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In-class Exercise

Using Comment Walls to Practice Rebuttal

A computer mouse superimposed over a globe

This assignment asks students to think through the rhetorical practice of contributing to a discussion on a website's comment wall.

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.

Introducing Ideology with HSBC Advertisements

Image of an HSBC advertisement with the same image repeated three times with three different labels

This in-class activity uses the popular HSBC ad campaign (a tryptich of the same image with different value labels) to introduce students to visual rhetoric and ideology. After discussing the ads, students create their own version.

Villains versus Villains: Writing Persuasive Dramatic Monologues

Students work in groups to compose persuasive, dramatic monologues from the perspectives of famous, fictional villains.

Figuring Out Rhetorical Figures

Aeolus

This assignment uses online resources (Wiktionary or Silva Rhetoricae) to introduce students first hand to different rhetorical figures.

Using Flag Burning to Teach Icons, Symbols, and Speech Acts

Using Flag Burning to Teach Icons, Symbols, and Speech Acts

Students come to class having read read an analysis focused upon the importance of the seemingly minor distinctions between "icons" and "symbols" in the context of Texas v Johnson, the definitive Supreme Court case regarding the extent to which an American flag and/or the burning thereof is “speech,” and therefore protected by the First Amendment.

Video Remixing with Jon Stewart

Official Portrait of Mitch McConnell

The assignment introduces students to some very basic video editing techniques (cutting clips, detaching audio, inserting new audio) and gets them thinking about how the visual and sound channel in a video composition play together to create rhetorical effect. It's also fun as hell.

TX Political Stars are Big and Bright: Identifying Audiences

Rick Perry Meme

Getting students to think in more specific terms about audience, without generalizing, is challenging. Using political ads, work with students to identify audiences and think of themselves critically as audience members. 

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.

Rhetorical Analysis of "Sugar Dating" Advertisements and Audience(s)

Sugar Dating Sites Unabashedly Target Cash-Strapped Female Students

Students work on argumentation techniques, rhetorical fallacies, and other concepts via reading a heavily-biased article from the New York Post discussing the relatively new but quickly growing phenomenon known as "sugar dating," which consists of web sites that pair older men (sugar daddies) who are willi

The (Selling) Powers of a Good Cry

Students will look at a series of popular, “sad” advertisements and discuss the ways in which certain commercials have successfully tapped into elements of rhetoric specific to viral videos.

Teaching Rhetorical Pathos through Playlists

A fun way to teach students the power of rhetorical pathos using multiple media. Students create Spotify playlists to accompany a short persuasive essay on a topic of their choice.

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.

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. 

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.

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