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One-Two Class Periods

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

Google Images and Book Covers - Tracking Cultural Change

Various covers of the novel Lolita

Images on book covers, blurbs or reviews on dust jackets, and publishers’ summaries all provide constructed argumentation about the text within that is designed to provoke an emotional and analytic response.

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.

Drawing Logos

A sample illustration from the RSAnimate series on Youtube.

This assignment asks students to map out logos with the aid of visualized arguments and, ultimately, to create and explain their own vizualization of a textual argument that helps highlight the elements of logos within that textual argument.

Disputing YouTube Content ID Takedowns

Fair Us Logo

As part fo the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998, content service providers (such as YouTube) are given safe harbor from prosecution if they take certain steps to prevent copyright infringement. Unfortunately, this has led to a "shoot first and ask questions later" approach on YouTube's part.

Teaching Audience and Stakes With the Colbert Report

This exercise asks students to work in groups to move past a working summary of a text's rhetoric to consider the goals of an author and their strategic approach to audiences. It uses PBworks' collaborative potentials to bridge the gap between two connected class discussions.

Using an Annotated Bibliography to Teach Basic Research Skills

an actual annotated bibliography

In this assignment, students conduct research and build an annotated bibliography.

Teaching Ethos Using Online Dating Profiles

Students analyze portions of profiles excerpted from online dating sites to discuss ethos

Students analyze portions of profiles excerpted from the free online dating site, OkCupid, in order to talk about ethos, values, ideology and goodwill.  The exercise, in turn, encourages students to consider their own online presences, their values, and the ways in which rhetoric has “real world” applications.

Collaborative Web Page Annotations With Diigo

Screenshot of Diigo sidebar listing comments & annotations along side webpage with highlighted text

This lesson introduces students to a collaborative annotation tool to facilitate class discussions and to encourage active reading and research practices.

Blogging Research from the Oxford English Dictionary

A picture of an open dictionary page with eyeglasses on top.

In two short blog posts, I asked students to choose an interesting or perplexing word to look up in the books we'd just finished reading. After conducting their research, students blogged about their findings and made a quick effort at applying their research to a passage. 

Using Photoshop to Create Persona-Avatars for Class Blog

a student's avatar on a course blog

This lesson uses Photoshop to manipulate creative commons images found on the Internet into an avatar which represents the persona or ethos from which the student will write on a course blog.

Using Mind-Maps to Make Modular Arguments, MASS EFFECT Style

Nova Mind Map with Many Arms

This lesson is best used in conjunction with “Using Mass Effect 1 to teach critical situations," which can be found under that title on this site.

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