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Essay #5: Collaborative Essay Dietel-McLaughlin / FYC 13300 / Spring 2011 What is literacy? What
Essay #5: Collaborative Essay
Dietel-McLaughlin / FYC 13300 / Spring 2011
What is literacy?
What does it mean to be “smart” in the 21 st century?
What does it mean to “write” in new media culture?
What does rhetoric have to do with writing and reading?
The above questions address just a few of the complex issues we have
tackled over the past few months. Throughout the term, we have analyzed
some of the ways digital culture has impacted traditional ways of reading,
writing, and thinking, and you have experimented with a variety of
strategies for composing focused, well-organized, well-researched,
developed perspectives within a larger conversation.
In keeping with this discussion, and to further push the idea of writing as
being a fundamentally social and multifaceted process, the final project in
this course will be an opportunity for you, as a class, to demonstrate your
critical understanding of some of the key concepts and skills we’ve been
fostering throughout the term. Ultimately, the finished product should
demonstrate your ability to ask critical questions, to establish a focused
thesis in response to those questions, to support your thesis with good
reasoning directed toward a focused audience, to ground your discussion
in meaningful research, and to organize all of these elements in a
rhetorically powerful way. In a sense, this is a kind of “final exam,” where
you have an opportunity to show what you’ve learned this semester by
working with your classmates to conceptualize, plan, draft, revise, and
edit a well-researched, organized, reasoned, rhetorically sound argument
that somehow engages the topics we’ve explored this semester.
The form this project takes is up to you and your classmates, but it should
somehow fulfill the following criteria:
 Audience, purpose, and focus: The finished text should somehow
address a focused question relevant to our course and be geared
toward a specific audience.
 Demonstration of key concepts/themes: The finished product
should demonstrate your grasp of some of the key ideas we’ve
discussed this semester, both in terms of writing/research skills and
in terms of critical thinking about concepts brought up in the
readings and class discussion.
 Organization/arrangement: The finished text should follow a
logical organization pattern, tying together all of the main
points/elements to support a focused thesis on the topic.

Development: The finished piece should utilize examples and evidence (including library source material) to support all claims, establish context, and develop the argument in a meaningful and persuasive way.

Coherence/accuracy: The finished piece should be free of error and should demonstrate clear, concise, specific language.

Design/flavor: The design of the finished piece should be pleasing/interesting and should enhance the overall message of the piece.

Citation: The finished piece should accurately and responsibly cite all source material and borrowed media.


You will determine in your group the primary responsibilities each person will have in bringing the text from initial idea to completion. While there may be some variation in the process, you may want to consider your project goals and individual responsibilities in terms of the following phases:

initial brainstorming/conceptualization (what question do you want to answer? What do you think your tentative answer might be? What might be the best way to present this discussion? Who might be interested in what you have to say or in a position to be persuaded?)

initial research (what current examples exist? What concepts relate to this perspective? What other evidence might be needed to develop this perspective?)

proposal/storyboard (What form/medium will the argument take? Who is the primary audience of this piece? What are the specific goals of the piece? What are the main points in support of that thesis? What are the

A note on grading You and your classmates will share a grade on the finished
A note on grading
You and your classmates will share a
grade on the finished product;
however, you will each fill out an
evaluation of your classmates’ quality
of participation on this project. I
reserve the right to raise or lower
grades based on peer feedback and
my own observations.

most important/legitimate counterarguments? How will we address these issues within the text? What kinds of media/sources/equipment will we need to complete the project?)

plan/timeline: (What are the major components involved with putting our proposal into action? What are the major benchmarks we should establish due dates for [i.e., initial script, raw footage, working draft, revision, final edits, etc]).Who will be responsible for what? When must certain tasks be completed? How will our group maintain accountability/sharing among members?)



completed project

DUE: TUESDAY, 4/28. (by midnight,

via e-mail—only one copy need be submitted on behalf of the entire class)