Rhetoric II: Evaluating Student Writing, Multimodal Rhetoric

In live blogging this conference, I am following the conventions for conference blogging.

Evaluating Student Writing when Multimodal Rhetoric Changes the Interface

Chair: Beth Battles, Texas Wesleyan University

When they first started talking about multimodal, I was like “What?” I am very nervous if I ever have to go back into freshman composition.

They are going to introduce their panels and themselves.

Carol Johnson-Gerendez: Today we are going to talk about the challenges of evaluating multimodal rhetoric.
How many of you are already doing this?
How many of you are doing it online or on the web?

We are bringing the perspective of freshman classes and graduate courses.

Carol Johnson-Gerendas, Texas Wesleyan University
“What’s TEXT got to do with it?”: Assessing Visual and Textual Elements in First-Year Writing Projects

first decade of 21st C research escalates
Non-discursive Theory by Joddy Murray from TCU
The Rhetoric of Cool
Cynthia Self, … many others
Practical resources for writing teachers.
At the same time, doc design in handbooks included visual design and analysis.

Multimodal Composition, edited by Cynthia Self lots of articles and lots of good resources and examples
Cannot ignore or be ignorant of non-discursive rhetoric
Textual, aural, and visual rhetoric
Need to redefine rhetoric and text.
Integration and teaching of visual literacy. Create and interpret visual rhetoric.

Questions now: How and where the students will learn to practice digital practice?

Concern for the rhetorical considerations and design elements….
Found a chapter on integrating graphics. But nothing on critically reading images, visual literacy, etc.

Handout! Includes bibliography.
Table for the best works she has found on Handbooks that deal with Visual Rhetoric/Media and Visual Rhetoric Elements and Design Considerations, Content Informing Assignment/Assessment

sound portraits
audio essays
video poetry
web essays

rhetorically interrogate the visual

Jeff Rice’s work in The Rhetoric of Cool
highly recommend his work

When students integrate visuals from the web, they begin to write themselves, defining themselves in images and in texts.
Presenting public selves differently from private selves.
Digital media creates environment of self-examination.
Students use appropriated and re-mixed voices.

Important questions:
Kara P. Alexander “More about Reading, Responding, and Revising: The Three Rs of Peer Review and Revision.” Multimodal Composition: Resources for Teachers.
Do they know/understand the audience? Do they need to have one that they know and will respond?
What are the capabilities (or affordances) with which I am working?

Inform student and teacher creative work and evaluative

Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen. Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design.
Looks at foregrounding and backgrounding.
Identifies components that are familiar to English professor. Provides teachers and students with language to examine and evaluate visual design.
Call for explicit teaching of visual literacy.
connection to semiotics, social action, social discourse, analytical processes, representation and interaction

rich resource written by some of the best scholars in our field (the handout)

Many scholars offer solid advice.
Remain flexible and provide an experimental opportunity.
Informative, instructive, and summative assessments.
Both teachers and students keep a journal of the composing projects.
Teachers need to discuss key intellectual property topics. Martine C. Rife. “The Fair Use Doctrine: History, Application, and Implications for (New Media) Writing Teachers.” Computers and Composition 24 (2007):154-178.

Offer the following advice:
Keep assessment local.
Develop clear objectives.
Emphasize rhetorical constraints most important.
Allow students to help create assessment.
Incorporate fair use with plagiarism discussions.
Maintain a spirit of experimentation.
Expect great outcomes.

L. Dee Fink Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses

Stacia Dunn Neeley, Texas Wesleyan University
This is going to be fun for everyone.
Carol and I have been teaching in learning communities for four years. Two years partnering with English and Speech.

I am the traditional one.
Last year she talked me into X presentations.

Lots of getting ready, including multimodal rhetoric, webinars, iPod touches for every student in the room.
“The image enacts the argument.” (who?)

assigned students film work and other digital practices
assessment became THE word and we were all doing some of it
We were writing rubrics about rubrics.
At the end of the day, I would still go home with papers to grade in a bag.

teach students to “write reasonable sentences”
if design was visual rhetoric, with less and less text, how could I teach that? How could I assign visual rhetoric, when the department asked for a certain number of words in a particular number of essays?

Embedding Ethics into Design and Assessment

Students create first week, an online portfolio.
The stakes have changed. There is a presentation even on the single paper turned in.

Assignment design:
Dee Fink “designers of learning environments”
incorporate assignment design into student experience

educative assessment is forward looking, frequent, and self-directed

I want to help the students to see the media they use for fun for educational purposes. I want to teach them to examine and be able to discuss what choices they made and why.

Delineate a process for creating an assignment loop:
FYC genre sequence

rubric-based student evaluation

Challenge: to do better job with metacognition

Articulation of choices through revision
media and impact
Linking to the learning outcomes in my syllabus
Dev. of org chart for ePortfolio- showcasing works most proud of and also posting documents that show reflection

Key elements on assignment sheet:
Link the learning outcomes to the course syllabus.
Give rationale for purpose and audience.
Explain genre conventions.
Format specifications (research req, length, doc style)
“Affordances” (impact of the modalities that could influence message and delivery
Evaluation criteria applied to final project
“A” gauntlet: (specific bonus challenges for those going for an A)
Post-assignment reflection (encourage low-stakes writing in class or as an essay for ePortfolio)

Driving questions that help me think of teaching AS assessment:
Which modality is the most efficient?
What is the impact of my rhetorical choice?
How does this project achieve the goals that could not be met on paper?

Final grading criteria by which students evaluate themselves, before the teacher evaluates.

Using an assignment sheet helps me hold on to what I want to do, esp when overwhelmed.

Will benefit us in assessing our pedagogical ideas.

Don’t want “fun projects that aren’t as boring as a normal assignment” without thought of metacognitive reflection.

Envision students as stakeholders.
Aid students in making shift from celebration of innovation to seeing the educational benefits of multimodal rhetoric choices.

Doing a better job of involving students in every pedagogical opportunity that creates critical thinking for assessment, rhetorical education at its best.

How does Pinterest impact student thoughts and processes?
transferable habits of mind

Assessment as learning…
New theories to drive research

Performance-based activity increases the students’ engagement and their work is better.

Poetry Casebook:
All students nominate poems. I nominate a poem. We build a casebook together.
Research is a big part of the English assignment. 5 sources cited. Do research on poet and poem.
Had to identify and reading voice visually and interpretively
Performance-based learning

They performed in stages. Were able to see other students’ perform. Perform multiple times.
self and peer assessment
collaboration “learning community affair”
revision- self and peer assessment
Were very tempted to look at literary devices. As they reflected on their struggles with their drafts, they realized they were doing the high school stuff.
Worked very hard to work together.

3 female students re-mixed Maya Angelou poems
two students recording, one running computer, one reading her poetry work, one holding flashlight on face to show

Showed a final product.
Keeping track of their process.
Did their performances while we were having peer review on two days, so the performance had time to inform the final draft.
“Doing the paper also gave me the research that I needed to get into the poem.”
Speech performance helped in English paper.

Closing the Loop:
We came together to reflect on the process
We had high impact practices (from Cynthia Self).

Another example…

people prepared for performances in different ways
noticed the differences
everyone had something that brought their poem out more
They didn’t have to stick with their nominated poem. They could choose someone else’s.

Build on students’ knowledge, experience, and love of sound and visual.

We contend the students would not have gotten as deep without the digital elements, the performance, and the research.

Carrie Shively Leverenz, Texas Christian University
“Resistance to Multimodal Composing among Advanced Writers: Assessing Expertise and Medium”

studying student resistance
has been resistance in past
there was no resistance

Benefit of using easy tools.
Senior seminar in English.

Rough draft of digital portfolio was due Oct. 3.
Final draft due Oct. 14.

design and develop a digital professional portfolio that highlights and reflects upon the quality of your work as a major
take seriously, about to create a publicly accessible document
website will be read by faculty in English
encouraged to share with employers and graduate programs

Had to include 3 genres.

portfolio grade in part will be successful completion of reflective work focused on what you have learned

for each of the items, write a response and support it wiht concrete examples and illustrations from your coursework.
-learned about diverse literary heritages and a range of ideological perspectives
-learned to write intelligent, informed, and persuasive prose
-learned the problem-solving heuristics of critical reading and interpretation
-learned to interrogate ideas by maintaining a healthy distance and open-minded disposition toward rival perspectives
-learned about and prepared myself for diverse career paths and graduate study

writing majors
-explored writing as a spectrum of diverse practices
-learned to write in multiple modes, including creative, professional and rhetorical, and see connections among a range of genres
-engaged in reading and writing practices in digital environments
-connected disciplinary learning with the outside world
-learned about and prepared myself for diverse career paths and graduate study

An effective Digital Professional Portfolio will:
-include a clear and concise home page that is welcoming and informative
-provide an accurate and up-to-date résumé
-include, reflect upon, and contextualize samples of your writing in at least 3 different genres
-present clear and compelling evidence of the skills and experience you’ve gained in addition to those developed as an English or Writing major
-conform to the guidelines of good web writing detailed on
-conform to the principles of web design as described in the handout “Web Design Basics”
-be logically organized and easy to navigate
-be aesthetically pleasing in terms of color and the inclusion of images
-carefully proofread and make sure the work is free of spelling and grammatical errors

can include performance during draft
could do performance during draft stage in English classroom (even if not in a Learning Community group)

ADA? Do you have students describe their pictures, their music (or what is spoken), etc?

Students are way more aware of the stakes when they see the professors collaborating.
We have some crossover with our classes; one stays or comes back in during the other class.

Performance is a summative assessment.
They went to studios. Taped themselves. Did peer review and wrote a self-reflection.
By the time they got to the end performance, they had practiced and had done a lot. Lowered the anxiety level for the freshmen.
Had to justify their media choices.

For an assignment, I will pick out elements from Gunther Kress, one or two visual and one or two performance elements, per speech.

our participatory culture
familiarity and ease of use (low barrier tools), teachers gain experience assessing multimodal work

All used weebly. Chose a design of template. Students continued making choices: banner image, picture of self, writing samples, which and how chosen.

Senior Seminar prof said white background was good
Picked clean and not lots of colors.
Icon of feather/quill. Time-consuming search for images that weren’t copyrighted.
Photo chosen= only good picture. Always frustrated because they make me take my hat off. Video game designer didn’t mean I had to take off my hat.
Stated on his opening page that he was accepted as a level designer in the video game industry. (He had not been. But has been now.) Also said he had graduated. (Has not.)

Cliff chose examples of video game design he had submitted for his application to SMU.
Not done for any class.
That’s his first thing.
Short story “Mercenaries” had been revised after turned in, multiple times.
“has been rewritten countless times in an effort to create a story that I felt was worth telling” -Cliff (TCU)

admitted seeing a connection between writing an essay and creating website
said website was more fun– got to make a lot more choices
claiming an identity of writer requires students to recognize choices they have made in writing

Elora- “not very computer savvy”
“realizing how much more everything is going online, even for writers”
“how to make things more professional”

decided to focus on her immediate goal to teach English in Japan
chose her image because she was in Japan in the photo
for her writing, she chose things that showed her knowledge of Japan
used images that showed her awareness of Japanese culture–strategic use of image
comparing to other writing:
-have to think about the website like a business, selling points
-have to focus on visual appeal

Ashley- English major, persuasive writing, Brit lit
rhetoricity of website assignment was central
“having the courage to put myself online”
“first time to write for a public audience”
biggest challenge was that she focused on visual more than the rhetorical
played around with font
added periods to match her initial in her name Ashley C. Hart and Welcome.

said offered a lot of freedom
15 different templates tried out
came back to her original choice highlights her
visual of a library and a Gothic arch
like much older looking gothic schools
did not put image of self online, to encourage focus on her work
used Courier type
had an image of a typewriter
had image of herself in a stone door, which
included her Fulbright application as her “about me” text
pleasure important to artists
“fun story, enjoyed writing it”
“a lot of work went into… but I really enjoyed it. I was really proud of it.”

for AShley, using Weebly wasn’t a challenge.
ultimate goal of assessing work WAS a challenge
had to go through old pieces to showcase her writing
learned to adapt her writing to online rhetorical considerations

focus assessment on choices, including students’ ability to assess them

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