Overview of Writing Assignments for 214: The Electric Word!
Topic Selection (1000 points): In 750-1000 words, describe the topic that you have selected for the Inquiry Series and the Sustained Argument and explain your interest in detail, specifically when you first became interested in the topic and why you are interested in it now. Who is the topic important to (target audience) and why does it matter (purpose)? What doesn’t the average person know about your topic, but should know to understand it more fully? What questions do you have on the topic that you would like to answer eventually?
Inquiry Series (3000 points): Write a series of 4 original posts of 750-1000 words each (the overall total must be between 3000-4000 words), meeting the following tasks: a rhetorical analysis, an evaluation of credibility, an analysis of stakeholders, and primary research. Each post must contain working links to sources sources with traditional MLA in-text citations and works cited. (Note: students may use the citation format from their field but must be consistent.) Students should use feedback they received on the appraisal essay and the topic proposal to improve their writing. Each student should also request detailed feedback on the second, third, or fourth post at any time during the inquiry series, and they should meet with me at least once before midterm for more recommendations on improving their writing.
About 2/3rds through the semester, students will submit their Inquiry Series by emailing Prof. Ron a reflection paper with links to their posts, examining what they have learned so far, what progress they have made, and what they need to keep improving. For submission, students must thoroughly revise all of their posts.
Sustained Argument (2000 points, as part of the Argument Series): Identify a specific issue within your topic, research that issue, and then compose a persuasive argument of about 1500-2000 words, giving a specific call to action to a specific group, backed up by extensive, scholarly research. Your thesis should answer the question, “Who should do what?” and include words like “should,” “have to,” “need to,” or “must.” If your advice is negative–somebody shouldn’t do something–invert it to make it positive advice. If your advice is about people changing their opinions, revise it so that your target audience actually has to do something: a call to action.
Genre Transformation (500 points, as part of the Argument Series): Find a catchy, persuasive way to get the call to action from your sustained argument to your target audience in a new form or genre (poster, brochure, letter to an official, letter to an editor, podcast, video, song, dance, play, story, poem, painting, sculpture, or other form). When deciding on the genres you will use for this assignment, utilize the ongoing writing you have been doing on your inquiry blog series and sustained argument. Think about the various groups involved in or affected by your issue and the conversations it has spurred, as well as the different genres of writing you’ve come across in your research. Pinpoint the people/groups who would have a different view on the subject and who you think most need to hear your message. How can you best reach and convince them?
Argument Series (3000 points): Reflections on Writing Digitally, The Sustained Argument, the Genre Transformation, a document with the best comments students have made on others’ websites, and a detailed description of any improvements you made to the Inquiry Series.