Markup in the Writing Classroom

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  <essay>
    <docHead>
      <title> The Strengths of the Textbook Genre </title>
      <author>Name
            <!--deidentified element--></author>
      <date> October 3, 2016</date>
    </docHead>
    <body>
      <intro>
        <p><genre>The textbook genre</genre> is a well-known, largely permanent and exists
                    as a sole entity itself, as well as one of the central backbones of college
                    education. Genres are defined by their scenes and the underlying experiences
                    that we as individuals attribute to them and expect from them <citation>(Devitt,
                        Reiff and Bawarshi)</citation>. The college education scene employs <genre>the textbook genre</genre> as a response to the need of a condensed body
                    of knowledge for teaching and learning.  The development of this genre in the past 30
                    years has been consistent in some aspects of its trajectory from the 1980's
                    until current day. <argument type="supporting">An analysis of two examples of the textbook genre,
                        taken from two different time periods, 1980s and 2008, reveal that they
                        supplement science differently in the textbook. The way they supplement or
                        reduce narrative in the genre showed the genre adapted to the rapid growth
                        of information. In more recent textbooks the authors have presented more
                        condensed and practical information in response to that growth, as opposed
                        to narrative. The ease at which the genre can be adapted to suit the time
                        periods material and information, allows this genre to persist in modern
                        education.</argument><argument type="main"> Both examples of the genre are intended for
                        undergraduates to understand the subject, and both encourage the readers to
                        interact with the genre in the learning process via mathematical problems.
                        This reveals that this genre has existed as a response to rheotrical
                        situations for so long, because learning practical sciene topics require
                        interaction with practice problems this genre usually presents. Also,
                        legitemacy is maintained because of the reputation of the authors and their
                        presenting of sources used to make arguments. This legitemacy trumps other
                        primary sources of information that may be found online, and allows this
                        genre to persist as a response to the need for a condensed body of knowledge
                        in education.</argument></p>
      </intro>
      <bodyPara><context>Cosmology, The Science of The Universe by Edward Harrison is an
                    introductory cosmology textbook published in the 1980s, a time where science was
                    beginning to compound exponentially upwards.</context> Steven Weinberg, the
                author of ,"Cosmology" had his book published the year of 2008, intended for an
                audience that had been exposed to the glamours of space exploration. The intended audience in 2008
                were the <participants>students</participants> of physics, whom were already
                presently acquainted with the developments of the modern world in physics and
                cosmology while the older counterparts in the 1980's still had a substantial part of
                the universe in a fog of uncertainty. The 1980's students would be the pioneers in
                cosmology and the study of the universe. <evidence>The sentiment is expressed in the
                    preface of the 2008 textbook where Steven Weinberg attributes the establishment
                    of the science of elementary phyiscs in the year 1980, which was also the date
                    of the publication of Dr. Harrison's textbook <citation>(Weinberg
                        p.vi)</citation>. This pattern of acknowledgment of the year 1980 as a time
                    of rapid growth in the field reveals that authors can modify a textbook to
                    better reflect the time period in which they are writing. The author is
                    conscious of the infancy or maturation of the material and can easily adapt the
                    genre to it. This maleability makes it possible for this genre to survive in
                    modern education.</evidence></bodyPara>
      <bodyPara>The modern, most recent view of the genre of textbook is that of a body of
                knowledge written for the consumption of an <participants>educator</participants> or
                a <participants>student</participants>, whom both are expected to read the books.
                The knowledge is expected to be introduced in higher and higher degrees of
                competency since a science book builds on the knowledge previously written. A
                general physics book such as these two Cosmology books both, regardless of time
                period interact with mathematical problems and expect the student to practice
                mathematical problems. <evidence>It is self evident that the 2008 textbook on
                    Cosmology took a mathematics heavy approach starting as early as page 2, <q>The
                        coordinate transformations that leave this invariant are here simply
                        ordinary three-dimensional rotations and translation</q><citation>(Weinberg)</citation>. Weinberg writes the textbook with little room
                    for discussion or illustrations such as the 1980 book by Dr. Witten.</evidence> The 1980's book written by
                Dr. Witten, apart from the mathematics, focused on the creative thought that
                inspired the study of space, with fantastical images spanning the entire history of
                human experience, as seen in the illustrations that dot the pages and the quotes
                that begin the chapters; <evidence><q>"He has ventured far beyond the flaming
                        ramparts of the world and in mind and spirit traversed the boundless
                        universe- Lucretiues (99-55 B.C.)"</q></evidence><citation>(Harrison)</citation>. The presence of quotes, of depictions of early
                cosmology reveal a reflection of the 1980's as a time of rapid growth in Cosmology,
                and the book serves to both inspire and teach. The lack of quotes and illustrations
                in Dr. Weinberg's textbook show the effect of science at its peak density, as
                opposed to the early onset. Regardless of the presentation of information, both
                books employ problem sets and mathematics in order to teach key sceintifc concept of
                physics. The consistent mathematical problems that appear decades apart reveal that
                not much has changed in the way this genre responds to the teaching of important
                concepts. In both books, practice is emphasized as a tool to teach the mathematics
                that interact with the science of the universe. </bodyPara>
      <bodyPara>The education genre in the northeast, during the 80's was that of unbridled
                imagination urged on by the space race, and the content of this textbook is set to
                inspire confidence in the young entering freshmen about the beauty of space. In 2008
                however, with cosmology becoming more theoretical and less inspired by novelty, the
                textbook reflected the dramatic shift in the genre of space and how to present it.
                This reveals that when textbooks, the genre in question, interact with
                ever-expanding science, textbooks tend to lose their ability to read as a novel, and
                more as a technical manual. Weinberg, even ackgnowladges the burden of too much
                information and states, <evidence><q>So much has happened in cosmology since the
                        1960s that this book necessarily bears little resemblance,</q> to his
                    earlier books <citation>(Weinberg p.vii)</citation>. </evidence>This shift in
                science is mirrored in the genre, and we can conlude that the genre has been adapted
                with the times, and thus stayed relevant as a source of educational information</bodyPara>
      <bodyPara> Finally, having discussed how two different cosmology books present the study
                of cosmology, the next logical jump would be to discuss why the textbook genre
                existed then and continues to exist now. The purpose of the textbook has not changed
                since the three decades of publishing in between them. The <scene>academic
                    scene</scene> still requires textbooks as the primary method of teaching. One of
                these reasons is that the condensation of knowledge is universally regarded as the
                best means of transmitting information. Books usually have physical material that
                they quote from in regards to their knowledge, and this is what a<participants>
                    student</participants> or <participants>educator</participants> can expect from
                a <genre>textbook</genre>, knowing that the knowledge is sound. For example
                "Cosmology" contains references at the bottom of the page of information <evidence><citation>(Weinberg 30)</citation> or at the end of the chapter (Harrison
                    68).</evidence> The authority that textbooks provide as primary sources is one
                of the strengths of using this genre as a response to the need for a condensed body
                of knowledge. Teaching using websites such as Wikipedia, which reference linked
                sources, still do not uphold the agency that professors who write textbooks do. A
                reason for this stems from the argument presented above, about the unchanging nature
                of education in a scientific field requiring practicing math problems, that both
                books promote even 30 years apart, while simultainously synthesizing information.
                    </bodyPara>
      <concl>
        <p>In conclusion, the <participants>student</participants> plays the part in the
                    academic scene, by interacting in a set pattern with a <genre>textbook</genre>.
                    In the cosmology textbooks listed above, the role the
                        <participants>student</participants> assumes is that of a blank slate,  and its up to the way their previous experiences
                    with <genre>textbooks</genre> to synthesize the material. This genre, the
                    textbook, even when examples are seperated by decades, not much changes in the
                    way that it presents science to the reader. It has matured to represent the
                    growing body of science, but the fundemntal practice of science remains
                    consistent. The <participants>student</participants> can open a textbook and
                    find a blend of culture and science or just science without narrative if the
                    information is dense. In either case, the author of a textbook of science
                    understands the primary goal of teaching, and the role a textbook takes up in
                    that role. The authenticity as a primary source makes this genre response in
                    science education more prevalent than online sources of information, and has
                    contributed to the stability and consistency of this genre in education. </p>
      </concl>
    </body>
    <docFoot>
      <title>Works Cited</title>
      <listBibl>
        <bibl>Bawarshi, Anis S. Genre And The Invention Of The Writer. Logan: Utah State
                    University Press, 2003. Print.</bibl>
        <bibl>Devitt, Amy J, Mary Jo Reiff, and Anis S Bawarshi. Scenes Of Writing. New
                    York: Pearson/Longman, 2004. Print.Devitt, Amy J, Mary Jo Reiff, and Anis S
                    Bawarshi. Scenes Of Writing. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2004. Print.</bibl>
        <bibl>Harrison, Edward Robert. Cosmology, The Science Of The Universe. Cambridge:
                    Cambridge University Press, 1981. Print.</bibl>
        <bibl>Weinberg, Steven. Cosmology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
                    Print.</bibl>
      </listBibl>
    </docFoot>
  </essay>
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