Archive for the ‘Visual Rhetoric’ Category

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Multimodal Mondays: Using Listicles to Help Students Engage with Sources

posted: 5.18.15 by Andrea Lunsford

Today’s guest blogger is Caitlin L. Kelly, a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology where she teaches multimodal composition courses using 18th– and 19th-century British literature and serves as a Professional Tutor in the Communication Center. Alongside work on the intersection of religion and genre in British literature of the Long Eighteenth Century, she is also interested in exploring applications of a multimodal approach to composition to traditional literature pedagogy.

One of the most difficult assignments to teach is the one at the heart of most college composition courses: the research project. Taking students from brainstorming a topic to a polished argument over the course of a semester is daunting; in the composition classroom, we are tasked with teaching—under very inorganic circumstances—a research process that should evolve organically. And one of the most challenging parts of that process for many students is learning how to engage with sources once they have found them. This is where the listicle comes into play in my courses. [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford, Assignment Idea, Digital Writing, Genre, Guest Bloggers, Multimodal Mondays, Peer Review, Teaching with Technology, Uncategorized, Visual Rhetoric
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How Have Your Assignments Evolved?

posted: 4.30.15 by Andrea Lunsford

If you’ve been teaching for some time, I wonder if you’ve seen some of your favorite assignments evolve or change over time. I’m realizing that a number of mine have, almost without my noticing. Right now I’m thinking of my much loved “long sentence assignment.” I started giving this assignment to break up the lengthy research project my students all do, and in particular to focus for a bit on syntax and style. It’s a low stakes assignment, much like finger exercises on the piano, meant for fun and practice, though I do assign a few points to it. [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Andrea Lunsford, Revising, Rhetorical Situation, Teaching Advice, Visual Rhetoric
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Multimodal Mondays: PechaKucha Proposals

posted: 2.23.15 by Andrea Lunsford

In many classrooms, multimodal presentations are becoming par for the (composition) course, and other Bits authors and Multimodal Mondays bloggers have shared ways to take presentations beyond PowerPoint (see “Composing Identities with Literacies Experience Timelines” and “When to Prezi” for examples). Instructors are thinking not only about different types of presentations but about different ways—and contexts—to use presentations. Traditionally, presentations have been cumulative, a capstone on a well-developed research project. But presentations can also be useful tools for invention and for establishing a writing community in your classroom. Added benefits are building visual literacy and giving a platform for visual learners to brainstorm and share their ideas. [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Andrea Lunsford, Audience, Multimodal Mondays, Visual Argument, Visual Rhetoric
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Multimodal Mondays: Re/Mixing Multimodal Assignments Across Courses and Disciplines

posted: 2.9.15 by Andrea Lunsford

Today’s guest blogger is Jeanne Law Bohannon.

When I begin a new semester, I try to make time to reflect on my pedagogy and its implications/opportunities for student-scholars across my courses and across disciplines.  This semester, I have actually done it! You may recall that last fall I blogged on a Multimodal Monday about Gaming Vlogcasting. I wanted to take that assignment and re/mix it for a different audience and purpose.  [read more]

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Digital Writing, Guest Bloggers, Literature, Multimodal Mondays, Teaching with Technology, Visual Rhetoric
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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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Getting Covered

posted: 1.22.15 by Jack Solomon

Perhaps someday books will no longer have covers, but until then the physical packaging by which a book is presented to the world remains an interesting, if rather specialized, topic for semiotic exploration.

Some book covers are famous—like the original artwork for The Great Gatsby, which actually influenced Fitzgerald’s composition of his novel.  Others are notorious, like those that adorn the covers of Harlequin Romances.  Sometimes covers are designed simply to let the reader know what to expect, but more often they are marketing devices intended to appeal to a reader’s interests, curiosity, aesthetic tastes, or desires. [read more]

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Categories: Jack Solomon, Popular Culture, Semiotics, Signs of Life in the U.S.A., Visual Rhetoric
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Photography and Technical Writing

posted: 12.16.14 by Traci Gardner

Earlier this month, Edutopia’s post on Literacy Through Photography for English-Language Learners explored photographs’ potential for analysis, reflection, and organization. The article was focused on younger, English language learners, but the ideas made me think about possibilities for my technical writing students. [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Traci Gardner, Visual Rhetoric
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Multimodal Mondays: Composing Visually-Making Meaning through Text and Image

posted: 12.1.14 by Andrea Lunsford

Today’s guest blogger is Professor Kim Haimes-Korn.

We are all well aware that visual rhetoric has the power to communicate meaning on its own or in concert with text.  We interact with so many images every day that influence us, shape our perspectives and move our emotions. As teachers, we are usually comfortable engaging students in visual analysis where they participate in acts of interpretation. Multimodal composition offers students ways to extend those efforts and compose through visuals as well.

Generally, when students start composing visually they think primarily about the aesthetic appeal.  Although this is an important layer of visual impact, I encourage them to go beyond aesthetics and think about the ways composing with images is another rhetorical act in which we make choices about our purposes, audiences, subjects and contexts.  Our lessons about issues such as style. persuasion, voice, are still front and center in our writing instruction. [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford, Guest Bloggers, Multimodal Mondays, Visual Argument, Visual Rhetoric
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Teaching about Free Speech with Comics

posted: 11.3.14 by Elizabeth Losh and Jonathan Alexander

Last month Alison Bechdel received a prestigious MacArthur Fellows Program Award.  Known for her comic strip work Dykes to Watch Out For and the acclaimed graphic memoir Fun Home, which is about her experiences growing up in a funeral home fearful of coming out as a lesbian to her closeted gay father, Bechdel was lauded by the foundation for  “redefining paradigms” in autobiographical writing.  Achieving this recognition was particularly notable, because Bechdel had been at the center of a firestorm of controversy after her work had been designated for inclusion in all-college assigned reading at state-funded campuses.  Conservative legislatures objected to subsidizing material that they deemed supposedly promoting “gay lifestyles” and tried to use the power of the purse to block teaching the book.  Particularly vociferous in condemning Bechdel’s work was Representative Garry R. Smith, who used committee procedures to withdraw $52,000 in funding from the College of Charleston, which had arranged to highlight Bechdel’s Fun Home in its summer reading program. [read more]

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Categories: Critical Thinking, Elizabeth Losh, Visual Rhetoric
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Mediating Occupation

posted: 11.28.11 by archived

This week brings further evictions and relocations of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. In Oakland, these evictions turned violent. On occupied college campuses, these evictions have also been ugly—campus police pepper-sprayed student protesters at UC Davis and assaulted a professor and students at Berkeley. I am certain that these events have become matters of intense interest and discussion—and perhaps action—on your own campuses and in your own classrooms.

In this post, I want to look briefly at some of the ways that the OWS movement has been shaped through unique genres of writing and visual rhetoric—and to suggest ways that these emergent genres say something important about the movement. Perhaps there are ways for other teachers to use these texts to discuss the issues as well. It feels reductive to take the energy of the movement and the emotion of these events and reduce them to a series of observations about rhetoric. But my hope is to show that rhetoric has been and will continue to be central to the direction of the protests, part of the effort to communicate even amid violence.

The key medium of OWS has been the camera-phone video. Perhaps the most striking feature of so much media coverage of OWS has been the prevalence of what might be called “sousveillance”—instead of surveillance from above, the movement has been documented from within, and from the ground, by protesters and bystanders with mobile phones. Instead of relying on news media to cover events, images are quickly captured and disseminated online; the news media actually comes to rely on this footage for their own coverage. This also flips the traditional relationship of surveillance, allowing the “public” to watch the authorities and hold them accountable for their actions. The above videos from Davis and Berkeley are prime examples.  These videos had been viewed almost 5 million times as of November 21.  In the videos, the positioning of the camera operator, what they choose to focus on, and where and how the images are disseminated become key considerations for defining this emerging medium and genre.

One example of the circulation of these images has been the remix. Stills from the Davis pepper spraying have been superimposed over canonical works of art, and then moved virally around the Web. See, for instance, the image below that shows an officer dispassionately spraying the U.S Declaration of Independence (a remix of John Trumbull’s famous oil painting).


This remix reframes the event back across history, making an effective and indelible statement. [read more]

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Categories: Jay Dolmage, Visual Rhetoric
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