Assignment Title: Guided Self-Actualization
Author: Dr. Bryan A. Lutz, Ohio Northern University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date published: August, 2022
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.