Archive Page 2

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.

Reflection and Assessment of Multimodal Projects.

On November 2, the DWC held a lunch to discuss different issues in assessing multimodal projects. Leigh Gruwell presented ways to scaffold assessment into the project, allowing students to participate in creating the criteria. First, Leigh gives an Remediation Criteria Worksheet that helps students categorize different criteria, and then they construct a multimodal rubric together. The advantage of allowing students to build their own criteria is that reflection becomes an ongoing activity as they consider these criteria and how they apply to their projects. (Also see Leigh’s inquiry four reflection assignment).

Jason Palmeri presented ways to integrate reflection more fully into everyday scaffolding. In the new ENG 111 curriculum, we are stressing the reflection component of Inquiry Four. Many instructors even choose to weigh the grade more heavily towards the reflection essay. Jason noted that, despite this focus, there are very few rubrics for the reflection essay. We often give great question prompts, but do students really know what makes a good reflection? In the following PowerPoint, Jason shares several ways to integrate reflection on rhetoric into everyday activities, which can build into a rubric for students.

Teaching Remediation

On October 18, 2011 the DWC held a lunch discussing how to teach remediation in the new curriculum for ENG111. In this inquiry, students are asked to remediate or change the medium for one of their previous assignments. Kelly Goss and Bryan Santin both presented their own experiences teaching the remediation project using audio and video.

Kelly Goss presented her scaffolding for remediating public arguments into public service announcements (see handout DWC presentation on Audacity). She uses the assignment provided by the 2011 Teacher’s Guide which has students make three different PSAs for three different audiences. Though Kelly generally develops rubrics while critiquing sample projects with students, she also included a rubric on her handout. She has found that students develop a deeper sense of audience by making these PSAs, allowing for deeper project reflections.

Bryan Santin presented on his experience teaching remediation by having students remediate an argument through satirical video (see assignment sheet and rubric: Satire Inquiry 4 Video Assignment Sheet / Satire Inquiry 4 Grading Rubric . Key to this remediation is understanding that satire is comprised of both irony and informed criticism, which leads to an implicit argument for change. Though teaching remediation in this way requires a great deal of front-loading and exploring the nature of satire, students developed a deeper sense of how implicit arguments are made through media other than text.

Digital Activities Round Table

On October 5, the DWC held a round table on how to use computers in the classroom for inquiry and writing. Too much Facebook action in the class can mean not enough in class inquiry and writing. Lance Cummings talked about how we need to shift our perceptions of technology and writing to one of invention. Too often academic tools, like Niihka, are too focused on product and communication, and not necessarily on invention and experimentation. He demonstrated several activities he has used in class to help students engage more thoroughly with their own (and others’) writing, as well as using the technology to see their writing and ideas in different ways. For example, students can use Prezi or to see how their ideas can be arranged in different relationships. Also, computers are great ways to display student or group writing done in class.

Reid Wegner decided that “if you can’t beat them, join them.” (see Facebook Rhetorical Analysis). So he presented an exercise using Facebook itself. After reading some brief essays on ethos, identity, and Facebook, students can then rhetorically analyze different profiles (or even their own). One could also have students construct fake Facebook accounts for particular audiences, or even remediate one of their papers into a Facebook profile or page. This example demonstrates how computers can be a way for students to apply some of the skills and tools that we talk about in our composition courses.

Ryan Ireland presented a more inventional strategy that uses the online video app called Capture Me to extract snippets of YouTube movie clips and rearrange them in new ways. For example, in Sergei Eisenstein’s movie Battleship Potempkin, he clips together previously filmed footage, instead of filming entirely new scenes. Using the same technique, students can remix different scenes from movies to see what new elements they might see. This might also be an easy way to remix media for Inquiry Three in the new ENG 112 curriculum.

Stay tuned — Next week: Teaching Remediation

Visual Rhetoric and Design

Sergio Figueiredo and Chanon Adsanatham offered an analytical framework and activities for producing, “reading,” and teaching visual texts. Handouts, theoretical readings, and assignment ideas from the session can be found at

Sergio’s presentation dealt with Gregory Ulmer’s surrealism-influenced manner of rhetorically thinking through composing visual images in the digital age. Specifically, he presented the CATTt (manifesto) method (Contrast, Analogy, Theory, Target, tale) and how each part works together to form a sort of “scholarly” production. Sergio also showed some of the images he created for my dissertation research that enacts (intuitively) Ulmer’s method. In addition, he also presented an example activity for undergraduate students to begin working with visual images in the form of Magic, the Gathering trading cards, but directed at their own construction of a person when writing.

Chanon covered the four elements of visual design, CRAP (contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity), and demonstrated how they can be used to analyze and create visual artifacts. He presented a list of heuristic questions designed to help students move away from merely describing and identifying CRAP elements to examining their rhetorical functions and effects. See the visualrhet website for more details.