My writing courses emphasize four major elements–invention, writing, revision, and reflection–as demonstrated in the visual below:
Most writing projects in my courses begin by asking students to deliver a project proposal (including a schedule) so that I can offer feedback on their approaches to the project and hold them accountable for planning their writing tasks. As students research and compose early drafts, they participate in writing workshops, which are often held in computer labs and class discussions. Revision and response play a vital role in my teaching approaches, and students can always expect to receive digital feedback from me as well as verbal and digital feedback from peers before submitting final drafts.
In the sample project prompts below, I scaffold students’ writing experiences by requiring a variety of deliverables and methods of response throughout the course of each project. View example student work on these projects here!
Business Writing Assignments
Inspired by the growing trend of corporate businesses to engage in community service, this project asks students in my Business Writing courses to recommend a partnership between a corporate business and a nonprofit organization. Taking a service learning approach, students work with local organizations to develop three campaigns that promote the partnership. Students then write a collaborative recommendation report for the organization or business, wherein they develop, evaluate, and recommend the most effective, creative campaign concept.
Job searches are becoming more and more multimodal in nature. In my business writing courses, students have created video snapshots to accompany their other, more typical, job documents. Rather than sharing the project prompt here, I’ve attached a document providing guidelines to students as they create video snapshots.
For this project, online business writing students collaborate digitally on a white paper report. They are asked to imagine that they are coworkers in a real or imagined company who need to examine current trends and draw conclusions about the ways in which businesses might use social media to engage customers, increase customer satisfaction, portray company images, or conduct internet “pull” research.
Introductory Composition Assignments
The Public Service Project provides students in my Introductory Composition courses with an opportunity to service a community beyond the classroom. Students create a multimodal public service message for an on-campus, student-run organization and then write a pitch letter that convinces the organization to use the message in their campus campaigns.
We’re surrounded by all kinds of visuals—from movie posters to billboards, from magazine advertisements to book covers, from war posters to websites. For this project, students search for and find a visual to analyze for its composition, design, textual, and contextual elements. The goal is to write an insightful, knowledgeable essay that demonstrates a sophisticated analysis of the visual (and verbal) elements that make up a poster/visual.
Rhetorical Grammar Assignments
One of the major learning outcomes of my rhetorical grammar courses is for my students to strengthen their rhetorical awareness and stylistic ability as writers, while at the same time question the impact of standardization on cultural language differences. Since most of the students in my rhetorical grammar courses are English-Education majors, I introduce them to theories of composition and research in grammar instruction. Building on the common genre of the teaching philosophy statement, at the end of the semester, students write teaching philosophies of grammar and writing instruction—and are encouraged to articulate the pedagogical approaches they will take and the role that writing will play in their future classrooms.
This project asks students to create a multimodal grammar lesson wherein they teach either a grammatical concept (such as a punctuation pattern or a stylistic option) or a writing concept (such as inserting and writing end comments). Students design and “teach” a lesson that uses technology to explain or engage viewers with a grammar concept. There are three deliverables for this project: a project proposal, a multimodal lesson, and a handout that explains the value of the lesson, its intended audience, and a justification for its design.
I often use vidcasts to engage my distance/hybrid education students. Some examples include: