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.

Using Twitter for Class Reading and Participation

twitter image

Instead of required blog posts or reading quizzes, I require my students to interact with each week's reading and each other by "live-tweeting" their reading process.

Concession, Refutation, and Rebuttal in "Bart's Comet"

Ned Flanders invites the town into his bomb shelter.

Use the acclaimed Simpson's episode "Bart's Comet" to teach refutation, rebuttal, and concession in a fun, group dynamic. Class groups are asked to don the role of familiar Simpson's characters and justify why their character, rather than others, deserves to continue living in the "world of the future." 

Locating Bias Within A Dictionary

A portrait of Samuel Johnson by Joshua Reynolds

In the course of discussing David Foster Wallace’s essay “Tense Present,” I asked my students to compare and contrast the e

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.

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.

Step-by-step Guide to Blogging Close Readings

Students sign up to blog for a given class day, chosing a short passage

This assignment was designed to get students to practice their close reading skills in a short, condensed format of a blog post.  Students sign up to blog for a given class day, chosing a short passage from the assigned reading for that day.

Rhetorical Fallacy Bingo

There is a shark in my roof.  Your argument is invalid.

This assignment is designed to check student comprehension of rhetorical fallacies.  It can also be used to begin to discuss rhetorical analysis of images.

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.

Writing Images as a Means to Writing with Images

Students work in the visual medium to explore dimensions of associative image logic they can use in their persuasive written compositions. Ideally, the outcome will be a guiding image which helps arrange and focus their composition.

Banned Books Virtual Read-Out

Students videotape themselves reading 2-minute-long passages from a banned book of their choice. They then upload their readings to the Virtual Read-Out Youtube channel, sharing them nationally.

Research and Descriptive Reading - Visual Analysis

Eustace Tilley Mosaic

This plan puts student into groups of three or four and asks them to collaborate on generating a coherent analytical reading of a New Yorker cover image. The students present their readings to the class and then trade images and present a re-reading.

Maps Worth Reading - Visualizing Controversies

Thematic Banner

Students often struggle with narrative when writing research papers. This lesson plan helps students visualize controversies in order to help them develop structure and argumentation in their own work.

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.

Researching a Controversy using Twitter

A screenshot of a twitter page. The tiled background is a blue textbook with a white greek column.

By creating their own Twitter accounts and finding accounts to follow that are related to their research topic, students learn the difference between library resources and online resources like daily news, blogs, and opinion.

Podcast/Paper: Having Students Do the Same Assignment in 2 Media

I have my students complete their first major assignment in two forms: (1) An individual 3-page paper and (2) a 5-6 minute group podcast. In both, they describe a text and situate it in historical context.

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