Teaching Demo

ENL 510: Portfolio Seminar

Guest Instructor: Jonathan Fitzgerald, PhD (Prof. Fitz)


  1. Getting to know each other
  2. Review
  3. AI Discussion
  4. AI Activity


  1. Gain a better understanding of editing for a particular rhetorical situation
  2. Consider the role of AI in our work as writers and editors
  3. Analyze the ability of AI to help or hinder our work

Guiding Question:

What is the role of a human editor in an AI environment?


Prof. Rodrigue’s AI Policy (selection):

“I permit you to use it during the writing process for purposes of brainstorming, organization, and play with tone, style, and grammar, yet I do not permit you to use it to create a final product (either partially or in its entirety) unless you are transparent in the role it plays in your work.”

Rhetorical Situation[i]

  • Purpose
  • Audience
  • Stance
  • Genre
  • Medium
  • Design

Flesch–Kincaid Readability Score[ii]

From “How to Write Plain English” by Rudolf Flesch: “I developed the formula in the early 1940s. It measures the average sentence length in words and the average word length in syllables. You put these two numbers into an equation and get a number between 0 and 100 that shows you the difficulty of your piece of writing. If it’s too hard to read for your audience, you shorten the words and sentences until you get the score you want.

Examples from How to Write Plain English by Rudolf Flesch

Score School Level 
90 to 100 5th grade 
80 to 90 6th grade 
70 to 80 7th grade 
60 to 70 8th and 9th grade 
50 to 60 10th to 12th grade (high school) 
30 to 50 college 
0 to 30 college graduate
Comics 92 
Seventeen 67 
Reader’s Digest 65 
Sports Illustrated 63 
Newsweek 50 
Wall Street Journal 43 
Harvard Business Review 43 
New York Times 39 
New York Review of Books 35 
Harvard Law Review 32 
Standard auto insurance policy10 
Internal Revenue Code -6

*Note: these tables are a bit dated, so the scores may differ today, but it gives a general idea


  1. Using AI, generate a fictional press release announcing that English has just become the fastest growing and most popular major on campus, led in part by the surge in interest in professional writing. After you create it, your boss informs you that the press release will be published in the high school newspapers of prospective students.
  2. Copy and paste the generated text into the Flesch Kincaid Calculator. Observe and record the Flesch-Kincaid Readability and Grade Level score for the AI output
  3. Using what we learned about how F-K scores are calculated, and utilizing editing techniques that focus on clarity, conciseness, and grammar, adapt the press release to a different rhetorical situation by lowering the F-K Grade Level by one whole grade (for example: if it originally scored 15.3, try to get it below 14.3). Ideally, you’ll get it down to between grades 9-12.
  4. Share your results! (Don’t forget that if you were turning in this assignment, you’d need to indicate that you utilized AI to generate the initial draft, and cite it as a source)

[i] Bullock, Richard, et al. The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings. Sixth edition, W. W. Norton & Company, 2022.

[ii] Flesch, Rudolf Franz. How to Write Plain English. Barnes & Noble, 1981.