Rhetorical Engagements

Decoding an AI Bot's Chatting Pattern

Bhushan Aryal & Ordner W. Taylor
Delaware State University 

This 4-week assignment asks advanced undergraduate students to hold a sustained ‘conversation’ on a topic with an AI chatbot to decode the pattern, limitations and possibilities of the AI-based writing technology. Students analyze their conversation, write a report, and make an oral presentation. The assignment provides writing faculty a wide window to teach almost any issue of interest in AI writing while offering students an immersive, analytical, and writing experience.

Synthetic Metacognition

Kyle Booten
University of Connecticut, Storrs

This assignment suggests that “prompt engineering”—iteratively tinkering with and refining the set of instructions that guides the output of an LLM—is a worthwhile writing activity that can encourage students to be metacognitive about the “moves” that characterize compelling examples of a genre in which they are writing. Insofar as LLMs are “lazy” (obeying the prompt but not exceeding it), coaching one to successfully compose in a genre can require students to make explicit aspects of the genre that they may only implicitly be aware of. In a classroom setting, collaboratively “workshopping” the results of the GPT affords an opportunity to notice, describe, and name some of these otherwise-implicit moves, and students can consider integrating them into their own writing.

Using LLMs as Peer Reviewers for Revising Essays

Antonio Byrd
University of Missouri-Kansas City

In this assignment, undergraduates use large language models (LLMs) to assist in revising their essay drafts by asking LLMs to respond to common peer review prompts. Students learn prompt engineering and develop rhetorical judgments on the effectiveness of LLMs’ language analysis to heighten their revision processes. This assignment can be adapted to most disciplines and course levels.

Genre Generators

Addison Eldin
University of Pittsburgh

This activity asks students to analyze and create *genre generators*, which are text generators that use the computer to create new instances of a formal written genre. After the instructor introduces the concept through a collaborative analysis of implementations of Christopher Strachey's *Love Letter Generator*, students then work in groups to produce non-executable conceptual programs that would produce new instances of genres they have chosen. The instructor then enacts a selection of the programs in code and leads another collaborative analysis exercise in order to highlight the rhetorical and social dimensions of the decisions that students made in the process of automation via a digital computer. By emphasizing the programming process and not asking students to code, students can develop a better understanding of how computer programs mediate digital technology and human understanding of the world.

Writing Against the Machine

Justin Lewis and Ted Wayland
Olympic College

This assignment challenges students to use LLMs to map the counterarguments to their main claims through a process of counterclaiming. By writing prompts that position the AI as argumentative adversary, students can refine, extend and evolve their thesis over the course of the research, drafting and revision processes. This lesson is focused on 100- level composition courses but could be adopted to any undergraduate or graduate course focused on argument and claim making. 

Using AI Text as Prompts for Critical Analysis

Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra
UC San Diego

In this assignment, students are provided with an AI-generated text relevant to a course’s topics and focus and then asked to comment, review, and expand on it using a feature such as "track changes."  In engaging with the AI-generated text, students review their knowledge, offer critiques, modify theoretical and empirical claims, and provide concrete examples that illustrate or disprove the provided answer. Their critical and evaluative efforts for the course's topics are foregrounded, and additionally, they gain some AI literacy in evaluating the AI-generated text.

Generate and Enact a Writing Style

John J Silvestro
Slippery Rock University

This assignment asks students to develop a more critical and actionable understanding of the concept of writing style through the use of AI text generators. Writing style is a difficult concept to teach given the challenges of concretely presenting it to students. AI text generators offer tools for quickly generating multiple versions of sentences and paragraphs. Students can use multiple versions of a sentence to closely examine individual aspects of their own and others’ writing styles. This assignment enables students to develop and define writing style more concretely.