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328.2 Tropes Two Ways (20%, 200 points)

Project Two will develop over several weeks and across three distinct phases: one involving the creation and revision of a wiki entry, another involving the creation of a poster, and a third phase involving the composition of a reflective essay. The first two phases will take as their respective focuses selections from the ten tropes elaborated in Crowley and Hawhee's chapter, "Style."

Phase I - Wiki

On Tuesday, January 31, you will be assigned two tropes to concentrate on in the wiki. For one trope, you will be charged as its primary developer. For the second trope, you will assume a role as a secondary developer. You are welcome to work on any other areas of Hihiwiki (e.g., front page structure, other entries), but by the end of the project, your two tropes should be developed and revised to your satisfaction.

By design, most wikis are radically collaborative writing spaces. Wikis redefine authorship, making it possible for multiple writers to contribute to the collective composition of a text. Wikis allow users to make changes, or "edits," to a page, to follow the historical development of a page, and to create new pages. In class, you will receive a MediaWiki Quick Reference handout, which you should use as a guide while you get familiar with our course wiki. You can also refer to the MediaWiki Editing FAQ as needed.

You may work with others to coordinate your efforts, but you are under no obligation to do so. Because wikis are inherently collaborative writing spaces, your coordination can simply manifest within our class wiki rather than in class. You might also consider posting preliminary ideas and interests on your trope's "discussion" page. Whichever way you decide to procede, you will need to come up with a plan for making progress on this work. That is, over the next three weeks, you should be deliberate about structuring your time on various tasks--research, drafting, revising, editing, and so on. To be successful with this second project, you will engage in these activities frequently (at least every other day), and you should document your efforts so that you can refer concretely in the reflective essay to your process, the writing you did, and the stylistic means available for wiki writing.


Logging In
You can access the wiki at http://www.rheticle.com/wiki/. Because you will be working at this URL regularly over the next three weeks, please consider bookmarking the site. You must log in to edit the wiki. Your username is the same as your myemich alias (alias@emich.edu). The default password is 'emu.' I strongly suggest that you log in, go to My Preferences, and scroll down to Change Password. Then, change your password.

Annotating Changes
As you make changes to the wiki, include with your changes comments explaining what you changed and why. That is, document your changes so that others are aware of the work you have done. This running record will be invaluable to you later in the project, when you write your reflective statement. The annotations will provide you with a detailed record to ground your reflection, whereas without it your work will be far more difficult.

Multiple Simultaneous Edits Conflict
If multiple users are editing a wiki at the same time, certain changes may come into conflict. When this happens, the users will be notified of the conflict. This will only happen when two or more users are simultaneously trying to modify an element on a page.

Points of Emphasis: Synchrony and Roles
Your success with this phase of Project Two depends greatly on two conditions:
Synchrony: You must immerse yourself in the processes of wiki writing and establish, to the extent possible, synchrony among other wiki users, especially those who share your trope. That is, you must pace your work, log into the wiki on a regular basis, and explicitly coordinate your processes with others.
Roles: You must occupy multiple roles, stepping in and out of these roles in the spirit of exploring the work involved and the full dimensions of wiki writing. You will, at times, work as an author, as a coder, as a researcher, as a facilitator, and as an editor. Some of these roles might seem a more natural fit to you than others. But rather than hastily identifying with roles you already know how to do well, the project is set up to reward you for trying out all variety of roles (e.g., If coding seems difficult to you, rather than avoid it, you should use this as an opportunity to learn something about formatting wikitext).

For your work in the wiki, these three weeks are loosely broken into the following four activities, throughout which particular roles are likely to be more pronounced. This does not assume a neat and tidy bracketing of specific roles to specific periods of time, but it should help you focus your approach to the assignment.

Thu., Feb. 2: Invention (conversation, establishing focuses and coordination with collaborators; Roles: Facilitator)
Tue., Feb. 7: Invention (conversation, establishing focuses and coordination with collaborators;)
Thu., Feb. 9: Drafting and Research (writing, collecting, reading; Roles: Facilitator, Author, Researcher)
Tue., Feb. 14: Edits and Coding (high- and low-order revisions, formatting, adding links and citations; Roles: Facilitator, Author, Researcher, Coder, Editor)
Thu., Feb. 16: Continuing with edits and reflective essay development.
Tue., Feb. 21: Project Two and Reflective Statement due.

It will be difficult to quantify your contributions to the wiki (except where logins are conspiciously infrequent), but you should try to login every other day, add as much as 300-500 words of new text in an entry or in expansions of multiple entries over the course of three weeks, and occupy in some form or fashion all of the roles mentioned above.

Phase II - Poster
The project culminates with the creation of an 11x17 poster that introduces with explanation and examples yet another trope. You will design the poster in class and print it at Halle Library. The printing center is located in the library's lower level across from the computer lab. The poster should introduce your trope with fullness and precision. You will have time to work on the poster and wiki in class before sharing it with your classmates on Tuesday, February 21, the day it is due. Plan to print it no later than Monday, February 20. Printing 11x17 posters at Halle will cost $.20 per color copy and can be done while you wait.

In addition to the printed copy of the poster, you should upload a copy as a .jpg file, putting it on display in the appropriate wiki entry (note that this will not necessarily be a wiki entry you had a hand in developing). Size the .jpg file to 500x324 before putting it on display in HihiWiki.

Phase III - Reflective Essay
You will write a 1000-word reflective essay on the process of wiki writing, poster creation, and genre transformation. The essay should be typed and double-spaced, adhering to MLA guidelines for formatting and, where applicable, citation. The most important aspects of the essay are 1) that it provide an account of your individual process/product, 2) that it explicitly address the matter of what is stylistically available with respect to specific genres you have worked in, and 3) that you include a clear statement about how the work should be graded. Upload the essay as a .doc file to the appropriate dropbox in EMU Online no later than Friday, February 24 at 4 p.m.

So, the focal questions are

  1. Describe as concretely as possible the work you did.  Which entries did you develop? Why? How many edits did you make?  Did you edit/revise other people's writing? 
  2. What is stylistically available in the genres you worked in? What is style in the context of wiki writing? Poster making?
  3. What grade do you deserve for this work? Why?

Here are a few additional issues your reflective piece might address:

Half of Project Two will be self-assessed. That is, your reflective statement will include a section at the end that evaluates your work throughout the project. If your reflective statement is detailed, thorough, and persuasive, it is likely that I will simply agree with you and assign as my own evaluation the same grade you applied. I am looking for the following qualities in your work on the wiki:

For the poster, consider the following criteria:

  1. Introduces and elaborates a rhetorical trope (provides context, focus, and scope appropriate to the size of the poster)
  2. Technical precision: (image use and quality; readability)
  3. Aesthetic appeal: (record of audience perceptions, deliberate design elements)

My response to your work will attend more directly to the reflective essay you compose (i.e., I will not be annotating the wiki entries as a part of the assessment process). If you find it helpful to do so, you can frame a portion of your reflection using some version of the scale applied to Projects One and Three.

If you find it helpful to refer to the scale below, any (or all) of the criterion listed above may be evaluated as follows.


EX: Exceptional. The writer has applied the criterion with distinction.
AC: Acceptable/meets expectations. The writer has applied the criterion to a satisfactory degree.
NI: Needs improvement. The writer has minimally applied the criterion in the project.
NA: Not applied. The writer has not applied the criterion in the project.

Contact Information

Derek N. Mueller, PhD
Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing
Director of Composition
Department of English
Virginia Tech
Office: 315 Shanks Hall
Spring 2019 Office Hours: T, 12-3
Phone: +1-734-985-0485

"Neither The Elements of Style nor any other style book can be the definitive text on writing in every genre or media." —ENGL328 student, Fall 2009

"We concentrate on utility at the expense of joie de vivre. And we then wonder, as de Tocqueville prophesied we would, why life has lost its savor" (19). —Richard Lanham, Style: An Anti-textbook

"Style, as we know it, is not 'mechanics' but, rather, a rhetorical canon inseparable from the contingencies of purpose, audience, form, and historical or social context in which a communicative act takes place" (327). —Cornelius Cosgrove, "What Our Graduates Write"

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