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You will write an argument that states your position on one of the following topics. I apologize for the following lengthy discussion of instructions, but, since you are not in a face-to-face classroom, written instructions are my only way (videos are boring if not professionally produced). Please underline the requirements of your choice of topics. I’ve tried to offer a varied list of topics from which to choose.


LENGTH OF PAPER:  3 pages using MLA style (double spaced, 1″ margins; no extra space after enter).

Using the same steps as you followed in the rhetorical analysis paper, submit your draft, complete the peer review, and submit your review as follows:


DRAFT DUE:  Check Course Calendar for due date. That draft will be forwarded to your peer reviewer.


PEER REVIEW DUE: Check Course Calendar for due date. Blackboard will distribute drafts as they are submitted in the draft folder. If you do not submit a draft, you will not receive a paper to review. You will earn one mandatory lab point by submitting a complete–be thorough–peer review.


FINAL ARGUMENT DUE: Check Course Calendar for due date.


You must include a Works Cited page that follows the guidelines shown on

p. 510 of your text. An easy way to get your citation right is to use the template found at the following website (the menu on the left will allow you to find the kind of entry you need to make):  



Choices for your topic (choose only one topic):


Choice 1: Despite evidence that supports the importance of the humanities in education, funding of the arts and humanities continues to be cut, resulting in a dangerous shift away from the arts. You should take a position on this question: Are the arts important to the education of our children?  For an informed response, please watch the following two videos that suggest the importance of creativity and the arts in education. You should be able to gather ethos (credible people speaking to the importance of the arts in education), pathos (emotional individual examples of the benefit of the arts), and logos (some facts that you can use in your paper). You must use information from both sources in your argument.


Your assignment includes watching the following TED lecture (control click to access the link): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY


Click Here  for The Heart of the Matter

The Heart of the Matter


Your audience is the Texas State Board of Education. What is your position on this question? What do you want to achieve with your argument?



Choice 2.  Can video games be beneficial to teens? Controversy over the merits of video games has steamed in the media for as many years as video games have existed. Are video games harmful to teens? Or are video games beneficial to teens? You may develop your argument by choosing only one or two games (for the purpose of comparison) about which you give details to support the position you take in this argument. For each example, brainstorm its pros first, and then list its cons before making your decision about what position you wish to take.  You must use information from the TED talk in your argument.


Your assignment includes watching the following TED talk:



Your audience is the president of the PTA who has promised parents to investigate the advisability of allowing children to play ____________video game (name your game or games). What is your position in this argument? What do you want to achieve with your argument?



Choice 3.  Is climate change caused by humans or is it a natural evolution of the planet? Even scientists disagree on the likelihood that the climate change that is occurring at this time is caused by humans. Since major corporations would be affected by the cutback of products that harm the atmosphere, the question of humankind’s role in climate change has become political.  You must use information from the TED talk in your argument.


Your assignment includes watching the following TED talk:



Your audience is a college class—you must prove your point to the students in the class. Considering the information available, what is your position on this question? What do you want to achieve with your argument?




Choice 4.  Is social media beneficial to our society? Social media has become a major tool in the world, but some argue that it robs people of their privacy rights (among other offenses), Others argue that its value far outweighs its threats. Narrow to one form of social media (Facebook , Twitter, or another) and argue your position about its worth. Pre-writing should explore pros and then cons. You must use information from one of the TED talks in your argument.


At the following site, you have a choice of TED talks on social media. Choose one or more for your research:



Your audience is a group of psychology students arguing about the benefits of social media. You will imagine that you are to present this paper to that class. What do you want to achieve with your argument?



Choice 5. Is nuclear energy or green energy the best choice for the United States? An argument exists between those who favor nuclear energy and those who favor renewable energy to satisfy growing energy needs. Please take a position on the United States growth; consider nuclear or green energy. Defend your position with facts about each. You must include information from the TED talk in your argument.


Your assignment includes watching the following TED talk:



Your audience is the public who reads a blog on the energy crisis. What do you want to achieve with your argument?




1. Follow the directions in Chapter 10 for developing your argument.  Highlight important steps.

2.  Prepare each of the steps offered in Chapter 10 for inventing your argument’s content–get your ideas down before you begin to write your essay. Recall the extensive pre-writing that you did before you wrote your memoir? That should be a model for all essays that you write.

3.  Devise your position on the topic before you begin your essay. Which side seems to be the stronger argument (actually, you may change your position as you think through both sides of an argument, but decide before you begin writing)? Make a chart that lists pros and cons.

4.  The audience for this essay is given. Be sure that you direct your argument to that audience.

5.  Decide what purpose will guide this writing. After you establish your position on the question, what exactly do you want to achieve with your argument? Do you want to make people change the course of their behavior? Do you want to alert people to dangers to provoke thinking about a topic? Do you want funding that will make a difference? Exactly what do you wish to accomplish with your argument? TO HELP YOU DECIDE, LOOK IN THE NOTES ON SIX-HAT THINKING AT THE END OF THIS ASSIGNMENT. USE THE SIX HATS THINKING TOOLS IN YOUR DECISION-MAKING PROCESS FOR YOUR ESSAY.


Once you decide, create your statement following the guidelines on pp. 200-201 in Writing Today.

6.  Once you have decided on the detailed statement of your topic that has emerged from your having watched the assigned TED or other talk, you may want to research other reliable sources to get a broader sense of your topic (further research is not required). If you need more information to make your argument, you may consult the Collin online library (or visit the research librarian in a library near you) for journal articles on your topic. Caution: any online site you choose must be reliable: major newspapers, respected journals, edu sites or research sites found through other publications (even Wikipedia can offer valid research sites that appear at the end of articles). You may NOT use WIKIPEDIA as a source! Your safest choice would be from the library. Be sure to copy the source information (or your Works Cited page) before you use any of its information. If you happen to forget where you got the information you want to use in your argument, you won’t be able to use that information in your essay. You will create a Works Cited page for this paper showing all of your sources. FOLLOW RULES FOR MLA WORKS CITED PAGES. REMEMBER, YOU MAY CALL THE RESEARCH LIBRARIAN TO ASK FOR HELP IN LOCATING RELIABLE SOURCES.


Here is an example of MLA instructions



7.  List your position and the opposing position on your topic as shown on p. 202. Remember, in an argument, you will want to acknowledge one of the opposing points as valid, but you will promptly discredit that point as being less applicable when considering your own proven points.   Certainly, you do not want to undercut your position by acknowledging a strong point your opposition might take. You do want to acknowledge an opposing point that you can answer as inadequate to the question. Your counter with convincing evidence (strong examples with detail is needed for all claims) in support of your position should prove that your position is stronger. Of course, you will argue that your position has more merits than the opposition with specific proof through details given in your example. Be sure to use specific examples by giving facts and anecdotes taken from your research or from the TED Talk. Details, details, details.


8.  In your brainstorming, list all of the facts that you have come upon in your research (the talk(s) comprise the bulk of your research). Then you are prepared to think through the following: 

a) Have I made the right decision given all the evidence? 

b) Have I examined the evidence that I’ve gained by brainstorming? 

c) Can I give specific examples that show the effects? 

d) Have I stuck with proof, or have I exaggerated? 

e) Do I have adequate, specific details in my examples to make a strong statement      that my position is the right one? 

f) Have I presented my position in a convincing order? 

g) What have I left out of my argument? 

h) Have I acknowledged that the other side has a good point? 

i) Have I adequately proven that the opposite position is weaker than my position? 


9.  The introduction should capture the reader’s attention, identify the topic, and state your position. An anecdote (for an example, notice the way the student begins his argument on p. 199) is often a way to capture your audience’s attention. A question works well also.


10.   For your argument follow this outline and give specific examples for each point you make:

*Introduction (consult your text for help for effective introductions in Part 4 of 

  your text.

*First body paragraph: Definition of your topic set out clearly and in detail. Be sure    to point out the major points of difference by identifying the two sides of the        argument.

*Next paragraph: Point One of your argument with detailed example and facts. 


NOTE:  Remember that you want logos (facts), ethos (what authority supports your position?) and pathos (does your example evoke emotion in your audience?)–not all in the same paragraph.

*Next paragraph: Point Two of your argument (same criteria as Point One).

*Next paragraph: Acknowledgment of the valid concerns of the opposing view. BUT        counter with your own argument that discredits the point of opposition you have      just raised.

*Next paragraph: Strongest point you want to make (again, follow the criteria in     Point One).

*Next paragraph: Conclusion (see Part 4 in your text)



ON PLAGIARISM:  Do not import blocks of text from another source. Instead, paraphrase the information, pulling in the details (which you will note in quotations marks) from the source. A long quotation does not belong in a short paper, but if you ever import any text from another site, it goes in quotes and is followed by the site of origin in parentheses. Give website addresses only to the .com. I have given you examples of the citation in the reviews paper assignment and in the example folder.  You also have information on citations in the chapters I have noted in the assignment. You are always welcome to Google terms, including plagiarism, to remind yourself of the rules. A charge of plagiarism means that I am to turn your name into the Dean of Students, and you will receive no grade on the paper.



The “Six Hats” Thinking Exercise 

to promote creativity and teamwork

From Edward De Bono

(Six Thinking Hats, Penguin 1985)





The “Six Hats” exercise, from Edward De Bono, promotes collaboration and creativity by providing a structured way for team members to analyze questions under consideration.


How the exercise works


You wear different hats to offer different perspectives on the question. This encourages a variety of ideas. Referring to the hats by their color instead of their symbolic characteristic offers divergent thinking. 











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