English 113A Calendar (Spring 2021)

113A  Calendar  Spring 2021

Week 1

January 25, Monday:  Introduction of class members and syllabus/course.

Read Top Ten Digital Transformation Trends for 2021, and Top Six Digital Transformation Trends In Media And Entertainment (Online) from Forbes Magazine.

Watch these Ted Talks:


  1. Watch these videos again and write a 300-words response to it. Post your response to Canvas by Tuesday, January 26.
  2. Read and write a precise summary (500 Words) of Nicholas Carr’s “Is Google making Us Stupid? Post Summary to Canvas Discussion Board by Midnight,  Tuesday, January  26.

January 27, Wednesday:

  1. Discussion of some student responses.
  2. Class discussion on ““Is Google making Us Stupid?”
  • Discussion Questions:

1. How would you answer the title question – is Google (or the internet generally) making us stupid? How is the author defining stupidity and intelligence? Do you agree with Carr’s definition or would you define it differently?

2. Can you connect this to your attachments to technology, and if so, how? What does the internet make you better at? Is there anything you feel it makes you do worse?

3. Why does Carr begin and end his essay with the science-fiction film, 2001: A Space Odyssey?  How does this film become a kind of metaphor for the ideas in his essay? 

4. What does Carr mean when he writes, “as we use what the sociologist Daniel Bell has called our “intellectual technologies”…we inevitably begin to take on the qualities of those technologies” (637)?  How have our ways of thinking, and indeed, even our metaphors, changed as a result of these technologies?  Consider also how previous technologies have changed our thinking, according to the essay. 

5. What is it that Carr is really worried about?  Is he “just a worrywart”?

6. What is Carr’s thesis?

7. Who is Carr talking about (and who is his audience)?

8. Do you agree with Carr’s argument? Why?

9. In what points do you disagree with Carr? Why?


  1. Write a letter to the author, Nicholas Carr, responding to his position on technological advancements. Post your letter to Canvas  by Saturday Midnight, January 30.
  2. Read and write a precise summary (500 Words due by Sunday, January 31) of Clive Thompson’s “Smarter than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better” (PDF in Canvas).

Week 2

February 1, Monday: Group discussion on the article: “Smarter than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better”. Each group will take up an issue from the reading and present in the class.

In-class writing: Compare and Contrast Nicholas Carr’s “Is Google Making Us Stupid,” Clive Thompson’s “Smarter than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better,” and Two Ted Talks: Do all of three make the same argument? Where do they agree and disagree? Is there any difference in the point of view or tone or argument/s? If they agree, why do you think they do, and if not, why not?

Next, we will generate a list of potential research topics in the class.

Some potential Essay Topics:

Education and Digital Media

Google and Attention Span

Upsides and downsides of Unlimited data storage

Increasing military technology and world peace

Nanobot drones and future of warfare

Fashion and Digital Media

Copyright and Digital Media

Race, Gender, and Digital Media

Digital Media and Advocacy

Privacy and Surveillance

Finally, we will return to the assignment sheet and review the expectations for the essay


  1. Write a letter to a friend this time describing your response to Nicholas Carr’s “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Post your letter to Canvas by Tuesday Midnight, February 2.
  2. Read and write a precise summary (500 Words due by Midnight, February 2) of Kevin Kelly’s “Better than Human: Why Robots will—and Must—Take our Jobs

February 3, Wednesday:

  1. Group Discussion on Kevin Kelly’s “Better than Human: Why Robots will—and Must—Take our Jobs”

Discussion Questions on the Reading:

I. Kevin Kelly argues that machines will eventually take over many of the jobs that we now perform. This scenario may seem dire, yet he doesn’t appear at all worried. To the contrary, in fact. Why not? Find statements in the article that explain his attitude.

II. Though he acknowledges that some of his ideas are “hard to believe,” Kelly does not begin by saying explicitly what other ideas or assumptions he’s responding to. How does he begin, and how does that beginning set the stage for his argument?

III. Nicholas Carr is less optimistic than Kelly about the future impact of technology. Who do you find more persuasive, and why?

IV. How do you respond to human relationship with robots, summed up into four categories in a chart in the article? Do you agree or disagree to his categories and why?

V. How do you respond to Kelly’s “Seven Stages of Robot Replacement”? Can you think of any real life examples where some jobs went through those stages? Explain.


2. Watch this Ted Talks and Discuss it: Don’t Fear Intelligent Machines Work With Them 

3. Workshop on finding, contextualizing and evaluating sources for Progression 1 essay: We will take a quick tour through the library databases to see which ones might best serve our unit inquiry.


  1. Access library databases and locate one or two secondary (pref. scholarly) source/s for your unit 1 essay.
  2. Start drafting the essay—at least three paragraphs—for the beginning, middle or end of the essay. While doing that keep in mind that your writing goal in this progression involves deeply engaging with the arguments of the shared texts, and developing a position(s) of your own.

Week 3

February 8, Monday:

  1. 1 min idea sharing on your essay topics
  2. Analyzing the beginning and conclusion of two sample essays (download from Canvas)


Read chapter 22 “Quoting, Paraphrasing, Summarizing” (pp. 541-554) from Everyone’s An Author.

Now by using three shared texts and at least one secondary source, compose the first draft for Progression 1 essay. Make sure you keep in mind techniques of “quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing” as you compose the essay.

February 10, Wednesday:

Synthesis Heuristic/ Thesis Building Heuristic—(Handouts)

Homework: Further build your paper. Bring the full draft for peer review on Wednesday.

Week 4

February 15, Monday

Peer Review/Workshopping the essay. Final questions and solutions related to Progression 1 essay.

Homework: Finalize your essay. Essay is due on Friday, February  19.

February 17, Wednesday

  1. Distribution of Rhetorical Analysis assignment

2. Watch documentary—Miss Representation, 2011

Write a quick response to the movie, and discuss some responses.


Read and write a precise summary (In 500 Words) of Chapter 14: “Writing Analytically/ “Let’s Take a Closer Look””  (pp. 229-251) from Everyone’s An Author))Post Summary to Canvas by Saturday, February 20.

Week 5

February 22, Monday

In the Class:

  1. Generating key critical/rhetorical concepts together from hapter 14: “Writing Analytically/ “Let’s Take a Closer Look””  (pp. 229-251).
  2. Critical/rhetorical concepts and Miss Representation: (Potential Topics for class discussion) media and representation, media and gender, media and capitalism, media and status quo, media and hypervisibility, media and new colonialism, media and appropriation, signs, symbols and ideologies in Miss Representation

Homework: Get online and locate a media artifact for critical and rhetorical analysis. Read the assignment description carefully and look for the appropriate media artifact (music video, movie/animation clip, video advertisement etc.).

Bring your laptop and media artifact to class on Monday.

February 24, Wednesday

Initial analysis of your media artifact–

Critically examining your media artifact: What do you see in your artifact? What signs, symbols? What values or ideologies are being communicated? Whose values or ideologies are those? Who is communicating those values or ideologies? Who is benefitting and who is losing? Does your artifact echo any aspect/s of Miss Representation? How?


1. Write a one and half page description of your media artifact. Try to be specific, accurate, and attempt to re-create the artifact as closely as possible in and through words. Post the Description to Canvas by Saturday,  February 27.

2. Read and summarize in 300-500 words, “Visual Analysis” (pp. 256-261) from Everyone’s An Author. Post summary to Canvas by Sunday, February 28.

3. Be ready to discuss your media artifact in the class.

Week 6

March  1, Monday:

1.Discussion of Rhetorical terms. Rhetorical angle at the artifact.


1. Read and summarize (in 300- 500 words) chapter 18: “Analyzing and Constructing Arguments” (pp. 411-437) from Everyone’s An Author. (Summary due by  Tuesday,  March 2).

2. Read and summarize in 300-500 words Sika A. Dagbovie-Mullins’ “Pigtails, Ponytails, and Getting Tail: The Infantilization and Hyper-Sexualization of African American Females in Popular Culture” (PDf in Canvas). Post Summary to Canvas by Tuesday, March 2).

March 3, Wednesday:

We will also analyze Dagbovie-Mullins’ “Pigtails, Ponytails, and Getting Tail: The Infantilization and Hyper-Sexualization of African American Females in Popular Culture” article.

We will discuss the key concepts related to analyzing arguments.

Then, we will review some sample analysis essays (PDFs in Canvas)

Homework: Read and summarize  in 300-500 words Asa Berger’s “Semiotic Analysis” (PDf in Canvas). Post Summary to Canvas by Saturday, March 6).

Week 7

March  8, Monday:

In class:  We will examine advertiser’s key promotion strategies. Also discuss rhetorical and sexual appeals routinely used by advertisers and popular media.

You will work on pairs. You will also look at each other’s media artifact and share your critical observations


  1. Read and summarize (in  300-500 words) Asa Berger’s Chapter” Discourse Analysis” (PDF in Canvas). Post the summary to Canvas by Tuesday, March 9).

March 10, Wednesday:  

In Class: Group discussion on central ideas in Asa Berger’s Chapter” Discourse Analysis

Homework: Keep working on your analysis essay.

Week 8

March 15, Monday: 

No Class

Identify a space or activity, where the idea, process or instance that you are discussing in your essay is manifest. Take copious notes of what you see there. Describe in detail what you saw, where you saw it, how it is related to what you are analyzing in your essay, and in what way is that related to your topic and analysis. (Description Due to Canvas by Tuesday, March 16.)

March 17, Wednesday:

Organization, Transitions, Synthesis Heuristics, thesis heuristics

Homework: Finalize Rhetorical Analysis. Bring the full draft for peer review on Monday

Week 9

March 22, Monday: Peer review

Homework: Revise your draft based on peer review feedback and upload updated draft to Canvas by Monday, Midnight, March 22.

March 24, Wednesday:

Small Group Conference with Santosh in Zoom. Come together as a group on your chosen time slot.

Week 10

March 29, Monday:

Final Rhetorical Analysis Essay Due

Screening of a video clips related to American Dream:


  1. Read and post 300-500 words summary of Paul Krugman’s “Confronting Inequality. Post due in Canvas by Saturday, April 3.

March 31, Wednesday: No Classes (Cesar Chavez Day)

Week 11

April 5, Monday: 

Review the assignment sheet for argument essay.

Discuss Paul Krugman’s “Confronting Inequality.”

Rhetorical Reading of Paul Krugman (Group Activity)

Homework: Read and summarize in 300-500 words Tim Roemer’s “America Remains the World’s Beacon of Success”; Shayan Zadeh’s “Bring on More Immigrant Entrepreneurs” (PDF in Canvas); and Gary S. Becker and Kevin M. Murphy’s “The Upside of Income Inequality. Look for instances of claims being made and supported—analytical claims, argumentative claims, explanatory claims. Canvas Posts due by Tuesday, April 6).

April 7, Wednesday:

We will unpack issues associated with American Dream based on those three readings.

Analysis of some sample argument essays (PDF in Canvas)


  1. Read and Summarize in 300-500 words Brandon King’s “The American Dream: Dead, Alive, or on Hold” (PDF in Canvas). Post the summary to Canvas by Saturday, April 10.

2.  Read and summarize chapter 20: “Finding Sources/ Online, at the Library, in the Field (pp. 486-514) from Everyone’s An Author. Post 300-500-words summary to Canvas by Sunday, April 11.

3. Everyone please start exploring your essay topic or research question/s. Remember your essay topic or research question/s should or could be on any issues, questions, debates or controversies associated with American Dream. Try to look for something you are interested in and want to research further. Be ready to share your tentative topic/research questions to the class on Wednesday.

Week 12

April  12, Monday:

We will unpack Brandon King’s article.

We will unpack “Finding Sources/ Online, at the Library, in the Field.”

We will look at criteria for evaluating print and online sources.

We will discuss the components of research proposal (I will have handouts for you).


1. Please write a 250-word research essay proposal. (Proposal Due by Tuesday April 13).

2. Read and Summarize in 300-500 words Chapter 12: “Arguing a Position: This is Where I Stand” (pp. 143-161) from Everyone’s An Author. Post Summary to Canvas by Tuesday, April 13.

April 14, Wednesday:  NO CLASS–Field Visit/Data Collection

1. Locate at least 2 images related to your research topic.

2. Identify Interviewees or Primary Research Site; Arrange for interviews or field observation; Draft interview questions; Conduct interviews, if possible. You need to report progress in class on Wednesday.

Week 13

April 19, Monday:

  1. We will share our research proposals in the class: claim/ thesis, sources, research methods etc.
  2. We will look at various elements of argument.
  3. We will also do narrowing the focus exercise.
  4. Evaluation criteria distributed and explained


  1. Prepare the first draft (4+pages) of the essay

April 21, Wednesday:

  • Thesis Building Heuristic
  • Peer review (Peer Review sheet distributed)

HomeworkComplete the draft and submit it to Canvas (.doc or .docx) by Saturday, April 24. 

Week 14

April 26, Monday

Small Group Peer Review

Homework: Keep working on your essay.

April 28, Wednesday

One-on-one Conference in small groups with Santosh in zoom.


Finalize your essay. Start putting together your entire portfolio.

Week 15

May 3, Monday:

Work on the Portfolio. Draft your course reflection and revise your three essays.

Homework: Finalize your Portfolio.

May 5, Wednesday

Remember to bring your Physical Portfolio on Monday, May 10

Portfolio is due on Monday. It should contain print copies of your three revised/polished essays (Review Essay Revised draft, Rhetorical Analysis Essay Revised draft, and Argument Essay Final draft) and a 2 double-spaced reflection on the entire semester–what you learned and how, what readings stood out, and what assignments and writing and research activities benefitted you the most. Please put those four pieces in a folder/binder and bring it to the class.

May 10: Monday:

Physical Portfolio Due (Also submit through a Canvas Link which says “Submit your final portfolio here”)

Complete Course Evaluation



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