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In-class Exercise

Teaching Ethos with Selfies

A selfie photo. Text superimposed: professional? Insightful? Outrageous? Horribly Misguided?

Students will be asked to think critically about the argumentative weight a visual picture of the author adds to a position. For homework, students will be instructed to construct a persona, capture it with a "selfie," and turn it in to the instructor.

Practicing Visual Invention

Kitten sleeping on a book with TL; DR written at the bottom

This in-class assignment asks students to construct a visual version of a written or spoken argument. By asking students to first translate an existing argument into a visual form, the assignment eases students into processes of visual invention to prepare them for a more substantive multimodal composition. 

Facilitating Multimedia Composition

YouTube Video page for the Disability POP Culture channel; it shows the images and lengths of eight videos. We also see the titles for the four videos in the first row; they are titled "Obesity in America," "Voices in Me" by Jamie Smith, "Changing Lives Through the Power of Sports," "Rethinking Personality Disorder and Labels," 3:26; an image of Sarah Palin sitting on a couch gesturing for a video 2:37 minutes long, an image of a blind character on "Pretty Little Liars" for a video 6:02 minutes long; more

This lesson helped students begin composing their final rhetoric assignment: a Multimedia Argument Project (MAP). I encouraged students to work with each other during the planning process and to collaborate with one another as they developed their digital literacy skills.

Ethos and Online Dating 2.0 - Incorporating Visuals

Dating show from Mallrats movie

A remix of a previous lesson plan, this exercise asks students to analyze the ethos of an online dating profile and then pair it with an appropriate image - drawing on the relationship between written and visual rhetoric.

Logically Looking for the Perfect Beat

Boombox

In this assignment, students learn to identify the objective musical elements that make up their favorite songs — and then become personal Pandoras for their peers.

Transforming Video with Popcorn Maker

Popcorn spilling from red and yellow movie-theatre-style box, on a white background

Like many things, visual rhetoric is often best learnt by doing. This lesson plan introduces students to video editing using Popcorn Maker, a web-based tool for mashing up online texts.

Conducting interviews - animating a controversy

Students are asked to extract key claims and questions from an assigned article and then interview people about these claims and questions.

Reading Text in Context

This in-class exercise encourages students to explore context for texts they are analyzing (rather than receiving such context from direct instruction) and then use visualization software in order to present their findings to their classmates.

Teach Pathos through Politics -- the French Revolution

This assignment connects the rhetorical concepts pathos and logos with the critique of Enlightenment rationalism by classical conservative philosopher Edmund Burke.   

Using Debates to Teach Rhetorical Analysis

Two debaters at podiums smile at one another

This assignment asks students to watch a debate and evaluate the participants' use of ethos, pathos and logos given their goals and their audience.

Using Google Drive for Collaborative Bias Analysis

In this exercise, students research potential sources of bias within a set of assigned texts and add their notes to a Google Drive spreadsheet. The students and instructor then review the spreadsheet as a group and finish with a class discussion.

Using Music To Teach Sound Citation

Vanilla Ice and Freddie Mercury of Queen

During a discussion of proper citation guidelines, I play for my class a collection of rather infamous examples of musical plagiarism, illustrating for the students the nuances of knowing when to attribute to a source and when not.

Compiling Context with Digitized Periodicals

The National Era - 1 April 1852

Students examine and manipulate digitized page images in order to consider the presentation of serialized texts. “Compiling Context” is a versatile introduction to periodical print culture suitable for literature and rhetoric courses. 

Shifting Focus from Content to Medium

an illustration of a tv with "the message" written on the screen.

Using various records of the Hindenburg disaster, this assignment encourages students to engage with medium over content, especially in terms of literary studies.  

Using FreeMind to Draft Controversy Maps

This week-long assignment asks students to draw on stasis theory to generate a mind map visualization of a given controversy. 

Teaching Kairos through Internet Memes

In this lesson, students in my visual rhetoric class, "The Rhetoric of Photography," look at internet memes in multiple contexts as part of our unit on kairos. 

Evaluating Satire With Rhetorical Analysis

Satirical image of eighteenth-century women in over-large bonnets

This assignment asks students to locate a product ad on their computers, and evaluate its use of ethos, pathos, and logos given its goal and target audience.

Flash Games and Visual Rhetoric

Image of Pokemon characters re-designed by Peta for its Flash game

This assignment pushes students to recognize the layers of rhetoric and propaganda embedded in something as visual and auditory as a flash game.

Rap Genius Close Reading Exercise

Screen shot of the first chapter of "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scoot Fitzgerald, with an example annotation and the cover of the novel.

This close reading assignment uses “Rap Genius”, an Internet annotation website, to connect each student with multiple audiences while also creating a forum where the entire class can pool their knowledge together in order to better analyze and understand the work of a specific author.

Inventing Audience: Lessons from the Marketing Department

Students work in groups to invent a person with a complete backstory, to whom they'll address an argument. This assists them to think about identifying a clear and specific ideal audience, as well as how they might tailor an argument to best address their reader.

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