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Mapping a Controversy (Literally)

Students create Google maps to contextualize events and locations related to their controversies.

Setting Up a Studio Environment for Multimedia Projects

Get Excited and Make Things

Whenever I teach, I always assign some form of multimedia project, and these practices have helped to set up a studio environment where collaborative multimedia projects can thrive. Rather than post an explicit lesson plan to our site, I thought I’d run through a set of practices that have been successful for me ove

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.

Composing Tutorials for Navigating Databases

Students write short manuals outlining how to use databases

RHE 306 group work: Students write short manuals outlining how to use databases (LexisNexis, Infotrac Newsstand, Academic One File, Opposing Viewpoints, Google/Wikipedia).

Using Music To Teach Sound Citation

Vanilla Ice and Freddie Mercury of Queen

During a discussion of proper citation guidelines, I play for my class a collection of rather infamous examples of musical plagiarism, illustrating for the students the nuances of knowing when to attribute to a source and when not.

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.

Facilitating Multimedia Composition

YouTube Video page for the Disability POP Culture channel; it shows the images and lengths of eight videos. We also see the titles for the four videos in the first row; they are titled "Obesity in America," "Voices in Me" by Jamie Smith, "Changing Lives Through the Power of Sports," "Rethinking Personality Disorder and Labels," 3:26; an image of Sarah Palin sitting on a couch gesturing for a video 2:37 minutes long, an image of a blind character on "Pretty Little Liars" for a video 6:02 minutes long; more

This lesson helped students begin composing their final rhetoric assignment: a Multimedia Argument Project (MAP). I encouraged students to work with each other during the planning process and to collaborate with one another as they developed their digital literacy skills.

Mapping Poetic Word Choice to Discover Literary Themes

Creating a mindmap of key words can yield a list of important themes

The assignment allows students to discuss their literary close-reading essays with each other, while also attempting to coordinate those close-readings with larger thematic issues discussed in class. The idea is to use individual words to learn more about global concerns in a literary text.

Introducing Rhetorical Analysis with Contemporary Advertisements

The aim of this lesson is to provide students with an accessible and engaging introduction to rhetorical analysis. Students will view four brief texts—three thirty-second videos and one print advertisement—and try to identify the audience, the speaker, and the argument contained in each.

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. 

Teaching Close Reading through Short Composition/Revision

A black and white image of WEB Du Bois

This lesson teaches close reading by having students compose, and then analyze, openings to biographical narratives about “great Americans.”

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.

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.

In-Class Group Evaluations of Short Videos

Eminem looking at marquee saying "Keep Detroit Beautiful"

For an entire class period, groups of students are tasked with evaluating a short video. Each group is assigned a video and a category of evaluation that they will use to evaluate their assigned video. They will work together to come up with criteria, evidence, and an evaluative claim for their video.

"Creating" Visual Rhetoric Through Student-Designed Flash Games

This assignment gives students a chance to make their own (very elementary) argumentative, flash game. By actively engaging in the process of game design, students will have to think through their intentions and the process of piecing together visual, aural, and verbal rhetoric.

Revising/Drafting/Editing With Wikis

Students engage with and revise each other's texts using a wiki platform

Students engage with and revise each other's texts using a wiki platform. Allows students to consider the various ways of composing a summary of a single text.

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.

Translating an Essay Into an Infographic

Students create infographic focusing on the interrelation of ideas

For this assignment students use Photoshop to create a visual depiction or information graphic (infographic) of an essay. This infographic will focus on the interrelation and visual communication of ideas rather than statistics (as in traditional/popular infographics). 

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