Assignment Description

In Unit 3, you will write about the subject you researched in Unit 2 in the genre of your choice. Whatever genre you choose to explore, it should be the genre that best reaches the audience you think needs to hear about your topic. It also needs to showcase your research! 

This is a two part assignment. Part 1 and Part 2 are both required.

Unit 3 Assignment in Brief

  1. Write about the research you did in Unit 2.  (Note: You cannot change your topic at this point in the semester. Develop what you have already learned.)
  2. Address the audience you think needs to know what you learned in Unit 2.
  3. Part 1: Write in the genre that you think will best reach that audience
  4. Part 2: Write a one-page Artist’s Statement that explains your process (more on this below)

How to Begin the Unit 3 Assignment

To begin Unit 3, consider:

  • What is the most important thing you learned while researching Unit 2 and what audience needs to know about it?
  • What is the best form or method to give that audience the information you learned in Unit 2? This question should lead you to think about writing in a new “genre.”

Part 1: Choose a Genre:

Think about the best way to present the research you began in Unit 2. You might consider one of the five possibilities here:

  • Creating a “TedTalk” or an episode for a podcast: you can use the research you’ve done to write an informational talk and write the script and/ or create a short video.  Because this is a writing class, I want to see the text you create, but I’d like to see the video or hear the sound file as well if you do this. Note: this talk should not sound like you are reading an essay.
  • Creating a visually oriented project. You might create a brochure you can distribute to those you think need to hear about your topic. This brochure should include both visuals and text. You might also design a poster. Think about where this visual aid might best be displayed or distributed. For this, you will turn in the visual product, which should also include text.
  • Writing a magazine style article. If you choose this option, you must tell me what kind of magazine you are using as a model. For example, you might want to write a New York Times style newspaper article or a Teen Vogue like style magazine, or a sports magazine article. Some of you working on current events, may want to write an article in the style of Time Magazine.
  • Writing in a genre that you discuss with your instructor.  Ask me if you have an idea for exploring a new genre that is not listed above.
  • Not allowed: Powerpoint presentations. Why? “PowerPoint” isn’t a genre, it’s a tool. Also, there have been a lot of studies done on the most boring forms of delivery, and Power Point is consistently at the top!  Try something new and interesting. 

Target Audience

All of these possible genres have different target audiences.

How are you going to get your target audience to listen to your message? Will they listen to a political speech? Watch a video essay? Read a magazine article? Read/watch a scene from a play/film?  Read the lyrics to a song? You can use pretty much any genre, as long as it’s one that’s new to you and appropriate for the audience you choose. No middle school kid is going to sit still for a 30-minute political speech even if it’s about how to keep from being bullied. Wrong genre, poor analysis of your audience. All I ask is that you make sure it isn’t offensive (racist, sexist, homophobic, religion-intolerant). Also, no Power Point.*

Once you’ve written your new genre text, you’ll also write an Artist’s Statement to go along with it, something that tells us what you intended to do, who your intended audience was, what you went through to get it done, how well you think it turned out, and where you think it might be published/shared with that audience. There will be a handout on the Artist’s Statement when that time comes. 

Part 2: Artist Statement Guidelines

Explaining the rationale behind our actions and decisions is an important kind of reflective writing because it makes visible what is otherwise invisible. Composers of all sorts often write an Artist’s Statement for their audience that explains their inspirations, intentions, and choices in their creative and critical processes. An Artist’s Statement helps the reader understand the process that led to the final product by providing insight into what the author set out to do, how they did it, and what they might do to further improve the piece. A successful Artist’s Statement reflects your understanding of your chosen genre (and the elements, style, design, and use of sources that characterize it) – and of your specific rhetorical situation (your reasons for composing, your audience, how you use rhetorical appeals, and your choice of mode and medium).

In your Author’s Statement, please do the following:

  • Provide context. It’s useful to give background on your composition, such as how you became interested in the topic, what were your inspirations, or, if you’ve created a series of related works, how the pieces all fit together.
  • Discuss your specific rhetorical situation and related choices: In other words: answer the question “why?” Why did you decide to write in the genre you did? Why did you choose the audience you did? Why did you decide to talk about this particular aspect of your research? What is the purpose of your piece?
  • Explain your choice of genre and how you worked within its conventions. Maybe you created a photo essay.  An accompanying statement—in which you explain why you found the photo essay to be the best way to communicate your ideas about gun control—would go a long way toward helping your viewers get the most out of your work
  • Reflect on how it went.  Use this as an opportunity to look back at your composition and evaluate the extent of your achievement as well as note what you would have done differently or better.
  • You can also use ideas you explored in your Unit 3 Project Proposal.  You shouldn’t use the quotes, but the ideas about your audience and genre are applicable and can be used from this post.

Grading Criteria for Unit 3

  1. Genre: Whatever you choose must actually fit in that genre. A video that’s just a single picture for two minutes isn’t a video because it doesn’t move; it doesn’t engage us the way a video/film should. When you do your proposal, you’ll have a chance to set up what the rules and conventions are for that genre.
  2. Appropriateness for audience: If you’re doing something for 4th grade students, it shouldn’t be full of graduate school words. Appropriate means word choice, approach to topic/issue, use of visuals if you use them – does the way you “wrote” your genre piece fit what would work best for this audience?
  3. Effectiveness of message: We’ll share these on our OpenLab site, so you’ll get a chance to see if you got your point across. Did it fulfill your purpose?
  4.  Length/Timeliness: The genre piece can be whatever length it needs to be based on the conventions of the genre. Lengths will vary.  
  5. Artist Statement (Part 2): Did you thoughtfully reflect on your process, even if things didn’t turn out quite how you wanted? 

Resources for Composing in Various Genres: 

Resources for making a podcast or “TedTalk”:

From the New York Times on creating a Podcast: 

Making a Podcast that Matters: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/learning/making-a-podcast-that-matters-a-guide-with-examples-from-23-students.html

Free sound effects for pod casts: http://soundbible.com/free-sound-effects-1.html

TedTalks about Making a TedTalk:

How to Tedx: How to Give a Great TedX Talk This short (less than 4 min) talk offers tips such as:

  • provide the listener with a core idea,
  • Explain why you are the right person for this talk
  • think about three main points and stories that might go with them
  • try to shape your talk as a call to action

June Cohen: What Makes a Great TedTalk  (14:00 min) This video goes into more depth,  offering examples and tips such as:

  • offer something new. This might be an interesting topic or a fresh angle on a familiar topic. Think local. Your personal perspective is often what makes an idea fresh
  • What can make your idea “stick”? What is urgent about your story?
  • Tell a story. Don’t just relay facts.
  • Start with a hook. (But avoid lame jokes.)
  • Practice! This goes for all writing, of course. Read out loud, always.

Screencasting/video recording:

  •  https://screencast-o-matic.com/ Screencast-o-matic is free if you want to do screen capture videos from your laptop. Word of warning: if you really want to do some close editing work, it will cost, but for the basics, it’s fine. You can upload the resulting video to YouTube. A lot of faculty use it.
  • YouTube Studio will give you lots of tutorials about how to create videos.

Resources for Writing a Magazine style article

The NYT has an entire list of “Mentor Texts” that help you write articles like a sports article and a personal health column. It’s quite useful.  It can be found here: https://www.nytimes.com/column/learning-mentor-texts

Resources for Creating Posters and Brochures

You do not need to purchase or buy templates for this project. There are many available online. If you are design student, you probably already have a resource you are familiar with. Here are a few articles and resources to help:

Tips for making a brochure: https://creativemarket.com/blog/how-to-design-a-stunning-brochure-30-expert-tips-and-templates

 Copyright safe images (photos, clip art, etc) for posters and brochures: https://search.creativecommons.org/

 Stock videos (and photos): https://www.pexels.com

 Illustrations you can manipulate: https://undraw.co/illustrations

 https://www.canva.com/ is a mostly free (especially if you upload your own images) design program that does everything from posters and banners to storyboards and comic strips. A real go-to tool for a lot of people.

Canva also offers tips for designing a brochure  in this article: https://www.canva.com/learn/brochure-design/

Posters, infographics, etc.:


As always, please see me in office hours or send me an email if you have questions. This should feel new!
I look forward to seeing what you create.