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WRA 260

WRA 891

rhetoric, persuasion, culture

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Assignment 3: Rhetoric in Action


Description: Working in groups, you will create a portfolio of five deliverables in response to the topic of "free speech on campus." Your group will weigh in on what counts as “free speech,” looking in particular at the ongoing debate about alt-right speakers speaking on college campuses (or being barred from speaking). Your group will be tasked with one of the following scenarios:

  1. You are organizing a student group and campus/community activities to promote the idea of unfettered free speech on campus, believing that universities are places for the wide dissemination of ideas, regardless of whether you agree with those ideas.
  2. You are organizing a student group and campus/community activities to promote reasonable restrictions on free speech on campus, believing that what you call “hate speech” promotes psychological and physical violence and therefore is much like yelling “fire” in a crowded theater (the reasoning behind restricting free speech in the Supreme Court decision in Schenck v. United States).

In either case, your group will need to identify (1) your audience(s), (2) two or three audience-specific tasks (what do you want your audience to do?), and (3) the sorts of deliverables best suited to complete those tasks (infographics? Public forum? Letter-writing campaigns? YouTube videos? Etc.). In addition, you will have to do additional research so that you can write/speak knowledgeably about the controversy in order to frame it for different audiences. What do you want to do? How will you do it? Be as specific and concrete as possible.

You will both present your portfolio to the class and will turn in a "composers' statement" with your portfolio, in which your group articulates the rhetorical choices made.

REQUIREMENT: You are responsible to your group during this Unit, meaning you need to be in class on work days and do your part. If you are not a responsible group member, your grade both for this project and for class participation will be lowered.

TOTAL 25 POINTS broken down as follows:

[2 points] Step 1, due 3pm on March 19 in D2L: Research the arguments for and against unfettered free speech on campuses. Get a sense of what people think, feel, and believe about this topic. You can do your own research or use this list as a starting point. Write a 2-page report that briefly outlines both sides of the argument. Use classtime on March 15 to do this work, and each submit the report by 3pm on March 19 to D2L.

[1 point] Step 2, due 3pm on March 21: Create a group contract that describes what each member in the group is responsible for. Include a description of each member's role in the group and deadlines for the tasks assigned. As a reminder, you will have five deliverables (and drafts of each), a presentation, and a justification paper. You all must sign the contract and upload a picture or scanned version to D2L.

[2 points] Step 3, drafts due 3pm on March 26 in class, report due March 28 by classtime: Drafts of your deliverables are due in class this day for review. What you bring to class depends on the deliverables your group is making. If you are making a visual document, a mockup would be effective. If you are making time-based media, a storyboard is a good choice. If you are writing a letter or other form of communication, a rough draft or detailed outline is a good idea. You will share these with another group, so have them in a format you can quickly share and discuss. Submit to D2L a brief report (1-2 pages) of how the review went, what you will keep, and what you plan to revise before the deadline. Each member must submit a report.

[6 points] Step 4, April 2 and 4: Presentations. Your group will have 15 minutes to share your deliverables with the class and to justify your rhetorical choices. Think of this as a "pitch presentation" whereby you are pitching your deliverables to us in a way that showcases their effectiveness. Please be prepared with visual aids (PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, Whatever Works Best For Your Group)

  1. Describe in detail the rhetorical situation for your deliverables. Purposes, Audiences, and Contexts.
  2. What are the audience-specific tasks your group hopes to achieve? That is, what do you want your audiences to DO after they encounter your deliverable?
  3. Describe the rhetorical strategies you used in order to convey your message to your audience. Do this for each deliverable.
  4. Make sure to explain both 1 and 2 in a way that illustrate that you did your homework. That is, you have a sense of what people think, feel, and believe about this topic and you are tailoring your deliverables accordingly. Go back to Part 1 of the project if you need more info.

[7 points portfolio, 7 points statement] Step 5: Portfolio + Justification Statement. Your portfolio must include all deliverables and a justification statement. The statement must address the overall rhetorical situation for your portfolio, and then the rhetorical situation and rhetorical strategies for each deliverable. How you present this portfolio is dependent on the deliverables (digital, hard copy, links, etc).Make it user friendly! DUE in D2L DROPBOX by classtime on Monday, April 9.