Defining Visual Rhetorics

Defining Visual Rhetorics. Eds. Charles A. Hill and Marguerite Helmers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.

Rhetoric is “becoming focused on visual objects and on the visual nature of the rhetorical process” (20 of 6169).

Visual rhetoric “used in many different ways by different scholars” (23 of 6169).

Visual rhetoric is “rich with possibility” and “puzzling in its breadth” (31 of 6169).

“little agreement on the basic nature of the two terms visual and rhetoric” (31 of 6169)

Looking at the visual has been problematized and the idea for the book was to “have scholars working with visuals discuss the definitional assumptions behind their own work” (42 of 6169).

In this way it reminds me of RAW.

“[W]e want to prompt readers to think about, and to talk to each other about, what these terms mean to them and what they could mean…” (54 of 6169).

Lightmatter_wtc World Trade Center by Quadell WC CC2pt5Introduction
Introduces and discusses Franklin’s iconic image of the three fire fighters raising the American flag on Ground Zero on September 12.

“exemplary actions of common men” (231 of 6169)

“represents hope” (258 of 6169)

“a battle of specificity and symbolism” (286 of 6169)

Some artist/interpreters have avoided the licensing fee by creating an image that echoes but does not reproduce Franklin’s photograph. Is this plagiarism? Or intertextuality? (296 of 6169)

Or is it appropriation?

“nostalgia for the masculine American hero” (324 of 6169)

“‘the distortion of memory traces’ occurs at the level of the interpretant, at the moment that the visual image or event is encoded (Winter and Sivan, War and Remembrance qtd. 333 of 6169).

“photograph does not reveal truth” (341 of 6169)

“Peirce’s distinctions” = “triadic theory of icon, index, and symbol” (369 of 6169)

“the interplant is associative and connotative” (378 of 6169)

“each term describes ways that different types of images may be understood” (383 of 6169)

Index “points but does not tell” (Barthes, 62 qtd 389 of 6169).

“Why not wipe out the difference between literature and painting in order to affirm more powerfully the plurality of ‘texts’?” (Barthes, 55 qtd 409 of 6169)

“Rather than depict reality accurately, or event impressionistically, the creator assembles and arranges ‘blocks of meaning’ so that the description becomes yet another meaning” (421 of 6169).

I know I’m on a kick about this right now, but I thought of my tenure and promotion portfolio when I was transcribing the quotes.

“[T]he assembling of these ‘blocks of meaning’ is a rhetorical act” (423 of 6169).

“Visual representation gives way to visual rhetoric through subjectivity, voice, and contingency” (Zelizer qtd 429 of 6169).

“Rhetorically, ‘as if’ has the greatest power…” (434 of 6169).

To differentiate rhetorical analysis of images (or visual rhetoric), the authors argue we should be “studying material as rhetoric” (439 of 6169).

“Mitchell proposes a term… cross-disciplinary work of rhetoric, the mingling of verbal and visual emphases, and the exciting possibilities for inquiry. That term is indiscipline” (452 of 6169).

“previously [sic] unquestioned hegemony of verbal text is being challenged by what Mitchell labels the ‘pictorial turn’ (Picture Theory)–a growing recognition of the ubiquity of images and of their importance in the dissemination and reception of information, ideas, and opinions…” (458 of 6169).

Having multiple working definitions, rather than attempting to codify a single definition, has more heuristic value, the authors believe (478 of 6169).

“[E]very contributor rejects the notion that a clear demarcation can be drawn between ‘visual’ and ‘verbal’ texts” (484 of 6169).

“‘hybrid’ literacies” (489 of 6169)

expanding “visual rhetoric to include the study of constructed spaces” (492 of 6169)
Since one of the best theses out of my university last year was on the rhetoric of constructed spaces, I would say that visual rhetoric has now expanded to include this.

The authors believe that folks should “maintain the current unsettled state of visual studies for at least the near future” (514 of 6169).

The book seeks to make “explicit the seemingly infinite range of possibilities” (517 of 6169).

3 students studyingReferences:
Palimpsests by Gerard Genette
Matei Calinescu. Rereading. New Haven: Yale UP, 1993.
James Elkins. The Domain of Images. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1999.
W. J. T. Mitchell. “Interdisciplinarity and Visual Culture.” Art Bulletin 70.4 (1995): 540-44.
Barbara Maria Stafford. Good Looking: Essays on the Virtues of Images. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997.


New Media Research on Kids

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Livingstone, Sonia. “Drawing Conclusions from New Media Research: Reflections and Puzzles Regarding Children’s Experience of the Internet.” The Information Society 22 (2006): 219-30. Web. 1 May 2012.

In 2003 Livingstone did a survey of the literature looking at research of children and the net, finding there was very little—particularly in contrast with research of adults on the web (219).

“The project combined a national, in-home, face-to-face, computer-assisted interview with 1511 children and young people aged 9–19 years, plus a self-completion survey of their parents and a series of focus group and family observations” (220).

Woolgar (2002) rules for looking at activities in virtual society:
“uptake and use of the new technologies depend crucially on local social context”
“the fears and risks associated with new technologies are unevenly socially distributed”
“virtual technologies supplement rather than substitute for real activities” Which means that virtual technologies, for Woolgar, are not “real.” Yet when I watch a movie online, it is as real as if I watch it from a disk.
“the more virtual, the more real”
“the more global, the more local” (qtd in Livingstone 220)

The findings were, apparently, that the more virtual experiences the child had, the more likely they were to engage in f2f experiences.

access =/= equality of opportunity for learning the new media (Livingstone 220)
amount of access and quality of access widen the gulf between differing SESs (Livingstone 220)

school_research computer martingender differences can be found, usually in what and how often accessed (220)

age is more important (221)
9-11 age “group whose Internet skills are easily overestimated”
12-14 age “experimenting with and expending their use”
15-17 age “express their individuality through their interest in music, social networks, consumer goods, and Internet expertise”
18-19 age “access and use the Internet less and have lower levels of online skills”
“older children and boys still use it more than younger children and girls” (Livingstone 222)
Then what is up with the 18-19 yo comment?

“more knowledge is associated with greater ignorance” (Livingstone 224)
“the more one does online, the more it matters that there are things one does not know” (Livingstone 224)
“the more skills in using the Internet the teenagers have, the more opportunities they take up and also the more risks they are likely to encounter on the internet” (Livingstone 224)

“One consequence of the convenient assumption that young people are already Internet experts is that there is little critical scrutiny of their current online activities” (Livingstone 225).

When examining take up of each of 15 varied opportunities online, findings for 9- to 19-year-olds who use the Internet at least weekly show that 16% of them make only basic informational use of the Internet; a further 29% of them also use the Internet for games and e-mail; yet a further 27% expand their peer-to-peer uses with instant messaging and music downloading; and only the remaining 27% make a broad use of the Internet, taking up such opportunities as completing quizzes, creating websites, voting, contributing to message boards, offering advice, filling in forms, and so on in any significant numbers. (Livingstone 226)

Since Livingstone was part of the original survey, she has thought a lot about this information.

the survey asked about website creation, perhaps the most “active” form of online engagement and certainly one that marks a clear contrast with how it was possible for viewers to engage with television. Overall, 34% of 9- to 19-year-olds who go online at least once a week have tried to set up their own web page—more often boys than girls, and more often older than younger children (though younger children indicate they would like to develop the skills to make a site). Over a third making their own site is in some ways impressive, suggesting a considerable desire to be active and creative content producers as well as receivers. However, on closer examination it turned out that of this group, 34% never got the site online, 17% had put it online but it is no longer online, a further 17% have not updated their site for a long time, 12% are not ever sure if the site is still online, and only 32% have put it online and keep it updated—1 in 10 of the population. Further, 45% of those who made a web site did so for a school project, though 34% did it because they enjoy creative activities. Supporting the concern over young people’s Internet literacy, when those who have not made a web site were asked why not, 54% said they lacked the knowledge to do so, while a further 41% said they were not interested in such a possibility (Livingstone, Bober, & Helsper, 2004). (Livingstone 226)

it_computer 2 students martin
“with research revealing a fascinating range of ways in which young people are engaging creatively with diverse online opportunities (e.g., Fornas, Klein, Ladendorf, Sun- den, & Svenigsson, 2002; Mazzarella, 2005)” (Livingstone 227).

Increasingly, learning, work, citizenship, and community participation are conducted within the home through the medium of the computer, the Internet, and mobile tele- phony. Crucially, today’s new media span, or blur, key social boundaries: work/leisure, home/community, pri- vate/public, education/entertainment, commercial/civic, interpersonal/technologically mediated communication, personal/political, local/global, and many more. (Livingstone 227)


Assessing Rhetoric in New Media

Zoetewey, Meredith W. and Julie Staggers. “Beyond ‘Current-Traditional’ Design: Assessing Rhetoric in New Media.” Issues in Writing 13.2 (Spring/Summer 2003): 133-57. Web. 1 May 2012.

Increasingly, we have come to recognize that writing with new media involves new composing processes (Sullivan, 1991; Johnson-Eilola, 1993; Wiebe & Dornsife, 1995; Olsen, 1996). More recent scholarship emphasizes the benefits of new media writing for teaching visual rhetoric (Kostelnick, 1994; Rea & White, 1999; S. D. Williams, 2001). Johndan Johnson-Eilola (1993) contends that while composition theory and practice have undergone a process shift, hypertext demands a corresponding product shift. This product shift requires us to look at the computer as a means for opening up new thinking, reading, and writing activities, rather than looking at the computer and hypertext as new tools that simply make it easier to reproduce old media, such as print/paper documents (p. 385). Print culture privileges the contained and controlled linear narrative that tacitly supports a conclusion based rationality (S. D. Williams, 2001).

Lasmana says we are moving away from linearity of print into the playfulness of the digital.

Rice posits nonlinearity as a rhetorical principle of new media.

In my notes on chapter 2 of The Rhetoric of Cool, I note that the iBook may be too linear for the desires of the T&P committee at my university.

“kaleidoscopic power of the computer”
“We no longer believe in a single reality…” (which makes me wonder if they believe in reality at all)

Drawing on Pat Sullivan’s 2001 work, “Hypertext writing and multimedia writing are different from ‘word processing + pictures.'”

“… Wysocki finds it nearly impossible to make clean distinctions between design and information in these texts. Robin Kinross (1989) reaches much the same conclusion in his analysis of British train timetables…”

True this: “we were not really equipped to cope with what W. J. T. Mitchell (1994) describes as the “the pictorial turn” which casts the world as an image”

Look at this (still true?):

Takayoshi identified three trends with the potential to significantly shift our approaches toward assessment–the fluidity of computer-assisted writing, the emergence of visual rhetoric, and the changes wrought by hypertextual thinking and writing. She asked two important questions: first, what problems arise when instructors apply traditional assessment and response models to electronic texts? Second, what new, alternative models might address and account for the differences between print and electronic texts?

Takayoshi, P. (1996). The shape of electronic writing: Evaluating and assessing computer-assisted writing processes and products. Computers and Composition, 13, 245-257.

Holtzman, in Digital Mosaics, “writes that we often first try to conceptualize new media in terms of old, comfortable ways of thinking.” So we reuse old assignments (like a research paper) and have students recreate it (as a digital presentation).

True this: “repurposing assessment criteria is tricky if you are trying to capitalize on the new opportunities afforded by new media

Web texts (they say) are:
seemingly unconnected
visually weighted

cite Halio (1996) assignment of adding audio and images to a personal narrative essay
1. created prewriting [written down thinking], then found/crafted audio, images, and the text
2. wrote the text and then found images and sound to supplement (which became largely ornamental)
3. found the images and sound first, felt they had already “written” what they needed

Interesting. I wonder if this is why digital presentation works better within the creation stage of a text?

They say that repurposing subtly supports the verbal as primary.

My Digital Rubric
At this point in my notes I pulled up my assessment sheet for digital presentations in my classes. While there is some differentiation, in time, in level of expertise I expect, they are fairly similar.
I have the following categories:
video (presentation’s creativity, production quality, quality of editing)
rhetorical constraints (accessibility of video; appropriateness for audience, purpose, context; meet/exceed expectations)

I score them as follows:
time/length 10 points (enough for a letter grade difference)
topic 10 points (focus of information, engagement, detail)
images 15 points
text 15 points
audio 15 points
video 15 points
rhetorical constraints 10
documentation 10

Text does have 25 points (with documentation) and topic could also be seen as verbal, which would give the verbal 35 points. The visual is 30 points. The audio is 15 or 25. So I guess I do weight the text a bit more, but not a lot more. Verbal is just a bit more than one-third of the grade.

I am glad to see that my assessments, composed 8 to 10 years after this article was written, do, in fact, relate very specifically to the digital mix of new media.

They are talking about hypertext (linking, connections made without linearity necessarily), much like what I envisioned with the digital presentation I first suggested in August of 2011, when I said I would like to create a map of pieces of furniture in my home and give the history of those pieces and how they create a feeling of family continuity for me. At the time the tech people said they didn’t know how that could be done. I think we are closer to being able to do what I envisioned now and I could certainly do something that “appeared” like what I mean, even if I can’t do it exactly as I envisioned.

“we need to move away from tidy binaries of word-image, content-form, information-design (Wysocki, 2001).”
This was an issue in my business writing class this semester. We have the research project, which is becoming more amorphous rather than less, but is still basically resulting in a research report that is written. There is a rubric for determining if they need to use single or double spacing. But I did think, in the middle of the process, that it might actually be a better idea if they created a post on my teaching blog that I could direct students to.

I confess that fear had a lot to do with my reluctance to propose the idea. What would it look like? How would it function? What “parts” of the final paper would still need to be drafted and turned in as opposed to created on the page?

It stuck in my head a lot. This is something like what the T&P portfolio will be. Having students do it might give me stronger ties to the media. (Though obviously this blog, along with my teaching blog, and my personal blog, indicate that I am quite comfortable with the technology of the work.

“[Sean D.] Williams [2001] asserts that the verbal bias is both politically and rhetorically dangerous”

I don’t want my students to overvalue verbal expression, but I am a composition professor. At this point in composition studies we are still primarily about the words.

Every class I teach has at least a 10% project that is a video (up to 25%, depending on the class) and I have other visual rhetoric involved in class.

For example, for my fyc second semester they compare the words of a song and the visuals of a video. Of course, they write it as a paper, so that still gives primacy to the verbal.

My first-semester fyc class has a group project that is a digital presentation and then they write individual papers on a related topic, but again verbal–although equal in those two assignments, rather than one larger than the other.

My business writing students write a paper that is half visuals and they create a digital presentation and a brochure to go with it. I think that the verbal outweighs the audio/visual, but not necessarily by a lot.

We need to help students see how effective design either undercuts or supports the verbal rhetoric.

John Trimbur (2002) boils graphic design down to “four basic principles”: group similar items together, align visual elements, use repetition and contrast to create consistent visual patterns, and add visual interest (an amalgamation of the first three principles) (pp. 657-667).

BUT reading visuals is interpretation.

Pat Sullivan “describes the strategic goal of visual rhetoric for print as blending “an awareness of visual esthetics with a concern for the needs and wishes of the audience and [operating] within one or more cultures” (p. 108)…must involve an understanding of the cultural forces shaping the production and reception of a document (p. 110).”

Prose graphics, related to books
example: scientific journals

Theatrical graphics, related to film, theater, magazines, cartoons
example: USA Today

prose graphics = visuals represent reality

theatrical graphics = visuals create reality

[Sullivan] characterizes transactional Web sites as textual, mapped, still, interactive and using a limited color palette; the aim is to reveal logic. Experimental sites, in contrast, are visual, guided, involve movement, are immersive, and use wild color; they aim at creating an experience.

This is something to think about for T&P.

rhetoric and composition is a “dappled discipline” (Lauer)

Teaching writing means teaching the students about the assessment. (This is why the rubrics are required by our students. They’ve learned to “work to the test” and they want to know how it will be assessed–or at least think they do. And actually, if the rubric is done well, working to it will actually create what we want from it.)

Consider what may be gained by asking for something as a new media assignment.

“In digital environments, narratives may be spatially rather than temporally driven.”

At the end of the article they provide questions for assessment.

Ethics and New Media

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0James, Carrie, Katie Davis, Andrea Flores, John M. Francis, Lindsay Pettingill, Margaret Rundle, and Howard Gardner. “Young People, Ethics, and the New Digital Media.” Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice 2.2 (2010): 215-84.

Note: I collected some of these a while back and I just basically went through and read them as they were in my folders. There is less rhyme and reason to the choices than I would have liked, but I figure I had to start somewhere, right?

The study was designed to discover the ethical contours of new media and to promote ethical thinking. The authors identify significant issues for new media: “identity, privacy, ownership and authorship, credibility, and participation” (215). Questions and problems with digital publicity and speech rights are introduced (218). They note that regulation has not yet come to cyberspace (221). They decided on a “good play” approach to the question (223) and said that this is difficult to determine what is ethical because there is not a predetermined set of values. “[A]ccountability depends on the strength of ties within a given online community” (224). The definition of ethics involves respect, roles, responsibilities, internal (emic) and external (etic) perspectives, and good play (225). They discuss digital youth (227) and the “ethical fault lines” (228). A large focus is on identity play, when youth create alter egos and act out within those (230), its promises (232), and the perils associated with such play (234), which leads to a discussion of the ethics of virtual identities (237). This is repeated with privacy (238), its promises (241), its perils (243), and its ethics (245); with ownership and authorship (246), their promises (248), their perils (251), and their ethics (254); with credibility (254), its promises (257), its perils (258), and its ethics (260); with participation (261), its promises (264), its perils (265), and its ethics (268). The authors say that technical and new media literacies are important (271) to ethics, that ethics are individually situated (272), and reflect peer norms (273).

This article is nothing like what I was expecting, but the individual examples that the authors give for each of the significant issues of new media would be very relevant to class discussions on problems and opportunities presented by the internet.

This would be an interesting article for a new media and digital literacy course.

RrNm Ann Bib

Rhetoric of Cool: Ch 6 Nonlinearity

Rice, Jeff. “Nonlinearity.” The Rhetoric of Cool: Composition Studies and New Media.” Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 2007. 111-32. Print.

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0“variations in mode of discourse” produce multiple variations (Rice 111)

modes enforce rationality and coherence (quoting Berlin, Rice 111)

Research in Written Composition says “modes project writing as…a rational act clarified in formulaic arrangements” (Rice 112)

“a culture has been a mechanical fate for societies, the automatic interiorization of their own technologies” (qtd McLuhan, Rice 112)

“Print locked words into space and thereby established a firmer sense of closure” (Ong qtd in Rice 114).

nonlinearity maneuvers around textual closure (Rice 114)

Manovich shows “without expanding definitions regarding how interactivity affects nonlinear writings dependence on a fixed, and not very helpful, understanding of new media and narrative will continue” (Rice 115)

tools that help writers “envision complex alternatives” (Nelson qtd in Rice 115)

narrative = indiv strands of thought
Rice suggesting multiple strands (116)

“the multiplicity is the rhetoric” (Rice 116)

Databases are tomorrow’s encyclopedias (Rice 116). This is how the social work grad students are using them, in a way. Yes, for research, but also for basic ideas and information.

“Among choices and alternatives, among differing threads of data” (Rice 117).

“training in all of the procedures that can increase one’s ability to connect the fields [of information] jealously guarded from one another by traditional organization of knowledge” (Lyotard 52, qtd in Rice 117).

encourage connection, inter-disciplinarity (Rice 117)

note where they intersect, rather than where stories are told (Rice 118)

“employ narrative to deal with new media and hence neglect to utilize new media for so-called “new” purposes” (Rice 118)

audience’s responsibility to engage with the multiple strands and intersections (Rice 119)

“nonlinearity challenges of how we order information in the digital” (Rice 119)

“The challenge for composition studies is how to write in such a manner without resorting to narrative storytelling” (Rice 121).

can “appropriate… rhetorical ‘communicative devices’ for writing to the Web” (Rice 122)

can use literature “to apply a nondigital rhetorical method to digital writing” (Rice 122)

“Kerouac’s rhetoric of nonlinearity” (Rice 122) discussed 120-122

Tim Berners-Lee talks about digital production and its “nonlinearity is not tied to narrative… but to expression in general” (Rice 123).

“This matrix of data can be composed and written in any number of ways” (Rice 123).

“Writers think in terms of relationship, not separate threads of thought. … They generate nonlinear, associative links among a variety of sites and images.” (Rice 123)
hmmm… mind maps do this visually–association is a form of memory, too. I’ve started talking about books by authors alphabetically following the one my husband and I were just discussing because that is how the books are arranged in our bookshelves.

“The rhetoric underlying this nonlinearity is association” (Rice 124).
so the rhetoric of association… mind palaces came to my head and use “semantic information structures toward information creation and distribution” (Rice 125).

How can we use consumer-driven nonlinear associative threads/strands for composition-oriented writing? (Rice 125)

Thinking here that this book and these assignments might make an interesting/useful advanced composition course. Do we teach that still? Who teaches it?

Talking specifically about Hewlett Packard’s CoolTown software (125), which he doesn’t like, but mentions things that are important (and relevant to the attempt and compositions studies and writing), adding WebCT to them (129):
“first-class citizens of the Web” (Rice 126)
“users must rethink how communication operates” (Rice 126)
“writers compose on the fly…from a variety of positions at once” (Rice 126)
“present multi-threaded points and ideas; to be simultaneously in contact with multiple audiences” (Rice 127)
“to transfer writing from the static, printed page to the mobile” (Rice 127)
“a new media pedagogical vision” (Rice 127)
“anytime/anywhere” learning (Rice 129)
“multi-threaded experiences of information gathering and production” (Rice 129)

Pedagogical approach to nonlinear writing
values nonlinearity, but not in relation to a specific technology or software (131)
“asks students to compose for the Web via a series of threads” (Rice 131)
This informational thread series creates/uses/is nonlinear organization. (Rice 131)
“In place of the linear model encouraged by the fixed places of argument (the topos), cooled topics branch out according to how users discover new connections among words, ideas, quotes, allusions, or some other issue” (Rice 131).
in flux, state of change, created to maintain changeability/preserve permeability

“Burroughs’s random topics can be expanded upon in a number of ways based on associative reasoning. Each phrase … can be interlinked and extended in connection with one or more of the others” (Rice 131).
Is this like 6 degrees to Kevin Bacon or is that an example of misuse and linearity?

“writers explore a number of thoughts at once based on how they produce” links (Rice 132)

“a list of ideas or thoughts centered around a given topic or series of topics” (Rice 132)
“students develop multiple threads around each point or idea through association, research, discussion, or another method of idea development” (Rice 132)
create either hypertext or wiki
“a wiki can serve this pedagogy better… because of how it leaves each hypertextual project always open for further changes and edits” (Rice 132)
“Each project… can then be connected to the next…” (Rice 132)
multiple points of entry

Reading list:
Gutenberg Galaxy by Marshall McLuhan
Computer Lib/Dream Machines by Ted Nelson
Easter Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow (science fiction) conceptualizes writing and thinking

Rhetoric of Cool: Ch 5 Commutation

Rice, Jeff. “Commutation.” The Rhetoric of Cool: Composition Studies and New Media.” Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 2007. 93-110. Print.

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0“Commutation is the exchange of signifiers without concern for referentiality” (Rice 93).

Barthes defines as “an important writing strategy writers employ to make specific choices regarding meaning construction… ‘artificially introducing a change’ …’observing whether this change brings about a correlative modification’…” of signification (Rice 93).

Meaning systems are not stable. (Rice 94)

In the modern composition classroom, “ambiguity is unwanted” (Rice 94).

Ambiguity is a higher level of writing and reading. I am willing to read ambiguity, if I know it was a conscious choice. I think I will place ambiguity where I place fragments. If you can write papers without fragments, then when you choose to include a fragment, it is a recognizable choice. Ambiguity is acceptable in a composition classroom, as a choice. Not as a requirement, however.

“meaning is not a fixed motion; it is exchangeable” (Rice 95)

“The digital … contests referentiality…. These writers … argue for electronic writing that does not depend on either referentiality nor signification…” (Rice 95)

“Burroughs’s theory is that writing can be cut and exchanged with other writings in order to produce new types of responses, which, in turn, may also be cut up and mixed. In that system, there is little room for Aristotelian hierarchies or topoi. Instead, the cut-up implements a logic of commutation” (Rice 95).

I wrote in the margin: try this–see what happens?… Perhaps I will do that with a post soon.

“electronic communication replaces signification with commutation as a system of exchange” argues Baudrillard (Rice 95)

“Signs have become ‘totally indeterminate…'” (Rice 95)
If so, then how is meaning generated?

“In commutation, referentiality is replaced by a system where signs are exchanged against each other [emphasis added] instead of the real” (Rice 96).

hodgepodge of cool
exchangeable rhetorical act
altered (97)
dynamic rhetoric (98)
Underlining (and then copying) words I like. Does it change meaning?

“limited gesture of commutation” (Rice 99)

“Commutation also positions rhetoric as a manipulative practice. The exchangeability Baudrillard triumphs… is meant to persuade given audiences in a manipulative manner…” (Rice 99).

“the unexpected moves commutation evokes often are not rational or reasonable” (Rice 100)

“changing meanings constitute the text” (Rice 101)

St. Martin’s Guide to Writing says: “Texts in a genre… follow a general pattern” (Axelrod and Cooper 5, qtd in Rice 102).

When they don’t, we must pause to wonder. What about the movie Cloud?

refutes the conventions of representation
minimize dissent
dissent from predictability
“creative transgressions” (Barthes Elements of Semiology 88)
“are readers asked to more actively engage with the commutations” (Rice 103)

“Commutations, on the other hand, confuse and perplex expectations and generate unpredictable transitions” (Rice 105).

“Digital sampling… most recognizable writing space” (Rice 106)

“associations and connotations generated… evoke audience response… . …various levels of meanings distributed… audience reaction” (Rice 107)

“Composition studies is not in the business of producing a consumer-oriented rhetoric” (Rice 107).

“A commutated pedagogy … would… feature a model for composing through a series of commutations…” (Rice 108).

“‘No one knows how to think of such a thing’ is, therefore, a directive for digital writing” (Rice 109).

He mentions an assignment (109-10) in which students create a website with images, texts, and organization of a celebrity of their choice. They mix, cut, and paste. “Quotations, references, collected imagery, found commodities, and personal insight are exchanged… do not reflect the referentiality demanded by thesis-driven assignments… instead they demonstrate and produce rhetorical effect through commutated signifiers” (Rice 110).

rhetorical stance = “how writers negotiate the ways they manipulate subject matter” (Rice 110)

commutation -> “multiple significations presented at once” (Rice 110)

Visual Rhetoric for Comp Teachers

Worthington, Barbara and Deborah Rard. “Visual Rhetoric for Writing Teachers: Using Documentaries to Develop Student Awareness of Rhetorical Elements.” Writing the Visual: A Practical Guide for Teachers of Composition and Communication. Eds. Carol David and Anne R. Richards. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press, 2008. Print. 70-76.

Omar Swartz “rhetoric is… the strategic use of language” (The Rise of Rhetoric and Its Intersections with Contemporary Thought 9)

elements of rhetoric they teach: message, purpose, audience, appeals (70), “Toulmin’s terms of analysis (claim, reason, warrant, backings, grounds, qualifier)” (Worthington and Rard 75)

“used documentary film to develop a rhetorical scaffold” (71)

“we are a nation of watchers rather than discriminating readers, of instant believers rather than reflective, visually aware critics” (Ann Marie Seward Barry, Visual Intelligence 2). (qtd in Worthington and Rard 71)
multimedia is our present

need to learn discourse conventions (72)

audience responds to visual first, then logic (if there is logic)

give genre history for documentaries (72-73)

Modes of documentary films:
expository = objective
reflexive = film makers address audience directly
observation = participant observers, ethnography
interactive = narrator provides cohesion

students not typically aware of bias in documentaries (74)

students more comfortable with images than text (74)

“Taking advantage of the students’ eagerness to view films over reading texts allows us to find a negotiated area of instruction that will bring the students to an academic level” (Worthington and Rard 74).

Suggestions for films:
The Marketing of Cool
The Jesus Factor
Bowling for Columbine
Fahrenheit 9/11

marginalized individuals must critique the cultural norms (Worthington and Rard 74)
What would be a non-dominating cultural form to analyze?

“students from different perspectives within society saw the rhetorical process of the film with very different eyes” (Worthington and Rard 75).

“Encountering two genres can help students analyze text rhetorically” (Worthington and Rard 76).
oppositional, nonlinear

“pre-viewing” exercise = believing statement supporting argument, doubting statement opposing argument (They chose changing drinking age.) (76)

Created groups. Each member focused on ONE task. (Like what I did during my introductory teaching class using uni’s Exceptional, Innovative, Real video.) Each one looked for;
1. identify target audience
2. logos
3. pathos
4. ethos (77)
5. purpose (78)

They used Binge. Said the young people gave stronger ethos.
Ask students why.

class prepared for discussion, said collaboration was impressive (79)

Several students noted that no source was given for the statistics nor were they told how those numbers were arrived at.

The students felt tension. The people in the film were white, upper middle class teens. The final event in the documentary focused on a racial divide and that section had the strongest reaction/response in terms of critical thinking. (80) In addition to racial imbalance, most folks in the documentary were wealthy and well educated. The blacks in class felt no sympathy for the black defendant in the trial, whose drunk driving killed a white teen. White students in the class, though, felt that there was implicit racism (81).

for a film minor: the importance of teaching the rhetoric of multimedia genres

asked students to write about ways producers created emotional appeals in the movie

“critically thinking, viewing, reading, and writing the subtleties of cultural assumptions” (Worthington and Rard 81).

Digital Presentations at 3 Universities

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Meeks, Melissa and Alex Ilyasova. “A Review of Digital Video Production in Post-Secondary English Classrooms at Three Universities.” Kairos 8.2 (2003). Web. 12 February 2014.

“digital video has the qualities we are looking for to engage students in combining design, production, and literac(ies) in the classroom”

Finally found an explanation of why video isn’t linear, even though we watch it linearly.
“non-linear video production in digital bytes allows for the deleting, adding, moving, and repeating of clips”

Iowa State U
Students are required to create a communication portfolio their sophomore year that includes written, oral, visual, and electronic communication.

Upper division course requires an interview and a presentation of the interview in three ways. These are as text, as an audio file, and as a video file, which combines both audio and visual elements.

Also requires a 2-minute video for a professional audience, describing an object.

Finally requires a “promotional commercial for a product, organization, or idea.” This might be an idea for business and professional writing class.

Graduate course there requires productions, to apply the theory to the application. Two assignments involve digital presentations.
1. Create video as a tutorial using screen captures. –tutorial for software
2. Digital presentation that focuses on exploring the uses of iMovie. Has groups create videos in two weeks on the history and use of buildings on campus. Video is two to three minutes.

Michigan Technological U
Describes the strong culture of support for technology application at the uni.

Introduces Cynthia Selfe and her foray into digital presentations. Says she has only been doing two years [now 13], but won’t teach again without multimodal assignments.

UG Adolescent Lit class
students will create enrichment assignments for ages 11-18, focus on engaging with books
1st show own, focus on sound
shows videos with and without sound
discuss how sound adds or subtracts from work

Then iMovie
students use 10-20 photos and a sound file
Goal is to choose photos that cluster around a theme or topic
royalty free source of photos: American Memories Collection
Has students save a song, too. Then create a video.
Says important to remember that things will go wrong

Erin Smith
Says students not engaged in traditional reading practices, but practiced in film and television.
She has the students write their own assessments, explaining why they made the choices they did.

Alison Crockett
Says digital presentation and a written essay share similar processes.

First, the concept or a thesis/main idea is created.
Then a treatment or brainstorming occurs – a more developed and detailed idea coming out of the concept.
Next, an extended treatment or an outline might follow.
Research or getting your elements – which might include interviews, film and video footage, music, stills, graphics, etc. – is next.
Then, depending on your elements, storyboarding or a more developed and complete outline follows.
The script or draft is developed around this time.
Finally, post-production or possibly a second/final draft occurs where you blend the elements together to tell your story.

UNC Chapel Hill
Daniel Anderson has been teaching video production for twenty years, beginning in 1994.
He “focuses on teaching students to think “in” non-alphabetic literacies, making use of rhetorical strategies in multimedia compositions.”
In his graduate classes students wrestle with and think about non-alphabetic composing.
His advice to those interested in using the technology in their classrooms is to “play with it” and “don’t over think it.”

Scott Halbritter
using video for the first time this fall in a remedial writing class
students produce a 5-minute video talking about honor, integrity, and ethics in the uni
Having remedial students creating digital presentations “infinitely complicates and enlarges the strategies they have learned to ignore when they sit down to compose text.”
Very important to find a “legitimate rhetorical goal” before assigning video production.

Heather Ross
uses a PSA group project, students are producing cultural artifacts
collaborative environment
five weeks
Student excitement comes from competitiveness and seeing the videos as creative acts.

Todd Taylor
students in his class must complete community service work
1. intro case study of documentaries
2. “The second move addresses the rhetorical and technical aspects of each of the following media individually: HTML, texts, photographs, and audio; this sequence culminates with a consideration of the rhetorical and technical aspects of video, which combines all of the previous media. This pairing of technical proficiency and rhetorical savvy prepares students for integrating media in sophisticated ways.”
3. establish audience: judges of contest, classmates, public at competition
4. turn class into workshop

Digital production challenges multiple literacies, encourages collaboration, shows composition as a process, and requires more than a single person.

Authors note that the relationship of digital presentations to academic discourse remains problematic, as essays are still important collegiate exercises.


CCCC on New Media

CCCC Position Statement on Teaching, Learning, and Assessing Writing in Digital Environments.

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Composing digitally can mean many things.
–writing on a computer
–online discussions
–creating in presentation software
–composing on a blog or wiki

Composition instruction is expanding to two literacies, print and digital.

Courses with new media components should

1. introduce students to the epistemic (knowledge-constructing) characteristics of information technology, some of which are generic to information technology and some of which are specific to the fields in which the information technology is used;
2. provide students with opportunities to apply digital technologies to solve substantial problems common to the academic, professional, civic, and/or personal realm of their lives;
3. include much hands-on use of technologies;
4. engage students in the critical evaluation of information (see American Library Association, “Information Literacy”); and
5. prepare students to be reflective practitioners.


Rhetoric of Typography: Appropriateness

Brumberger, Eva. “The Rhetoric of Typography: The Awareness and Impact of Typeface Appropriateness.” Technical Communication 50.2 (May 2003): 224-31. Web. 1 February 2014.

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0evidence for the notion that typeface personas have impact (224)
typeface suitability studied (224)
typefaces vary in appropriateness based on text (225), study done by Haskins
typeface appropriateness based on sharing features with text (225), study done by Walker, Smith, and Livingston

UG students in intro psych course
gender potentially important variable
ethnicity, first language, internet usage, age, major collected
36 participants (18 male, 18 female) (226)
students had very clear preferences for appropriateness of typeface (226)
none of the demographic information that was usable (large enough sample) made a difference (227)
EXCEPT gender (229)

For the professional text males preferred the friendly font (Bouhaus) while women preferred the elegant font (CounselorScript).

People had strong views of appropriateness of typeface to text (230).
Typeface persona did not need to correlate with text persona (230).