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Writing Program at New College

Assignments - Community Based Project

(Michael's version--no doubt needs updating. This is a good ENG 105 assignment. Also good for some ENG 102s(

The Final Project amounts to a public turn moving from inquiry and to action. These projects might take the form of websites, Facebook group pages, letter-writing campaigns, performances or scripts for performances, public addresses, feature articles, workplace proposals, videos, or digital art. You might also choose to follow the traditional genre represented by the research proposal and pursue academic writing in the form of a research-based essay. The list of possible rhetorical actions is virtually endless.

With this idea of action in mind, please understand that genre means more than the form – letter writing, public address, traditional essay, and the like – of your composition. In this instance, the formal mode in which you work has everything to do with how well your rhetorical strategies are suited to the intentions of your communication.

Therefore, as you move from research into other forms of rhetorical action, ask yourself: What do you want your project text to do? In other words, what is your intention? Do you want to take a particular position and write persuasively? Do you want to focus the intention to inform and educate that grounded the Research Report? Do you intend to entertain? Tell a story?

Closely related to such questions is another: For what audience will you write? In the Research Proposal, you were asked to write for an academic audience of faculty and student peers. Now choose as your audience(s) those who are directly impacted by the issue you are researching.

To complete the Final Project, students will submit:

  • Brief Proposal
  • Cover Letter
  • Final Project

1. Writing Your Brief Proposal (approximately 250 words)

The Brief Proposal is meant to begin students thinking in concrete terms about the Final Project.  Students may structure the Proposal any way they wish, but all Proposals must explain:  

  • The writer’s intentions for the Final Project
  • The writer’s intended audience or audiences
  • A brief description of the project text. What is the genre, format, structure, etc? Explain also why you have chosen this form. What rhetorical factors did you consider?

2. Final Project

Again, this is your chance to think outside of the academic box. Are you making a website, Facebook group page, launching a letter-writing campaign, staging a performance or writing a script for performance, a public address, a feature article for a newspaper or magazine, a workplace proposal, a video, a digital art project? It is fine also to stick with academic genres and audience, and to push your Research Proposal forward into a research-based essay.

3. The Cover Letter (500-750 words)

The Cover Letter is an important part of the Final Project itself because it is there that you will continue to discuss and demonstrate your knowledge about the rhetorical situation at hand.  The cover letter should address:

  • Your purpose/goal
  • Your chosen audience or audiences
  • An explanation of your genre or format
  • Aspects of your Project to which you want readers to pay particular attention
  • Your assessment of the success of your Project including any work that remains to be done. NOTE: It is possible still do very well on this project even if you can’t finish it. Your Cover Letter allows you to share the conceptual work you have done designing the project.

Documenting Your Work

Because students will be working in multiple modalities, conventions for documenting sources will vary. Regardless of the format in which you are working, rigorous documentation of sources is required. If no citation style seems quite right for your project, you may hand in a traditional bibliography or works cited page. For academic citation guidelines, see this link to Purdue OWL:

The outcomes for our assignments are linked to these overall course outcomes. The following rubric lays out the intended outcomes of this assignment and designates criteria on which your work will be evaluated. Your instructor’s comments and suggestions for revision will be keyed to this rubric. 

A successful response to this assignment will:

  • Be in a form appropriate for achieving the student’s stated intentions
  • Will address an audience also appropriate for achieving the student’s stated intentions
  • Will use the conventions of the chosen mode or form effectively in light of intention and audience
  • Be a strong example of the mode or genre in which you are working
  • Include references to the research that informs the project
  • Include a Cover Letter with all the required elements
  • Be well-edited for usage and grammar

Peer Workshop Questions

In peer work groups, exchange drafts of the Final Project. Respond to the following questions/prompts as you read your classmate’s drafts.

  • Has the writer chosen a Final Project format that is in a form appropriate for achieving the student’s stated intentions? How so?
  • Is the Final Project well-suited to address an audience on which the writer is focused? How so?
  • Does the writer use the conventions of the chosen mode or form effectively in light of intention and audience? Explain how this could be improved.
  • Is this project text a strong example of the genre or format in which the writer is working? Explain why it is or is not.
  • Does the Cover Letter clearly explain the thinking and rhetorical considerations that went into the writer’s project?
  • Has the writer included references to the research that informs the Final Project
  • Is the Final Project well edited for usage and grammar?
  • What other comments or suggestions do you have?

Writing Program