English 101 Outcomes Assessment Essay Fall 2020: Consumerism About Academic Arguments To some people, argument means a heated disagreement between two people, but that is not the only kind of argument, nor is it necessarily the most productive type of argument. Academic arguments are not necessarily trying to find the “right answer.” In fact, academics like to choose topics where there is not one specific right answer. We choose topics that are messy, and our purpose is to come up with the best possible answer/solution/position. In order to prove our point, we use reason and support. We pull ideas from the work of others to help make our argument and present that argument in a logical manner. In preparation for this essay, you will read a series of texts and participate in class discussions about the assignment. You will then use information from the texts and discussions as well as your own observations, critical thinking, and writing skills to try to get your audience to agree with you or at least see your point. Audience You have an academic audience for this paper. That means you are trying to persuade teachers and students. Consumerism Debate Many people argue that the emphasis on acquiring and buying things—sometimes called consumerism—has gone too far in American society. We often buy things that we do not need, and we even buy things that we do not especially enjoy. These consumer habits can lead to psychological harm and even financial ruin. The problem is not limited to individual consumers; society is becoming aware that these behaviors are having lasting effects on the environment as Americans produce more waste than ever before. If the downsides to consumerism seem obvious to so many people, why do Americans still buy so much stuff? Is it due to a lack of self-control, corporate greed, the consequence of American culture, social pressures exacerbated by social media, or something else? How do we explain the rise of American consumerism, and what should we do about it? Prompt Using the information from the readings, class discussions, and your own observations and experiences, identify an important element of consumerism and take a stance on that issue. Considering responding to one of the following questions: · What drives consumerism? Some emphasize the role of the individual, others point to aspects of American culture, others to corporations. Who or what is the biggest factor? · What are the most important consequences of modern consumerism? What can or should we do in response? · Is it true that buying things will not make us happy, or can certain forms of shopping actually lead to self-betterment? · How should we judge the impact of internet technologies on consumer behavior? Is the impact ultimately positive or negative? Requirements · Include a bibliography or works cited page in addition to at least four pages of text, in Times New Roman 12-point font. · Cite at least two of the given sources. You should not do additional research for this assignment. · Include at least six total in-text citations, which must include summary, paraphrase, and direct quotation from the two or more sources you choose. Assessment Criteria Readers will evaluate your essay based on the following English 101 course outcomes: Write thesis-driven, analytic essays for an academic audience Demonstrate rhetorical awareness through use of structure, paragraphing, voice, and tone Evaluate, analyze, synthesize own ideas and the ideas of others Read critically for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating Make basic but effective use of sources in an academic documentation format, including in-text citation and a bibliography Demonstrate awareness of grammar and usage conventions in academic writing Sources Below are the sources you may cite in your essay. You may not use any other outside sources in your essay. Background Sources 1. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal Consumption Expenditures by Major Type of Product. To access the table, click: Section 2 > Table 2.3.5. 2. EPA. National Overview: Facts and Figures on Materials, Wastes and Recycling | US EPA. 3. The Atlantic (video). America’s Dopamine-Fueled Shopping Addiction. 4. School of Ideas (video). History: Consumerism. 5. Experian. A Look at U.S. Consumer Credit Card Debt. Discussion Sources 6. Kendra Pieere-Louis. How to Buy Clothes that Are Built to Last. 7. Ann Patchett. My Year of No Shopping. 8. David Cain. We Are Not Materialistic Enough. 9. Ilya Pozin. The Secret to Happiness? Spend Money on Experiences Not Things. 10. Sandra C. Matz, et al. Money Buys Happiness When Spending Fits Our Personality. 11. Matt Weeks. UGA report: Minority groups driving U.S. economy. 12. Ester Bloom. How ‘Treat yourself’ Became a Capitalist Command. 13. Leslie T. Chang Leslie T. Chang: The voices of China’s workers 14. Charlie Osborne. How digital consumer empowerment changed the way we buy. 15. Zoe Gannon and Neil Lawson. The Advertising Effect: How do we get the balance of advertising right. (pages 12-22; download the free .pdf from this site) 16. Alice G. Walton How poverty changes your mind-set. 17. Alden Wicker. Multilevel-marketing companies like LuLaRoe are forcing people into debt and psychological crisis 18. Paul Kiel and Annie Waldman. The Color of Debt: How Collection Suits Squeeze Black Neighborhoods. 19. Rachel Botsman. The case for collaborative consumption 20. Nick Routley. The Influence of Instagram. 21. Lisa Marshall. Unboxing videos fueling kids’ tantrums, breeding consumerism | CU Boulder Today. 22. Terry Nguyen. How regular people are using Amazon affiliate links to make money. 23. Stephanie Grob Plante. Shopping Has Become a Political Act. Here’s How it Happened. 24. Suzanne Moore. If getting back to normal means mindless shopping, forget it. 25. Alan Yuhas. They prepared for the worst. Now everyone is a prepper. If you are having trouble accessing any of the New York Times articles, please follow these steps: 1. Go to http://cwi.edu/current-students/library 2. Under the “Find It” menu, click “Databases.” 3. Using the alphabet at the top, click on “N” and scroll down to “NYTimes.com Pass” (Access for one year) and follow the instructions there. You will need to use your CWI e-mail address. English 101 Outcomes Assessment Policies and Procedures The OA Essay This essay counts towards your course grade, but it also is the Outcomes Assessment (OA) essay. The CWI English Department uses the OA essay to assess student proficiency across sections. The process is explained in detail in the Outcomes Assessment Policy section of your course syllabus. This assignment serves as the Written Communication Signature Assignment for this course. Writing the Essay
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