Reading Guide For Kelly Ritter

Reading guide for Kelly Ritter “Buying In, Selling Short.”

Long article, so we are skipping the theory section and the assignment design section and just focusing on the introduction (pages 25-28) and the last two sections plus appendix (38-49).

The long introduction (3 pages) introduces the problem. Most academic articles begin this way – they tell readers not only what the article will talk about but why the article needs to talk about it.
What is the problem here? In your experience (second semester at college) do you agree that it is a big problem? In other words, Ritter assumes that this problem is a frequent one, but I’m not so sure. What have you seen?

How does Riter think that faculty address the problem insufficiently? In other words, what is faculty doing and what do they need to be doing?

We are skipping the second section (the theory section), “In Search of Agency: First-Year Writing and Institutional Status.” A theory section or literature review section is also pretty typical for academic articles. The purpose of this section is to let other scholars know what theories the writer has read and found useful; it is to help position their argument in an already existing conversation. You can skim or skip the theory section or the literature review section is section if you are mainly interested in the argument the article is making rather than in the larger conversation.

The only theory we probably need from this section is Deborah Brandt’s literacy sponsors section. Ritter will refer to this theory is later sections. Brandt argues that literacy (reading and writing) doesn’t happen in a vacuum but is often “sponsored” by others. In the cases of 1st year writing students, these others are not only the instructor but often people outside the classroom – other faculty or businesses that want students to write with certain skills when the students come to write for them and thus come to dictate what students write and read in the classroom. These outside sponsors of literacy (which have their own interests at stake)can ultimately take academic agency away from the student since the student’s worn authorship (purpose in writing, investment in writing, growth as a writer) is not the end goal of writing in the first-year classroom. Paper mills are one sponsor of literacy in terms of producing writing and of usurping student’s academic agency.

We can also skip the next section: Designing the Assignment: Prioritizing Student Agency.” Instead of reading this section, skip the appendix and read the assignment she designs.

Would you like to write this essay (note it is similar to the rhetorical analysis essay in EN 101 that asked you to analyze a website)?

The next section, “Deconstructing the Rhetoric of Commerce: Students’ Writerly Agencies” discusses what her students wrote about when they completed this essay. The essay also analyzes these responses for what they tell us about students’ ideas about authorship and plagiarism.

Why are Ritter’s students in school? Do you relate with these reasons? How might these reasons lead to cheating and plagiarism?

To what does Ellen attribute instances of cheating and plagiarism?
What about Mindy? What is interesting in her analysis of the paper mills (according to you as well as to Ritter).
On page 40, Ritter cites a study about why students’ plagiarize. Any reasons you want to add?
What does Ritter find interesting in Annie and Mindy ‘s analysis?
What does Ritter find interesting in Steven, Jill, and Ginny’s analysis?
Why does Amy not like schoolsucks.com and what does Ritter make of her analysis of the site?

The final section concludes the essay sums up her findings and makes a case for her pedagogical response to plagiarism (the assignment).

What surprises you in Ritter’s attitude toward student plagiarism? Note the reference to the Penrose article we are reading in class. What DOES authority have to with student authorship and plagiarism?

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