Posts Tagged ‘audience’

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Talking about Audience and Social Media

posted: 5.19.15 by Traci Gardner

While the students I teach are typically adept at personal uses of social media, they often need to learn how to use digital tools for professional purposes as they prepare for their future careers.

This week, I had a personal experience that will make a great discussion starter to talk with students about audience and social media. It all started with my decision to replace my three-year-old phone while keeping my unlimited data plan. I went into the Verizon store and said I needed two things: I wanted to buy a new phone at full price, and I did not want to change my contract in anyway. [read more]

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Categories: Digital Writing, Traci Gardner
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Teaching Email Courtesies

posted: 3.31.15 by Traci Gardner

I receive a lot of email from students. Sometimes it’s messages that I have requested, like links to their work. Other times, students are asking questions about assignments or telling me why they will miss class.

More often than not, these messages are not students’ best writing. I don’t care that the messages are informal. That’s fine with me. At times, however, they wander into telling me far more than I need or want to know. Worse yet, the messages can leave out the crucial details or attachments that would have made the message successful. [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Audience, Classroom Challenges and Solutions, Purpose, Teaching with Technology, Traci Gardner
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Communicating to Non-Literate Audiences with Comics

posted: 2.2.15 by Elizabeth Losh and Jonathan Alexander

In the United States comics generally appeal to those who already know how to read and write, but in other contexts sequences of images with relatable characters and stories convey important information to the illiterate about how to avoid danger or pursue opportunities.

For example, Mudita Tiwari and Deepti KC of India’s Institute for Financial Management and Research are distributing comic books about financial literacy in the slum of Dharavi in Mumbai to discourage women from relying on vulnerable hiding places in their homes to squirrel away cash. [read more]

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Audience, Elizabeth Losh, Genre, Purpose, Rhetorical Situation, Visual Argument, Visual Rhetoric
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Multimodal THURSDAY: It’s all Greek to me…until someone writes an e-mail

posted: 9.25.14 by Andrea Lunsford

Guest blogger Diantha Smith is a PhD candidate in English and the Teaching of English at Idaho State University. She teaches both online and face-to-face composition classes and loves incorporating a variety of media into both. In this post, Diantha offers a digital writing assignment to introduce students to rhetorical terms and concepts. [read more]

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Categories: Uncategorized
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The Value of a Real Audience and Purpose

posted: 12.5.13 by Traci Gardner

Students do better work when they are writing for a real audience and purpose. In the past, I’ve used assignments that ask students to write letters to the editor, to work in online forums that are read by everyone in the class, and reviews that are posted online. Students have a stronger understanding of their goals with these activities than they do when writing pieces with a less authentic audience, and as a result, I’ve had moderate success with them in the classroom. [read more]

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Multimodal Mondays: Using Twitter to Develop a Sense of Audience

posted: 10.7.13 by Andrea Lunsford

Twitter has become a powerful tool for journalists, writers, and artists to reach wide audiences in order to raise awareness of their work and gain readership. Writers as diverse as Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, and Chuck Palahniuk are all heavy Twitter users.  But even writers who are not famous will benefit from carefully composing tweets to reach their intended audience. [read more]

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"Accidental Racist"

posted: 4.18.13 by Jack Solomon

Call it the meme that isn’t quite a meme yet.

That’s one of the interesting things about the new Brad Paisley/LL Cool J song that is all over the news, the Net, and Twitterland: look for it on YouTube and you will find lots of personal reactions to the song, but not a performance of the song itself—not, at least, as I write this blog.  That’s understandable; with so much advance publicity that no amount of money could buy, the copyright holders can be forgiven for wanting to get a chance to see some album sales first before free versions will be allowed on the world wide web.  But the lyrics are out there, as well some news clips of the song and its performers discussing it, and that will be enough for me to work with here.

As I cannot repeat often enough, a semiotic analysis must begin with the construction of a relevant system in which to situate the sign that you are interpreting.  The construction of that system entails the identification not only of significant associations but also critical (one might say “diacritical”) differences.  In the case of “Accidental Racist,” then, we can start with the system of popular music. [read more]

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Audience Anyone?

posted: 9.27.11 by Steve Bernhardt

We are deep into our first major assignment in my introcomp, which involves a summary/critique of a text, with special attention to the author’s argumentative strategies. We are trying to establish terms of analysis—a common vocabulary we can use throughout the term. I also want to see how well students can read and respond to a source text. Students had the choice of responding to one or more texts: a Michael Pollan piece on why and how individuals should respond to climate change, a recent essay in The New Yorker by science journalist Michael Specter about attempts to culture protein cells in the lab as a potential meat replacement, and a TED talk by Josette Sheeran, head of the UN’s World Food Program, titled “Ending Hunger Now.” All three are engaging arguments by powerful communicators—just the fodder we need for rhetorical analysis.

I started worrying about audience, as I tend to do. Is there any real audience for such assignments, ones that call for close reading and analysis, followed by summary and critique? Sure, we can say “Your peers are your audience,” or “You are writing to a college-educated audience,” or even “I am the real audience, your professor.” However, none of these constructions is particularly useful in offering novice writers the sense of a real audience, or even a seriously imagined one.

Then two pieces came my way that encouraged me to keep thinking about audience. Cathy Davidson, writing in the Chronicle (of Higher Education) Review, observes that her Duke students’ online writing in class blogs was “incomparably better” than the writing they did on her traditional assignments (term papers and structured academic writing). Oh no, I panicked, I am teaching traditional writing! I should be doing blogs instead with my first-year students and they would not demonstrate the “jargon, stilted diction, poor word choice, rambling thoughts, and even pretentious grammatical errors” that Davidson found in the “traditional writing” of her students. They’d discover a real audience in the blog community and immediately write well. [read more]

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Audience and Collaboration

posted: 1.27.11 by Andrea Lunsford

Audience and collaboration—those two words represent strands of research that have engaged me and my friend and long-time co-author Lisa Ede for decades now. When we first began to write about audience, we wanted to distinguish between what we called “invoked” and “addressed” audiences—that is, between the real-life audiences we speak and write to and those that we invoke, imagine, or hail. This basic distinction allowed us to build a rough taxonomy of audiences and to think about how writers might best go about reaching them. At the same time, we were writing a FIPSE grant proposal to undertake our first study of collaborative writing (eventually published in Singular Texts, Plural Authors: Perspectives on Collaborative Writing, which you can preview here on Google Books).

At the time, we thought of these two projects as pretty much completely separate: we had our work on audience and our work on collaboration. That was before the digital revolution allowed writers to reach audiences that were literally beyond their wildest imagination only a few years before—and before other advances made the Internet more and more interactive, which is to say collaborative. About five years ago, with something of an “aha” moment, we saw the two distinct strands of our research come together and merge. What an exciting time to be teachers and researchers! We could now study forms of collaboration that were impossible when we wrote our first book, and we could watch students interacting with audiences of every kind. [read more]

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Categories: Research
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Three Things Teachers Should Never Do

posted: 9.28.10 by Traci Gardner

scream and shout by mdanys, on FlickrTeachers should definitely use social media tools like Twitter, Wikipedia, and social bookmarking in and out of the classroom. But sometimes, I read a post that makes me want to SCREAM.

Why? Because in that post the teacher sends the wrong message to students and colleagues.

If you want students and colleagues to respect you as an educator, please never do these three things:

  1. Grumble about grading.
    Posts like these undermine the teacher-student relationship: “Dreading having to grade these research papers” or “Still grading. Will this horrible pile of papers ever end?”

    Students who read that kind of message will know you have a bad attitude about their work before you even look at it. Worse, some colleagues and potential employers will wonder why you’ve taken up teaching if you hate grading so much.

    Updates and facts are fine: “One set of papers graded! One set to go!” Praise and encouragement is even better: “These documentary videos are amazing. Great work everyone!” Just don’t complain. [read more]

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Categories: Teaching with Technology
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