Assigning writing for real audiences is extremely effective in making writing and overall course content matter to students. However, several caveats should be considered before administering such an assignment:
Be sure to do your background work before introducing the assignment to students. Contact outside agencies, if applicable, look into editorial guidelines, establish Internet space for a classroom Web site, etc.
Give students opportunities to write in support of their own point of view. For example, if assigning an editorial, allow students to express their own viewpoints relating to the subject under consideration. If assigning a grant proposal or letter for a letter writing campaign, allow students to choose from a list of previously contacted agencies representing a variety of perspectives.
If you canâ€™t guarantee publication of studentsâ€™ writing, donâ€™t imply otherwise. Give students relevant information for checking the status of their submissions while reminding them to respect agenciesâ€™ time and personnel constraints and discouraging them from damaging the agenciesâ€™ relationship with the class.