big book review 2-[0]5

tomomi's big blog: book review 2-5
[automatically generated title OR...]

book review 2-5

[...copied and pasted title]

I think Tomomi wrote a marvelous book review. I real like the part where she... and .... She also... Her... is ... and ....
[n words]

Book review 2-[0]5 "Princess Diana" (*:*yuka*:*:)

:*:*room*:*:: Book review 2-[0]5 "Princess Diana"
[Title from back link function, IF available.]

Book review 2-[0]5: Princess Diana

[Title copied (Ctrl+C) and pasted (Ctrl+V) into your blog post title and post, if no back link is available.]

I think Yuka's book review is a good one because..., and .... I really like the part where she.... She also includes .... All in all, I think she wrote a really good book review.

[n words]

No TSTs today (Nov. 28), but...

Though there will be no typing speed trials (TSTs) in class today, timely, back-linked posts reflecting on near-peers' book reviews will constitute attendance. If your attendance blog post today isn't back-linked to a book review from another class, or is more than ten minutes late, I will count you absent today (Nov. 28). Please read on for detailed instructions.

Book reviews (12+, to date)

A brief review of a near-peer's book review is required for attendance today. Please go walk-about looking for near-peer role models, to discover their best book reviews, and reflect upon them; browse and review:

WinK: (KGU Writing):
Then backlink from the best book review that you find, and explain what you think makes it a good book review in a post on your own blog. Write two or more reasons for your appreciation of that book review in a post backlinking to it from your own blog, within 20 minutes of the beginning of class.

Timely posting of your reflections on a near-peer's book review, from another class, will demonstrate your attendance today (Nov. 28). If you post a peer review of 150 words or more, on time today, you may fulfill the typing speed trial requirement for fall semester. If you already have surpassed the 150 words in five minutes threshold, you still must post your reflections on a book review by a near-peer in another class.

Portfolio component updates (two, to date)

Please bring both portfolio components copied to your blog up to date.
Please include word counts on every post that you have made (and will make) fall semester, in square brackets at the lower left corner of each post.
[319 words]

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fine-Tuning Formatting: Show 14 Days

To make it easier for visitors to your blog to see all of your recent posts at a glance, please revise the formatting settings found through your Dashboard:
For the rest of fall semester, I would like you to set your main page to show all posts that you've made during the last fortnight (14 days).
[56 words]

English Acronyms Used in Online Messages

Thanks to Mr. T. for pointing out Chat Acronyms Used in E-mail, IM, and Text Messaging. He shared the URL for the Chat Acronyms website in a recent comment on English Weekend Planning in Tomeiter's Garden.

Though I recommend that you, as learners of English, avoid use of such acronyms--especially for writing course work; I feel that it is important for you to understand them, or at least to know where to go to find out what they mean. You should also keep in mind that, in different contexts, the same acronyms can stand for different things.

For example, IM could stand for instructional materials, but means something else entirely different in the title of the website that Mr. T. has pointed out. If you don't know what it means there, I suggest that you look it up on that site.

While you're in Tomeiter's Garden, I also suggest that you check out the Bianca Ryan video! Last, but not least, if you know of other good glossaries of acronyms; please share links to them in comments on this post.
[180 words]

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Archives, Feeds, Labels, Settings and Such

In this post, I focus on blog settings; I provide a freshly extended list of blog features, functions, and requirements for on-going participation in the Writing Studio (Writing IVc).

0. A blog!

This is pretty obvious, but everyone has to have one, and to use it regularly for posting the various writing assignments listed here, including:
  • free-writing (quickposts, photos, media, links),
  • typing speed trials (quickposts, typing),
  • book reviews (books, links, photos, reviews),
  • intensive writing assignments (essays, graphics, media, movies, photos, reviews), and
  • collective/reflective works (assignments, essays, reviews, portfolios).
Suitable labels for those kinds of posts are in parentheses (above).

Beyond the obvious, that is, by now routine, extensive writing on you blogs (above); there are several other points on which I would like you to focus your attention this week. In class, computer lab. assistants or I will help you make certain that your blogs adhere to the following requirements.

1. Archives

Blog archives must appear near the top of blog sidebars for Writing IVc. This is a requirement continuing from Writing IIIc, last semester. Especially if you didn't take part in the Writing Studio last semester, you should make certain that your archive is at or near the top of your sidebar.

However, there is a change from last semester. That is, to save space in your blog sidebars for the next item (Comment Feeds) if you haven't done so already; you need to switch your blog archives from weekly to monthly display mode.

2. Comment Feeds

Comment feeds are a new feature that also will be required at or near the top of your sidebar in the immediate future. Adding comment feeds provides extra degrees of access to your blogs. That is, in addition to archives (above), and labels and reverse chronological page displays (below). Displaying recent comments from posts on your blog, in your sidebar, is a community-building measure that enables both regular readers and occasional visitors to find active discussions on your blog quickly and to join them easily.

I posted a recipe for sidebar comment feeds earlier on the Writing Studio Blog (Comment Feed Recipe...; October 24, 2007). Please review that post, and then follow the steps to add a comment feed at or near the top of your sidebar. If you need help using that recipe to create a comment feed widget for your sidebar, ask a student who has one already, a lab. assistant, or me.

3. Labels

You must have a widget in your blog sidebar that displays the labels for posts on your blog. This is a continuing requirement from Writing IIIc.

The list of labels below shows minimum requirements for Writing IVc; the number is up from first semester to automatically collect information that you'll need for your portfolio. I've listed new requirements in bold italics:
  • books, essays, links, media, movies, portfolios, photos, quickposts, reviews
    • Reminders:
      • Any number of suitable labels can be used together (separated by commas); &
      • Every post must have at least one label attached.
The easiest way I can think of to make certain that you have all of the currently required labels is to:
  1. Select all of the labels above at once;
  2. Copy them into the computer clipboard (Ctrl+C);
  3. Create a temporary new post on your blog entitled "Required Labels";
  4. Before you publish that temporary new post, click in the "Labels for this post" field;
  5. Paste all of the labels above into the labels field of your temporary post (Ctrl+V); &
  6. Save the post, temporarily.
After you have saved that temporary post with all the required labels attached, please check the list of labels in your blog sidebar to make certain that all of the required labels appear. If the required labels do not appear, you may need to publish your required labels post.

Then correct any similar but inaccurate labels visible in the sidebar - on individual posts. The lab. assistants or I can show you how to do this, but we'll expect you to complete the process yourself. When you have finished checking and correcting all of your labels as necessary, you can open and save that temporary post as a draft (keep it; you may need it again).


A laboratory assistant or I will help you find and confirm the following settings:
  • Backlinks (enabled);
  • Comment Moderation (OFF!);
  • Page Displays (last two weeks); &
  • Security Measures:
    • Unlisted blogs,
    • Comments from registered Bloggers only, &
    • Word verification (ON!).
There may be a few other settings that you need to check. I may remember them after breakfast, or before class. So please review this post later.
[783 words]

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pre-Review of FreeMind(R), a Mind-Mapping Tool

The FreeMind(R) mind- or concept-mapping tool download took longer than I expected through an ADSL link. Don't try this at home, folks, unless you have a high-speed connection, and are a paid professional. The size of the download could, maybe should, discourage adoption from students' home computers. Is there a streamlined version available?

The default screen-size of FreeMind(R) is suited for small displays, but not scalable to larger ones. Flexibility in display parameters is lacking. Nevertheless, displays that fit on small screens, and wrap and fit to down-sized browser windows on larger screens ought to be status quo. Unfortunately, FreeMind won't down-size, either.

Fly-overs on the grayed-out icons on the opening screen reveal no alternative text displays, at least not in Firefox on Windows. They give no clue as to what the graphic representations across the topbar or down the sidebar might mean. Maybe flyovers are not Firefox compatible; maybe the software itself isn't broadly internet compliant.

Once you click on the dog-eared, page-like icon, to open a new file; all of the icons in the topbar and sidebar light up! How dumb must you be not to recognize a shadow of an icon near the left of the topbar in order not to get started right away? Figure out which, and click...

Then, when the file on display automatically presents an element with a Japanese label ("新規マインドマップ"), perhaps simply because I've downloaded the software from a location in Japan, what do I do?

I'm going to go find out if language preferences are available to over-ride the ... (sorry, I shouldn't use such a strong collocation online for...) default settings. In fact, the menus are in Japanese, as well! Pretty hopeless, after midnight, I find neither flyover labels in the sidebar, nor language preferences in drop-down menus from the top bar, nor in the icon-ized cross-bar below that. That doesn't mean that they're not there; it means that I should give up and go to bed.
[337 words]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

WSB 2-05: Comments on Blogs (compiled)

With this post, I've adopted an acronym for Writing Studio Bulletins (WSB) [to shorten titles]. I'[ve] appl[-ied] this acronym retroactively to previous fall semester bulletins [and created a new label for bulletins].

Below are snippets from comment notifications that I've opted to receive when commenting on blogs associated with the Writing Studio (Writing IVc). Please review all of the following comments carefully, because feedback and suggestions that I've made in them also may apply to your own blogs.
Say, ..., you're forgetting word counts on your book reviews, aren't you? Please remember that book reviews should be longer than quickposts from typing speed trials. I suggest that you go back and beef up your book reviews for this semester (fall)....

Even when you make a post this short, you need to add a word count to it. You also should use the label "quickposts" for it.

You seem to have forgotten to number your book reviews (for example, Book Review 2-99: Mr. Bean). Please number them from the beginning of fall semester, and include word counts, too.

The black typeface on your dark background makes the section on the ... [festival] virtually unreadable. Please change the font color of that section, so folks who visit your blog can read it. You had better add an accurate and catchy title, and a word count to your mega-essay, too.

Your mega-essay is still missing a conclusion, and a word count. The conclusion is long, long overdue, and you need the word count for Proto-Portolio 2-02. Please wrap this essay up [right] away!

By now I hope you understand the difference between an outline and an essay. You have labelled this post as an essay, but it is only a rough outline, and your label for "essays" revealed no essay more recent than this outline.

You must post essays rather than (or in addition to) outlines on your blog. I'm still looking for essays.

While I appreciate your efforts to review the Japanese movie that you did, the Writing Studio (Writing IVc) assignment for last week was for everyone to review the same English movie, Toy Story. So I would like you to review Toy story, and post your review ASAP!

This essay deserves the label "essays", not "quickposts", and an accurate and descriptive title. This post looks like more of an essay than an outline, and "second" doesn't give visitors any idea what your essay is about.

Please revise the title, and extend each paragraph to at least three sentences in length (five sentences per paragraph would be even better). Then include a word count that you can include in your writing portfolio.

There is something about the essay titles that you've added to your Proto-Portfolio 2-02 (PPF) that blows the table out of proportion. The notes column bleeds outside of the display space.

I imagine that you may be copying and pasting titles from blog posts into the titles column of your PPF. However, since your blog template automatically puts triple colored bullet points into each blog post title, they show up again in your PPF.

So I'd like to ask you to try hand-encoding essay titles and links for PPF 2-02. Here's a recipe for you to try. Please copy and paste the following link (title, below) into a new blog post in HTML view, and replace the URL and title with the URL and for your essays.

I am impressed by this essay, especially by its focus on historical and contemporary resources, water in particular. Though your essay covers a range of other topics, it is resources critical to survival that interest me the most. You've done a fine job of pointing some out. If you would like to write more about water, or other critical resources, I will continue to read your posts with great interest.

You've composed an interesting essay about many aspects of Kumamoto. However, please don't forget to give it an accurate, catchy, and descriptive title.

"Mega-Essay" may work for the name of a writing assignment, but isn't a very attractive title for a blog post. You had better change it, and you must add a word count to put in your portfolio, too.

Sorry, ..., but which book you've reviewed is again unclear. You must provide book titles, shortened if necessary, in the titles of every blog post. Please see the Writing Studio Wiki for details.

By now you should know the differences between lists, outlines, paragraphs, and essays. Subtracting the lists that you've cobbled together from what you've called an essay, I get 85 words - and only two paragraphs of three or more sentences (one at the beginning and another at the end).

That is far shy of the five-plus paragraphs, and 300 to 500 words required for the first movie review that you need do this fall semester. So I'll ask you this last time: Please compose a movie review following the working outline and meeting the essay requirements posted on the Writing Studio Blog, before it's too late.
(comments on students' blogs, 2007.11.13-14)

If you opt to receive notification of follow-up comments, each time you comment on a blog post; you too will receive gmail messages including comments like these that other visitors have made, along with replies from the blog owner. The links in actual gmail notifications make returning to the site and responding to other comments much easier than browsing back to peers' blogs, posts, and comments by hand.
[913 words, with revisions 07.11.15]

Friday, November 9, 2007

Gmail Signatures - A Good Idea!

This is a quick post to suggest that you add a signature to your gmail messages. A gmail signature reinforces your identity, and may provide quick and easy access to your blog or favorite website if you list those along with your name and gmail address. You can find instructions for including signatures on gmail messages that you send in the Gmail Help Center.
[63 words]

Movie Reviews: Concept Map & [Working] Outline

Though the following concept map (graphic organizer) is nothing fancy, it captures--more or less-- ideas for movie reviews combined from both Writing Studio groups. As you are examining this map, and the outline that follows, please remember that for the first movie review this fall semester both groups have chosen the movie, Toy Story.

The outline below, derived from the concept map above, is quite rough as well, but may be somewhat easier to follow if you prefer linear/textual perspectives to spatial/graphic ones on movie review content.

movie review

| select genre

| | select movie

[watch it (with English subtitles on)]

| | | 1. predict (introduce) main points

| | | 2. elaborate (explain) main points

| | | | a. provide movie info.; include:

| | | | | date

| | | | | director

| | | | | genre

| | | | | producer

| | | | | stars, including main characters

| | | | | other info.

[Note: Section a. (above) is the only section of this working outline that suggests details; the others require details, too, when you write your essays.]

| | | | b. identify main characters

| | | | c. explore themes

| | | | d. give impressions

| | | | e. make recommendations

| | | 3. summarize (conclude) main points

[approximately 239 words, after revisions]

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Labels, again

In order to make it easy for everyone to find blog posts you've made that interest them, it is important to add labels to each post that you make on your blogs. If the titles of your posts are boring, or inexplicit, and you don't label your posts with suitable labels, hardly anyone is likely to read your posts, comment, or make suggestions for improving them.

For instructional purposes, here is a short list of labels that I recommend. No, "recommend" isn't strong enough; these are required labels for Writing IVc:
  • books
  • essays
  • movies
  • portfolios
  • quickposts
  • reviews
Please note that each of those labels is one word, and that all of those labels are plural forms. There is no need for specific labels such as: "draft essay", "mega-essay", or "proto-portfolio" ("Proto-Portfolio" should already be in post titles).

Of course, you can--maybe even should--use multiple labels, for example: "books" plus "reviews", "drafts" (an optional alternative to "quickposts" for essays) plus "essays", or "movies" plus "reviews". Then blog visitors who search through any of the required labels are likely to find what they're looking for. That is the power of one-word labels.

If you wish to introduce other labels on your blogs, please make certain that they (will) apply to more than one post on your blog, and that they are easy for visitors to understand. For example, "fantasy", "history", "romance", or "SciFi" (science fiction) are genre labels that might apply to reviews of both books and movies. Other labels that might apply to various posts are "graphics", "media", and "photos".
Technical note: The title of this post includes an enclosure link to a search for all other posts on this blog with the label "labels". If you'd like to use enclosure links like that on any of your blog posts: "...[G]o to your Settings | Formatting tab and set the 'Show Link fields' option to 'Yes.' This will add the enclosure link fields to your post editor. When composing a post, you'll then see a field for your enclosures. From there, just enter the URLs" to which you want the titles of particular posts to link (Blogger Help).
[revised Nov. 9, 2007; 366 words]

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Movie to Review (3rd essay): Toy Story

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, but both classes, Writing IVc1 and Writing IVc2, expressed weighted majority preferences to review the same movie. Unfortunately, the data that I collected on preferences that you expressed in class is not available on this computer, because I left my memory stick at work.

Nevertheless, both classes predominantly favored the first (unnumbered) production of Toy Story. So, for practical purposes, I have assigned this movie as the focus of reviews for your third essay this fall semester. Everyone should review the same movie, in an original fashion, and post individual reviews on their own blogs. Individual movie reviews are due by November 11.

In both classes today - no, yesterday (now), content suggestions emerged. Though I will not attempt here to compile them all in a working outline, I hope that you will consider each possibility as you compose your own outlines and essays. Some of the most memorable suggestions for predication in introductions, development in body paragraphs, and summarization in conclusions include:
  • movie production details (including genre and studio history);
  • main characters in the movie; and
  • main themes of the movie
Before you finalize your outlines and compose them as essays, I would like to highlight possible interactions between characters and themes. One way to represent them would be to focus on characters; another would be to focus on themes as main points. Nevertheless, the organization of your essays is up to you. I look forward to reading them next Monday (Nov. 12).
[252 words]

WSB 2-04: Next typing topic

I am posting this notice of the next typing speed trial topic here, rather than clutter your gmail boxes with a message that you might confuse with the typing speed trial messages to which you will need to reply next Wednesday, Nov. 14th, and to reattach your completed typing speed trial files within the first 15 minutes of class time.

In order to give you plenty of lead time to brainstorm ideas and practice typing them up, I have decided upon and posted the next typing speed trial topic on the Writing Studio Wiki already. As always, however, I am looking forward to hearing your suggestions for new topics in comments on an earlier Call for Typing Speed Topic Suggestions (October 11, 2007).

I hope that this advance notice of the next topic will give those of you who are on the verge of surpassing the typing speed threshold for fall semester just the edge you need to do so on your next attempt on the 14th. For those of you who still need (much) more practice to reach that threshold, may this provide an incentive to start practice typing on the next typing speed trial topic today!

Thanks for the ComputerKid.gif (above) to
Webweaver's Free School Graphics
[208 words]

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Movies for reviews: choices to consider

camera.gif courtesy of Webweaver's Free ClipartBelow is a short list of movie titles that students have proposed for review or reviewed over the past few years. I'll ask all of you to express preferences for two or three of these movies (1st, 2nd, and maybe third choices) to review for your next essays.
  • Forrest Gump
  • Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone
  • Lilo & Stitch (1st movie)
  • Mrs. Doubtfire
  • Shrek (1st movie)
  • Toy Story (1st movie)
After weighing class preferences, I'll ask you to view the most popular choice (again, if you've seen it already) and write a review of it for your third essays for fall semester. Your third essays are due by November 11, 2007. You may get little or no credit for late essays.

All movie reviews must be original. These essays must consist of at least five paragraphs of three or more sentences in length, and must include introductory and concluding paragraphs that foretell and summarize the main points of the essays. These movie reviews must be between 300 and 500 words in overall length overall, not including titles, subtitles, or references.

Animated GIF (picture, above)
courtesy of Webweaver's Free Clipart:
Free Film and Movie Graphics
Click on the picture to see
the animated version.
[211 words]

Proto-Portfolio 2-02: Essays

Please copy and paste the entire table below into a new post on your blog entitled "Proto-Portfolio 2-02: Essays", and start filling it in with:

  • short essay titles including hidden links to your essays,
  • dates that you posted your essays,
  • the numbers of paragraphs and words in your essays,
  • the number of comments currently on your essays, and
  • the numbers of links, photos or other graphics, and other media that essays include.
To make sure that you copy the entire table, please include the slash marks (beginning and end), temporarily. After you paste the entire table into a post on your blog, you may remove the slash marks.

(beginning) /////

Fall Semester Essays

[+ links]





5th essay


6th essay


Totals ---


¶: number of paragraphs three or more sentences in length
W: number of words
C: number of comments
L: number of links
P: number of photos or other graphics
M: number of other media included

///// (end)
[191 words]

WSB 2-03: Problems and Suggestions

I've completed a sweeping review of all of your blogs. This post is a compilation of comments and gmail extracts that I'm cross-posting here to highlight recurring problems that I hope will never occur again, especially plagiarism. The problem areas I cover with this bulletin are:

  1. Essays (not to mention late and missing essays)
  2. Mega-essays: incomplete or unconsolidated
  3. Plagiarism: "completely unacceptable"!
  4. Proto-Portfolio 2-01
Even if I haven't commented directly on your blog, or sent you gmail about it, you should review your own blog to make sure it shares none of the problems that I've pointed out. It is up to you to make sure that you've followed all of the suggestions below.

1. Essays: titles, labels, and word counts

Can you think of a catchy, yet comprehensive title... for this essay? "My draft essay" is pretty dull.

November 6, 2007 12:01:11 JST

Can you think of a catchy, yet comprehensive title that will attract readers to your essay, and give them a taste of the kind(-s) of places it's about before they start reading?

November 6, 2007 12:13:25 JST

For starters, a catchy yet comprehensive title would be nice! I'd also like you to include a total word count for the whole essay.

November 6, 2007 12:05:01 JST

This essay is about more than one place, isn't it? It is also hard to find, because you've forgotten to attach the label "essays" to it.

November 6, 2007 12:09:40 JST

2. Mega-essays: incomplete or unconsolidated

I haven't found a complete mega-essay about Kumamoto (with an introductory paragraph, three or more main points, and a concluding paragraph - plus links, photos & other media) anywhere on your blog.

... [details removed]

It seems that you [may] have confused individual bits and pieces of a mega-essay, and links to group mates blogs, with a complete essay composed of all of the required parts and posted on each of your blogs.

You must compile your group essay and post it in its entirety on your blog. (So must your group mates.) Then I suggest that you label it "essays" just like all of the other essays that you have completed.

Please share this information with your group mates, classmates, and peers.

November 6, 2007 16:51:23 JST

3. Plagiarism: "completely unacceptable"!

I regret to inform you that because part of your essay on ... [title & date] is plagiarized, I am giving you no credit at all for this assignment.

A large portion of your essay comes directly from ... [external source]. Copying the work of others like that is completely unacceptable. For a brief explanation of plagiarism, see the WinK Homepage (help:faq, What is plagiarism?), which I've included as a reference in the sidebar of the Writing Studio Wiki. For details, please contact Mr. Tomei as soon as possible.

If you plagiarize any part of any future assignment, I will give you no credit for Writing IV. I may also seek further punishments that KGU might impose on student[s] who plagiarize the work of others.

November 6, 2007 17:17:12 JST

4. Proto-Portfolio 2-01: Titles, labels, & data

Would you please accurately entitle this post, "Proto-Portfolio 2-01", change your label... to "portfolios" ([plural, with] no capital "P"), and fill in the data for August through October right away?

November 6, 2007 12:27:47 JST

Where's your data for August - October? Please fill it in right away.

2007116 164400 JST

I came here looking for the beginning of your proto-portfolio for fall semester, following your label "proto-portfolio", but found a virtually complete portfolio from spring semester instead.

To prevent such confusion in the future, please relabel this and all other portfolio pieces with the simple, plural label "portfolios", instead of "proto-portfolio[-s]", and get and bring a Proto-Portfolio 2-01 up to date for October immediately!

2007/11/06 17:49

5. Wrap-up

Though I started collecting these comments and suggestions as I was about halfway through my sweep, they still apply to many other essays, mega-essays, and proto-portfolio posts on other blogs. In fact, you may find similar comments on your own blogs, or similar messages in your gmail queues. I hope you will continue to share any advice or suggestions that you get with all of your group mates, classmates and peers.

The advice above regarding essay titles applies to every post that you make. Moreover, I expect you to review all of the suggestions that I've made about labels, both here and in other posts, and apply them to every post on your own blogs as well. If you find new or similar problems on peers' blogs, please make suggestions for improvement in comments directly on their blogs as soon as possible.

Last, but most important - regarding plagiarism: Please consider yourselves forewarned of a zero-tolerance policy. Plagiarism in any post may have severe academic consequences.

[813 words]

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Welcome home, hallows!

This post represents an iPhoto slideshow, with animation effects and music, exported as a movie, uploaded to YouTube, and embedded here:

I'm also embedding a Google Video version of the same movie for comparison, here:

For ease of comparison, I've resized both viewers above, making them the same width. Which do you think looks better?
[53 words]

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Americas

This post includes a comment that ... I sent via gmail in response to a Writing III student's typing speed trial about her favorite country. I'm re-posting it here to highlight a common misconception and inaccurate usage of the term, America.
America isn't a country. In fact, there are three Americas - and each comprises a large region: North America, Central America, & South America. All in all, they include about 55 countries and territories. Take your pick!
(personal correspondence; May 17, 2007)

For a list of those countries and territories, please see the Ethnologue country index: Languages of the Americas webpage.

Image source:
Image used in accordance with the copyright holder's
Terms of Use for Maps

[118 words]

Sunday, October 28, 2007

WSB 2-02: Post Essays on Blogs

This is a general announcement to all students in Writing IVc, both sections one and two:
  • The second essay assignment, for individual essays on your favorite places, like the first joint essay assignment, called for you to post your completed essays on your own blogs, this time by October 26 (Writing Studio Calendar), where they will be available for general reviewing and commentary by your classmates and peers.
There is no need, and I have no wish, for you to gmail your essays to me. Spontaneously entitled gmail messages, and randomly named file attachments simply clutter mail queues, and get lost in file directories. If you have gmailed an essay already, you should expect no reply.

However, you should make sure that you have posted your complete essay on your blog, and used the label "essays" (and maybe "favorites", too) to make certain that your essay will be easy for everyone to find.
[154 words]

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Model from Class: My Favorite Place...

... to sit and think

My back yard is my favorite place to sit and think. I’d like to explain what it looks like and why I like sitting there. My backyard has a garden, a composter and a small patch of grass. It is surrounded by a hedge. It is a quiet place to sit and think.

There is a hedge around the back yard. The hedge is getting quite thick and very tall, because I didn’t trim it this summer. I’m going to wait till winter to trim it, because I enjoy sitting and thinking in the yard more than working on the hedge. The hedge keeps the yard quiet and peaceful.

The garden in the back yard has three parts. First there is a narrow flower bed along the veranda. It is about 45 centimeter wide, and runs the whole length of the veranda. At one end is a large aloe plant. The nearest bed also holds annual flowers.

Then there is a larger flower bed on the side. In it, there is a cherry tree growing on one side, a climbing rose bush in the middle, and a hydrangea at the other side. In between are various plants and flowers. That is the biggest part of the garden

Along the back of the back yard, but along one side only, is another small patch of garden. There were strawberry plants growing in it earlier this year, but most of them died! Maybe the compost that I used to feed them was too strong.

There is a composter in the back yard, which decomposes lawn and garden refuse. It also decomposes kitchen waste. The composter is large and black. It sits in the far corner of the back yard next to the hedge. There the smell, if any, won't reach the house. The composter works very quietly.

The lawn is my favorite part of the back yard. I've planted grass, and reseeded almost every year since starting to work on the back yard. The lawn is thick and green, but still thin around the edges which don't get much sunlight. I need to reseed again right away.

What I like most about thebackyard is sitting on the veranda and listening to the grass grow. At least, that is what I tell people who interrupt my meditation there. At night, I also enjoy listening to the worms in the lawn, and the stars, planets, and comets in the sky. If my mind is quiet, and my eyes remain open, I can see and hear many of them.

[432 words]

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Reminder from Class: Classwork & Homework

This is a snippet from the classroom display on October 24 (formatting transferred from Word is problematic):

Continue counting words and attaching word counts to every post (August '07 - January '08).

Review Writing Resources

Five-Paragraph Essay

Model &


Use that model for your 2nd essay:

About your (own) favorite place(-s)

Create an outline (in Word).

Write a complete first draft:

Five or more paragraphs, including:

Introductory paragraph (1)
Body paragraphs (3+)
Concluding paragraph (1); with:

Five or more sentences per paragraph; &

At least 300 words

Post your draft essay on your blog by Oct. 26.

Space between paragraphs

Use returns only at the end of headings or paragraphs.

At the end of paragraphs, use two returns.

Include a word count.

Add the class-wide label "essays" (with an "a" and an "s"!)

Check gmail for messages.

Check your blog for comments.

Check the Writing Studio Blog for announcements.

[133 words]

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Comment Feed Recipe for Sidebars

  • [YourBlogURL]/feeds/comments/default/?alt=rss
Above is a quick and easy recipe that can use to add a comment feed to your sidebar. You can use a feed like that in your sidebar to display recent community activity on your blog.

Note: I added the "?alt=rss" bit to the end of the default feed, because the add a feed tool in the Blogger layout preview didn't recognize the default feed address.

All you need to do to add a recent comments feed to your sidebar is:
  1. Replace "[YourBlogURL]" in the recipe above with your complete blog URL, starting with the "http://..." part;
  2. Open your Blogger Dashboard;
  3. Click on the "Manage: ... Layout" link in your Dashboard;
  4. Click on "Add a Page Element" link in the sidebar preview;
  5. Click on the "Add To Blog" button for the Feed tool;
  6. Paste in your comment feed URL; then
  7. Click "Continue" to fine-tune the feed settings!
I decided to display short previews of the five most recent comments, with links, dates and authors included.
[174 words]
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