During the fall of 2023, I assigned an AI powered Genre Mashup assignment as part of my 100 level First-Year Writing class. The assignment strove to use the ability of ChatGPT to quickly emulate various textual genres as a way to help students notice the composition choices authors made when writing for one genre or another.
First: choose one of the scenarios or topics from the list below:
|An announcement warning of dangerous weather in the area
|A parable story demonstrating good moral behavior
|A description of the forces that lead up to the War of 1812
|A report about a recent town council meeting
|A request for a one week extension on a recent assignment
|A scene where two star-crossed lovers meet for the very first time
|A speech by the king of the elves, calling on good folk to defend his kingdom from orcs
|A scene where a hardboiled detective confronts a femme fatale
|A description of a calm and uplifting scene from nature
|A scene where down and out computer hackers defeat an evil corporation
Next choose one of the genres from the list below. Try to choose a genre that matches the topic/scenario:
|Cyberpunk Science Fiction
|Public Service Announcement
|Email to a Professor
|Passage from the Bible
Then head over to ChatGPT and ask it to write your chosen topic/scenario in the chosen style. For example, you might ask it to “Write a speech by the king of the elves, calling on good folk to defend his kingdom from orcs in the style of high fantasy.” You would get output like this (DON’T STOP HERE, THERE ARE MORE STEPS):
Next go back to the table of genres and choose one that does NOT match the topic, so, to stick with my example I might choose “Public Service Announcement”
Now ask ChatGPT to write the same scenario/topic with this mismatched style. So I would ask “Write a speech by the king of the elves, calling on good folk to defend his kingdom from orcs in the style of a public service announcement.” And get output like this (THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP HAPPENS NEXT):
Finally: copy and paste the output of BOTH ChatGPT prompts into a word processor (Word, G Docs, whatever) document. Below the pasted in content, write a short (200-400 word) reflection on the following:
1) What did you notice about the techniques used by ChatGPT to emulated the requested genre? What did the software do to write something that “sounded” like High Fantasy, or a Newspaper article, or Noir Mystery.
2) Do you think it captured the techniques typical to this genre well? Why or why not?
3) How did the techniques used by ChatGPT to emulate each of the two genres you selected differ? What was different about how these two passages were written?
4) How does the mismatch between the selected scenario and genre show up in the second example you generated. What about this example might seem funny, weird, or just wrong and why?