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This blog was originally posted on April 27th, 2015.
Today’s guest blogger is Kim Haimes-Korn. She continues her series on Radical Revision – and includes assignments and examples of student projects that you don’t want to miss!
In my last post, Radically Revising the Composition Classroom, I challenged others to hack their traditional, tried and true assignments. I decided to enact this advice in one of my own classes this semester and gave the same challenge to my students, asking them to Radically Revise a collaborative class project through a multimodal lens.
- To ask students to recast their rhetorical situation through revising for new purposes, audiences, and contexts.
- To engage students in qualitative research practices and writing.
- To demonstrate the relationship between collaborative and individual perspectives.
- To give students practice and agency in multimodal composition.
Background reading before class
Ask students to plan for the assignment by reading relevant content from your handbook or rhetoric:
- The St. Martin’s Handbook: Ch. 16, “Design for Print and Digital Writing”; Ch. 18, Communicating in Other Media; Ch. 2, “Rhetorical Situations”
- The Everyday Writer: Section 3a, “Plan Online Assignmnets”; Ch. 5, “Rhetorical Situations”
- Writer’s Help 2.0 for Lunsford Handbooks: section 3a, “Multimodal Assignments”; section 5a, “Rhetorical Situations”
- Writing in Action: Ch. 6, “Multimodal Assignments”; Ch. 4, “A Writer’s Choices”
- EasyWriter: Ch. 4, “Multimodal Writing”; Ch. 1, “A Writer’s Choices”
The Original Assignment
Students in my Writing in Collaborative Spaces class radically revised a mini-ethnography and cultural critique on a public, collaborative space. In the original Cultural Observation assignment, as teams, students observed and applied ethnographic methods and communication theory to better understand interaction, communication, and structure of their team’s chosen public space. The student groups in my class chose three cultural spaces: an independent coffee shop, the Mall, and a Super-Department Store. Students originally prepared a collaborative presentation and team report document that described their findings, observations, analysis and synthesis for an academic audience. They were asked to apply the theories of the course, design an observation rubric and look for evidence such as group structure, roles, organization, verbal and non-verbal behavior, background factors, physical environment and communication patterns to support their claims. They conducted field research, collected images, and worked together to create a presentation and team report in their online space through Google Drive. Setting up their teams in the Google Drive space allowed them to understand virtual collaboration and organize their projects through recorded minutes, field-note synthesis, online meetings, and collaborative revision of their deliverable products.
This project is interesting in and of itself. It gets students looking deeply at the ways communication behavior shapes our culture and introduces them to the ways that varied collaborative models, language, and experiences are integrated throughout society and in their everyday lives. It teaches them to read the cultural space as a text, and to research and support their claims through particular examples – all through the lens of qualitative research. This is a tried and true, successful project that I have run for years.
The New Assignment: Switching It Up and Taking It Multimodal
Once students completed the originalCultural Observation Project as a team, I asked them to re-see this project individually and reframe it as a multimodal cultural critique for a general audience (to embed in their blog). The Multimodal Guidelines asked them to recast the project in a different form, use multimodal components, and change the perspective and the audience – radically shifting the text in several rhetorical ways.
I encourage them to play, experiment, and get creative with the piece and incorporate humor, cultural critique, music, movement, collage, images, text, and outside sources (with citation, of course). Using sources was one of the requirements and they all had access to the original primary research, data, and images from the team project to remix in this version. It was also important that they communicate a perspective that captured their individual view of the space and the project in ways that were different from the collaborative perspective of the team. This means that they might emphasize something different, look at a related issue, or generalize to universal experiences – all part of the kinds of rhetorical choices writers make as they compose.
Peer Responding and Multimodal Response Criteria
Like any assignment in my writing classes, I usually have students work together in collaborative peer response workshops for final revisions. Multimodal compositions are no exception. It is as we shape the criteria and get students to discuss these composing strategies and rhetorical choices that they can come to realize the ways these “acts of composition” transcend purposes, audiences, genres, and contexts. I have linked to a copy of my Multimodal Peer Response Workshop criteria.
Student’s Multimodal Radical Revisions
Below you will find just a few of many great examples that students produced through their radical revisions to this assignment. Although it was hard (I wanted to include them all!), I tried to choose multimodal hacks that represent a variety of approaches and perspectives for the three different cultural spaces they observed.
Students took on the challenge and created projects such as
- Zack’s graphic comic
- Becca’s memes
- Olivia’s Buzzfeed style article
- Gwynneth’s Cafe-Noir
- Jiaxin’s infographic
- Di’s short video
- Jordan’s slide show and
- Steve’s animation.
Although all based on similar data and research, each one of the students’ projects is different from the last. The assignment demonstrates how we construct meaning both collaboratively and individually. It asks students to critically read, research, and compose in multiple perspectives and through multiple lenses, allowing for deeper critical thinking and rhetorical awareness.
Guest blogger Kim Haimes-Korn is a Professor in the Digital Writing and Media Arts (DWMA) 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 email@example.com or visit her website: actsofcomposition.khaimesk.org
Want to collaborate with Andrea on a Multimodal Monday assignment? Send ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible inclusion in a future post.
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