Multimodal Mondays: Eye on the Horizon, or Revisiting Past Assignments

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Today’s guest blogger is Kim Haimes-Korn (see end of post for bio).


I have always viewed teaching as a journey in which we travel along and pick up new ideas and practices along the way. Through every class, student, and experience we are offered the potential to see teaching as a dynamic, ever changing landscape. Although we operate in the present, reflective practitioners are always looking to the horizon for new opportunities for growth. Like physical travel, each time we return to a location we do both things familiar and try new things with each additional visit.

This creative perspective towards curriculum design and multimodal teaching offers countless ways to revise and extend assignments when we return to them each term. Not only has the rhetorical context changed, but there are many new digital choices that were unavailable the last time we ran the assignment. Sometimes we make large curriculum overhauls while other times we modify or extend existing assignments. I have always viewed curriculum design as a creative and evolving process in which research, theory, and practice are intertwined—and improved—through reflection.

That was then . . . As an example of this kind of recursive pedagogy, I go back to an earlier assignment and post to this blog, Kairotic Moments and Historical Perspectives, in which I asked students to analyze the rhetorical and historical progression of a product or industry. For this project, they used text and image (sample historical ad artifacts) and analyzed their rhetorical progression. Along with teaching them rhetorical analysis, this assignment involves students in the habits and practices of multimodal composers such as embedded links, visual rhetoric, and ethical citation practices. It was a good assignment.

This is now . . . Flash forward to this semester. Different classroom, different students, different cultural context. I liked the assignment originally but I was looking for ways to extend it and include another multimodal component to stretch student skills and digital rhetorical strategies. I was also thinking about how I would like each of the assignments in this digital writing class to include both an academic analysis in which students read and respond to outside sources and hands-on digital projects of their own creation.

The extension involves a new activity that asks students to create a digital slideshow/video in which they draw from their research and written work to show the evolution of their product along with their perspectives and analysis. They had to take the elements from their electronic text (Part 1) and communicate the same content and meaning through a different medium—adding motion and sound along with visuals and associated text. I also added an expanded list of rhetorical lenses to help deepen their analysis. This digital slideshow/video is embedded in their blog and is designed to act in tandem with the written post.

The Assignment: Digital Analysis of a Product or Industry

Here is the re-write of the steps to the assignment that now has Part 1 (Analysis) and Part 2 (Production).

Part 1: Rhetorical Analysis: This part of this assignment asks you to use rhetorical terms and lenses to compose a digital analysis of the history and progression of a product or industry that is represented through advertising artifacts – print or video.

  • Conduct an image search to find early, middle, and current examples of visual rhetoric (in the form of advertisements) that speak to the product or industry.
  • Analyze the rhetorical situation (purpose, audience, subject and kairos (context)) you associate with these artifacts. Refer to Sean Morey’s The Digital Writer to define and apply the following rhetorical terms and concepts (summarized in the chart below).
  • Describe, in your post, the progression and the ways that these artifacts are connected to the cultures and contexts from which they arose.
  • Include embedded links that provide additional information and select multimodal artifacts for visual reference (See Kairos post for full assignment and examples).
  • Pay attention to ethical citation practices and include links and references to your sources.


Rhetorical Situation

Rhetorical Appeals










Beliefs and Values





Visual Rhetoric

Digital Rhetoric




Design (color, typeface, layout)




Part 2:  Create a Digital Slideshow: This second part of the assignment asks you to use the research and ideas from your written post to communicate your ideas through a different medium. Using your found images and ideas from Part 1, create a 2-minute, self-advancing digital slideshow or video—a digital story, a visual narrative—in which you combine text, image, and sound (music, narration).


The challenge is to represent the progression of your product along with selected ideas to communicate your distinct meaning/analysis. It is not enough to edit the images together; your project should communicate a deeper meaning that speaks to your rhetorical analysis and distinct perspective. Give your show an engaging title and include your references at the end. Leave your audience with something to contemplate. You can use whatever programs you like. Embed this slideshow in your blogpost along with purposeful context and a caption to guide your audience.


Reflections on the Activity

This activity shows students that multimodal composition is generative and has the potential to triangulate meaning through presenting similar ideas in different forms. It helps them move through different digital genres and emphasizes their ability to shift through varied rhetorical contexts. It teaches habits of mind such as selection and summary and visual thinking. It also, combined with Part 1, teaches ethical citation practices across these digital projects.


Student Examples

I have included some examples of student projects (an industry and a particular product) from their blogs that include the embedded links for the digital videos. Enjoy.


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Alex’s analysis focuses on the rhetoric of advertisements from the Pharmaceutical Industry (left).Mia’s analysis focuses on a particular product, and reviews the evolution of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes (right).

Guest blogger Kim Haimes-Korn is a Professor in the English Department at Kennesaw State University. Kim’s teaching philosophy encourages dynamic learning, critical digital literacies and focuses on students’ powers to create their own knowledge through language and various “acts of composition.” She likes to have fun every day, return to nature when things get too crazy and think deeply about way too many things. She loves teaching. It has helped her understand the value of amazing relationships and boundless creativity. You can reach Kim at or visit her website Acts of Composition.



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About the Author
Andrea A. Lunsford is the former director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford University and teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English. A past chair of CCCC, she has won the major publication awards in both the CCCC and MLA. For Bedford/St. Martin's, she is the author of The St. Martin's Handbook, The Everyday Writer and EasyWriter; The Presence of Others and Everything's an Argument with John Ruszkiewicz; and Everything's an Argument with Readings with John Ruszkiewicz and Keith Walters. She has never met a student she didn’t like—and she is excited about the possibilities for writers in the “literacy revolution” brought about by today’s technology. In addition to Andrea’s regular blog posts inspired by her teaching, reading, and traveling, her “Multimodal Mondays” posts offer ideas for introducing low-stakes multimodal assignments to the composition classroom.