The various assignments taught in English 1020 and 2030 are designed to meet the program outcomes. This page contains major paper assignments, just so they aren't lost on the other pages (though some of these appear there too).


beginning of the term
>> This has an explanation of how to adapt and teach this and is used for new TAs teaching 1020.

>> This assignment seems simple and it is, but I really like the way it sets up an expectation for focusing on the details for every assignment in the semester. Whether argument or ethnography or literature review, I ask them to pay attention to the details in their writing. I usually assign this in the first couple weeks, to set up the expectation for detail as well as assess their skill.

middle of the term
>> This contains pedagogical explanation.
>>This assignment is admittedly weird and complex, but students really enjoy it. It's also a good way to get students to see themselves as rhetors and the rhetorical decisions they make. Please feel free to contact me with any questions

>> I find the 1st-hand reserach, the seeking of patterns in observational data and the critical thinking (what the data means) to be really challenging for 1020 students. I work with them a lot on the collection of data using all the pertinent senses and especially use classroom time to helping each other seek patterns in that data (usually in small groups).

>> I use this as an alternative to the literacy narrative. It's a tough essay, but it's clearly academic and asks them to connect their personal identities (in the form of a definition) to academic writing. The paper takes some prep work, for sure, especially in the ways we argue definition informally (see Everything's an Argument) for a start to that prep work.

ENGL1020 - Community Research Project - Mini-Ethnography

I'm including a link to my ENGL1020 mini-ethnography assignment here. It's a multimodal assignment that asks students to develop their own expertise through observation and primary research methods.

The assignment fits well into an assignment sequence that focuses on identity. Generally, I begin the semester with an identity narrative where students explore their own identities (and the multiplicity of identity).

This ethnography stays on the identity theme, but asks them to abstract from themselves and enter new territory. In a sense, this is an unconventional argument of definition. It asks students to attempt to define key aspects of a community to which they do not belong.

I'm happy to share a Prezi that has some of the unit's readings embedded into it. I've also included PDF files of the key readings here. I have a few good student samples, but for student privacy reasons will share those on an as-needed basis.

If you have questions, please let me know:

Nicole Piasecki

end of the term
>> The bones of this are good, but make it more personalized to grab student interest (and avoid plagiarism on some of these popular essays).

>uses Smart Art in Word to help students organize their thoughts and their essays. Specifically for logical/mathematical learners.


beginning of the term

>> This is a long-standing favorite assignment of mine. Like all assignments, this takes some preparation to be able to find suitable research, integrate appropriately and assimilate that material in a critical, thoughtful way, but it's worth it.

middle of the term

>> This is yet another version of a Rhetorical Analysis & Evaluation to peruse. I use this because I teach 3-4 rhetorical theories in my 2030 course and then ask them to apply one of those theories to a particular argumentative text. It's a real challenge, but I think providing a system of evaluation (beyond the basic rhetorical appeals) is important.

>> I see this assignment as a creative alternative to the annotated bibliography and/or literature review. I think it asks more of the student, as well, because they have to create characters who argue through a particular topic, illustrating their own critical thinking through their argument. Sometimes, I have students act these dialogues out; that depends on the energy of the group.

end of the term
>> This assignment has students blend a creative genre with the genre of academic research. In doing so, students learn to identify genre conventions in academia and out, as well as how to adopt clear and consistent purposes, as well as appropriate organization, tone, and format, according to genre.
>> This is my version of the creative Research assignment (based off of Nicole's assignment!). Students write a nonfiction or fiction narrative and incorporate MLA citation.
>> Make sure this goes beyond anything they did in English 1020 (ask if they did proposals, etc.).

>> I borrowed a large chunk of the language for this assignment from Amy (thanks, Amy!), but turned it into a multimedia presentation assignment: an Ignite presentation.

>> In this version of the final advocacy assignment, I leave the product itself up to the student. I've had students make coffee mugs, t-shirts, posters, websites, Facebook pages, bracelets, water bottles, shopping cart inserts, videos, etc....etc... They get pretty creative with their means of arguing a cause.