[Read the following scene. Then, click "next page" to begin the learning module.]
It's the first day of a new semester, and Val, a nineteen-year-old with shoulder length hair, nervously takes a seat in Professor Sage's Comp I class. Professor Sage enters the classroom and the other students settle into their seats. After a brief discussion of the syllabus, Professor Sage begins the work of the class.
PROFESSOR SAGE: Now, I like to know about my students' interests. Are there any writers in the class?
(A couple of hands go up, shyly)
Great! You'll all be writers by the end of this course. We're going to work toward writing a basic 5-paragraph essay, including a thesis statement, introduction, supporting paragraphs, conclusion, and MLA list of Works Cited.
(Groans are heard from the back of the room)
(Waving a hand) Alright, alright, don't worry; we're going to take this process in steps. Starting today, we'll be working on your first assignment, which is to write an annotated bibliography. That's a list of articles, books and web sites about your topic, with a summary of each one. (She begins handing out an assignment sheet to the class)
Next to Val, Matt, a thirty-five-year-old student wearing an Army t-shirt, raises his hand.
MATT: What does the topic have to be?
I'm glad you asked that. I'd encourage you to pick a topic you're personally interested in, since you'll be using this topic all semester long to develop your work and eventually write a full length essay. In fact, your homework for Thursday will be to select a topic with which to work.
For the first time, Val feels a little bit excited about the class. She knows immediately what she wants to write about – tattoos. For a while now, she's been considering getting one ... her thoughts wander off. Professor Sage continues:
Once I've approved your topic, you'll narrow it down to an appropriate research question. Then next week, we'll meet in the library, and the librarian will show us how to research the answers to our questions. (Glancing up at the clock) That's about it for today. Have a great day!
The shuffling of papers snaps Val out of her daydream. What did Professor Sage say about a research question? Her brain reeling with information about the class, the homework assignment, the task of writing a full-length essay and her busy new college schedule, Val tucks her assignment sheet into her bag and exits.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Gallery