Posts Tagged ‘Visual Argument’

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What’s a Syllabus?

posted: 1.21.15 by Barclay Barrios

Amazing how quickly the break goes, right?  Here at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) we’ve been back since January 5 (we start so early!) so I’ve been thinking about syllabi and wondering just what a syllabus is (or might be) (or could be) (or should be).

I’ve known some who consider the syllabus a contract and in fact implement some form of contract grading (à la Peter Elbow) and certainly here at FAU the syllabus is, in part, a bureaucratic instrument, filled with mandated statements to ensure compliance with various state and university policies.  But I think for me, a syllabus is something else, and I have been trying to figure out what that something else is. [read more]

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Categories: Barclay Barrios, Teaching Advice
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Multimodal Mondays: Video Game Vlogcasting

posted: 11.17.14 by Andrea Lunsford

Guest blogger Jeanne Law Bohannon is an Assistant Professor in the Digital Writing and Media Arts (DWMA) Department at Southern Polytechnic State University. She believes in creating democratic learning spaces, where students become accountable for their own growth though authentic engagement in class communities. Her research interests include evaluating digital literacies, critical pedagogies, and New Media theory; performing feminist rhetorical recoveries; and growing student scholars. Reach Jeanne at: jbohanno@spsu.edu.

Many of my students are gamers. They define themselves by the characters they embody in RPGs (role-playing games), by the interactions between characters who are also their peers, and by their own “mad” gaming skills. Accordingly, the amount of time they spend in digital gaming spaces outdistances the time they spend studying. Students often hyper-identify with these digital spaces, so I asked myself if I was missing an opportunity to reach out to them in their e-world and use their embodied identities as rhetorical learning tools in the p-world (physical world). In an effort to meet students where they reside, I developed a multimodal assignment that asks them to choose, play, and analyze their favorite game; record themselves doing so; upload their videos to YouTube; and present their findings to their course mates. [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford, Uncategorized
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Multimodal Mondays: Lifehacking—Trying on New Rhetorical Strategies in Student Blogs

posted: 10.27.14 by Andrea Lunsford

I have my students use blogs to shape their digital identities and provide a space for them to share their work and ideas with others. I encourage them to go out into the world and critically examine their place within it through weekly exploratory blog posts. Many of these assignments are open ended and based on their observations and perceptions. However, I like to switch it up every once in a while and ask them to use a particular style or format as a rhetorical device to shape and deliver their ideas. [read more]

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Categories: Guest Bloggers
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Whisper in the Classroom

posted: 7.23.14 by Barclay Barrios

Whisper, not unlike Snapchat, is another increasingly popular app.  Whisper allows people to share secrets anonymously, accompanying each secret with a photo.  I’ve been exploring the app, enjoying its voyeuristic pleasures and discovering that many use it (not unlike Snapchat) for sexual ends.

It strikes me that Whisper is an immediate, uncurated, digital version of PostSecret. [read more]

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The Persistence of Stereotypes in Visual Texts

posted: 10.7.09 by Traci Gardner

In my most recent Ink’d In column, I wrote about “Finding Hidden Messages in Visual Texts” and pointed to some World War II posters that demonstrated anti-Japanese bias as examples.  In my related classroom activity, I ask students to look for similar messages in more contemporary texts.

The Inside Higher Ed article “A Tale of Two Posters” provides a perfect contemporary example to use in class: a parody campaign poster that raised questions about racial stereotyping on Tufts University campus this fall. The stereotypes represented in the poster attack Asian appearance (“squinty eyes” and the exaggerated expression in the photo of In-Goo Kwak), Asian language use (use of broken English), and Korean culture (“kimchi”).

Students should easily see similarities if you show them the image of Tojo from the War Posters and the photo of In-Goo from the parody poster:

Tojo from WWII Poster, Hon. Spy Poster Detail from Photo by In-Goo Kwak

The Inside Higher Ed (IHE) article indicates that In-Goo, the parody’s designer, included the stereotypes specifically to counter what he saw as political correctness in the campaign poster of another student. Regardless of the intention, indeed perhaps because of it, the campaign poster lends itself to classroom discussion of how and why stereotypes persist in societies. You can use the WILCO mnemonic to analyze both campaign posters in more detail as part of your exploration.

In addition, take advantage of the opportunity that the article provides to discuss the nature of stereotypes, prejudice, and language use. As always when you explore emotionally-charged issues, be sure to discuss the importance of respecting the feelings of others before your analysis. Once the ground rules are set, students are bound to have an opinion on whether In-Goo’s poster should have been allowed and whether Tufts University responded appropriately. Alongside the related World War II posters, the Inside Higher Ed article will lead to some lively discussion in the classroom.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Discussion, Document Design, Visual Argument, Visual Rhetoric
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Free, Classroom-Ready Visual Texts from CreativeCloud

posted: 9.29.09 by Traci Gardner

Have you ever wondered what would happen If You Printed The Internet? According to the CreativeCloud site, you’d need 700 square miles of paper. No word on how many reams that would be, but it’s certainly part of a great visual argument.

At first glance, the page is just a clever meme, rethinking the size of the Internet in more familiar terms. The techniques that the author, identified as Tom, uses however are well worth a second look. The presentation lends itself to some great discussion about visual arguments. You might try these discussion questions with students after reading through the series of slides:

  • How did the author make certain words stand out? What makes them “pop”?
  • How does word choice matter? For instance, why is it “If YOU Printed the Internet”? Why use that pronoun?
  • How are images used? Why did the author choose general clip art images?
  • What underlying arguments does the series of slides present? What points is the author trying to make?
  • Why use comparisons to make this argument clear to the audience?
  • Does the presentation work? Would it work as well in another kind of document (e.g., an essay, a podcast)?

After exploring the presentation, you could ask students to make similar visual arguments on topics of their own choice.

Don’t stop with If You Printed The Internet either. There are a number of great resources on the CreativeCloud site. Be sure that you consider these other visual texts that can be used in class:

30 Sensational Print Ads From Around The World
Visit this treasure trove of unusual advertisements for outstanding examples of ad analysis and visual argument. The images are scanned from print advertisement. Some may be inappropriate for the school where you teach, so be sure to preview them in advance and choose those you want to use. After exploring how these ads work, students might look for other sensational ads in magazines they read or compare these contemporary ads to ads from the 30s to the 60s.
6 Massive Old School Printers (& How They Were Advertised)
Most of the students we teach today always thought of computers and printers as something that you could have in your home. Challenge them to compare today’s ads for printers and other technology to these great ads from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. According to a recent New York Times article, today’s technology ads focus more on benefits and friendly language than complex specs. Students can compare how benefits and specs were discussed in these older ads to the ads of today. If those ideas don’t pique your interest, these technology ads are ripe for discussions of race, class, and gender.
10 Beautiful Illustrations From Seriously Rare Books
Ask students to consider what makes the illustrations beautiful and what they add to the texts. Challenge students to visit the campus library and search out additional illustrations that they would add to the collection, or ask them to update the collection to show 10 beautiful illustrations from 20th or 21st century books.

There’s much more on the CreativeCloud site, and additional resources seem to be posted every month. Be sure to check the site periodically for new materials you can use in the classroom. Even if you don’t find something for class, you’ll find some interesting images like these 9 Amazing 3D Pavement Paintings or the 30 Amazing Pictures of Forest Fires.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Document Design, Popular Culture, Visual Argument, Visual Rhetoric
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5 ways I approach visual argument in the classroom

posted: 4.17.08 by Barclay Barrios

Visual argument (or, more generally, visual rhetoric) seems to be an increasingly important part of the composition classroom. I’ve never taught a class devoted to visual argument, but I have given visual argument assignments and I often ask students to consider the role that the visual plays in culture. There are of course whole textbooks on visual argument, but since the visual plays only a supporting role in my course, I tend to use a variety of websites instead. For example:

1. PostSecret
PostSecret is my favorite way to have students think about visual argument. This public art project started when its founder, Frank Warren, invited people to design and submit postcards that revealed secrets their authors had never shared before. Each Sunday, Warren posts a new set of secret-revealing postcards; in the process, he offers a wide-ranging display of visual argument, as each postcard design reflects the secret it contains. I’ve found that students can analyze these visual texts readily, providing them good practice at reading, decoding, and then designing their own visual arguments.

2. Ikea
You may be familiar with this home furnishings company from Sweden if you’re lucky enough to have an Ikea store near you (we’re getting ours here in South Florida this summer—yay!). But even if you’re never heard of Ikea, the company’s website offers a great way to explore cultural assumptions about design. That’s because it has separate sites for countries around the world. Ask students to explore some of these different sites (such as Saudi Arabia and Malaysia), taking note of how language and culture influence visual argument and design. Ask them then to view the site for the United States and look for the same sorts of cultural assumptions. This assignment, of course, could be done with the main site of many global corporations. I choose Ikea to help students see that globalization is not purely an American phenomenon.

3. The Ebay Conceptual Art Gallery
Justin Jorgensen turns photographs of items auctioned on Ebay into a kind of found art. Have students explore the site and consider questions of both visual design/arrangement and art. Then have them explore Ebay itself. What’s the relationship between design and sales? What’s the economic impact of a good visual argument?

4. MySpace
Chances are your students are already familiar with MySpace. Many students have pages on this popular social networking site, using it to keep in touch with friends old and new. Yet most the pages on MySpace are designed extremely poorly. But in doing so, they also make important visual arguments about the person making the page. Ask students to locate or bring in examples of overly designed or badly designed pages. How does the design reflect and represent the author of the page? How does effective visual argument diverge from effective visual design?

5. Comeeko
Comeeko allows you to upload photos and add captions to create a web-based comic strip. Students can use this tool to create compositions in the style of graphic novels.

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Categories: Argument, Document Design, Learning Styles, Popular Culture, Teaching with Technology, Visual Argument, Visual Rhetoric
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Visualizing Argument

posted: 3.21.07 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review the material in the handbook on visual arguments or visual aids. Ask them to come to class with a visual supplement to the current reading—a chart or diagram or photograph. In groups, have them share this material and then consider how incorporating it into the essay would enhance or change the author’s argument.

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Categories: Argument, Assignment Idea, Collaboration, Document Design, Learning Styles, Visual Argument, Visual Rhetoric
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Adding the Visual

posted: 11.20.06 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review the section of the handbook on using visuals and/or visual argument. As they revise their current draft, ask them to incorporate a visual element: a picture, clip art, a table, a graph, or a chart. How does this element change the argument of the paper in its articulation or effectiveness?

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Categories: Argument, Assignment Idea, Document Design, Drafting, Revising, Rhetorical Situation, Teaching with Technology, Visual Argument
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