About the Site

This web program is designed to help you turn your writing projects into something more than just exercises completed for a class.  We hope that you will complete these projects and use the accompanying web portal to showcase your work and to begin to see your writing as something that others might actually want to read.

The Homepage

With this web portal, students will setup their own homepage that they can use throughout their writing class and then afterwards they will have all of their writings online, which can be accessed and shown to anyone.  The portal is divided into two parts, the personal workspace and the public pages. The personal workspace can only be accessed through a login and is where the student can update and personalize their site and complete their projects.  The personal workspace provides the ability to edit your profile, add a biography and photo, and contact your instructor and peers.  The public pages can be accessed by the other students in their class and by anyone the student gives their personal web address to.

About The Projects

Project 1: The Literacy Narrative

For this project, you will produce a "literacy narrative," which is a recounting of the main experience or experiences that influenced your current feelings about the work of writing and/or reading. For some, these feelings about reading and/or writing may come from a time when you discovered a favorite author or a favorite book. For others, current attitudes about writing and/or reading may come from classroom experiences, good or bad, that occurred in high school or grammar school. Perhaps a teacher encouraged or discouraged your interest in writing and/or reading. Perhaps you discovered that writing and/or reading took you to places where you could live out adventures from your imagination, or perhaps a family member's struggles with reading or writing or their love of reading or writing influenced you.

Project 2: Community Writing Project

For this project, you will produce a persuasive paper that makes an argument addressing some specific issue or topic within one of those communities. It might help if you design your project as if it were to appear in some specific format such as a newspaper, a website, a magazine, or a "zine" that might be read by people who already have an interest in your topic. You do not have to be an expert on the topic, but you should already possess some common knowledge on the subject and some strong opinions and ideas. Be sure to carefully think about whom your ideal community of readers will be for the project: will you be writing for people who do not know much about the problem, who do not realize the problem is a significant one, who are probably inclined to agree with your perspective on the problem, or who are probably inclined to disagree with your perspective?

Project 3: Media Critique

For this project, you will produce a media critique that analyzes how a specific magazine advertisement uses cultural myths to make its appeals to the target audience for the ad. You may choose to write about an advertisement that appears in any type of magazine, and you should take into account the type of magazine in which the advertisement appears and how that helps to define the target audience.

As an alternative, you could choose to examine a television or radio advertisement, but if you do, you will need to have some way to save or copy the ad so that you can view it as many times as you need to. As an alternative, you might pick an ad that is repeated frequently and take very good notes when you see it. Your job is to make the connections between the text, its target audience, its use of cultural myths, and its appeals.

You can assume that your ideal community of readers has some experience with reading media texts, so be sure to concentrate on your particular analysis and the evidence that supports that analysis and not on making the argument that the advertisement is trying to sell something.

Project 4: Informative Essay

For this project, you will report on an investigation you conduct about a vocation or profession that you might choose to follow once you complete your college education. For this project, you might include your personal reasons for considering this particular vocation in order to give your ideal community of readers an idea of why someone might consider entering this profession. In addition, you might include a section in which you dispel some of the common myths that people might have about this profession and include some information about ways that people might engage in this profession in ways they might not already know about.

Project 5: Academic Project

For this project, you will produce an essay that explains the importance of an academic discipline to a "lay" reader, that explains the major area of study for that academic discipline, and that relates that study to a current problem faced by individuals, the community, or the world. For example, your essay might examine how the field of psychology addresses current questions of drug abuse, obesity, or mental disease in your community, the nation, or the world. Or, you might examine how the field of criminal justice is developing new techniques of forensics to help solve crime or new ideas about the penal system. Or, your essay might examine how the field of literary studies is addressing new questions about what it means to be literate in a technological age.

Your overall goal is to explain to the reader just exactly what people who work in a specific discipline study and how that study benefits society.

Project 6: Self-Evaluation Project

In each project, we have asked that you imagine the situation for your writing more fully so that you may effectively employ rhetoric to help you construct writing that might actually influence an ideal community of readers. Each project has asked that you learn to use narrative, analysis, and argumentative structures to communicate your purpose more effectively and to make choices about your writing.

For this project, you will produce a reflexive project that examines the differences in your initial attitudes about writing and how those attitudes have changed, that highlights your achievements in the course, which looks at what progress you have made, and that sets goals for future writing projects.

The projects in Choices are setup as steps in the writing process.
  • Blogging:  Students will be able to brainstorm/blog about their ideas and read classmates' blogs as well.
  • Rough Draft:  Students upload their rough draft to be reviewed by their peers.
  • Visual:  Students review the rough draft of their peers and review what their peers wrote about their own work.
  • Peer Review:  Students can select and upload an appropriate visual image to accompany their writing project.
  • Revision:  After students have selected a visual, completed their peer review questionnaires, and received their peer review responses, students make revisions and then upload the new version for submission to their instructor. They can also submit a favorite sentence and any peer review excerpts they choose.
  • Final Draft:  After the student gets the instructor-reviewed copy back and the student has made any necessary revisions, they can then submit their final writing for a grade.
  • Publish:  Students can choose whether they want to display their writing and their visual on their public page.
Overall, the Choices web portal is an innovative learning utility that is intended to guide students through the writing process in a way that is familiar to them.