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Multimodal Mondays: Showcasing Student Work

posted: 5.5.14 by Andrea Lunsford

Even the most motivated students can feel discouraged knowing that the projects they poured their time and energy into will be filed away and forgotten when the course term ends. Even the most rhetorically minded writers can feel frustrated simply imagining an ideal audience rather than actually composing for one. Providing a more concrete audience or goal for multimodal projects can encourage students to devote themselves to their compositions – and they often produce stronger work as a result. One effective way to end the term, then, is to publicly showcase student multimodal projects.

The benefits of showcasing student work are manifold. Not only does it give students more incentive to create quality projects, it allows them to see work from classmates and other peers and promotes a sense of collaboration and appreciation. It also provides a space for instructors to show the pride they take in teaching their talented students.

Finding the most effective way to display your students’ projects may be easier than you think. You can organize a showcase for your own classes or maybe help organize one in your department. (You might even consider having students create rhetorically effective promotional materials for the event using social media, flyers, etc. as a multimodal scaffolding activity.) Often, departments, programs, or university libraries invite instructors to submit strong student projects for display, and they may even offer prizes or scholarships for outstanding student work. If your students produce digital work, take advantage of the Web and create a digital class portfolio, and find ways to broadcast and share it. As you and your students prepare for final projects and presentations, use classroom discussion as a way to talk about places students might publicly display their work on campus or in the community.

I’ve had the good fortune to attend several great showcases of student work this spring, including one in Little Rock, one in Chicago, and one at 4Cs in Indianapolis. I’m also thrilled every May to recognize students doing extraordinary work in their multimedia and oral presentations of researched arguments with The Lunsford Award for Oral Presentation of Research.  Whether simple or elaborate, any kind of showcase or recognition program will convey to students the importance of their ideas, your appreciation of their work, and the power that writing has to communicate beyond the limits of the classroom.

Want to collaborate with Andrea on a Multimodal Monday assignment? Send ideas to leah.rang@macmillan.com for possible inclusion in a future post. 

 

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