How We Make Advanced Argumentative Writing

ENC 3312: Dr. Shannon Butts

Course Description

ENC 3312, Advanced Argumentative Writing explores how writing materials, tools, and technologies make arguments. From composing an email or making a meme to circulating protest videos or logging onto Facebook live, writing happens across page, screen, and interface. As writing technologies continue to evolve, we need to understand how the materials of production orient experiences and alter perceptions, triggering responses both digitally and physically. This course uses the emerging tools and technologies of writing to compose arguments across physical and digital spaces. All of the assignments for this class use a project-based learning model: students will analyze, propose, design, and make texts using emerging writing technologies such as Augmented Reality, 3D printing, and digital mapping. As we write, we refine our arguments and work to better understand how media affects meaning. Accounting for materials, tools, and technologies, we will reframe acts of writing and examine how new writing forms create new kinds of arguments and new methods for composing information – making meaning, making media, and making change.

Course Materials

  • DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social Media: Matt Ratto and Megan Boyler
  • Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing: Charlie Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky
  • Speculative Everything: Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby
  • HP Reveal: Augmented Reality Studio
  • Tinkercad: 3D design

Course Objectives

  • Analyze the rhetorical characteristics of arguments
  • Write, critique, and revise arguments from different perspectives
  • Create practical definitions for making arguments
  • Define how arguments relate to embodiment, materialism, and activism
  • Compose in print, digital, and material forms
  • Design rhetorically compelling multimedia arguments across writing platforms
  • Design for accessibility, functionality, and aesthetics
  • Write researched arguments connected to a specific place, text, or object
  • Critique and revise documents for online publication

Major Assignments

Making Meaning (Analyzing Arguments)

Understanding arguments often means defining the rhetorical techniques, contexts, and forms used to persuade an audience. For this assignment, students will evaluate verbal, visual, and material arguments throughout the semester to develop a lexicon associated with writing arguments. Each week, students will compose a discussion post identifying a key term or idea, define the concept, offer two examples, and pose a question regarding the concept. As we progressively build a set of resources, the lexicon will become a hyperlinked collaborative document that evolves over the course of the class, continually working to define how we make arguments.

Writing Goals: Rhetorical Analysis - Inductive/Deductive Reasoning, Definition

Making Mistakes (Crafting Arguments)

Students will pick a Pinterest project, analyze the genre and specific design, document the making process, and work to reproduce the product. Deliverables include a rhetorical analysis of the original Pinterest/Fail, a detailed description of the making process, a presentation of the project, and a finished material product.

Writing Goals: Rhetorical Analysis - Make a Claim, Provide evidence

Check out our class Pinterest page here

Making Models (Countering Arguments)

New writing technologies compose arguments across physical and digital space, creating conversations about design, accessibility, sustainability, and progress. To analyze how new technologies impact design and delivery, students will design and print a 3D project – arguing for why the project is viable or updates old tech. Each student will have the opportunity to present their design to the class, Shark Tank style. The goal is to “sell” the idea, so make sure you craft arguments with attention to audience, rhetorical delivery, and possible objections.

Writing Goals: Dossoi Logoi - Arguing from both sides, Organization

Making History (Researching Arguments)

Students will pick a piece of media and do “archeology work” to analyze the invention, application, updates, and arguments surrounding the specific media. Media archeology provides students with a well-researched foundation for understanding arguments made through design and culture. Papers should define the media, present a cultural context, and explain how the media has been updated or become obsolete and why.

Writing Goals: Synthesis - Arguments to Inform, Research and Evaluation

Making Change (Designing and Experiencing Arguments)

Some of the most contentious arguments today relate to issues of environments, access, and sustainability. Working in collaboration with local conservation groups, students will participate in a class-wide project to create an AR walking tour through a local state park, Paynes Prairie. Beginning with an on-site evaluation, students will research and propose specific locations to augment in the park. Taking into consideration arguments of design and experience, students will then present proposals, decide on augmentations, and create multimodal content for the walking tour. Writing across page, screen, and physical space, students will adapt arguments into experiences, building a more comprehensive knowledge of how we plan, design, and impliment arguments within a specific environment.

Writing Goals: Drawing conclusions, Arguments of Design, Embodied Arguments

Check out Ecotour, the augmented reality walking tour that our class built!

EcoTour is an augmented reality walking tour that guides users through Paynes Prairie State Park. The tour educates the public on issues of environmental change, sustainability, and media advocacy.