YouTube and Comm Ethics

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Lehman, Carol M., Debbie D. DuFrene, and Mark W. Lehman. “YouTube Video Project: A ‘Cool’ Way to Learn Communication Ethics.” Business Communication Quarterly 73 (2010): 444-49.

The article begins with the statement that businesses expect their business students to have been instructed in ethics. It then discusses the issue with studying case studies (irrelevant and boring) and argues that role playing, through the creation of a video on the case study, engages critical thinking and contributes to student enjoyment–which might increase learning (445). The assignment is to create a video on the case study that is to be part of the class’ (company’s) formal training on ethics. As a beginning point, students should learn the four behavior possibilities (illegal and unethical; legal, yet unethical; illegal, yet ethical; legal and ethical). Students decide on a communication rule and create a two- to four-minute video giving a realistic roleplaying of breaking that rule. Five points about videos that students might not know should be explained. 1) Short and simple. 2) Avoid gimmicks and too much movement. 3) Have good audio. 4) Choose appropriate clothing, avoiding patterns and bright colors. 5) Edit the video to eliminate errors. Inviting judges to watch and score the videos is recommended (446). Also having a premier is recommended.

This article refers to YouTube as “cutting-edge social media” (444). I think this is a mistake, even for 2010, though it is certainly not true in 2014. In 2014 Instagram would be the cutting-edge social media. However, YouTube is a viable and–dare I say–revered channel for students. Certainly a premier gives the appearance of importance, which is why I have done this with my fyc classes. The points for teaching about videos are good–though most of my students don’t make those mistakes anyway.

I think that when I have a B&P Writing class that is larger instituting this might be a good idea. I dropped the ethics assignment because they have a course in ethics in their major (business related) and I couldn’t do anything substantially better or different. This, however, might qualify.


Teaching New Media Responsibly

Veltsos, Jennifer R. and Christophe Veltsos. “Teaching Responsibly with Technology-mediated Communication.” Business Communication Quarterly 73.4 (December 2010): 463-67.

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Privacy rules require that students not be forced to disclose certain personal information. Some students are at risk if they are required to create a website, or whatever, so be prepared to allow the creation of a sock puppet (464).

Remind students of the permanence of the internet. Tweets are now archived with the Library of Congress (465).

Discuss the usability of online sources and how it can constitute plagiarism (465). –Educational use only is allowed, but if we post these anywhere else, then we are infringing on someone else’s copyright. This is important to note if they are planning to post a video to YouTube. … Discuss how audio and visuals can be found that are creative commons and/or public domain.

Performance feedback must be kept private (466). So don’t comment on the video or the blog post if it is in the general internet –or even if it is behind a school wall. Others within the school can still see it.

These are good points to remember.

Seeing Rhetoric

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Allen, Nancy. “Seeing Rhetoric.” Writing the Visual: A Practical Guide for Teachers of Composition and Communication. Ed. Carol David and Anne R. Richards. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press, 2008. Print. 32-50.

“Visual rhetoric refers to the visual communication of features and the effects they have on readers/viewers” (Allen 33).

Allen uses specific examples to argue that visuals provide information, make rhetorical appeals, and add nuance.

“To use visual rhetoric effectively, then, we must be careful to consider each item’s appropriateness to our audiences and purpose” (Allen 38).

“A good source for finding examples of the appeal through ethos is personal websites” (Allen 39).

Quotes 2002 website credibility study from Stanford, saying 46% of participants rated credibility of a site based on visual aspects (Allen 39).

Allen suggests that students be required to design their own website, to practice developing ethos (39). She also says that visuals often present the emotional appeal. “[W]e are often swayed more by our passion or emotions (Corbett 34), and it is emotion that inspires us to take action (99)” (Allen 40).

Allen says that images are a good invention strategy. “When students in my classes are developing ideas, with the goal of preparing a recommendation report, I ask them to create visual representations of the problem as part of the development process” (41). She says she actually requires multiple visual representations, in order to facilitate movement beyond “linear matrices and flow charts to sketches and visuals based on freer types of associations” (41).

“[V]isuals translate relations over time into relations in space” which, she argues, helps them to be more easily understood (42). She notes that search engines have become forms of invention and that they have also become more visual.

She notes that “headings in the center are more important than those on the side, and items in a list are related” (44), which we know from stylistic guides but they are rhetorical strategies that can be used effectively. I think this is something that résumé conventions do not strictly follow (at least on center headings). It is, however, interesting to think about whether or not a name centered seems to have more importance than a name to the left side.

“When text becomes art” (46) I noted as a great tag line.

Is this a goal for digital presentations? Text becoming art?

She quotes Donald Norman’s discussion of usability design that visuals provide memory aids. This is the same thing that Jesse Schell argues in The Art of Game Design.

Visuals evoke curiosity. People want to know the story behind images that catch their attention (48).

“Visual thinking during our writing process expands our reservoir of ideas” (Allen 48), which is why the digital presentation should come during or within the writing process, according to a CCTE presentation I attended several years ago.

male studying computerThis is harder to do than I expected, as it seems like students are working on disparate projects. However, I know that doing the digital project does enhance the writing project. Should I revise the 112 schedule to reflect that? Or is having them do two kinds of composing at the same time asking/requiring the students to work with mental overload?


Students and Assessment

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Crews, Tena B. and Kelly Wilkinson. “Students’ Perceived Preference for Visual and Auditory Assessment with E-Handwritten Feedback.” Business Communication Quarterly 73.4 (December 2010): 399-412.

The literature review says that writing skills have decreased, that a single course cannot remediate student writing skills, and that business communication is another course to emphasize writing. It charges that as submission modes change, so, too, should modes of assessment. It presents four goals: “(a) learners are actively involved and receive feedback; (b) learners become increasingly sophisticated learners and knowers; (c) professors coach and facilitate, intertwining teaching and assessing; and (d) learning is interpersonal, and all learners—students and professors—are respected and valued (Huba & Freed, 2000)” (401). Comments on papers are often ineffective [so why do we write them?] (402). They used a web-based questionnaire with assessment examples to gather data. Most students were seniors, traditional ages; a little more than half were male (405). Handwritten were ranked as the least helpful. Audio and visual with e-writing were ranked as most helpful. The participants also ranked benefits for each assessment type and answered which types were used by other professors.

This is an interesting quantitative study. It appears to have been carried out well. I am unsure that students saying they found something helpful means it is helpful, but it will more likely be perceived as helpful by the students… which would lead to better evaluations for the teacher, assuming the feedback given was decent/good.

I have sometimes written entire letters for feedback. I have even recorded responses. These take much more time than handwritten. I would want to know that a) they were being listened to and b) being used.


Business Comm and New Media

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Cardon, Peter W. and Ephraim Okoro. “A Measured Approach to Adopting New Media in the Business Communication Classroom.” Business Communication Quarterly 73.4 (December 2010): 435-38.

The article states that instructors rush technological change in the classroom and gives three questions to ask before adopting new tech. “Does our emphasis on various communication technologies in theclassroom mirror the use of these technologies in the workplace?” (Cardon and Okoro 435). The most common technology used in the workplace is email, with as much as 15 hours/week being spent (435), then simple phone calls; other technology is significantly less common (436). “Do the technologies we adopt in the classroom mirror those best classified as business communication and help the field retain a unique identity?” (436). While social media is used in business, it is primarily in marketing, and blogs are primarily concentrated in leadership education (437). “Does the use of technology in the classroom complement and encourage rich, face-to-face communication?” (437) Technology should not, the article argues, replace f2f communication.

The first and third questions are good ones and though the article may not give strong arguments for them, there are strong arguments. The second question, however, is not even addressed in terms of unique field identity. The article would have been stronger without the second question, which brings in tangential rather than germane arguments.

The high use of email is a good point and one I had not thought of. I do use email a lot in my B&P Writing class and most of my students email their homework. They also usually email questions (rather than texting).


Critical Literacy for New Media

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Monnin, Katie. “Developing and Envisioning a Critical Literacy Perspective in a New Media Age.” The NERA Journal 44.1 (2008): 39-46. Web. 15 January 2014.

The article looks at English Language Arts (6-12) and its place in critical literacy studies. Monnin gives a history of critical literacy in the ELA classroom. She introduces the Great Books movement, intended to show students how great people thought and encourage them to think that way, too (40). Then NCTE advocated for a wider range of readings (41). She then moves through the New Critics and reader response theorists. She argues that critical literacy in ELA is multimodal (42). Then she suggests an assignment, which is describing character development in a new media composition. Her second assignment is to infer themes. Basically she says to treat new media as if it were old media and let the students read/watch it and write the same sorts of compositions they were writing.

Since I know that character development is not taught or learned well, due to the large number of searches on TCE for this information, I am skeptical of the first assignment and as she does not develop any new media centric assignments, even as simple as show how the music contributes to whatever or examine the costumes for xxx…, I would say this is neither useful nor credible. Thankfully my blog is self-published, so null findings still go up.


Facebook in Bus Comm

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Decarie, Christina. “Facebook: Challenges and Opportunities for Business Communication Students.” Business Communication Quarterly 73 (2010): 449-52. Web. 15 January 2014.

The article argues that the ability to use Facebook well and wisely is essential. It says that Facebook encourages strong writing, interpersonal communication skills, and Web 2.0 literacy. To show how Fb encourages strong writing, the author points out poorly written status updates and asks students what opinion they form about the writer. For interpersonal communication skills, she arrived at school one day and saw that a student who was not an FB friend had carried on a discussion with another over boring teachers and not going to class. She opened that in class and let the class comment on it. Showing that people who are friends of your friends can see your status is an important piece of information. Another student was given the opportunity to pitch a project to the university president. While preparing for his speech, he opened the FB page and saw that he was featured shirtless and drinking a beer hands-free. A friend snapped a picture of him in his professional attire and the student uploaded it immediately, before he went into the president’s office for the meeting. Finally the professor details her own experience meeting a writer online and pitching the idea of her publishing his blog entries as a chap book. Students read and commented on her pitch letter; they also asked for details about how the online meeting had happened, how the relationship was developed, and, finally, about the author’s answer. This allowed the students to see the use FB could be put to for both forming new networking relationships but also for developing business opportunities.

When I began reading I did not think this article would be very credible. However, the three very simple examples she gave, and her argument that FB promotes strong writing, were persuasive.

facebookI tell students not to post things they don’t want their future employers to see, but perhaps I should again have students google the other students and read through their FB posts for something that could be damaging to their futures. The stories in this article will be very useful for communication disasters to tell my students about.


Curiosity and Technology

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Arnone, Marilyn P., Ruth V. Small, Sarah A. Chauncey, and H. Patricia McKenna. “Curiosity, Interest and Engagement in Technology-pervasive Learning Environments: A New Research Agenda.” Education Technology Research and Development 2011 (59): 181-98. Web. 15 January 2014.

The authors argue that technology can stimulate students’ curiosity. They consider how students who grew up in a tech-rich environment act and what they do when their research takes unexpected turns (182). The literature begins with the history of curiosity studies and discusses the connection between curiosity and exploratory behavior. A 2009 study showed that acting on curiosity and finding information indicates competence (183). The authors focus on curiosity in new media environments and discuss contextual factors (185). They discuss triggered situational interest (188) and engagement: participative, affective, and cognitive (189). They move through situational, personal, and contextual contributions. Learning modalities are introduced with ambient learning, “the next generation of mobile learning” (191). They also discuss cyberlearning (192), personal learning networks (193), and social media and collaborators (193). This is a work which sets out a research agenda to be pursued.

The idea of being curious and being able to find answers as a measure of competence is interesting. This doesn’t actually relate to the RrNm project, despite the fact that I thought it might.

Useful ideas: information literacy as an indicator of competency.

RrNm Ann Bib

Teaching Digital Rhetoric

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0“Teaching Digital Rhetoric: Community, Critical Engagement, and Application.” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture 6.2 (2006): 231-59. Web. 1 May 2012.

The article quotes from some highly collaborative sources to argue that “our notions of literacy continue to migrate” (234). Then says “we are in the very late age of print,” and that most writing already happens digitally (234). Issues of access are presented as being escalating, rather than minimized, over time (236). Technological devices’ rhetorical role, impacting multiple levels of writing practice, are brought up (237). The article defines digital writing as something created on a digital device and primarily distributed wirelessly [like this blog post] (238) and digital rhetoric as communicative acts that include sound, words, and images and are made, maintained, and shared electronically (243). The article states that a sharply defined supportive community is necessary in a course with digital writing/rhetoric (244). Also students need to be engaged in understanding and delimiting digital creations and rhetoric themselves (245). Besides the community and the critical engagement, students also must see the relevance of digital writing/rhetoric to their lives (247). Situated practice is necessary, but a course in digital writing/rhetoric must begin with a “theoretical and practical framework for examining digital work” (249). Professors should not just take advantage of student experiences for the class, but learn from those student experiences (250). Assignments such as online ethnographies, technology community maps, and digital media and/or website creation for those communities are discussed. Rather than simply critiquing the rhetorical aspects of a digital work, students should both critique it and its effect on their lives, self-identity, etc. A series of fairly simple (but time-consuming) activities are given (252). The article discusses the need for learning how to learn about technology (253) and discusses “a pedagogy of patience” (254) in which we teach students that they don’t have to know all tech as it comes out or all at once and that learning takes time. Then they apply it to their assignments by saying that students need to be given the time to learn what they are expected to use (254).

iStock professor lecture small group white boardThe article has a lot of good assignment ideas as well as some reasonably firm grounding in rhetoric and digital rhetoric, although it also assumes a great deal on the part of the reader. The article does NOT list the authors, but simply says they all took a certain course in professional writing at Michigan State in 2004. The lack of identification of authors is troubling to me, even though I published on TCE anonymously for a number of years. The fact that Duke chose to publish and copyright the material makes up for the lack of authorship in terms of credibility. The article is placed within the currents of conversation about digital writing and digital rhetoric in a reasonable way. However, the idea that we will teach students not only literacy skills but tech skills and rhetorical theory and critical analysis and give them time to learn and practice the new technologies and literacies is intimidating and I wonder how it can be done in a single classroom.

The article pushes the commercial analysis assignment (from my fyc course) by saying that, rather than simply analyzing the commercial, students should “create a parody of the ad that highlights the elements they have analyzed and critiqued” (253). I think this could be very effective and in a group creating a parody might be less intimidating. Handling the humor of a parody is an extremely complex skill and not one that I am confident I could do. (Though it would be fun to listen to some parodies of songs!) The final element of the assignment as conceived includes a critical reflection on why they chose to engage the points they did in the way they did.

“How do we … facilitate our students’ “messy transition” to a multimodal culture while still acknowledging their current individual, culturally situated literacies?” (“Teaching Digital Rhetoric” 248)

RrNm Ann Bib

This work is quoted in my Early Notes.

Digital Storytelling: VR Difference?

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Xu, Yan, Hyungsung Park, and Youngkyun Baek. “A New Approach Toward Digital Storytelling: An Activity Focused on Self-efficacy in a Virtual Learning Environment.” Educational Technology & Society 14.4 (October 2011): 181-91. Web. 1 May 2012.

This article covers an experiment in which one group created digital stories in Second Life while the other created them off-line, attempting to discover where learning was better or more frequent. They introduce storytelling and then digital storytelling, making sure that they foreground the writing of/in digital storytelling as essential. They had a questionnaire to judge writing self-efficacy and used the Flow State Scale both as a pre- and post-test. The changes were significant for the online writing experience of digital storytelling, but not for the other group.

The study took place in South Korea with South Korean students, so it might not apply to the US. The study involved only two classes and a total of sixty-four undergraduates. However, the two groups were equal in number. If they did in fact do a pre-test, they didn’t show those scores. In addition, both the scales were originally constructed in English and translated, so they might not have been equally reliable in Korean.

What this is useful for is offering a way to potentially better utilize digital storytelling in the classroom to improve student writing. It also could be repeated to see if the experience holds up in the US. It would be fairly easy to do with two classes, but much harder to do with any more than that.

RrNm Ann Bib