Early Ideas of Imagery

I am a logo-centric person; I have even called myself (quite proudly at the time) a word hoarder. As I was going through my computer–since I have managed to fill up my hard drive again–I found some early images that were my first attempts to blend the verbal and the visual.

This one is labeled Philosophy of Education.

phil of ed

This one is a Dali labeled e-learning.
Galatee by dali e-learning

T&P and Imagery

I have been thinking about my tenure and promotion portfolio quite a bit, as it is due in the fall, and I had a lot of thoughts about it relating to the chapter from Rice on imagery.

In the post, I wrote, How would images change composition if we were working on them first?

I wonder if I worked on images for a particular section first, or worked with images about a particular section first, what that would do to/for my portfolio.

Just for Fun: Search and Find
Just for fun, I am going to take 10 minutes and search for images that I think might/could be useful for my portfolio. Ready… Set… Go…

What Searches?

Okay. So in ten minutes, what did I look for?
university There are no images of University in Wikimedia Commons from the United States.
rhetorical appeals

That means I started with words (unlike what was suggested by Ball, as per my notes on “Assessing Multimedia Rhetoric”), but I was focused on images. (Not necessarily having images in mind first.)

What I found were not the kinds of things I would have expected/wanted, though some of them were particularly interesting.

I am posting my ideas of “the best.” In this case, these may not be images I ever use.

Images and Thoughts.

Michael Reschke, WC CC3
Michael Reschke, WC CC3

This is labeled an icon of teaching.

Livewire9609, WC CC3
Livewire9609, WC CC3

Even though we have fewer labs, since most of our students have computers now, I thought the image offered some interesting discussion points–including digital literacy, working with students individually, etc.

jtneill, WC CC3
jtneill, WC CC3

This was the “blank” for a particular sociology research report, but I thought it might be useful for illustrating how research moves and impacts various categories of the t&p portfolio.

For instance, I gave a conference presentation which won an award and the editor of a peer-reviewed journal attended and asked me to submit the article. After I did, and finished the revise and resubmit, the article was published. Then it was quoted in the New York Times.

However, the “research process” doesn’t match that connectivity. So it wouldn’t work for that, but it does give me an idea of a visual I could create.

Sculpture.rhetoric cathedrale.Laon in bk 100+ yrs WC pd

This is a sketch of the sculpture of Rhetoric from the Cathedral in Laone. I wonder what the missing hand might be said to represent.

Jonathon Oldenbuck, WC CC3
Jonathon Oldenbuck, WC CC3

This is from Edzell Castle in Angus, Scotland. As I am in Scotland right now, it seemed relevant. It also, to me, looks like a woman dancing around on books. For some reason, I thought it might be how others view me. … A bit crazed, but really carefully crafted.

The Grammarian teacher rhetoric historyFlorence 1437 WC pd

This image was in linguistics, but is the grammarian, which would have been a teacher of rhetoric. It is medieval, from 1437-1439, which is a time period I teach in literature. It has two pupils, but they are very much the teacher and the students separated.

Nachitka Barrett released to public domain.
Nachitka Barrett released to public domain.

This is a mystagogue, a person who initiates others into mysterious knowledge–so an educator. I like the imagery of conglomeration; it reminds me a bit of the difficulty of juggling all we need to do. However, I also do not think that it is a positive image and I don’t want to artistically/rhetorically suggest professor as monster.

J Bulwer 1644 bk illus gestures for rhetorical appeal due to age WC pd

These are illustrations from 1644 that show gestures for various rhetorical appeals. I like the set, but I don’t think they would “make sense” in my portfolio, but would instead add complication.

Now that is an idea. Instead of the mystagogue, I could use these gestures from rhetoric to show the complexity aspect… I will have to think about that more.

Success or Failure?
While I am not sure this is the best idea ever, it certainly is an improvement over the “listing” first idea from “Juxtaposition Thinking.”

I did gain some things from the images. The idea of complication seemed to keep coming up.

I also think I will probably end up having to purchase (or create) my own images for the portfolio if I have more than a few.

Why only if I have more than a few? Because I already have a few that I think would work. They are pictures of my students, the school, my work, etc.


Defining Visual Rhetorics: Emerging Graphical Conventions

Kostelnick, Charles. “Melting-Pot Ideology, Modernist Aesthetics, and the Emergence of Graphical Conventions: The Statistical Atlases of the United States, 1874-1925.” Defining Visual Rhetorics. Eds. Charles A. Hill and Marguerite Helmers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. 4314-4779. Ebook.


“Visual language develops within discourse communities that enculturate its members in its conventional codes” (Kostelnick 4322 of 6169).

Kostelnick discusses six statistical atlases related to censuses from 1870 to 1920. Prior to these atlases, census data was only released in tables. These atlases “played a pivotal role in the development of conventional forms to represent data” (4333 of 6169).

The atlases also, according to Kostelnick, “aimed to objectify representations of cultural diversity by making them appear economical and perceptually transparent” (4333 of 6169). For example, the atlas of 1874 “visualized the distribution of people across the country, their religious affiliations, occupations, literacy, mortality rates, and health” (4364 of 6169).

When they were first published “readers were unfamiliar with the visual language of data displays” and so the atlases educated “citizens not only in the progress of the nation but also in visual literacy” (4354 of 6169); this was particularly true of the atlases from 1874 and 1898 (4429 of 6169).

The “process of enculturation creates rhetorical efficiency as well as poses an interpretive problem because readers come to regard conventional forms as natural, direct representations of fact unmediated by the artificial lens of design” (4474 of 6169).

Visual language “can embody elements that direct attention, persuade, and shape attitudes” (4484 of 6169). Kostelnick gives an example of this regarding a field of pie charts from the 1898 atlas which showed “only the relative concentrations of foreigners within a given state” and thus obscured “the fact that some states had very high concentrations of certain ethnic groups” (4536 of 6169).

Kostelnick says that the displays could be ambiguous.

By showing economic assimilation during hard times, were the designers trying to reduce the threat of foreigners, or were they fueling anti-immigrant sentiment? Depending on readers’ interpretive frameworks, they might be receptive to either argument. (4561 of 6169)

To me that seems to be as close to actually objective as anything can get. If you can read it both for and against a single argument, then it’s objective.

“Designers control what is and what is not visualized, and that control has rhetorical consequences” (4576 of 6169).

“[A]rguing with data displays has become a highly contested form of visual rhetoric” (4613 of 6169).

“[T]he displays rely on textual explanations for their interpretation, creating an interdependence between word and image. Notes and labels on the plates are primarily set in a serif typeface and often italicized; display text is often rendered in handwritten capitals; and decorative arrows direct readers from text to charts” (4635 of 6169).

Kostelnick also discusses the change in aesthetics from Victorian to modernist. “Staying in step with the shifting tides in fast enhanced the ethos and usability of the atlases. It also addressed the more specific rhetorical problem of representing immigrants to a multi-ethnic audience with forms that were ostensibly objective” (4710 of 6169).

Other point of interest:
Discusses the circle chart (4395 of 6169), which is relevant for my business writing class.

computer and glassesRelated readings:
Kinross, Robin. “The Rhetoric of Neutrality.” Design Issues 2.2 (1985): 18-30.

Kostelnick, Charles and Michael Hassett. Shaping Information: The Rhetoric of Visual Conventions. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 2003.

Tufte, Edward. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Cheshire, CT: Graphics P, 1983.

Defining Visual Rhetorics: History of the Visual

Finnegan, Cara A. “Doing Rhetorical History of the Visual: The Photograph and the Archive.” Defining Visual Rhetorics. Eds. Charles A. Hill and Marguerite Helmers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. 3913-4305. Ebook.

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Finnegan begins by discussing the visual rhetoric within a speech by FDR. She then compares it to a LOOK (pictorial magazine) layout on the same topic–poverty and the Depression (3943 of 6169).

Finnegan argues that identifying “visual rhetoric” as images specifically we are “reinforcing the subordinate status of visuality in the contexts of rhetorical culture” (3955 of 6169). Instead, she suggests that we “conceptualize visual rhetoric as a mode of inquiry” (3967 of 6169).

As a heuristic she suggests that we use “the tools of rhetorical history to sort out three moments in the life of an image for which a critic must account: production, reproduction, and circulation” (3975 of 6169).

Finnegan explicates David Zarefsky’s four senses of historical rhetoric and then says that the third (historical study of rhetorical events) and fourth (rhetorical study of historical events) (3997 of 6169) are both necessary for “doing rhetorical history of the visual” (4009 of 6169).

In her discussion of production (starting at 4030), Finnegan introduces the history of the technology of modern photography, the debut of picture magazines, and the FSA photographs which were printed in LOOK. She does not attempt a complete history, but introduces these three production ideas as a means of complicating/examining/illustrating the history of production (4076 of 6169).

As Finnegan moves into reproduction, she says we must look at what images “are made to do in the contexts in which we discover them… [T]he ways that the arrangement of image, text and caption work to create meaning in the contexts of particular rhetorical events” (4076 of 6169).

The context of the photographs is within a magazine that intended to “use photographs to tell narratives about real people in specific situations, but always in ways that cultivated universal interest” (4047 of 6169). Complicating this particular photograph spread is its positioning between an article on buying a wife in Zululand and a two-page centerfold of an actress in a bathtub full of flowers (4087 of 6169).

There is a lot of discussion of rhetorical issues: the child as a visual synecdoche, the distortion of scale, the irony of “children of the forgotten man” when the man isn’t pictured at all, the infantilization of the poor, the layout of the images…

Possible problems:
Finnegan argues that “the layout of the image [of an African-American girl by herself] in a circular shape” represents surveillance (4110 of 6169). The girl is being seen only through the camera lens.

I don’t think surveillance is an issue here. Most people of the time would not have thought of cameras as circular lenses. Historically round or oval frames were used for portrait photography in the late Victorian age and on into the Edwardian age. The time of the photograph (1937) makes it far more reminiscent of this than it does of the modern surveillance cameras (which I, at least, do not think of graphically as circles). If it were considered anything, I think it would most likely be “posed,” since photographs were not instantaneous.

This, I think, is one of the difficulties of doing historical rhetoric. Few rhetoricians are also historians and it is very easy, even for an academic, to get focused on one idea and not look for alternative explanations.

Finnegan says that the facts offered in the short and dramatic captions are “not credited to any kind of expert who might testify as to the accuracy of the facts” (4142 of 6169). However, the FSA are experts who produced the photographs and they felt the captions were well done (4208 of 6169).

Finnegan discusses the rhetorical presentation of the magazine (4164 of 6169), including how it contributes to views of poverty in the Depression (4174 of 6169).

Neil Betten argues there is a continuum of views on poverty from a “hostile view,” which blames the victim, to an “environmental view,” which faults the socioeconomic system (3, qtd in Finnegan 4174 of 6169).

The LOOK photo spread “seems to invite a hostile reading of the sharecroppers’ plight through its use of vivid images and dramatic text, [but] it also suggests a more environmental view through its deployment of the powerful trope of the ‘forgotten man'” (4186 of 6169).

Finnegan discusses the political advantages for FSA to have its photographs in LOOK and the fact that the photos were circulated in a number of different contexts, so their perception was not limited to the readers of LOOK, what Finnegan calls “the fluidity of the circulation of the FSA photographs” (4229 of 6169).

WC CC3 by Twice25
WC CC3 by Twice25
Related readings:
Blakesley, David and Collin Brooke. “Introduction: Notes on Visual Rhetoric.” Enculturation 3 (Fall 2001). Web.

Zarefsky, Davis. “Four Senses of Rhetorical History.” Doing Rhetorical History: Concepts and Cases. Ed. Kathleen J. Turner. Tuscaloosa, AL: U of Alabama P, 1998. 19-32.

Defining Visual Rhetorics: Images Construct Memory

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Edwards, Janis L. “Echoes of Camelot: How Images Construct Cultural Memory Through Rhetorical Framing.” Defining Visual Rhetorics. Eds. Charles A. Hill and Marguerite Helmers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. 3595-3904. Ebook.

This article looks primarily at the main image associated with John Kennedy, Jr.–the image of a boy in short pants saluting his father’s casket, after framing and practicing the argument on the flag-raising image from 9/11.

Edwards argues that “images disseminated in connection with newsworthy events become attached to the event in the form of cultural remembering” (3595 of 6169).

Images can “express particulars to evoke the universal” (3600 of 6169). According to Edwards specific images “create larger rhetorical frameworks that revive and reimagine the narratives that constitute cultural myths” (3611 of 6169). Iconic photographs “expand representation” (3622 of 6169).


The image’s reproduction was not simply as a photograph, even when cropped in various ways. Instead, it was also referenced verbally (3654 of 6169).

When John Kennedy Jr died “news outlets and editorial cartoonists linked the tragic and premature deaths of father and son” continuing “a narrative of national regret over unrealized potential” (3676 of 6169).

When they are used out of historical context, they refresh the memory and associate it with the new experience. The photo acts as an argument, saying that this new thing is related to the old thing (3687 of 6169).

Edwards examines the JFK Jr photo in relation to Perlmutter’s “eleven characteristics of outrage-provoking photographs” (3732 of 6169). The eleventh discusses the composition of the photograph as it is most commonly reproduced (3787 of 6169).

Edwards discusses the editorial cartoon appropriation of the image (3799-3869) discussing the recontextualization of images.

Related readings:
Perlmutter, David D. Photojournalism and Foreign Policy: Icons of Outrage in International Crisis. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998.

Zelizer, Barbie. Covering the Body: The Kennedy Assassination, the Media, and the Shaping of Collective Memory. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1992.

Tech to Support Learning

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Bransford and Brown.“Technology to Support Learning.” How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2000. 206-230. Web. May 2012. .

“[T]here is a strong argument for electronically linking students not just with their peers, but also with practicing professionals” (212).

Scaffolded experiences can be structured in different ways. Some research educators advocate an apprenticeship model, whereby an expert practitioner first models the activity while the learner observes, then scaffolds the learner (with advice and examples), then guides the learner in practice, and gradually tapers off support and guidance until the apprentice can do it alone (Collins et al., 1989). Others argue that the goal of enabling a solo approach is unrealistic and overrestrictive since adults often need to use tools or other people to accomplish their work (Pea, 1993b; Resnick, 1987). Some even contend that well-designed technological tools that support complex activities create a truly human-machine symbiosis and may reorganize components of human activity into different structures than they had in pretechnological designs (Pea, 1985). (214)

This is an interesting set of options. I am most likely to use the first set, even though I know that often my students will need to re-visit the idea of learning. While always having a solo approach is very unrealistic, there are lots of instances when that is exactly what every single one of us has to do.

[T]he mere existence of these tools in the classroom provides no guarantee that student learning will improve; they have to be part of a coherent education approach ” (216).

This is absolutely true and not the way we consistently use technology in the classroom.

An added advantage of networked technologies for communication is that they help make thinking visible. This core feature of the cognitive apprenticeship model of instruction (Collins, 1990) is exemplified in a broad range of instructional programs and has a technological manifestation, as (220) well (see, e.g., Collins, 1990; Collins and Brown, 1988; Collins et al., 1989). By prompting learners to articulate the steps taken during their thinking processes, the software creates a record of thought that learners can use to reflect on their work and teachers can use to assess student progress. (221)

I like the idea of thinking being visible. I have always liked the apprenticeship model.

The introduction of new technologies to classrooms has offered new insights about the roles of teachers in promoting learning (McDonald and Naso, 1986; Watts, 1985). Technology can give teachers license to experiment and tinker (Means and Olson, 1995a; U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, 1995). It can stimulate teachers to think about the processes of learning, whether through a fresh study of their own subject or a fresh perspective on students’ learning. It softens the barrier between what students do and what teachers do.

When teachers learn to use a new technology in their classrooms, they model the learning process for students; at the same time, they gain new insights on teaching by watching their students learn. Moreover, the transfer of the teaching role from teacher to student often occurs spontaneously during efforts to use computers in classrooms. (226)

Sometimes we forget how long it took us to learn to do something because it’s been so long since we learned it. Learning something new, even if it isn’t technology, keeps us involved and remembering the process.

“At the University of Illinois, James Levin asks his education graduate students to develop web pages with their evaluations of education resources on the web, along with hot links to those web resources they consider most valuable. Many students not only put up these web pages, but also revise and maintain them (227) after the course is over. Some receive tens of thousands of hits on their web sites each month (Levin et al., 1994; Levin and Waugh, 1998)” (228).

While I think this is unlikely to continue, unless students are considering the net their memory space, the more practical we can be in our assignments, the more likely our students are to find them useful. …Unfortunately sometimes they are very practical but the students are not yet aware of that.

“The process of using technology to improve learning is never solely a technical matter, concerned only with properties of educational hardware and software. Like a textbook or any other cultural object, technology resources for education—whether a software science simulation or an interactive reading exercise—function in a social environment, mediated by learning conversations with peers and teachers” (230).

Assessing Student Composition

Sorapure, Madeline. “Between Modes: Assessing Student New Media Compositions.” Kairos 10.2 (Spring 2006): 1-15. Web. 12 May 2012.

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0“I suggest an assessment strategy that focuses on the effectiveness with which modes such as image, text, and sound are brought together or, literally, composed. Moreover, I propose that we draw on our familiarity with rhetorical tropes—and specifically with the tropes of metaphor and metonymy—to provide us with a language with which to talk to our students about the effectiveness of their work” (Sorapure 2).

“[W]e are at a transitional stage in the process of incorporating new media into our composition courses” (Sorapure 2).

“A broadly rhetorical approach can accommodate these differences—that is, an approach that focuses assessment on how effectively the project addresses a specific audience to achieve a specific purpose. The weakness of a broad rhetorical approach is that it doesn’t in itself offer any specific guidance or criteria for handling the multimodal aspects of the composition” (Sorapure 3).

Assessing how students design relations between modes appeals to me on practical grounds because it addresses of the two most common problems I’ve seen in the new media compositions my students have done. First, some students seem inclined to match modes, so that, for instance, a Flash project will have a song playing in the background while on the screen the lyrics to the song appear along with images depicting exactly what the lyrics say. While some repetition across modes may be useful in focusing attention or highlighting key ideas, too much mode matching diminishes the potential of multimedia composing by, in essence, leveling the modes so that they each express something more or less equivalent. Productive tension between modes here is at a minimum. (Sorapure 4)

“The opposite sort of problem occurs when students include an element in a project simply because it looks good or because it is a cool effect, despite the fact that the element adds nothing to the meaning of the project and bears little, if any, relation to the other components of the project” (Sorapure 5).

“Metaphor designates a relation based on substitution; in a multimodal work, one mode can metaphorically represent or stand in for another, as when an animation of a word dynamically represents its meaning. It is a relation based on similarity between elements in different modes” (Sorapure 5).
“similarity and substitution” (Sorapure 5)

“Metonymy designates a relation based on combination; modes can be metonymically related when they are linked by an association, as when lines from a poem are combined with a melody from a song. It is a relation based on contiguity between elements in different modes” (Sorapure 5).
“contiguity and association” (Sorapure 6)

assignment = create a collage using Photoshop
The collage was to illustrate a particular quote (Sorapure 6).

Sorapure gives four student examples and discusses them in detail. This is useful for teachers who have not had this kind of assignment, as well as anyone trying to follow her argument (7-10).

Sorapure also discusses one multimodal project and two professional projects (11-14).

Credibility in Video News

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Cummins, R. Glenn and Todd Chambers. “How Production Value Impacts Perceived Technical Quality, Credibility, and Economic Value of Video News.” Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 88.4 (Winter 2011): 737-52.

production value = “technical aspects of content” (Cummins and Chambers 738)

n = 154 people
students, average age of 21
adults, average age of 50 (Cummins and Chambers 742)

The study found that viewers recognized higher production value and found it more credible, but did not see it as being worth paying for (Cummins and Chambers 745).

The authors recognized the potential limitations of the extreme differences in the production values of the texts. “Stories high in production value differed along multiple dimensions: resolution, aspect ratio, audio quality, and shot stability” (Cummins and Chambers 746).

“Student viewers also perceived the content to be less credible compared to adult viewers” (Cummins and Chambers 747). Which means there is hope for our students!

Juxtaposition Thinking

Rice, Jeff. “Juxtaposition.” The Rhetoric of Cool: Composition Studies and New Media.” Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 2007. 73-92. Print.

For my notes on chapter 4 from the book, I wrote:

As I was reading the highlights and notes I wrote in the book for this, I kept thinking of the digital presentations my second semester fyc course does. It seemed like juxtaposition would help make those more interesting. I may write about that more later…

Here’s what I was thinking:

I have the students make a list of the kind of images, sounds, and videos they think they will be looking for. I make my own list for a class I will be teaching in a year, just to give me something to do with them on this and to try out things on my own.

I am going to be teaching an Honors Class on Science Fiction and Fantasy (more specific than that, but let’s just go with that). So I wrote this list:

Images of the book covers
Werewolf pictures
Vampire pictures
Juxtaposition of pretty girl with tattoos and a coyote
Lamb necklace image
Scooby van
Scooby gang
Pictures related to wizards
–maybe that film clip from Jurassic Park
giant swords
Asian guy using a Western sword
Glowing swords
Churches (at least one, maybe one and one abandoned—ruins?)
“The Life of the Everyday Housewife” country song—old, who sang?
“this is the life of the everyday housewife, who gave up the good life for me”
nuclear family: father, mother, daughter (teenager)
Louisiana swamp town, bait store
Inside a convenience store type bar
Official government shield (which letter organization?)
Empty/ghost town (but modern)
One “typical” image of a Christian
One iconic image of Christ
Woman in black motorcycle gear—with helmet (or obviously American Indian)
Picture of the Church of Christ with the barbed wire around it

I mostly wrote these in the order they are in. (I did add Elvis later.) I knew I was looking for both images and sounds, so I could have some of both.

I thought of this list based on books. The first 7 are related to Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. The next 7 are related to Jim Butcher’s Dresden Series, especially book 3. The next 7 are related to John Ringo’s Princess of Wands. I didn’t intend to just have 7 for each, but that happened. I wonder if my subconscious thought that was sufficient.

The last 4 are actually related to Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series, which we are not going to read for the colloquium. Why did I add them? Originally her work was in the description for the course and I think that I may actually read a little of the book (the first page) to the students and give an overview of the permutations of faith that are presented in the series.

I have the students create their own lists. Some of these will, I hope, provide juxtapositions of ideas, especially when they are searching for images for them.

More thinking–what next?
How can this list help students/me discover juxtaposition?

Maybe I want to actually put together images from one of the books, what I think of as I read through the book?

Briggs already supplied an interesting juxtaposition of an ancient vampire having a Scooby van. Could I photoshop a vampire into a scene with a Scooby van? There’s an old, not updated mechanic’s shop here in town that I could take pictures of to be Zee and Mercy’s workplace.

Could I find an obviously ex-military, buff business man in a suit? Someone particularly handsome, but a little intimidating? (Only a little.)
Again, this is a juxtaposition Briggs has already created.

Now as I am thinking of these I wonder if that is how Briggs created the books herself. Did she take characters and twist, so they weren’t what you were expecting–as Brandon Sanderson recommends?

Could I find someone who looks like a slightly unkempt, borderline alcoholic in a leather full-length coat? That’s what I think of when I conceive of Butcher’s Harry Dresden. Why do I think that when he works with the police? Because I know he is a rebel and doesn’t fit in. … What else?

Anyway, that’s my list and thinking… What does that do for my students? It gives them a different direction to go. (Is this where the blackbirds and the clothesline from UT come in?–Several years ago I attended a presentation where someone was showcasing student work and they were particularly impressed by the images that accompanied a work on blackbirds, because instead of being images of blackbirds, the images were of clothes on a clothesline blowing in the wind. I thought it was particularly odd to think that those were imminently superior images.)

So students have lists and ideas. They start gathering these up. What does that do for them?

I first put in “housewife.” Instead of what I think of, I see lots of 1950s advertisements and drawings and some fine art nudes. Scrolling down I see a few that look like more what I was thinking about, though they are still mostly from the 1950s. And I note that I easily reject many of the pictures. The few that I like have additions like “Happy Anniversary.” Those won’t work.

I couldn’t find anything. Then I put in “homemaker.” The image I liked was from a home-health-care service, but it was closer to what I was thinking. I couldn’t get it to upload, so I found something else–a bit more discouraging than I had hoped for, but within the realm of realistic. Again it wouldn’t upload. I wonder why I am so set on this (housewife/homemaker) and I realize it is because I want to juxtapose it with vampires and werewolves.

So now I’m frustrated and I am wondering how my students will feel with this. Are they going to come to the digital presentation with firm ideas, if they write a list first? When they can’t find them, how will they feel?

Assessing Multimedia Rhetoric

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Ball, Cheryl E. “Assessing Scholarly Multimedia: A Rhetorical Studies Approach.” Technical Communication Quarterly 21 (2012): 61-77.

“[F]orm and content are inseparable in authors’ scholarly multimedia” (Ball 61).

“Based on my editorial experience with Kairos, I teach students at Illinois State University to read, analyze, and assess authors’ schol- arly multimedia projects as well as to propose, compose, revise, and peer review their own webtexts, which they can submit to peer-reviewed venues such as Kairos, C&C Online, X=Changes, and The JUMP (Journal for Undergraduate Multimedia Projects)” (Ball 61).

Ball says that even though she coined the term “new media scholarship” (61), she is using “scholarly multimedia” to refer to multimodal scholarly presentations (62).

What is scholarly multimedia?

Scholarly multimedia are article- or book-length, digital pieces of scholarship designed using multimodal elements to enact authors’ arguments. They incorporate interactivity, digital media, and different argumentation strategies, such as visual juxtaposition and associational logic (see Purdy & Walker, in press), and are typically published in online, peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Kairos, C&C Online, Vectors) and presses (e.g., Computers and Composition Digital Press). Scholarly multimedia cannot be printed and still retain the author’s argument because such texts are composed of Web pages with links, animations, images, audio, video, scripting languages, databases, and other multimedia and interactive elements, including but not limited to written text. (Ball 62)

“As Kress (2010) has said, ‘Design is the servant of rhetoric—or, to put it differently: the political and social interests of the rhetor are the generative origin and shaping influence for the semiotic arrangements of the designer’ (p. 50)” (qtd in Ball 63).

Reading assignment:

This particular set of criteria has proven invaluable to my students, who have taken it up with unabashed enthusiasm after reading Kuhn’s (2008) webtext, which is one of the first webtexts that I usually ask students to analyze using the four parameters embedded within it. Students used these parameters to analyze existing, successful (already published) webtexts from the venues they are interested in submitting to, as well as non-peer-reviewed venues that publish digital media texts they liked, such as music videos on YouTube. (Ball 66)

Main assignment = webtext aimed at an academic audience, as if they would be submitting to journals such as Kairos (63)

In Ball’s class they discuss “the rhetorical, technological, ideological, institutional, professional, social, and other issues that arise” (64) when composing such a text.

“all developmental writers in the sense that they are not yet confident or do not yet have expert technological, multimodal, or rhetorical abilities” (Ball 64).

The cumulative assignments for the webtext project can include the following:
reading responses to published webtexts?
values-based analysis of digital media texts and webtexts?
audience and venue analyses?
genre analyses of webtexts?
review presentations of technologies available for composing webtexts
project pitches?
proposals to flesh out the project idea?
storyboards and scripts?
workable or rough drafts?
peer review of classmates’ rough drafts?
annotated versions of peer-review letters?
completed webtexts (Ball 64)

“the values-based analysis guides most of the assessment practices” (Ball 64)

“strike a balance between convention and innovation, even as the line between image and text, between orality and literacy, between art and critique and, indeed, between scholarship and pedagogy” (Kuhn, qtd in Ball 65)

Ball gives her students three different heuristics. Then she asked students to choose. They basically took Kuhn’s four and added two, so they called it Kuhn+2 (68).

Storyboard by Kelly Lawless, WC CC3
Storyboard by Kelly Lawless, WC CC3

Ball says that whatever medium students to begin to compose with will be the main medium, so they should not be using MSWord (72).
Perhaps mindmapping? It is still words, but more visual.
Instead of a script, she requires a storyboard (Ball 73).

Ball discusses a student’s work that was published in TechnoCulture: An Online Journal of Technology in Society (72-74).

Ball gives only one grade (participation) based on whether or not all the work was done on time and excellently (74).

Ball made “revise and resubmit” the standard for work within the classroom (75), a particularly apt plan for rhetoric and composition coursework.

Related Readings:
Susan Delagrange. Wunderkammer, Cornell, and the Visual Canon of Arrangement. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy 13.2 (2009).
Bob Broad. What We Really Value: Beyond Rubrics in Teaching and Assessing Writing. Logan, UT: Utah State U, 2003.