5-24-2017 Lesson Plan

Kairos, publics, and blog posts (20-30 min)

What the hell are we talking about when we talk about writing to the public? What is a public? How do you construe the “right time” “right place” “right opening” for your engagement of a public?

“It was challenging for me to separate the concept of a physical public sphere to what it actually is, but I didn’t necessarily agree with the assessment that it isn’t a place. I thought about the Internet and the platforms for connecting members of the public sphere there, particularly blogs like Reddit, or quasi-blogs like Twitter and Facebook. In our speech we say that we are on them, but in our minds we are going to them. Not unlike coffee shops or other gathering places, they are distinct spaces that we can navigate, entering and exiting whenever we so choose.”


Critiques of public sphere: who is there? Everybody? When and why?; not always about argument, about just “being”. Even news. Lots of articles just tell you that you are “you” because you nod your head to them. Not trying to convince you of anything.

Still, look to the language as the blog post excerpt points out: we “go on” Facebook, we have a “national conversation” (a phrase you might hear on news broadcasts), etc.


Comment on blog post (10-15 min)

Do some reflective writing. Who are you reaching, where will you reach them, when will you reach them. Openings, moments, times, places. What does this have to do with writing? Begin or complete a comment on a classmate’s blog. Have it done by 5/29. 15 min


Workshopping Proposal (30 min)

Read this proposal and imagine who they might be writing to, and what should be considered in such work. What do you have to keep in mind in terms of style, design, and other rhetorical concerns as you write something like a proposal, something in which you very intimately need something? How might a proposal be different from something like a brochure or even a white paper? What moves made by this writer do you think illustrate that difference? If this writer were to revise, what might they do differently? Finally, any general feedback on the campaign? Things for the writer to think about?


Break (15 min)


Web Design Activity (30-45 min).

Read through this short article. What was the worst web site in terms of design, do you think? Why?


Not all of these sites have public interest in mind. The House Judiciary Committee does, but I’m not sure we can all readily ascertain what that body is and does (thanks civics education!), as well as what the point of this page is. That leaves “High School Sports in Mississippi”. The author of the article writes of this website the following:

“First of all, each one of these blocks could be its own page. You don’t have to provide all of the information on the homepage. The content itself is good. The navigation menu at the top is good. But, clicking on one of the links takes you to another page with a similar layout that contains individual boxes of information placed onto the page.”


It seems like all the content is here, it just has an awful layout, awful color scheme, and awful way to navigate through. So, based on what you can see from these screen-grabs, I want you and a partner to redesign this website. We will have to be creative here, but let’s imagine who might use this website? And for what purpose? And how can we re-design it in order to meet their needs?

Layout, color scheme, and navigation are key here—but, if time, think about how these pieces integrate also with potential stylistic decisions at level of sentence as well as any images that might be appropriate (e.g., graphs, charts, tables, photographs, graphics). Things to consider: menu bars, widgets, hyperlinks, navigation, color scheme, use of images, name of site, word choice and other stylistic decisions in text, layout

Play around with one of the website builders I provide on the resources page. I know WordPress, so if you feel a little gun-shy about working with this stuff, choose that one so I can more readily assist you. You’ll have to create an account first, so do that (since we are doing a partner-ed activity, only the “driver” will have to do this). Try to hand-draw out what you want to do for this website first, and then start to try to implement it. You’ll have to choose a theme first, then you can mess with all kinds of stuff (color, pages, menu, widgets). You won’t have enough time to fully realize your vision, but you’ll have some time to start.


Studio time on campaign piece (30-45 min)

For this activity, bring language/style, design/color/layout, and images together. Where do you need to pay attention to these factors in your first campaign piece? How do they work together and not against one another (e.g., having redundant text since the image captures all that needs to be made explicit). Let’s review some of the materials we’ve gone over so far, as a class consensus. In terms of language and style, what is there to keep in mind? In terms of design, what is there to keep in mind? In terms of accessibility *(do this another day)*? In terms of use of images?

I will come around and check in as you work.


Writing reflections for campaign pieces (5-10 min)

On days when campaign piece drafts are due, you will also turn in a brief reflective note on how the assignment went and how it contributes to a sense of a theory of public writing—these need only be brief gestures toward what you find important in public writing, what is meant by “public,” what is meant by “writing,” but not necessarily all of these in a comprehensive fashion. Instead, I want you to make initial moves toward what will be your final reflection of the semester on your developing theory of public writing. In a way, these pieces are mostly arguments where you are making claims about your own writing and your theory of public writing; you provide evidence to support these claims, and you deftly use warrants to connect your claims to your evidence. We will practice this kind of writing in class a bit after you turn in the Review and Campaign Proposal, but then you will write two of these along with turning in your campaign pieces: one after Campaign Piece 1 and one after Campaign Piece 2. How is your piece public writing? What was your process like writing it as you struggled with creating a piece of public writing?


Admin. (5-10 min)

No class on 5/29, Memorial Day. Upload draft and reflective piece as separate documents by 5/31 class; please put your name in the file title for the draft and reflective piece. I have a separate folder in the box account for this assignment. Bring a printed or otherwise accessible copy for partner on 5/31. Have comment on classmate’s 5/24 blog post by 5/29. Will have feedback on proposals by tomorrow.