This assignment asks students to re-think, or re-envision, one of the assignments they have written previously in the semester, presenting it in a totally new genre, perhaps changing modes: for example, a revision that goes from a written essay to an audio podcast, website, graphic, video essay, rap album, or mixed modal. This assignment builds on the generic, rhetorical and audience awareness that students have worked on all semester long, asking them to consider what discourse community they are trying to reach and, not only what diction, but also what mode of delivery would be best for delivering that message.
This “translation” is key to transfer, one of the core learning outcomes of this course. If students can take a message and transform it for different audiences and media, then they are well on their way to being able to transfer writing skills across fields, disciplines and discourse communities.
As with all the units in the course, reflection and transfer are critical, as Taczak and Robertson point out, “students who develop a reflective framework that allows them to understand writing indifferent contexts are able to reimagine previous writing knowledge that they can adapt to a new situation.” In addition to the main writing project, metawriting assignments should ask students to explicitly concern themselves with transfer. For activities in this regard, see Yancey and Beaufort.
Nelson Graff: Teaching Rhetorical Analysis to Promote Transfer
Justin Graffa: The Art of Trespassing (Student Multimodal Project)
Chelsea Harrison: College Students and Social Media (Student Graphic Text)
Hanrick Kumar and Calvin Tiu: To a Rapper’s Delight: An in Depth Look at the Construction of a Musical Collaboration (Student Audio Project)