This final assignment, which will take us to the end of the semester, can be seen as a kind of “graduation” project from your composition requirement at SLCC. In it, I want you to take all that you’ve learned through English 1010 and 2010 (or through English 0900, 0990, 1010, and 2010) and apply it.
Therefore, the purpose of this assignment is to give you a final “practice” into doing those things that you are supposed to be able to do by the time you finish this course:
- Feel confident in applying an understanding that all writing is situation-based.
- Clearly understand and be able to explain the rhetorical nature of arguments and positions.
- Effectively use rhetorical and genre analysis to craft a plausible argument.
- Be increasingly capable of reading and writing in multiple genres.
- Have developed the flexibility to draw on a variety of processes for different writing tasks.
- Be able to use research processes effectively to enrich the complexity of their writing.
- Know how to use digital resources to correctly document external sources into one's own writing.
- Know the relevant questions to ask in order to respond well to different writing tasks.
- Have increased their ability to provide and receive useful feedback on writing.
In this assignment, you are going to “craft a plausible argument.” You are going to “research effectively.” You are going to “ask specific questions to respond well to writing tasks.” And, all of this will be done inside a “situation-based” assignment.
So where to begin?
In order for these abilities to be any use at all to you, you need to be able to apply them to an unfamiliar writing situation. That’s the whole point of this class—to prepare you to write in multiple situations with growing confidence. Therefore, this assignment asks you to explore a writing situation or task that you are unfamiliar with—one in which you have never written before.
If that seems fairly wide-open, you’re right and it is. However, you can narrow this down by imagining what types of writing you are going to need to do in your future. If you have a declared major, what is it? What kinds of writing takes place in this major? What are your career aspirations? What kind of writing takes place in them? (Here is a list of all the majors and career tracks at SLCC. (Links to an external site.))
Now, you may not know what kind of writing happens in these areas, and that makes up part of your research for this assignment. You need to find out what kinds of documents are produced and consumed, and how they are produced and consumed. As you figure this out, you need to sort out what kinds of documents are “arguments” and how those arguments are made. (Here is a list of genres. They're not matched up with professions, because genres overlap in professions, but this gives you a starting point
Here's some examples to help you figure this out. Business majors: you're going to need to be able to write proposals, analyses, prospectuses, grants, reports, etc. That's easy. But, some of you are artists or are going in to art fields and may be thinking, "Hey, I'm not going to have to write! I'm an artist!" Or, maybe, "I'm going to be an engineer. Or, I'm going to be a computer programmer, I don't need to write...in fact, why did I even have to take this stupid class?" Well, truth be told, everyone who is seeking a non-labor job, or--more importantly--a job that has potential for growth, a job that lets you use your brain, is going to have to write. An artist writes artist statements to go in galleries, and also has to put together portfolios, requests for referral, grant proposals, etc. According to this article (Links to an external site.), many "good ideas" from engineers "never see the light of day because engineers who have them are unable to communicate their ideas." (Funny story: My brother is a physicist who works with Russian physicists. After a particularly important experiment a couple years ago, they wanted to write it up in time for a deadline. My brother called me to ask how to do it. I gave him advice...but they still weren't able to do it. Bummer.) That same article (Links to an external site.) noted above says, “If you want to advance beyond just being a number cruncher, then you need to be able to communicate effectively.”
Are you convinced yet? Well, even if you're not, you still need to do this assignment. So, read on for what's next...
Then, when you find out what kinds of arguments are made in this college major or in the career you are seeking, it’s time to do some rhetorical and genre-analysis. How can you find about the types of arguments that take place in these fields/jobs? What genres are utilized? And, what audiences, purposes, conventions? Maybe this graphic will help you one more time!
How Is This Going to Work?
This is a loosely-organized project, meaning it is meant to develop based on what you decide you are going to do. Check out the Semester Schedule for the overall plan.
Topics? What Are the Topics?
I don’t know what your topic is going to be. First, you have to figure out the kinds of arguments that are made (and what kinds of documents are produced) in your chosen area. Only then can you decide what topic you are going to do; remember that not all arguments work in all genres and rhetorical situations.
A Framework for the Final Assignment (What You Will Turn In)
Understanding the Writing Task
A thorough analysis of the purposes, contexts, audiences (and relationships), and rhetorical conventions of the genre that you have selected for that particular profession or academic field
An in-depth picture of how you came to the analytical conclusions that you did
Producing the Writing
An original example of the genre that you have selected—written by you. (This may need to be a “fictionalized” document to a certain extent, but should adhere to the analysis that you have developed.)
A meta-commentary of your original example that outlines how you enacted the expectations that you discovered in your analysis
Format For Final Project
Your final project can be presented in one file, multiple files, or another format. You may create it as a paper, a web site/blog, Prezi, a set of related documents, or another way that you pass by me. You may use images/video/audio to help illustrate your analysis if you would like, but are not obligated to do so.
Regardless of its final form, your final project needs to follow the below formatting criteria.
Part 1: Understanding the Writing Task - The Product
This section should be made up of paragraphs that analyze the genre in the field you have chosen. The paragraphs should be broken up in to sections set apart by headings: Introduction, Writer(s)/Reader(s), Contexts, Purposes, Rhetorical Conventions. While bulleted lists may be used, most of this work should be in paragraphs. The length will be determined in class today.
Part 2: Understanding the Writing Task - The Process
This section should be comprised of narrative in paragraph form, and also a list of sources in correct MLA or APA format. (If your final project is done on-line, you should link to these sources.) You have researched documents, looked at websites, and talked with people. All of these resources should be cited. The narrative should provide an account of your work that you completed in understanding the writing task.
Part 3: Producing the Writing – The Product
This section should be the original example of the genre in the field that you have written. It should be formatted correctly for that genre, in that field.
Part 4: Producing the Writing – The Process
This should be a detailed analysis of how your “Product” (Part 3) attempts to meet the goals you set out in the analysis in Part 1. In my mind, the easiest method for this would be to organize this part in the same way that you organize Part 1, separating the sections into subheadings: Introduction, Introduction, Writer(s)/Reader(s), Contexts, Purposes, Rhetorical Conventions. Within each section, you will explain how your Part 3 tries to address all these areas of your genre/field. To do this well, you will need to cite your own writing from Part 3 (e.g. “I tried to develop the relationship with the potential investor by showing how the company would be successful. In the second paragraph, I wrote, “The current market shows high demand for this product.”) The length of this section will be determined in class.
Here are five sample projects from last year:
We will determine the evaluative criteria together in class.
The project demonstrates that you:
- Understand that your writing on this assignment is situation-based.
- Successfully used rhetorical and genre-analysis to create an appropriate argumentative document(s) for the situation
- Researched effectively to understand and produce the argumentative document(s).
- Were able to ask specific questions of the situation to write effectively
- Were able to use feedback to revise your work usefully