Advocacy-Argument Project

Genre: Academic argument and advocacy
Audience: Your choice (primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences)
Length: 1000-1250 words

Due Dates:
• Thursday, 10/8: Statement of Purpose
• Tuesday, 10/13: First Draft
• Tuesday 10/20: Final Draft

Your choice of projects:

Option #1: Social Media & Education

Among the many exciting and challenging issues facing education today is the role of social media in our teaching and learning environments. I propose that we address this issue together–via argument and advocacy–beginning with a collective definition of “social media” that includes its technical, rhetorical, critical, and aesthetic functions.

Once we’ve reached a consensus on what social media is, and isn’t, we can stake out various positions on it, and its role, if any, in education: should we replace textbooks with open-source texts and social media? Should social media be used in middle school? Who has a stake in, and who should decide, these issues?

Option #2: Defining, Describing, and Advocating for a Community

If you have not already, you will have opportunities to work with a diverse range of communities and community organizations here in Chicago.  A community-literacy researcher, Elizabeth Moje, has noted that different people have different ideas about what a “community” is, including,

  • Community as problem to be fixed
  • Community as unknown to be described and interpreted
  • Community as resource to be integrated
  • Community as alternative to be repositioned.

She concludes that “we should clarify our metaphors, goals, and definitions as we study and write about communities …”

Another writer, Stanley Fish, has argued that community-based service learning should not be taught in college — in fact, the title of his book is Save the World on Your Own Time: “I have no objection to internship programs, community outreach, peer tutoring, service learning, etc., as long as they are not thought of as satisfying graduation or grade requirements.”

Describe a low-income area community that you know, and discuss the ways in which you think a university might–or should not–engage in a reciprocal, ethical working relationship with that community. As part of your description, help your readers understand where you see that community on a continuum; for example, what does “low-income” imply and represent? Can the same community be described in terms that are not deficit based? Is it resilient? What are its assets?

Finally, should students receive academic or course credit for community-based service learning? Why or why not? You will need to define your terms here, as “service learning” might mean different things to different people–it is not, for example, synonymous with “community service.”

Project Road Map

For either of these project possibilities–and the choices are yours–we will follow this process:

  • We will discuss Wysocki & Lynch’s terms that allow for “setting up the conditions” (page 20) for argument and advocacy
  • You will decide on an aspect of the issue that is meaningful to you–your sense of purpose, 67-68
  • You will decide on an audience that you’d like to engage (73)
  • We’ll have in-class writing and discussions on contexts for your writing (74-75)
  • All of which will build up to your Statement of Purpose (76-77)

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