The Assignment: You will substantially revise one of your major assignments: your Inquiry essay, Rhetorical Analysis, or Digital Forum—the choice is yours! You will also compose a 2-page single-spaced reflective memo detailing the revisions you made and explaining the rationale behind the changes.
Purpose: As we’ve discussed throughout the semester, revision and reflection are key components to growing as a writer and thinker. This final assignment for the course is an opportunity to enact the revision strategies you’ve been learning all semester in a sustained way by revising an essay of your choosing. In addition to this revision, you will also compose a reflective memo that details the changes you’ve made in the revision and the reasoning behind these changes. In the memo, you want to explain not just what you revised but why you revised in the way you did.
Audience: I am the audience for the reflective memo, so you should direct your comments to me.
Writing the Revision and Reflection
- To guide your revision, you will consider the rhetorical concepts and strategies you’ve learned throughout the semester, review the comments I have made on your documents, reconsider the suggestions students have made on your drafts, and reflect on your own ideas and concerns that you articulated in your reflective writing assignments.
- You will devise a revision plan based on these observations you’ve made about your writing and carry out your revision. Your revision will demonstrate your assessments of your writing and your mastery over the skills you’ve identified as critical to the revision. The idea here is that you show how you’ve developed and fine-tuned your rhetorical skills over the course of the semester and that you can now use these new understandings to revise your work. Your revised essay should reflect your end-of-the-semester knowledge and rhetorical expertise.
- The revisions you make to the project of your choice must be substantive and effective. While you will be expected to bring our style and grammar work to bear on this revision, these are not the only changes you should be making. This means you are not only editing your essay. Rather, your work in this revision is to rethink major parts or aspects of the essay such as appeals, arrangement, introductions and conclusions, integration of research and so on. The goal of course is to create a stronger essay by tackling a major rhetorical concern in your revision.
- After you have completed your revision, you will compose the reflective memo. The expectation here is that you (1) discuss what you’ve learned about academic writing and yourself as an academic writer over the course of the semester and (2) details the changes you’ve made in the revision project and the reasoning behind these changes. For example, you may find that your arrangement in your Rhetorical Analysis lacked cohesiveness and purpose, and after working on arrangement during the Position Paper unit, you can now devise a better arrangement strategy. In your reflective memo, you would discuss how you thought through issues related to cohesiveness and purpose, how and why you identified arrangement as a possible solution to these problems, and how you created a new organizational strategy that allowed for greater sense of purpose and cohesion. *See more info below on what should be included in the reflective memo.
- Detailed discussions in your memo are vital because they highlight for me the thinking and decision-making that directed your revisions. Here is where I gain a sense that you are making conscious, careful, and rhetorically effective decisions. Furthermore, the idea behind the reflective memo is that you offer me a guide to reading your revision. In essence you’re saying, “Here’s what I did and here’s why I did it.” There are a variety of ways you can incorporate detail into your memo: You can offer evidence of the changes you’ve made by quoting your earlier and revised drafts. You can bring in the specific advice I have offered or suggestions you received from peers or tutors at the Writing Center. Or you may include identification of specific rhetorical strategies discussed in class or through readings. The idea is that you want to show me the specific reasons why you made the revisions you did.
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