Tips for Writing
Expectations and Requirements
The RID Code of Professional Conduct encourages interpreters to engage in professional development, including familiarity and reading of current literature in the field. Interpreters must not only understand the communication needs of Deaf people but also 1) be familiar with the academic research of the field and 2) be able to articulate the cogent and salient points found in the core issues that face the field today.
Evaluation Criteria for Postings and Projects
This rubric primarily addresses the content of your blog postings but could also be generalized to assess the content of other assignments and projects. Caveat emptor: while you may feel this is a fairly subjective grading scale, it’s also quite self-evident—and accurate—to assess by reading the actual amount you post.
Please note: The points breakdown below isn’t just an arbitrary explanation of requirements; you’ll be held to these scoring standards. If you want to earn a 40 on a posting, you really need to show it.
- Several well-constructed paragraphs which comprise a complete argument/thought or thoughts in relation to the question and/or topic;
- formatting, content, and mechanical specifications met or exceeded;
- excellent and insightful original annotations;
- engaged in several other peer evaluations/thread commentaries
- A few paragraphs which have a fairly to nearly complete argument/thought or thoughts in relation to the question and/or topic;
- most formatting, content, and mechanical specifications not met;
- fairly original annotations;
- engaged in a handful of other peer evaluations/thread commentaries
- One or two paragraphs which have partial or meandering thoughts in relation to the question and/or topic;
- several formatting, content, and mechanical specifications not met;
- a few annotations mixed with quotes and references;
- engaged in one or two other peer evaluations/thread commentaries
- One or half a paragraph with unrelated/undeveloped thoughts in relation to the question and/or topic;
- most formatting, content, and mechanical specifications not met;
- little to no original annotations, mostly just quotes and references;
- not engaged in any other peer evaluations/thread commentaries
Students inevitabily say or ask:
“This is all I could think of. Even though it’s only a couple of lines, it’s okay, right?”
- Answer: Put it this way: partially completing the assignment will earn you partial credit. As stated in the syllabus, you’ll be graded on your own merits. You decide what you can live with.
“I really don’t agree with what s/he said about the topic. I think there’s a different way to look at it, but I don’t want to offend him/her by saying that. I'll just back off.”
- Answer: Kudos for being sensitive to others’ needs; if we can’t value differing opinions, we’re never going to be able to work with/together as colleagues. This is as much a lesson in diplomacy as it is in tact and persuasion. Do all you can to further the discussion—“I know Brian said X, but I feel like...” or “Stacy had a good point with X but what about Y and Z?”—while allowing others their dignity.
“I didn’t understand how to reference everything so I just did it my way. Is that okay?”
- Answer: No. A large part of doing research is properly documenting your findings. To make this easier, there are standards in place; use the APA referencing and works cited style—standard for writing about the social sciences and humanities—and stick with it. Be consistent. Determine how APA style typographically treats and references various types of sources.
See class schedule for due dates.
While Mindess’ Reading Between the Signs is a fairly comprehensive look at intercultural perspective in sign language interpreting, it also leaves open areas for thought, research, and application. These posts/discussions are intended to give you the opportunity to consider issues in the interpreting field, and then decide on a stance on particular issues and defend them.
Make no mistake: these are argumentative exercises. You should be primarily concerned with forming an opinion about the issue(s) you bring up, then discuss and document research to defend your position. This is not an exercise in pleasing the instructor with an opinion you hope he will like. Feel passionate about your position on a topic and then convince your reader of its validity.
Feb 16 Feb 22 (Chapters 4–5, 7) Comment on significant features of American hearing culture and American Deaf culture. How dissimilar/alike are these features really? Aren’t we all just ‘Americans’ anyway; why should we expect to treat anyone different/similar? How might an interpreter struggle in making a cultural adjustment while interpreting?
Mar 28 (Chapters 8, 11, in-class praxis) Defend or criticize the claim that “it sure seems like making a cultural adjustment is adding information that wasn’t signed/spoken. Isn’t that against the Code of Professional Conduct?” Discuss the impact of various adjustments that we discuss—and techniques for making them—on an interpreted message.
Your writing/postings/evaluations must:
- when referencing, use APA formatting and style:
- be spellchecked (both electronically and manually checked)
- utilize college-level thought, reasoning, research, and writing
- not consist of a single paragraph or a couple of lines. There are realizations to be had and concepts to be elaborated; show that you’ve got something to say (see grading rubric at left)
- Avoid analysis that is obvious and superficial, rather than original, personal, and in-depth. Relate your feelings and reactions in an academic way; statements like “I think this article is just so cool” or “This lady’s Web site is just awesome!” are filler and do not represent a true academic perspective.
- Use credible, factual sources. Books, journals, and periodicals are among the most reliable references. While the Internet is easy to search and may contain a number of seemingly good articles or sources, beware the anonymity and undocumented nature of the Internet.
- Work towards a thesis. If you’re going to make a point, arguments/positions need a thesis statement. Be narrow and specific, take a stance/position on an issue, and don’t ask additional questions (unless it also answers them).
Having trouble with putting words and sentences together? The Hemingway Editor is a solid helpful tool. Here are some fairly common problems to watch for in your paper:
- Awkward sentence structures. Avoid fragments and run-on sentences. “The Hartford school helped refine ASL. And standardize it too.” is a fragment.
- Incorrect punctuation. Don’t misuse commas and semicolons. Semicolons only link two related—but independent—sentences together.
- Incorrect use of it’s. It’s = It is (“It is a tragedy.”); its = belonging to ‘it’ (“Its process was way off.”)
- Incorrect use of quotation marks and italics. Book, play, poem, periodical, film/TV titles should be italicized, not in quotation marks.
- Spelling errors. Yes, it’s an ASL class. But you’re also writing college-level thinking. Use a spell checker and proofread your papers.
- Use of colloquial/conversational slang expressions. Words such as “like,” “way,” “y’all,” are not acceptable.
- Failure to cite references. See the syllabus for clarification. If you use any reference—printed or otherwise—it must be cited. Otherwise, you are plagiarizing and in danger of failing the assignment. If you use conversations as sources, make sure to cite them.
Here’s some additional help with writing concerns and mechanics. Mind the HTML assistance; the principles are still applicable.
I’m very willing to clarify any of these potential problems or concerns for you.