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Intermediate Writing Course

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" 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

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.

Composing Short Writing Assignments for the Internet: Confronting the Digital Native Myth

Digital native?

This peer learning assignment and lesson plan series gives students the opportunity to explore digital composition.

Student Digital Activism as Rhetorical Advocacy/Analysis

Social media logos juxtaposed with solidarity fists

This assignment challenges students to become digital activists/advocates for a cause of their choosing, and aids them in developing a portfolio of work in the service of that cause.

Evaluating & Complicating Audience on the Web

Empty seats to indicate the vast possibilities of potential audiences online

This lesson plan is designed to get students thinking about the real and intended audiences of web texts by analyzing publication venues and comment replies. It also highlights that a text's audiences are not (always) simply people who agree with the author(s) or people who disagree and need persuading.

Distributed Peer Review

When students can review their peers' attempts at an assignment before it's time for their own attempt, they inevitably critique other students' work and incorporate the best writing strategies into their own

When students can review their peers' attempts at an assignment before it's time for their own attempt, they inevitably critique other students' work and incorporate the best writing strategies into their own.

Remediating and Reviewing Peer Arguments

Designed to facilitate a deeper level of peer review and collaborative learning, this assignment asks students to deliver oral presentations of each others' work and offer constructive commentary on their peer's paper.

Using the DWRL's Viz. Blog to Teach Analysis, Tone, and Invention

Screenshot of the masthead for the Viz blog. In the background is a picture of a human eye. The script says "viz., Visual Rhetoric - Visual Culture - Pedagogy."  The links to the main viz. pages are shown across the bottom of the image: "visual theory, teaching, views, images, blog, ransom." The image also includes a search bar.

By reading and browsing Viz. posts, students learn the difference between objective analysis and value judgment. This assignment also uses Viz. to teach students that the topics and tone used for rhetorical analysis can be wide-ranging and non- “academic.”

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