Not much time to blog, as I'm in the midst of reading loads of student work. Two sections of first-year comp-ers are analyzing one of the presidential candidate's positions on one particular issue. For two weeks we've been distinguishing between idea vs. opinion, arguments/position papers vs. analyses, and also talking about the overlap between those categories and genres. Their objective in this first assignment involves picking a candidate and an issue (McCain on gay marriage, for instance) and looking at the candidate's official platform, his history with that issue, and the ins and outs of his rhetoric when it comes to campaigning on that issue.
In my upper-level exposition course (a class geared toward education majors who have additional writing and linguistics requirements on our campus), meanwhile, students have been studying the concept of "voice," reading short pieces like Sarah Vowell's essay on the Godfather and Chuck Klosterman's piece on the Pirate movies, and writing their own narratives about their relationships with popular culture.