This project shifts the rhetorical situation from being the audience of a message (trying to build a deep understanding of the meaning of the text, the context in which the sender created it, and the audiences to which it speaks) to one in which you yourself are a creator, producing a text that is relevant to the class theme or texts.
This project imitates what you’ll be asked to do often in both your college career and afterwards—discern what you want to say, who you want to say it to, and how best to do so. The Rhetoric-in-Practice assignment is intended to give you a deeper appreciation of what it means to make specific rhetorical choices to serve your message and an opportunity to reflect on how those choices affect the message you are sending and the audience that you reach with it.
In this way, the RIP is a culmination of the work you’ve done in this class with respect to your understanding of both genre and rhetoric.
The RIP assignment has two parts: project and essay.
Project: You will craft a creative text, having selected a purpose and audience that addresses the class theme (or responds to one of the class texts). You will then select an appropriate genre for this project, and demonstrate your rhetorical know-how by selecting appropriate rhetorical choices for this situation. In other words, your created text will operate within a clear rhetorical framework—with a clear context, belonging to an identifiable genre, and with a clear purpose and audience—that addresses the class theme (or responds to one of the class texts).
Message and Purpose: First, what’s your message going to be? What do you want to portray about either your class text or class theme? Think about this specifically and complexly—what are the new insights you can bring to the table?
Audience: Once you decide your message, whom do you want to target? Why? And what are going to be the expectations of this audience? What might be difficult in addressing them? Think specifically about who they are and what they want. How will that affect your appeals to them?
Context: What’s the historical and cultural context of this project? Is this taking place right now? Where and when? How does that influence the project? See the AGWR 39B chapter for more details about exploring context.
Genre: After you think through all of these possibilities, now you can start to decide on a genre for your project. The RIP project should involve a text-based genre, but is only limited by your imagination. There can be multi-modal components to the project, but there should be a significant amount of text should be the primary component. Research various genres online for what might be most compelling to you—for instance, perhaps you’re interested in a short video, but instead can write a film treatment or script for it. Consider your past RIP exercises as a starting point for your final genre project.
Your instructor may suggest specific directions that relate to your class readings.
Essay: You will also write a companion essay that describes your creative writing and revision process and analyzes the rhetorical choices you made. (Think “making of” documentary.) However, you should also think of this essay as a first draft of the final cover letter that will be included in your ePortfolio—how are you beginning to show the culmination of all of your 39B coursework? The essay should build on your work in the RA essay and midterm ePortfolio cover letter as well as think about how you’ll indicate how you’re applying your rhetorical know-how. You’ll include secondary sources that demonstrate, among other things, your understanding of your chosen genre and your understanding of the texts/ideas you’ve studied throughout the quarter.
Because this is a project that may take time, the planning for the RIP project starts with the RIP exercises you’ve been doing since week 1. These exercises should show that you’re engaged with the creative work of planning all parts of the project (purpose, audience, genre, and context). Drafts, peer review, and revision are required elements of the assignment. Your instructor will coach you about projects that do not have a clear purpose or audience, seem to misunderstand the chosen genre or are likely to be too ambitious, but you need to show ownership of your own process and product.
Multiple drafts, peer review and revision are required elements of the assignment. The RIP project’s length depends on the purpose, audience and genre. The RIP essay can be multi-modal if necessary and should be about 500-800 words long. A minimum of three (3) sources must be cited in the essay.
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