Assignments

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READING RESPONSES/BLOG POSTS Goals of the assignments:

  • To practice a variety of reflective writing practices (summary, analysis, etc.) that will help prepare you for further discussion of readings/mini-assignments in class.
  • Writing to learn; writing to think; learning to write and think
  • Connect with classmates outside of class (through blogrolls and comments)
  • To have your voice heard in personal ways that aren’t always available through class time
  • To learn how to use your blog as a portfolio (rhetoric of posts vs. pages; design, etc.)

Instructions: These responses/posts will be assigned in class and described in the class blog, since they will vary from week to week. Please check the main blog page for details. Altogether, they constitute a major assignment since they play a large role in your end-of-semester completed portfolio.

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KEY-ISSUE (SCREENSHOT) ANALYSIS

  • due February 4, by beginning of class
  • we’ll respond to it with comments by the following week’s class
  • you will revise it for the final portfolio

Goals of the assignment:

  • To create pages in your blog & to understand how those pages function (i.e., how a page is diff than a post) within the navigational system of your blog/portfolio.
  • To understand why and when you’d use a static image (screenshot) vs. written text [vs. a video clip/citation] to support your text’s purpose.
  • To practice embedding multiple media (screenshots and video) into your blog posts/pages.
  • To practice your analytical skills across multiple media, not just for written texts.
  • To practice multimodal citation and research skills.
  • To choose a topic from the “key issues” discussion that is of most interest to you and applying that knowledge to your representative text. (We are building up to the project proposals.)
  • To analyze your representative/canonical text so that you can better claim why (or why not) it should be included as a representative example of the field.
  • To enhance your analytic skills of multimodal texts for when you start composing in more media next week.

Here is the assignment. Below is a suggested order, but consider it more of a checklist instead of a numbered list.

  • Pick an issue from the updated listing of digital media issues, posted on the blog. It should be an issue that you are invested in, intrigued by, seriously want to know more about, think is fun, is a topic you’d like to eventually pitch to the class as one of the group project topics, etc. (The point is to start narrowing your interests; you are building up to your individual pitch proposals with this assignment.)
  • Once you’ve chosen an issue, find one academic article/webtext and one popular text that informs your issue. These should be new/different than any previous articles you’ve found; the point is to expand your knowledge and create a working bibliography. On your blog, write a summary, citation, and link to each text (if possible). In your summary, make sure to explain/define what your chosen issue is and detail how these pieces relate to that issue. You will use this information when you compose the complete analysis. [Explore using categories and tags when you compose these posts; they might help you search for related material as you build a larger bibliography.]
  • Choose one of your canonical texts from last week’s assignment. Or, you may choose one that your classmates’ introduced, but do NOT choose a brand new one unless you get permission from me first.
  • Analyze your digital text through the lens of that key issue you chose and summarized in the earlier blog posts. In writing up your analysis to post on your blog, you should (1) embed screenshots from the example digital text when necessary, and (2) refer to and/or quote (including screenshots, if applicable) from your references.
  • Your complete analysis, with written text and captioned screenshots, should be posted as a PAGE on your blog (not an individual post) by the start of class next Wednesday. Make sure to name the page something appropriate and unique to the assignment. Also make sure that the page actually appears in your blog menu (some templates don’t like to show pages).

Notes about this assignment:

  • Here is a handout on Criteria for Rhetorical Analysis, which might help you if you’re trying to remember how to analyze a text. You don’t necessarily have to use a rhetorical method to analyze your text (maybe you’ll use a literary analysis… or something else…), but this is here in case you want it. It is an easy refresher for those who have taken English 283.
  • I do not expect you to embed videos or take animated clips from your reference texts at this point. Even if you know how to take video clips, I’d rather you not for this assignment. (We’ll be going over this next week in class.) The point here is to be “lo-fi” by using static images instead of animation and to discuss how that helped or hindered you in making your argument.
  • Length will vary depending on what issue you’re discussing and how many screenshots you need to make your argument. However, a good rule of thumb is that 1-2 pages is probably not long enough and I don’t really expect you to write in so much depth as to have a mini-article (7-10 pages) on your hands. I suspect somewhere between 4-6+ pages, if printed with screenshots, will suffice. You’ll be going into much more depth on this topic (if it is chosen as a group project) later, so the point is to make your argument as succinctly and clearly as possible using screenshots as illustrations of that argument.

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VIDEO CFP

  • Assets: due February 11, by beginning of class
  • We’ll work in Moviemaker/iMovie during class & workshop next week
  • Revision: due February 18, posted to blog by beginning of class

Goals of the assignment:

  • To learn more about composing and editing in multiple modes in MovieMaker/iMovie
  • To learn more about your audience of academics who will be reviewing/reading your digital scholarship
  • To practice turning your knowledge of the disciplinary conversations of multimodal composition into digital, scholarly production (in the video CFP genre)
  • To learn how to upload video to your server space and to link from it in your blog

Instructions: Based on the textual CFP for “Undergraduate Scholars”, your mission is to compose a 1-minute video call for papers for the editors of this special issue. Include whatever information you deem necessary from the textual CFP into the video version, and also include any additional media (original, found, or cited video footage; original or cited images; and a soundtrack, if desired) — all of which should serve the purpose of the CFP. Remember that your audience(s) can be either teachers (who might be regular readers of Kairos) or undergraduate students (who likely have never heard of Kairos), both of whom may have never seen a video CFP before.

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PITCH PROPOSAL

  • due February 25, by beginning of class
  • to be presented in class
  • no longer than 3 minutes
  • whatever media you need to accomplish your pitch

Goals of the assignment:

  • To understand some of the “disciplinary conversations” in the field of multimodal composition
  • To brainstorm possible ideas for your major project that converge those conversations with your interest in them
  • To choose one idea to convince your classmates should become one of the major projects in class
  • To coherently present (using the media of your choice) a single argument about multimodal composition
  • To prepare yourself through knowledge-building to participate in the conference and work on the major project.

Instructions: Based on all the research you’ve done so far in this class (searching key issues/terms, focusing in on an idea for your analysis, reading responses, etc.), decide on a topic you’d like to pursue for the major project. Prepare a presentation no longer than 3 minutes that explains your topic, what argument you want to make in it, how you’d design that argument, and pitch those ideas to your classmates. You should use the textual and video CFPs to help you cover all the “features” you’ll need to pitch. Your classmates will be casting secret ballots on the topics during class time so that we can narrow down the pool. I will be filming you AND timing you, so make sure to keep it under 3 minutes. Keep your audience(s) in mind, what they will need to know to understand your project idea, and how you might marry form and content (using particular media and technologies) in your final project.

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MAJOR PROJECT

Due:

  • April 22 (workshop draft);
  • April 29 (revised version);
  • May 6 (final version in portfolio)

Working off of the CFP,  the first-half of course work, and the class’s chosen pitch proposals, you will work in groups (for undergraduates) or individually (for graduate students) to complete a submittable draft of a piece of digital scholarship for Kairos’ special issue on undergraduate research. Specifics of the project will be decided among the groups in consultation with me. All components of your project need to be accessible for  readers of differing abilities (i.e., video needs a transcript or captions, images need titles, etc.). My recommendation (if it makes rhetorical sense based on your blog design) is to create a new page on your blog to host your project proposal, which will function kinda like an introduction to the group project itself, and then include the group project on that page as well (either as an embed or a link).

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PROJECT PROPOSAL

Due:

  • draft due on April 29, to be workshopped in class.
  • final, revised proposal due May 6 as part of portfolio.

Following instructions on the CFP, you will write up a collaborative proposal in your group to submit your project to the Kairos special issue. (Note: You are required, for this class, to write the proposal, but whether you submit it to the guest editors is a decision your group needs to make. We will talk about what responsibilities this entails in class on April 29.) When you revise and finalize your project proposal, you will include a section called Revisions to be Made, where you outline what revisions you will make to the piece once/if it is accepted for the Kairos special issue. Although I am the primary audience for this part of the document (because I want to know what you’d do if you had more time to revise, which will help me see how well you understand the rhetorical situation of this assignment), this will also be useful information for the guest editors to know, which may sway there decision in accepting your piece for publication.

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PORTFOLIO

Due: May 6

  • must be turned in no later than 4pm on that Wednesday. I will be in my office (421g) or in the lab.
  • online portfolio due via an emailed URL no later than same deadline above.
  • offline DVD due via hand delivery or mailbox delivery no later than same deadline above.

There is an online and an offline component to your portfolio. Make sure you have ALL parts completed well before the due date so you can double-check that they work before turning things in. Double-checking means taking a CD you’ve burned out of one machine and testing it in another machine, preferably of a different platform (i.e., if you burned on a PC, test on a Mac and vice versa). The same goes for any project files you upload to your blog. Test them using another computer before turning in your portfolio. If you turn in materials that DO NOT WORK, you will receive an email from me requesting a meeting to reburn your materials, as well as a 5% drop in your timeliness participation grade.

Online Portfolio Components:

  • accessible group project
  • project proposal
  • all completed assignments (blog posts/reflections, CFPs, peer-review letters, etc.) from the semester that I asked you to post on your blog (see Schedule page for weekly assignments)
  • your portfolio reflection (see below)

These items should be uploaded to your individual blog, which functions as your online portfolio. Turning in your online portfolio contitutes sending me an email notifying me of your readiness. I should receive that email no later than 4pm on Wednesday, May 6.

Portfolio Reflection
Your portfolio reflection can be done in any medium you want. It is a reflection of your learning throughout the whole class, not just the final project. If you want to use clips or images or audio to provide examples of this learning, more the better, but I’m not expecting it. What I do expect is for you to be able to say in an intelligent way what it is you learned this semester. (Go back to the course goals.) Remember that I am your primary audience for this piece (read: academic/teacher), even though it will appear on your online portfolio where others might read/view it. Here is a much more intense example than what I expect you to complete in a week, but an example of the thought/depth I am looking for nonetheless. Also check out student examples from last semester’s 239 class — some are better than others, and I’m sure you can judge for yourself.

Focus on one or two main points that you want to make about your learning in this class. And, like I said, choose whatever medium you want. This piece should stand on its own rhetorically and might be the equivalent of 4 polished written pages, two minutes of audio, or one minute of video. Ish. The portfolio reflection is a chance for you to tell me what you’ve learned over the course of the term, how the class goals will extend beyond this particular class, and what major items you want me to most know about your learning over the semester. I take these reflections very seriously, and they are incredibly useful in my teaching this class and learning from students to better teach this class. Students have lost as much as a letter grade when their reflections were ill-prepared.

Offline Portfolio Components:

  • full-size, playable version of your group’s digital project
  • full-size, playable version of your CFP
  • e-copy of your project proposal
  • e-copy of your portfolio reflection (if in multimedia, provide a full-size, playable version)

Playable Version of Project/CFP: The playable version of your project, as it appears on your DVD, should be exported to play back full-screen (or as big as you can get it). This file should be an .MOV, .WMV, MP3, JPG, HTML, Sophie files, etc. Depending on what your project is, you’ll have different sets of files here. Ask me if you have questions about what this entails.

Burning: These items should be burned to a data (not auto-run) DVD and/or provided in a different Cheryl-pre-approved format (all in full-size versions). Note that I cannot give you instructions on how to burn DVDs on your individual computers because it will completely depend on what kind of computer you have, what burning software you have, etc. There are DVD burners in the lab that I can instruct you on how to use, but you’ll need to make an appointment with me prior to Wednesday (the due date) to show you how to use them. (Note: All your stuff might fit onto a CD. That’s fine, too.)

Labeling: The DVD must be labeled with your name and month/year in permanent marker or printed onto a permanently affixable DVD label. DVDs must be placed into an appropriate DVD sleeve or case. (No handmade cases will be allowed. I store these DVDs for permanent/archival use, so they need to be treated with care.)

Delivery: You have two delivery options — (1) The DVDs should be placed in my mailbox in the English Department mailroom, which is open from 8am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday. Ask in the department office if you need help finding my mailbox. OR, (2) You can hand deliver them to me during exam hours on Wednesday, May 6 from 1-4pm. I will be in my office (421g) or the lab.

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