This week in class we focused on abstract and summary writing; next week we'll look at annotations. The purpose of writing an annotated bibliography has always been confusing for students, because it doesn't seem to be as common in some fields as it is in others. In order to prepare them for this discussion, I asked them to be ethnographers of their own fields and look for examples of annotated bibs. and bring them to class with them next week. I thought it might be interesting if they shared their findings with other members of their research groups.
This quarter I'm trying something completely new. I'm having the students find a mentor in their fields, who can respond to the content of the critical reveiw and long papers. Because the class is so multidisciplinary, this has always been a challenge, even though I collect copies of and read the articles students are using for their papers. I came across this idea at an exhibitor's session given at the TESOL conference in San Antonio this year. The presenter was Sheryl Holt. She's written a book, which she was promoting, entitled Success with Graduate and Scholarly Writing. Along with her book promotion, she shared the idea of students having mentors. After listening to her presentation, I thought that the idea of mentors was such a great idea and decided to try it in both sections of 802 this quarter. However, when I introduced it to the students the other day, I became somewhat skeptical because of their response. It seemed they didn't like the idea of having to find a mentor. However, when I checked to see how they were progressing with finding a mentor today in class, there were three students in both sections who had already found one. I really hope that this works, because it seems like the students will get more out of the class if they also work with a mentor .