Week 5: Unit Two, Rhetorical Approaches to Problem-Solving

I enjoyed getting to interact with you all this week during our Twitter chat and our Google Hangout. If you missed either of these, check out the chat archive on the Google Plus community, and make sure to ask questions this week about the contextualizing questions on page 5 in Writing in Professional Contexts. I explained those in the hangout, and we’ll be using them this week to approach Case 1 in a rhetorically sophisticated way.

This week we’re moving into the cases, which will have you practicing rhetorical approaches to problem-solving in business and professional contexts. Over the next three weeks, you will work on Case 1, a simulation which gives you an opportunity to practice recommending actions in a business setting and notifying employees of changes that will occur as a result of your company, Marauder Skate, Inc., taking those actions. To get started on the case, you’ll outline design plans using the contextualizing questions that you read last week.

Rhetorical Situation and Production Strategies

Learning Unit 2: Rhetorical Approaches to Problem-Solving

For this week (Feb.5-Feb. 11), complete the following activities:

  1. Read the Case #1 Assignment Guidelines and write a post on our G+ community by Tuesday that discusses what you think will be most challenging about responding to the case prompt. Have you completed similar kinds of writing before? If so, describe. What do you think you’ll struggle with most? Why? What help do you need? Use #Case1.
  2. Review research reports, company emails, and letter examples in Part III of Writing in Professional Contexts.
  3. By Thursday, create a design plan for each of the two activities in Case #1. Each design plan, one for the research report and one for the employee email, should fully answers bullet points 2,4,5,6,7, and 8 from the Contextualizing Questions section on page 5 in Writing in Professional Contexts. Each design plan should be roughly one page, single-spaced. Post as a Google Doc (set permissions to comment) on the G+ community. Use the hashtag #designplan
  4. By Saturday at midnight, respond to two other students’ design plans and case 1 posts, noting similarities, differences, and anything else that comes up for you as you read others’ work.
  5. Unit 2 Group Leaders are Allison D, Joseph B, Guy P, Taylor P, and Chris T. The five of you will need to convene early in the week to set dates and times for your Twitter Chat in Week 6 and your Google Hangout in Week 7. During the Twitter chat, you’ll discuss Case #1 research and drafting and readings from pg. 5-8 and in your Google Hangout, you’ll share polished drafts and wrap up Unit Two with reflections.

Week Three Learning Goals

  • Use a case simulation to practice BPC
  • Use Contextualizing Questions to help you approach BPC rhetorically
  • Explore genre examples (research reports, emails, and letters) to help you understand genre conventions/expectations
  • Create design plans for BPC documents
  • Prepare to take on leadership roles in an online learning environment
  • Continue participating actively in an online learning community


Your responses to the #rhetsit prompts were really smart last week, and I think you all are well-poised to take on Case 1 as rhetorically-savvy BPC composers who will think through and work to meet the needs of multiple stakeholders in a given context. Please return often this week to pages 2-5 as you design innovative ways to solve problems as employees of Marauder Skate Inc. Please let me know in your responses to #Case1 if I can help provide specific kinds of resources or instruction as you dive into this first simulation. Remember the you can and should use all your resources– me, your classmates, and the University Writing Centers Online Writing Lab— to help you with the work of Unit 2.


Instructor West-Puckett



I am an assistant professor of Writing and Rhetoric and director of First Year Writing at the University of Rhode Island. I received my PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication from East Carolina University. My dissertation research analyzes the knowledge-making practices of composers in both online and off-line maker spaces, and my digital writing research has appeared in journals like College English and Education Science and in the books The Next Digital Scholar: A Fresh Approach to the Common Core State Standards in Research and Writing and Assessing Students Digital Writing: Protocols for Looking Closely.

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