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Scaffolding to Multimodality (Inq. 4)

The below Google Presentation – see Powerpoint – provides ideas and activities to help you begin planning for Inquiry #4. It details multiple small, single- or two-class period activities that can help you introduce particular literacies, composing practices, or genres that will build directly into the literacies, composing practices, and genre knowledge students will need to complete Inquiry #4’s.

We suggest first figuring out exactly what you intended to do for your Inquiry #4 – be it a single genre or mode or open-ended – and then go through this presentation and find the activities that build into those modes and/or genres.

(Click on image to access presentation)

Scaffolding Multimodal Work - DWC Digital Pedagogy Poster Session - Google Drive


google docs commenting instructions

Open-Ended Technology Approach to Inquiry 4 (Jon)

Can’t decide what particular technologies to teach for Inquiry 4? Feeling unsure of how well prepared you are to teach students how to compose in a particular medium?

You might want to consider an open-ended approach that allows students to select their own technologies and media for composing for Inquiry 4. At first, this can seem scary: Will class be disorganized and chaotic? How will I structure useful activities for the entire group if everyone is working with different media? Also, a draw back of the open-ended approach is that you cannot be expected to support and be knowledgeable about every technology that students might choose to compose with.

However, an “open-ended approach” does not mean an “unstructured approach.” For this inquiry, whatever medium or technology chosen, think about grounding your class conversations around these core concepts:

  • Developing awareness of relationships between media and messages
  • Thinking rhetorically about affordances and constraints
  • Thinking reflectively about the writer’s own composing processes

Below are some ideas and questions to help you begin thinking through each of these concepts in an open-ended approach.

Awareness of Medium and Message:

An open-ended approach is particularly helpful here precisely because students are composing with different media.

  • Students select media appropriate to their arguments
  • Students have to think not only about what they are composing but why their selected media/technology are best suited to it
  • Student’s invention processes are deepened, allowing them to think about how their arguments are affected by different media and technologies

Whereas one student finds a particular rhetorical move incredibly effective in one medium, another student may find the same move unavailable in their chosen medium. One student may find different technologies better suited to composing for particular audiences and venues. Such differences can really help foster an understanding of how medium affects message (and vice versa).

Affordances and Constraints:

This may be the most important rhetorical knowledge generated through Inquiry 4. You may not feel confident about Prezi or iMovie yourself, but you can certainly engage your students in critical conversations about the affordances and constraints of these technologies.

  • What audiences and venues are appropriate for particular media?
  • What arguments are available in this medium and which ones simply will not work?
  • How do multimodal components affect rhetors’ usages of the rhetorical appeals?

Thinking Reflectively about Composing Processes:

One great outcome of Inquiry 4 is it allows for a retrospective understanding of how their invention, composing and communication was affected by the media they have been composing in all semester, such as Word or google docs.

  • Point out that they have been similarly working in a medium all along, making the same kinds of choices, though perhaps more intuitively than when in a new medium.
  • Ask students to consider how their processes of composing (such as invention and drafting) changed between the new medium and producing alphabetic texts.
  • Prompt students to speak from a point of experience as a composer in that medium, talking about the rhetorical decisions they made as well as offering advice to other creators in that medium.

Whatever your vision for the project, consider the following questions to help you focus your approach to Inquiry 4:

  • What do you hope your students learn through this experience?
  • What rhetorical moves do you hope students will enact?
  • What rhetorical knowledge do you expect to transfer from previous inquiries?
  • What skills do you hope students will take with them to future writing and rhetorical situations?

Teaching with Wix (Digital Pedagogy Fair- Leigh)

Wix, a free web publishing software, helps writers create great-looking Flash websites. Although it can have a bit of a learning curve, I’ve found students generally enjoy working with it (customizing templates rather than starting from scratch is a good option for overwhelmed students, too). Although Wix can have many applications in the composition classroom, here I’ve included two different assignments for our 111 curriculum that ask students to compose in this space:

Designing and Assessing Video Composing Assignments

I recently gave a workshop on Designing and Assessing Video Composing Assignments at Iowa State University. My digital online handout includes assignment prompts, sample student work, technical/pedagogical resources, and advice about assignment design. Ch ch check it out!

Digital Showcase

Websites for Acton Lake Education Center, from students in Michele Simmons “Visual Rhetoric” Class: 

Videos from Jason Palmeri’s “Humanities and Technology” Class:

Viral Video Montage by Ryan Ireland:

Digital Pedagogy “Posters” published on the Kairos Wiki:
Amir Hassan and Mandy Watts 
Brent Simoneaux
Chanon Adsantham

2011 Digital Writing Award Winner:
“Bible Pushers” by Emma Foltz (A Prezi From English 111)

Forthcoming Multimodal Book Chapter By Bre Garrett, Denise Landrum-Geyer, and Jason Palmeri:
“Re-Inventing Invention: A Performance in Three Acts”

DWC center opens

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We are pleased to announce the opening of the new DWC center in Bachelor 258–a  space designed to foster collaborative digital pedagogy and research (as well as broader community building) in the department. From 12:00 -2:00 on Thursday 1/26, we encourage you to drop by at your convenience to check out the new space, eat food (including some homemade dishes), and share your ideas for how the Digital Writing Collaborative can support your teaching and research.

The center features three desktop computers (two mac, one PC) as well as other equipment (audio and video recorders, laptops) that can be checked out by Jason, Lance, or Scott. We also have a variety of workspaces (tables with plasma screens, a lounge with couches) designed to foster collaboration. Starting next week, Scott Wagar, Lance Cummings, and I will be hosting drop-by consulting hours in the center on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 11:00 – 2:00, and our undergraduate associate (Gabby Lichtig) will be hosting studio hours there from 5:30 – 8:00 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

You also can feel free to use the room on your own whenever you like. If you already have a key to a Bachelor or Upham laptop room, then that same key will open BAC 258. If you don’t have a key, you can borrow one from Loretta.

While the DWC center is especially designed to foster digital initiatives (and we will host numerous DWC events there), it also has a broader mission of supporting collaboration among all members of the department. At heart, the DWC center is a space for co-working and conversation–a space that can bring us together outside our isolated offices to reimagine our teaching and scholarship. I encourage you to drop by our opening reception this Thursday (12-2:00) and then to continue to use the center to work, to collaborate, and even to just hang out and chat.