Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Eating Disorders and the Extended Definition Essay for Online Writing Courses

Podcast.

It is an ironic counterpoint to the obesity epidemic. Adult women weighing as little as 56 pounds and so malnourished that their bodies are shutting down continue to starve themselves, continuing to believe that they are fat, or are teetering on the edge of out-of-control weight gain. Any sense that the weight loss was to become more attractive wears away as one looks at the frighteningly skeletal bodies. When one compares "before / after" photos, one finds oneself wanting to blurt out that the anorexia or bulimia-driven woman looked more attractive before, even if she considered herself a bit plump.

Although the quest for thinness may seem admirable, when it spirals out of control, so do the negative health consequences. Among the more common side effects of induced vomiting are extreme tooth decay, ruptured esophagus, seizures, heart arrhythmia, stroke, and even heart attack. Victims who suffered fatal heart attacks include Karen Carpenter. Terry Schiavo, whose case became a flash-point for quality of life and right-to-die debates, fell into a coma as a consequence, according to medical experts, of practices associated with bulimia.

Because eating disorders touch almost all women, either directly or indirectly, it is a topic that is quite engaging for first-year composition classes.

Sample Structure for an Essay

Interest-Engaging Illustrative Scene:
Varieties of eating disorders in action. Scene of a person who suffers from anorexia. Scene of a person who suffers from bulimia. A scene of a person who suffers from pica.

Eating Disorders Overview: What are they?
What are eating disorders? What are common types of eating disorders? Anorexia, bulimia, pica, etc. Who suffers from them? Where and why? This should be a brief overview.

Types of Eating Disorders:

Type 1: Anorexia (long paragraph - 125 words or so)
What is it? What are the most common behaviors? How common is it? Which well-known people have suffered from it? What happens to people with this kind of eating disorder? What are the physical and psychological consequences? What are some of the reasons for it? What are possible treatments? Are they successful?

Type 2: Bulimia (long paragraph - 125 words or so)
What is it? What are the most common behaviors? How common is it? Which well-known people have suffered from it? What happens to people with this kind of eating disorder? What are the physical and psychological consequences? What are some of the reasons for it? What are possible treatments? Are they successful?

Type 3: Pica (long paragraph - 125 words or so)
What is it? What are the most common behaviors? How common is it? Which well-known people have suffered from it? What happens to people with this kind of eating disorder? What are the physical and psychological consequences? What are some of the reasons for it? What are possible treatments? Are they successful?

Aspects of Eating Disorders

Aspect 1: Psychological Aspects
What are they? How do they manifest themselves? Are there connections between depression and eating disorders? Anxiety and eating disorders? Affiliation needs?

Aspect 2: Sociological Aspects
Do individuals acquire eating disorders as a response to social pressures? Is it a behavior that is both condemned and condoned by one's peer group? How might sociological pressures present themselves? How does the media influence perceptions? What can one say about the eating disorder (anorexia, in particular) websites that seem to encourage and promote eating disorders?

Discussion and Analysis
What are some of the trends? What are your opinions? What do eating disorders reveal about our society or our ideas about ourselves?

E-Learning Resources on Composition (Blogs, etc.)

The Shifted Librarian has excellent resources which can help any composition student conduct effective online research.

Weblogg-ed's discussion in defense of Wikipedia is indispensable for anyone who wonders how and when to use Wikipedia, given recent scandals, such as the "punk'd" bio of Sagenthaler. What better place to virtually "punk" a person than a respected resource? No one would have believed it if the fake bio had appeared on The Onion (!)

The Online Learning Update discusses the latest developments and attitudes toward online learning. The links and articles are quite valuable for instructional designers and instructors.

Alan Levine's Cogdogblog has interesting discussions about e-commerce techniques and carefully considered responses to the wikipedia debate, as well as lively exchanges on current e-learning practices.

Burks On Learning contains useful links and insights into the highly user-friendly software for podcasting and blogging. The focus is on adding media-rich content, and engaging readers. Students and instructors alike will find his blog very helpful.

Stephen Downes' OL Daily is a treasure trove of articles and insights, ranging from news you can use today, to thought-provoking research and e-learning articles.

Jane Knight's e-Learning Centre contains extensive resources of use for individuals in every phase of e-learning course and program design and administration. The "Showcase" of e-learning courses provides access to examples of best practices in action.

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Key Words for Searches:

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Karen Carpenter
Margaux Hemingway
Princess Diana, Diana Spencer
DSM-IV Handbook
Eating Disorder Treatment centers
Eating Disorder Information centers

Useful Websites:

ANRED: Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders
http://www.anred.com/toc.html

Facts About Eating Disorders.

Speech Given by Diana, Princess of Wales, on Eating Disorders. http://www.settelen.com/diana_eating_disorders.htm

Anorexia and Hollywood (photos of a woman who weighs around 56 pounds. I wonder if she is still alive...) http://et.tv.yahoo.com/celebrities/2733/

Dangerous Extremes: 48 Hours Investigates

"Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self" by Lori Gottlieb
"Wasted: A Memoir" by Marya Hornbacher
"Inner Hunger: A Young Woman's Struggle through Anorexia & Bulimia" by Marianne Apostolides
"My Life as a Male Anorexic" by Michael Krasnow
"Starving for Attention" by Cherry Boone-O'Neill
"Solitaire" by Aimee Liu
"The Art of Starvation" by Sheila McLeod
"My Name is Caroline" by Caroline Adams-Miller
"The Monster Within: Overcoming Bulimia" by Cynthia Rowland
"Diary of an Eating Disorder: A Mother and Daughter Share their Healing Journey" by Chelsea Brown Smith & Beverly Runton
"Dying to Please: Anorexia Nervosa and Its Cure" by Avis Rumney
"Dark Marathon: The Mary Wazeter Story; The Ongoing Struggles of a World-Class Runner" by Mary Wazeter (Mannhardt) with Gregg Lewis

NOVELS

"The Best Little Girl in the World" by Steven Levenkron
"Kessa" by Steven Levenkron
"Hunger Point: A Novel" by Jillian Medoff
"The Passion of Alice" by Stephanie Grant
"Eve's Apple: A Novel" by Jonathan Rosen
"Perk" by Liza Hall
"Life Size" by Jenefer Shute
"My Sister's Bones" by Cathi Hanauer

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