Advocacy Campaign

Advocacy Campaign

Difficulty Rating 5: This assignment has a steep learning curveDifficulty Rating 5: This assignment has a steep learning curveDifficulty Rating 5: This assignment has a steep learning curveDifficulty Rating 5: This assignment has a steep learning curveDifficulty Rating 5: This assignment has a steep learning curve
Advocacy Campaign Student Example: To Write Love on Her ArmsBrief Description:
This assignment asks students to use multiple modes and assets to create a multi-genre campaign advocating for an issue in their community. It is ideal for a formative, end-of-term assignment which allows students to revise previous assignments: Students can produce any of the following:
- Website
- Video
- Podcast/Digital Narrative
- Flyer/Table Card
- T-shirt/Button/Pin
- Op-Ed/Op-Art/Newspaper/Magazine article

Total time: Six 75-minute class meetings

Yield: Four separate genres (student's choice)

Courtesy of: Jennifer Nish, University of Kansas
Ingredients:
Equipment: (Varies by student choice)

- A video camera
- A device which records audio
- Video Editing Software (iMovie/WMM)
- Audio Editing Software (Garageband/Audacity)
- Visual Editing Software (Photoshop, Gimp)
- Print Editing Software (Illustrator, InDesign, Publisher)
- Materials (t-shirt, pin, button, etc.)

Student Examples:

Emilee’s Advocacy Campaign: Print Materials (flyer, pamphlet, table card, reflection) / Video Materials (“There is Hope”)

Download Assignment Package:

Advocacy Campaign.PDFAdvocacy Campaign.docxAdvocacy Campaign.doc

WPA Outcomes

(from the Council for Writing Program Administrators)

Rhetorical Knowledge

By the end of first year composition, students should

  • Focus on a purpose
  • Respond to the needs of different audiences
  • Respond appropriately to different kinds of rhetorical situations
  • Use conventions of format and structure appropriate to the rhetorical situation
  • Adopt appropriate voice, tone, and level of formality
  • Understand how genres shape reading and writing
  • Write in several genres

 

Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing

By the end of first year composition, students should

  • Use writing and reading for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating
  • Understand a writing assignment as a series of tasks, including finding, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate primary and secondary sources
  • Integrate their own ideas with those of others
  • Understand the relationships among language, knowledge, and power

 

Processes

By the end of first year composition, students should

  • Understand the collaborative and social aspects of writing processes
  • Learn to critique their own and others’ works
  • Use a variety of technologies to address a range of audiences

 

Knowledge of Conventions

By the end of first year composition, students should

  • Learn common formats for different kinds of texts
  • Develop knowledge of genre conventions ranging from structure and paragraphing to tone and mechanics
  • Practice appropriate means of documenting their work
  • Control such surface features as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

 

Composing in Electronic Environments

By the end of first-year composition, students should:

  • Use electronic environments for drafting, reviewing, revising, editing, and sharing texts
  • Locate, evaluate, organize, and use research material collected from electronic sources, including scholarly library databases; other official databases (e.g., federal government databases); and informal electronic networks and internet sources
  • Understand and exploit the differences in the rhetorical strategies and in the affordances available for both print and electronic composing processes and texts

 

Advocacy Campaign Suggested Readings*

Authority, Ethos, and Voice

  • Writing about Writing, Ann M. Penrose & Cheryl Geisler, “Reading and Writing without Authority” pp. 602-618
  • WaW, Joe Harris, “The Idea of Community in the Study of Writing,” pp. 581-595

Conducting Primary Research

  • Fieldworking, Bonnie Stone Sunstein and Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater “Studying Objects,” (about cultural objects) and “Researching People; Identifying People and Places to Study”
  • On Writing Well, William Zinsser, “Writing About People: The Interview,” pp 100-116; “Writing About Places: The Travel Article,” pp 116-133

Using Secondary Sources

  • WaW, Josh Keller, “Studies Explore Whether the Internet Makes Students Better Writers,” pp. 595-602
  • Writing Spaces.com, Kyle Stedman, “Annoying Ways People Use Sources”

Conventions and Moving Between Genres/Writing Communities

  • WaW, Lucille P. McCarthy, “Stranger in Strange Lands: A College Student Writing across the Curriculum,” pp. 667-700 (McCarthy) (also good to discuss primary research like case studies)
  • WaW, Elizabeth Wardle, “Identity, Authority, and Learning to Write in New Workplace”
  • Zinsser: Part III, “Forms” Choose 2 of these essays that we have not read before. Encourage students to choose them based upon relevance to their individual projects.
  • Zinsser, Style 18-24; Words 33-38; Usage 38-46; Bits & Pieces 68-92

 

*Due to copyright constraints, I cannot post readings for the site. However, most individual articles can be found using Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com/), through the DMAC site at Ohio State (http://dmp.osu.edu/dmac/), or through your institution’s library.

…When in doubt, ask the Google.

 

Advocacy Campaign Assignment

Part 1: Creating a Campaign that Advocates

For this project, you will be revising/creating a series of four genres to advocate for an issue in your community. You may choose from one of two options; you may create an original campaign or revise an existing campaign. For both options, you will be focused on making specific decisions about writing in four (4) different genres that fit your purpose, audience, and context. Your paper will be graded on how effectively you are able to make specific production decisions based upon your use of primary and secondary research and relate them to the audience, context, genres and purposes which have influenced your project.

For both options, you must remember to consider the discourse community you are speaking from. Are you an expert? A fellow concerned citizen? Consider the discourse community you are speaking to. Are your audience members already familiar with this issue? Are your audience members working under pre-conceived assumptions about this issue? Lastly, how will the discourse communities you speak from/to influence your choice of genres?

Option 1: Designing a New Campaign
In this option, you will choose an issue of some importance to you, and you will identify a specific need to communicate about that issue. This could be to raise awareness about the issue, to encourage others to join a group or attend an event that fosters awareness about the issue, raise money to help act on this issue, take direct action on the issue, etc. The possibilities could range from advertising a student organization at Virginia Tech to recruiting a group of aid workers to go on a service trip to another country, from writing a letter-to-the-editor of the Collegiate Times to starting a campaign to encourage families in the New River Valley to read to children in their homes.  The important aspects of this option are:

  1. identifying a communication situation in which advocacy plays a role
  2. ensuring that there is a need for the communication
  3. having a clear goal or intended effect in mind.

For example, a letter-to-the-editor about your views on student loans will be marginally useful at best; but, a letter-to-the-editor of The Collegiate Times (the student newspaper) that encourages Tech students to write their congressional representative(s) regarding legislation that would allow guns on campus would be quite pertinent.

Option 2: Redesigning an Ineffective Campaign
In this option, you will find a campaign that advocates for an issue that matters to you, but has done so poorly or ineffectively. So, let’s say you’re really intrigued by your local public library’s campaign encouraging kids to read, but you feel that they’re out of touch with what kids think is “cool.” You could redesign a poster, video, website with material or design choices that will be more likely to reach and affect the intended audience. There are a variety of ways you can choose to change a campaign, so don’t be limited by the example. You might decide that a campaign’s audience is too broad, or that the genres employed in the campaign don’t fit its purpose, or that the medium used won’t be the most effective in reaching viewers. The important aspects of this option are:

  1. choosing a communication that advocates, but needs some kind of change(s),
  2. considering insightful reasoning for wanting to make the changes you identify, and
  3. reshaping the campaign for specific intended effects.

 

Part 2: Reflecting on Your Communication Choices
Part 2 will be required no matter which option you choose for Part 1. For this part of the
assignment, you will write a three-page, 750-word reflection that explains the need you identified, the writing decisions you made, and the relationship between your specified decisions and their intended effect. The major goal here is for you to explain the relationship between rhetorical situation and the genres/media you chose. You will need to be specific about why you made the production choices you made, what needs they address, and what effect you intend your writing choices—and resulting campaign—to have.

Planning Conference:  Week of November 14th

Rough Draft of at least two (2) genres: Thursday, December 1st

Final Draft: Monday, December 12th (Four Genres w/ reflection)

Timeline for Advocacy Campaign

Day 1 (Tuesday)

  • Introduce the Assignment sheet
  • Show examples from the Digital Composition Cookbook
  • HW: Using the readings listed under Authority, Ethos, and Voice: In 350 words, Consider why/how writing with authority is related to the advocacy campaign assignment. Come with notes and be prepared to discuss.

Day 2 (Thursday*)

  • Authority, Ethos, and Voice
    • Discuss the readings with a focus on ethos and the credibility/tone/voice of the author

Expressive, Persuasive, and Informative writing modes

  • Using the Advocacy Campaign student examples, have students work in groups to discuss modes of writing and how/whether the pieces of students’ campaign can be categorized
  • If you have not already, introduce students to primary vs. secondary research including your institutions library databases or other resources at your disposal. Give them time to get used to the interface/looking up articles using keywords, etc.
  • HW: Have students read from the Conducting Primary Research readings. The aim of these readings is to inform students about good interviewing techniques. Namely, contacting participants, establishing rapport, asking open-ended questions, and practicing non-verbal/body language that demonstrates your interest and puts participants at ease. Write: In 350 words, Consider the ways in which fieldwork/primary research is different from secondary research. Use your personal experience and the readings to support your claims. Come with notes.
  • HW: Also, ask students to come with a “cultural object” which will be the subject of an interview with a partner. Read about cultural objects: http://australianmuseum.net.au/What-is-a-cultural-object

*Ideally, the next class period falls after a longer space between classes (over the weekend, perhaps) in order for students to have more time to work on assignments.

Day 3 (Tuesday)

  • Primary Research: Interviewing and Observing
    • Discuss the readings in terms of what students have learning about interviewing participants for research purposes.
    • Have students pair up for the interview. Ask them first to observe the cultural object of their partner. They may touch, see, smell, hear, etc. but they must first write down 10 observations. Matching those 10 observations, students will then write 10 interview questions. At this point, the interviews may begin.  As students work in pairs, circulate and observe their non-verbal /body language, etc.
    • HW: Have students read about using secondary sources. Write: In 350 words, Consider what we have read and discussed about interviewing and writing up an interview summary.  Write a 350-word summary of your interview with your partner. Be purposeful about reader engagement, organization, cohesion, and concision.  Describe how the object reflects a specific aspect of your partner’s culture. Be vivid in your description and analysis. Seek secondary sources if necessary (to look up names, customs, geography, brands, sports, etc.)

Day 4 (Thursday*)

  • Secondary Research: Using Sources Effectively
    • Discuss with students the ways in which they can incorporate secondary research into their interviews. Ask students to share examples of how they incorporated sources.
    • Use this time to discuss quotes and their purposes, based upon the Kyle Stedman reading from Writing Spaces. This is also a good opportunity to discuss writing for a particular audience as Kyle specifically focused his article on a first-year writing audience.
    • Audience: Have students begin to brainstorm the audience for their advocacy campaign. Encourage them to think about an audience to which they have immediate access so that they might consider consulting with audience members regarding their genres/campaign.
    • HW: Have students read about Conventions and Moving Between Genres/Writing Communities. Write: Begin to think about the audience for your advocacy campaign. What kinds of genres will you employ? What purpose will they serve? What kind of discourse communities must you enter? How will you do this?

*Ideally, the next class period falls after a longer space between classes (over the weekend, perhaps) in order for students to have more time to work on assignments.

Day 5 (Tuesday)

  • Studio Time: Give students time in class to work on genres. This is a good opportunity for them to have access to peer/expert resources as they begin to compose/design their campaign. This is also an opportunity to take the class to a computer lab or to introduce them to institutional resources such as the library or a new media center, etc.
  • Conference with students, asking them about these specific elements of their project: Intended Effect of the campaign, Intended Audience, Research to conduct, four Genres.

Examples of my notes from student conferences:

Paula

  • Effect: To push for a policy change: two first-year courses/open up more sections of 1015
  • Audience: Mathematics Dept. faculty and administration
  • Research:
    • Primary Research: interview professor from Math department
    • Secondary Research: Journals for education modes: self-directed vs. hands-on, one-on-one
  • 4 genres:
    • Video: perhaps a longer version of Concept in 60
    • Petition for the Math Dept. with student signatures
    • Table Cards (distributed in every dining hall on campus)
    • Brochure advertising help already available to students who are frustrated with math courses

Patrick

  • Effect: Persuade people/raise awareness about the Amethyst initiative (for Presidents of Universities) which supports lowering the drinking age on college campuses to 18 years of age
  • Audience: People for whom the stakes are lower (people above 21), more than just personal anecdotes of why
  • Research:
    • Secondary: Other universities and signers of the initiative (peer institutions)
    • Secondary: Background knowledge of the legislation
    • Primary: Survey of students and faculty
  • 4 genres:
    • Informational video
    • Flyer (informative but also activist in tone/design)
    • Form letter to any university President; people could use for their universities
    • Facebook group
      • Emphasize the fact that not just 18-21 year-old students are behind this initiative

Day 6 (Thursday*)

  • Studio Time: Give students time in class to work on genres. This is a good opportunity for them to have access to peer/expert resources as they begin to compose/design their campaign. This is also an opportunity to take the class to a computer lab or to introduce them to institutional resources such as the library or a new media center, etc.
  • HW: Bring rough drafts of two of the campaign’s genres.

*Ideally, the next class period falls after a longer space between classes (over the weekend, perhaps) in order for students to have more time to work on assignments.

Day 7 (Tuesday)

  • Use this day to provide feedback to students on their progress. This is also a good chance to do some group or partner peer review using the assessment guide listed below.
  • Remind Students: Advocacy Campaign due ________.

 

Advocacy Campaign Assessment Guide

Based upon the scaffolding/readings/class activities I have incorporated as students work on this assignment, I would assign the following values to each element of their advocacy campaign:

  • 40% of total grade:  Your paper will be graded on how effectively you are able to make specific production decisions based upon your use of primary and secondary research and relate them to the audience, context, genres and purposes which have influenced your project.
  • 20% of total grade: For both options, you must remember to consider the community you are speaking from. Are you an expert? A fellow concerned citizen?
  • 20% of total grade: Consider the audience/community you are speaking to. Are your audience members already familiar with this issue? Are your audience members working under pre-conceived assumptions about this issue? Lastly, how will the discourse communities you speak from/to influence your choice of genres?
  • 10% of total grade: Have you presented professional, polished genres for the campaign? Are they free of confusing errors?
  • 10% of total grade: Was the student present when the class conducted peer/group review of the rough drafts of at least two of their campaign’s genres?

 

Notes, Tips, Variations:

Contribute to the Digital Composition Cookbook! Let us know how it goes and share your notes, tips, and variations of this assignment. Email: mscanlon@vt.edu

 

External Resources:

  • Facebook.com (groups, causes, language of audience)
  • Twitter.com (individuals that are followed, etc.)
  • Wikipedia (as a starting point for some secondary research/you can decide whether or not information can be included or cited in project itself)
  • Examples of advocacy campaigns/social strategies:
  • Lynda.com software tutorials (for iMovie, etc.)
  • Apple.com (for iMove software tutorials)
  • Adobe.com (for design software tutorials)
  • YouTube.com (for third-party iMovie tutorials and examples of short videos)
  • CreativeCommons.com, “Find CC-licensed work” (licensed assets for students to use in genres)