I love the low stakes assignment that Janet Boyd in “Murder! (Rhetorically Speaking)” uses because it seems like such a creative way to teach students about genre awareness. She gives students five specific facts about a murder and tells them to write about it. Borrowing from Boyd, I would do the same. I could give five facts about a character and have students write a short story about the character, a blog post from the character’s perspective, or a song about the character. In general, I think it’s important to show examples of different genres, too. Another option that I think will help is to show multiple genres about one specific theme. For example, the theme could be “prison reform” and I would be able to show blogs, newspaper articles, poems, narratives, songs, court files, books, etc. all about the topic. I do believe that all of these assignments will be simple enough to follow in a virtual world.
Overall, I believe that genre awareness is one of the most important parts of the reading AND writing experience. For me, genre awareness and audience awareness are two sides of the same coin. Learning how to differentiate an audience and a genre is probably the most important thing a person can learn in this world; the writing rules for sending an email to a boss and sending a text message to a friend have very distinct stipulations. Continuing to emphasize these differences are necessary.