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Judging a Book by its Cover

barclay_barrios
0 1 47
I just saw the cover design for the next edition of Emerging and it’s awesome.  But, hey, I’m a visual design geek so no big surprise there. What does surprise me is that as often as we teach visual argument, as many textbooks as there are on the subject, we rarely consider the visual arguments encoded in textbooks themselves. This fall I’m going to change that.  I’m going to ask my students to unpack the argument of our textbook—from the cover design, to the layout, to the font choice.  Then I will ask them to consider the same questions in relation to academic papers.  Why one inch margins?  Why double spaced?  Why Times New Roman? Everything is designed.  Everything is packed with meaning.  I’m hoping these exercises will get students to see that and to practice broader acts of interpretation, analysis, and meaning-making. How about you?  How do you approach issues of visual design and argument?
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About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.