Un Essay Assignment


The idea behind the un-essay is that you begin to use the skills you've developed in sentence-making, paragraph-formation, grammar, style and voice – combined with the “rhetorical awareness” you practiced in assignment 3 – to transfer these skills to another writing situation and genre. This is a chance to write something that reflects the norms in your prospective major or to practice transferring your skills into a new domain. It should also be fun, really!

In order to write in a new “genre,” you have to understand its features. To use a cooking metaphor, you must understand the recipe – what are the ingredients, how is it supposed to be made? You also need to develop a sense of a what makes it good. What does a delicious un-essay taste like?


Create a writing-based project that informs or persuades but is not a traditional essay.

If desired, produce it in the medium or format appropriate to the genre.

Media files cannot be more than 20 minutes long. They must be uploadable to D2L or linkable on the web. (Ex. I'm not going to create a Pintrest account)


  • Produce an Process Overview document
    • Document your awareness of the requirements of the genre (this is in your proposal)
    • Document efforts to address the context / audience (this is in your proposal)
    • Document feedback received and steps to address that feedback
    • Document some process of revision and editing
  • Produce a written or media text with a language base
    • Share this in an appropriate format
      • Option 1:
        • Upload a media text
        • Include appropriate notes
          • (For example, if you want want to make a podcast episode, you might record the audio and share planning notes rather than a printed final essay).
      • Option 2:
        • Upload a revised, edited text of the appropriate type
          • (For example, you could include the written script for a podcast)

Note that if you choose a complicated multi-media format, you may choose to either 1) make the full multi-media project (but here the process notes become more important); or 2) just turn in the writing part. For example, if you were interested in the audio podcast – it would be great if you uploaded an Mp3 along with project notes for this assignment, but if you wanted to just submit the text (written as a script for a podcast) that would be fine. If you have a creative idea, please consider discussing it with me. I am open to many approaches! But I want to make sure you are successful. Also, if you are really thinking outside the box, we need to make sure your final product will be the equal of a conventional, written essay.

Other Examples

  • wikihow page
  • an infographic poster
  • a viral marketing campaign using Twitter
  • a hip-hop lyric
  • what else?