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Introductory Rhetoric Course - Final Multimedia Presentation

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Cartoon image by Ben Sargent titled "Academic Assembly"
Image Credit: 

Cartoon by Ben Sargent, published in The Alcade (2011)

Brief Assignment Overview: 

A five-minute multimedia presentation showcasing skills developed over the entire semester: summary, analysis, and refutation/rebuttal of a position in a student's chosen controversy.

Type of Assignment: 
Assignment Length: 
Pedagogical Goals - Writing: 
Pedagogical Goals - Digital Literacy: 
Additional Pedagogical Goals: 

Students will engage with multimedia texts as they showcase their synthesis skills and create a coherent and concise five minute presentation, which includes a brief introduction to the controversy, a showing of the multimedia (viewpoint) text that they created or found in their research, determination of the point of stasis, and refutation of the position within the multimedia text.

This final assignment thus brings together the major goals of each unit:

1. Summarizing and mapping the controversy,

2. Analyzing a position within the controversy, and

3. Refuting a position within the controversy.

The oral presentation should also help students refine their refutations and rebuttals in their final written argument.

Required Materials: 

Computer with internet connection and projector with volume control for videos/songs and "Final Multimedia Presentation Rubric" so students understand how they will be evaluated (or, if using the Learning Record, how they should evaluate themselves)

Timeline for Optimal Use: 
Full Assignment Description: 

A five-minute multimedia presentation showcasing skills developed over the entire semester: summary, analysis, and refutation/rebuttal of a position in their controversy.

The multimedia source should be a viewpoint source relevant to the student's chosen controversy. Students have the option of creating a multimedia argument themselves, or finding a multimedia argument that has already been published.Since the assignment's requirement for a multimedia source is open-ended, students may choose from a variety of possibilities—from already published cartoons like the Ben Sargent example above—to original songs of their own creation.

The assignment is intentionally open-ended so students will most likely choose to create a multimedia argument with the technology that they are most familiar with—whether PowerPoint, iMovie, Prezi, GarageBand, etc. Since I teach using the Learning Record, students have the opportunity to demonstrate going above and beyond the requirements in the course strand of Digital Literacy—if they create their own multimedia argument (as this is only an option, but not a requirement). Most students will likely find and refute an argument that has already been published online.

In their presentation, students must spend the first thirty to sixty seconds introducing their controversy to the class. Then, they will introduce and show the multimedia viewpoint source that they created or found. After showing the source, students will refute the argument within the multimedia source.

Suggestions for Instructor Preparation: 

Introduce the assignment and its instructions at the introduction of the final unit of the semester so students have time to create a multimedia source if they choose to go the creative route with an original multimedia argument. Provide for class time so students may ask questions about the assignment. I'm also planning a day into Unit Three so students can work on their presentations during class and ask any questions as issues come up.

Students will need an understanding of refutations and rebuttals and practice applying these skills (during whole class instruction and activities) before creating their individual presentations.

Instructions For Students: 

Create or find a multimedia viewpoint source that makes an argument; it can be a photoessay, TV clip, documentary clip, movie clip, slideshow, image, cartoon, podcast, song, etc. The only requirement is that this form of multimedia relate to your controversy. During the last week of class, you will give a brief talk (thirty seconds to one-minute) on the context of your controversy, introduce and show us your multimedia source or creation, and then refute/rebut the viewpoint/argument that you've shown us. In total, the entire presentation (including the viewing of multimedia) should be NO longer than 5 minutes.

This presentation will require you to synthesize the skills you've developed throughout the entire semester: summary, analysis, and refutation/rebuttal. Your one-minute talk on the background of the argument requires that you summarize the context of your controversy and all of your research from the entire semester into one minute. The refuting argument that you build requires that you determine the stasis point—ensuring that the multimedia argument speaks to, or opposes your position, which is a skill that requires analysis.

Evaluation Suggestions: 

Before I used the Learning Record, I used a rubric for traditional assessment. However, with the Learning Record, I still provide rubrics, so students have a concrete form to check their work from.

Although I will not assign a specific grade to this assignment, I will still provide comments following the rubric below. Students will then be able to use the rubric as evidence of their learning processes in their final analyses. Because their final analysis relies upon a selective Learning Record portfolio, the rubric is only one possible piece of evidence that students may use to assess their progress throughout the semester.

Name: ________________________


Final Multimedia Presentation

Baseline Requirements for a “C” (Bold categories have most weight in the overall grade)


Excellent (A/B)

Satisfactory (C)

Unsatisfactory (D/F)

One minute talk on context of your controversy (must be comprehensively synthesized and summarized)




Refute/rebut viewpoint in your multimedia source (with analysis/explanation of how the multimedia argument relates to your position on the controversy)






Source is a multimedia viewpoint source that relates to your controversy






Total presentation only five minutes long (including viewing of multimedia source)






Effective and coherent






Arrived to class on time and prepared for in-class presentation:


Overall Grade: 


Notes on Reception, Execution, etc.: 

This assignment was a great way to wrap up our class and to give everyone an understanding of the research their classmates had been conducting throughout the entire semester. I really enjoyed seeing the students display their summary, analysis, and refutation skills. The multimedia arguments that they chose to refute were striking and engaging so the class did not become bored. The five minute time constraint (including the viewing of the multimedia source) also eases the anxiety of those who do not relish public speaking, and it requires that students prepare, time themselves, and remain as concise as possible. Seeing the students take their presentations seriously and come to class dressed to the nines was also fun to see.

Course Description: 

RHE 306 – Rhetoric & Writing is a course in argumentation that situates rhetoric as an art of civic discourse.  It is designed to enhance your ability to analyze the various positions held in any public debate and to advocate your own position effectively.  Your work in this course will help you advance the critical writing and reading skills you will need to succeed in courses for your major and university degree.

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