Writing Prompt: “Guided Self-Actualization”

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Assignment Title: Guided Self-Actualization

Author: Dr. Bryan A. Lutz, Ohio Northern University (b-lutz.1@onu.edu)

Date published: August, 2022

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Class Info/Tags: Upper Level, Fact-to-Face, Hybrid, Anti-Racist Pedagogies, Composition Studies, Multimodal Rhetorics

Course Motivation: The goal of this course is to study the history and character of social movements and practice the kinds of internal and external writing used by advocates and activists. Content for the course is comprised of readings on race, gender, sexuality, age, ability, and class. As we examine a range of social issues, we will explore the available means of communication while paying careful attention to the role that audience, purpose, and genre in building successful social movements. Students will engage in analyzing, drafting, revising, and presenting documents closely associated with advocacy and activism: policy briefs, posters, fliers, memes, press releases, social media posts, and more. The course will also encourage students to adopt an ethic suitable for the kinds of communication and knowledge work used for social justice.

Context of Use: The assignment is available on the first day of the semester and is due at the end of the semester. Some parts of the assignment are supported by course readings that are freely available online. One part is supported by KK Ottesen’s Activist: Portraits of Courage. Students can complete the assignment at their own pace once they feel comfortable with aspects of the prompt.

The assignment fulfills the following course objectives:
• define and distinguish between advocacy and activism as distinct, but mutually reinforcing persuasive purposes.
• draft and revise documents.
• utilize the fundamentals of design for print and digital production.
• assess rhetorical situations, identifying audience, purpose, genre, and context.
• further develop your research and critical thinking skills.
• use discipline-specific technologies and presentation strategies for the public discussion and distribution of research and writing.

Instructor Reflection: What I like most about this project is it combines self-reflection with producing genres of writing common among advocates and activists. It also affords students some freedom to choose what kind of project would best allow them to utilize their talents and potentialities from a list of options. While I had envisioned that students would complete the project at times most convenient for them throughout the semester, most waited until the end. When I teach this again, I think it will be necessary to offer frequent reminders to students, and to connect other assignments, exercises, and lectures to this project so students know precisely when we have covered the relevant material.

About Author

Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes is a PhD candidate in the Joint Program in English & Education at the University of Michigan, where she also teaches in the English Department Writing Program. Her research interests include digital rhetoric, gender and discourse, and gaming studies. Her dissertation project explores how women use multimodal discourse—grammatically, narratively, and visually—to navigate online gaming ecologies.

Jennifer Burke Reifman

Jennifer Burke Reifman is a 5th year Education Ph.D. Candidate at U.C. Davis with an emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies. Her research focuses on technology in the writing classroom, writing program administration, and student identity and agency. When she isn't being a graduate student and writing teacher, she spends most of her time playing with her 3-year old son, tending her backyard garden, or diving into a video game.