Demonstrate ability to use outside sources effectively in support of writing.

Breakdown
Assignment Type: Major Unit Essay
Length: 4-6 pages + Works Cited page
Graded: yes
Format: MLA format throughout
Goals: Demonstrate ability to use outside sources effectively in support of writing.

Assignment Overview
This semester we have read and discussed a number of texts concerned with civic and social issues, including higher education, the political impact of social media, and the national problems of obesity and income inequality. Now its your turn to compose a message intended to persuade a specific public audience, using research and outside sources to support your ideas. You will apply the rhetorical principles we have discussed in class to persuade a specific audience of your own argument.

Choose a topic/argument from the suggested list below, or create your own topic. Topics must be related to the course theme of Democracy and Citizenship in some way; in other words, essay topics must focus upon an issue, problem, or question that has a civic, social, or political dimension (whether it be local, state-level, or national). Put yet another way, this assignment asks you to add your voice publicly to an existing debate or conversation.

Next, narrow your focus to one audience that could be persuaded by an informed argument and choose an appropriate medium for that argument. You may select any form of communication (scholarly paper, letter, newspaper editorial, article for a popular magazine (like Time or Newsweek), You Tube video, etc.) that is fitting for your message, but your final product should entail about as much writing as a 4-6 page MLA-style paper.

All papers must refer to at least three scholarly, academic outside sources that you find on your own through library research. (Students who do more with their research than the bare minimum generally receive higher grades.) Material from our textbook or assigned in class, as well as non-scholarly sources like dictionaries, encyclopedias, un-refereed websites, wikis, study guides, textbooks from other classes, etc., will not fulfill the research requirement. Your paper should demonstrate your abilities to find appropriate outside source material and use these sources strategically in writing to support your own argument. It should also show your ability to use the MLA system of documentation to properly cite and document your source (including in-text parenthetical citation and the Works Cited page).

All projects, in whatever medium, must include the 4-6 page written component with MLA-style parenthetical citations and a Works Cited page. If you choose to present your material in the form of a letter, use the guidelines for a business letter in the Prentice Hall Reference Guide and attach your Works Cited as either a separate page or separate document. If you choose to create a YouTube video, you must send your instructor a link to the video or a file in a standard video format, as well as submitting a 4-6 page script of your presentation in a Word document with a Works Cited page.

Topic Suggestions:

Letter to Robert Reich, Michelle Obama, or any of the authors we have read, responding to the authors claims.
An editorial for the Minaret that attempts to persuade students to change their cell phone, computer, or Internet habits.
A letter to UTs Dean of Students arguing for more healthy food options around campus.
A scholarly paper arguing that Aldous Huxleys novel, Brave New World, is relevant to 21st century readers and should be taught in high schools and/or colleges.
A letter to a congressperson arguing for legislation aimed at reducing income inequality.
An eight- to ten-minute YouTube video (with script) that attempts to persuade viewers to donate to your favorite charitable organization.

Breakdown
Assignment Type: Major Unit Essay
Length: 4-6 pages + Works Cited page
Graded: yes
Format: MLA format throughout
Goals: Demonstrate ability to use outside sources effectively in support of writing.

Assignment Overview
This semester we have read and discussed a number of texts concerned with civic and social issues, including higher education, the political impact of social media, and the national problems of obesity and income inequality. Now its your turn to compose a message intended to persuade a specific public audience, using research and outside sources to support your ideas. You will apply the rhetorical principles we have discussed in class to persuade a specific audience of your own argument.

Choose a topic/argument from the suggested list below, or create your own topic. Topics must be related to the course theme of Democracy and Citizenship in some way; in other words, essay topics must focus upon an issue, problem, or question that has a civic, social, or political dimension (whether it be local, state-level, or national). Put yet another way, this assignment asks you to add your voice publicly to an existing debate or conversation.

Next, narrow your focus to one audience that could be persuaded by an informed argument and choose an appropriate medium for that argument. You may select any form of communication (scholarly paper, letter, newspaper editorial, article for a popular magazine (like Time or Newsweek), You Tube video, etc.) that is fitting for your message, but your final product should entail about as much writing as a 4-6 page MLA-style paper.

All papers must refer to at least three scholarly, academic outside sources that you find on your own through library research. (Students who do more with their research than the bare minimum generally receive higher grades.) Material from our textbook or assigned in class, as well as non-scholarly sources like dictionaries, encyclopedias, un-refereed websites, wikis, study guides, textbooks from other classes, etc., will not fulfill the research requirement. Your paper should demonstrate your abilities to find appropriate outside source material and use these sources strategically in writing to support your own argument. It should also show your ability to use the MLA system of documentation to properly cite and document your source (including in-text parenthetical citation and the Works Cited page).

All projects, in whatever medium, must include the 4-6 page written component with MLA-style parenthetical citations and a Works Cited page. If you choose to present your material in the form of a letter, use the guidelines for a business letter in the Prentice Hall Reference Guide and attach your Works Cited as either a separate page or separate document. If you choose to create a YouTube video, you must send your instructor a link to the video or a file in a standard video format, as well as submitting a 4-6 page script of your presentation in a Word document with a Works Cited page.

Topic Suggestions:

Letter to Robert Reich, Michelle Obama, or any of the authors we have read, responding to the authors claims.
An editorial for the Minaret that attempts to persuade students to change their cell phone, computer, or Internet habits.
A letter to UTs Dean of Students arguing for more healthy food options around campus.
A scholarly paper arguing that Aldous Huxleys novel, Brave New World, is relevant to 21st century readers and should be taught in high schools and/or colleges.
A letter to a congressperson arguing for legislation aimed at reducing income inequality.
An eight- to ten-minute YouTube video (with script) that attempts to persuade viewers to donate to your favorite charitable organization.

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