“Hobbies and the Self: From Geeks to Greeks” engages with the QEP theme of primary evidence through its deployment of research into hobby communities’ textual production of online resources. Students will consider how to critically engage with evidence and to think about what “primary evidence” means in an internet context of continual adaptation and remixing. I have featured multilingual abilities by providing a flexible final project that allows students a good deal of choice about genre and format for presenting their ideas.

I have addressed the WPA learning outcomes for first-year composition in the following ways in my assignment sequence:

Rhetorical Knowledge

Short essay and content for “Links/Resources” and “About” pages.

In this assignment, students research and collect available internet resources cultivated by and for their hobby’s community. They will use these materials to craft a “Links/Resources” page for their web projects, identifying important discursive currents and common questions already circulating. Then, they will create an “About” page for their own hypertext projects that inserts them usefully into the array of resources already available and poises them to contribute to their community of practice. This assignment is focused on rhetorical aspects such as audience, purpose, and context. It is designed to teach students how to find (and construct) audiences and prepares them to make an original contribution in their final hypertext project. They will learn about the ways in which texts interpellate people and call certain audiences into being, as well as strategic rhetorical decisions that they can make to evoke their own audiences.

Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing and Rhetorical Knowledge

Essay on self cultivation in relationship to communities and institutions.

This assignment is designed to teach students about the discursive level of writing and the critical thinking, reading, and writing WPA outcomes by making them more aware of the ways in which institutional forces work to shape individuals. Students will use the invention techniques introduced in assignment 1 in order to produce a formal, academic paper. They will take the insights from the previous assignment about audience formation and talk about the institutional apparatuses at work that make it possible to call certain audiences into being. To get at these issues, they will write about audience construction using what they have learned from their readings in the philosophy of self-cultivation. By thinking about how selves are called into being across Stoic, Christian, and modern geek cultural technologies of the self such as self writing, they will become more able to critically engage with attendant explicit and implicit cultural values in their hobby communities and to “consider the relationships among language, knowledge, and power.”

Processes and Rhetorical Knowledge

Assignment 3: Blog page and abstract

Like assignment 1, this assignment focuses on the rhetorical aspect of writing. It uses reversioning to make students conscious of different audiences and registers of formality, from academic writing to more popular forms of blogging. It is also designed to help the students find and foreground their most important ideas and contributions in the transition from essay to post. This reinforces the outcome of processes and multiple drafts as well as rhetorical knowledge.

Knowledge of Conventions

Throughout the semester, students will engage in ten weekly writing workshops and in-class essays designed to address common formats, genre conventions, tone, mechanics, documentation, and surface features that emerge throughout the course of the semester as needing attention.

Composing in Electronic Environments, Rhetorical Knowledge, Processes.

An original contribution to your hobby’s discourse through your hypertext project.

The final assignment for this class combines writing on the rhetorical, discursive, and textual levels by composing in an electronic environment. The site will be free of errors and suitable to professionally represent the student’s work at Emory. The audience discovered and created will be plausible for the community that already exists around the student’s hobby, and the rhetorical decisions the student makes will consciously engage this targeted group with its contribution. The student will show critical thinking about the kinds of institutional pressures at work within the hobby’s ideals. Though students may not choose to explicitly address the large social questions that the institutional contexts of their hobbies involve in the hypertext project, they will be prepared to describe in their presentation how their familiarity with these questions translates into the decisions they made about their projects.

Composing in Electronic Environments

Students may also be asked to create a short Wikipedia-style contribution regarding the issue they have chosen to focus on for their hypertext project.