The Future of One of Harris’s Key Ideas

Assignment Description:

Choose one of Harris’ five key ideas (or a sub-topic that falls under one of them) and describe where it is now/where it seems to be heading following Harris’ characterization in A Teaching Subject. This will take the form of a critical literature review including 5-8 articles from composition journals or edited collections published in the last 5 years (2010 later). To get a sense of the variety of perspectives on your key idea currently circulating in the field and to look more deeply into the diversity of current research in writing studies, no more than 2 articles can come from any one journal, book, or ebook. Your critical literature review will

  • summarize what the articles/chapters have to say about your key idea and relate their arguments to each other
  • describe/explain the future of your key idea based on what these articles say
  • connect the future of this idea reflected in your research to where Harris left it in 1997

Resource page for this assignment: info about and links to journals and recent ebooks

Your project will be multimodal, including more than one kind of media. (For example, writing AND images/AND video/AND audio.) Written text can play a large or a small role in this assignment–the multimodal requirement means that you must include at least 2 different kinds of media. Your project can be created digitally (for example, on your course blog) or you can create it using physical media (like the material objects Shipka describes or the drawings Dunn & de Mers describe).

Some examples of multimodal approaches to similar assignments

These are not exhaustive or mandatory, just examples to get you started thinking:

primarily written text with embedded visuals: Harris & Sources assignment format

visual/verbal collages (images, written text, visual design):

writing programs outside the United States (Writing instruction outside the U.S., from previous English 16 student)

Wysocki Concept Map activity Wysocki Concept Map activity 2 (Marxism & cyborg theory, from “mapping readings” model assignment in Wysocki et al’s Writing New Media)

multimedia presentation (written text, images, videos, visual design): Dove Knightlight’s presentation on Wide Sargasso Sea

narrated stick figure drawing videos (images, visual design, oral narration): Watch these stick figures explain net neutrality

Possible themes to consider as you look for sources:

  • how “writing” is defined
  • the impact of technology on writing, or integration of technology into writing instruction
  • tensions or relationship between creative writing/voice and academic or professional writing
  • how writing should be assessed
  • relationship between school writing and other types of writing
  • historical period being focused on (past, present, future)
  • debates about the discipline of composition/writing studies (including debates over what it should be called, what it should/shouldn’t include, etc)
  • research methods used
  • how writing should be taught
  • who should teach writing
  • locations for writing (university or otherwise)
  • relationship between languages/dialects and writing instruction
  • populations focused on (either as research subjects or as beneficiaries of research)

This list isn’t exhaustive or mandatory–just some ideas to get you thinking. Other themes may suggest themselves depending on your interest. Use the themes in your articles as your primary guide.

Requirements: rubric-for-future-of-one-of-harris_-key-ideas

Format & Submission Guidelines:

  • Length/Scope:
    • 1200 words (for primarily writing-based)
    • 7 minutes (for primarily audio or video-based)
    • 3-component (for primarily-image-based)
  • Due date: Tuesday, March 17 @ 2:00 pm
  • Submission instructions: submit page URL to Camino dropbox for digital projects, turn in physical projects in person at my office (SJ 203).
    • PLEASE NOTE: If don’t submit your project digitally, please submit a dummy file or URL (empty Word document, link to random blog post, etc.) to the Camino dropbox. (You have submit something on Camino for me to be able to grade your assignment.)

Content Guidelines:

  • use 5-8 sources, published in 2010 or later; no more than 2 articles per journal/ebook
  • reflect deep, critical engagement with sources’ arguments in assignment’s structure and organization
  • summarize sources thoroughly and accurately
  • relate sources to each other and to Harris
  • synthesize sources to articulate a clear future trajectory for key idea
  • include MLA list of works cited to document sources

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