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Intermediate Writing Course

Kairos and Ideology Analysis: American Values and Contexts

Lego Captain America Stands In Front of American Flag

This assignment asks students to fill out a worksheet for analyzing the ideological presuppositions of two arguments that rely on a popular superhero, Captain America, to make their respective arguments. This assignment can be used to solidify student understanding of kairos and presuppositions.

Enthy/memes: Making Memes to Teach Logos

To pratice creating and breaking down enthymemes, I had students create memes (about anything), break down the stated and unstated premises and ultimately, come to a conclusion as to the meme's argument.

Building Word Clouds to Generate Search Terms

Voyant Word Cloud for Marijuana Legalization Corpus

Help your students get an overview of their topic and a leg up on their research by creating word cloud visualizations of their topics.

Fostering a Feminist Classroom Climate

Whiteboard with brainstormed text about what makes a class successful

In this icebreaking activity, students think-pair-share on the question "What makes a class a success?" This gives them the opportunity to meet a new classmate and contribute to setting the classroom tone for the semester ahead.

Advertising Agency

Agency

Help your students realize when they're being advertised to by helping them turn the tables on the Don Drapers of the Internet.

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.

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.

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" Ads 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

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.

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 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.

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.  

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. 

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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