This assignment asks you to compose a multimodal text that joins an ongoing public conversation related to the course genre, and achieves a particular argumentative purpose: expository, critical (analytical), or persuasive.
Why a multimodal text? Human communication in general has always relied on more than just language to convey meaning–we communicate with our tone of voice and our body language, with drawings and music and other artistic media, and in many other nonverbal ways. And in recent years, as public discourse about culture, society, and politics has moved largely online, people have more opportunities than ever to employ a dynamic mixture of linguistic, visual, aural, spatial, and gestural modes to craft their messages and affect their audiences. In writing classes like ours, we describe this manner of communicating as multimodal, though the term multimedia may be more familiar to you. This project offers a chance to analyze and experiment with the affordances (that is, the opportunities and limitations) of different modes in your writing, and thereby help you apply your genre and rhetorical awareness to situations and debates outside the WR 39B classroom.
Your instructor will provide additional guidelines on the specific genre you will write in, the discourse community you will address, and appropriate genre models and other relevant sources you should consult as part of your composing process.
Length: While the Imitation Project should equal or exceed the Genre Analysis in substance and complexity, appropriate lengths will depend on the assigned genre. As a general guideline, predominantly text-based projects should range between 1000-2000 words.
Sources: Your instructor will provide you with genre models and other relevant sources for composing your project. Genre models will illustrate key conventions and modal affordances you should analyze as part of your composing process. Other sources may provide information about the relevant discourse community and context that will guide your project, and/or competing perspectives that your project might respond to. These sources may be assigned reading, or included in a class bibliography.
Process: As you compose your project, you will submit the following process assignments, which are intended to help you continue to cultivate the analytical and argumentative skills and genre and rhetorical knowledge you began to develop in the Genre Analysis essay.
A project proposal in which you articulate the relevant context and discourse community that will shape your project; describe the project’s intended message and purpose, key genre conventions, modalities (linguistic, aural, visual, spatial, gestural), and other significant rhetorical strategies (e.g., style, tone, point of view, etc.); and explain how this project will purposefully join a larger conversation within your assigned discourse community and respond to a specific context.
A craft essay in which you analyze your project’s key rhetorical choices, genre conventions, and modalities, explaining how the style of its language, visuals, sound, or any other modal elements are intended to appeal to the specific concerns, values, desires, and/or assumptions of your audience, and why they are appropriate for the occasion and venue. This craft essay may integrate sources provided by your instructor.
Multiple drafts, peer review, and substantive revision are required elements of the assignment. Missing or incomplete drafts and process work will result in a grade penalty on the final draft, up to and including failure.
Knowledge Practices & Processes
By the time you complete this assignment, you should be able to:
Analyze relationships between medium, genre, purpose, audience, and context in appropriate genre models
Analyze the affordances of different modes (linguistic, visual, aural, spatial, gestural) in appropriate genre models
Develop a complex message that engages substantively with other voices and ideas, using genre-appropriate language and at least one other mode of communication (visual, aural, spatial, gestural)
Credit the original ideas and work of others through proper attribution and citation, according to the conventions of the specific genre
Give productive feedback on peers’ writing-in-progress; prioritize and implement feedback received from instructor and peers to revise effectively over multiple drafts