Assignments

  1. Course participation 10%
  2. Quizzes 10%
  3. Personal website: 15%
  4. Multimodal analysis: 15%
  5. Book chapter remix: 25%
  6. Issue/cause website: 25%

Grading

I will use the following descriptors for grading your assignments. These descriptors will give you an indication of the the expectations that will guide my evaluation of your work.

I will use +/- grades for assignments and for the final course grades. The +/- grades correspond to the numeric ranges below.

Grade descriptors

A: Excellent represents excellent participation in all course activities; all assigned work completed, with very high quality in all course work.
B: Above average represents above average participation in all course activities; all assigned work completed, with consistently high quality in course work.
C: Average represents good participation in all course activities; all assigned work completed, with generally good quality overall in course work.
D: Below average represents uneven participation in course activities; some gaps in assigned work completed, with inconsistent quality in course work.
F: Inadequate represents minimal participation in course activities; serious gaps in assigned work completed, or very low quality in course work.

+/- grades

A+: 97 and above
A: 93-96
A-: 90-92
B+: 87-89
B: 83-86
B-: 80-82
C+: 77-79
C: 73-76
C-: 70-72
D+: 67-69
D: 63-66
D-: 60-62
F: 0-59

Participation (10%)

Description

This course is designed to be a participatory learning experience, combining discussions and in-class workshop activities and assignments. As such, it is important that you fully participate in all in-class activities, specifically by committing yourself to the learning community consisting of your classmates and myself.

You will have multiple opportunities to earn participation credit. However, if it becomes necessary for you to demonstrate your participation in the course, it will be your responsibility to save relevant materials (such as your class notes or peer review evaluations) as evidence of this participation.

In general, if at the end of the semester you can demonstrate that you were able to substantially enhance or contribute to the course learning community and you fully participated in course activities, you will be able to earn full credit for participation. While preparation times may vary depending on our weekly schedule, you should generally plan to spend 6 hours a week—or, 2 hours for every hour of class time—working on course assignments and preparing for class meetings.

What does class participation look like?

Participation can take different forms for different students. However, some participatory behaviors hold true for everyone.

First, you cannot participate if you do not attend class or if you regularly show up late or otherwise interfere with course activities. For these reasons, course attendance is a necessary prerequisite for participation. However, attending class does not equal participation, for it is possible to be in every class meeting without engaging with or contributing to the learning that occurs in class.

Second, it will be impossible for you to participate in course learning if you come to class unprepared. You can prepare in the following ways. Before each class meeting you should complete all assigned readings and homework. You should bring all materials to each session, including course texts, additional readings, your notes, homework, assignment files and research sources, discussion notes from previous meetings, and any other relevant materials.

Finally, while in class, you should be engaged in all activities by taking notes on our discussions and participating in those discussions. Similarly, during peer-review sessions and technology workshops you should conference with your classmates and myself and engage with the workshop deliverables.

All of these activities allows you to engage with and make the most of your learning experience in the course, and, consequently, improves the course experience for everyone.

Quizzes (10%)

Description

You will receive a quiz grade for each of our class meetings. On any day on which readings are assigned you should be prepared to demonstrate your comprehension of those readings, not simply by discussing them in class, but also by being quizzed on the content of the readings and/or successfully completing any assigned proof-of-reading activities. On workshop days, this quiz grade will be based on your participation in and/or completion of workshop activities.

Quizzes will typically be given at the beginning of class. If you are absent or if you are late and miss a quiz or proof-of-reading activity, your daily quiz grade will be zero. Missed quizzes cannot be made up.

Evaluation

Where appropriate, quizzes, homework, and in-class activities will be graded on a percentage basis (i.e., correctly answering 4 out of 5 questions on a quiz will lead to a grade of 80% on that quiz). When this is not appropriate, these assignments will be graded on a pass/fail basis. Your final quiz grade will be calculated from the average of your daily quiz grades.

Personal website

Personal website description

You will create a personal website to showcase your professional persona and your work in this course. You will create this site on WordPress.com, a free content management and web-hosting platform.

While all elements of your site are expected to function and display correctly in a variety of web browsers, because we are using WordPress, the project will primarily focus on the appropriateness of the website—its design and implementation, the text and other media it contains, and the overall appeal and effectiveness of the site and its organization.

Your site is designed for a professional audience—i.e., potential employers, peers and colleagues in your chosen field. Keep this in mind as you design it. When assembling the sections of your site and the material it contains, you should do so in a way that would provide the best version of your work for an audience of professionals.

Personal website requirements

Your site will be a work in progress to which you will add material throughout the semester, serving as a portfolio for your course work. It should be legible, appropriate, and attractive in its use of site colors, backgrounds and other images, and typefaces. The site should make effective use of visual material like photographs and illustrations when appropriate. If any material on the site is not wholly created by you, you must acknowledge the original author and link back to his or her work or, if the work is not online, provide a complete source citation for it.

The site will be due in two parts. For the first submission, your site should contain the following:

  • A home page—not a post (see MM for the distinction and how you can set a page to be the home page for your site)—featuring a brief description of the purpose of the site along with an image. This page can remain simple for now, but your description should be detailed (1-2 paragraphs). Do not write “this is a website for my class.” Think about some possible uses you might have for a personal website (if you don’t already have one) and adopt one of them for this submission. You can always change this later.
  • An about—again, not a post—featuring a brief introduction of yourself. It is not necessary for you to divulge personal information about your life, but you should provide a description of yourself as the author of the site, connecting your skills to the purpose for the site described on the home page. For example, if you decide to create a site to showcase your work as a designer, on this page you should give visitors to the site background information about you as a designer: How you became interested in design, your career goals, etc. This page should contain at least 150 words of text and at least one image (not including images that are part of your site’s template; the image should be uploaded by you; if you did not create it, the site must include a citation for the image). The writing should showcase your wit and ability to connect with your site’s potential visitors.

These two sections should be the whole site when you submit it the first time. Remove or delete unnecessary sections (such as the blog or any other unused menu items or widgets) before this first submission.

When you submit the site a second time, you will be able to completely revise it. You can continue to build your site on WordPress.com or if you want you can move your site to your own domain, or use any other site-buidling or web hosting software (such as Google Sites, Wix, etc.). This second submission of the site should contain the following sections:

  • Updated home and about pages. Together these will pages contain at least 300 words of text and at least one image each. The writing should showcase your wit and ability to connect with your site’s professional audience. The home page should explain the purpose of the site and encourage visitors to the site to browse it further while the about page should provide relevant information about you as the author of the site.
  • A portfolio section, highlighting the digital work you will create as part of the course (although you can feel free to include any other digital work of yours that you feel would be appropriate)
  • An additional, user-defined section chosen by you. This section could be
    • your professional resume for potential employers;
    • a blog where you revise or expand your forum posts to relate them to your professional audience, or some other periodic form of media—podcasts or video blogs, for example—that you will update throughout the semester;
    • or some other content that will further the goal(s) of your site and add to its appeal to your audience.

Personal website grading

This project will be submitted twice. Each submission will be worth 50% of the total grade for the assignment. I will evaluate your personal website using the following five categories using the grade descriptors above:

  • Design: The site adheres to the best practices for Web and multimodal design as articulated in Writer/Designer.
  • Accessibility and requirements: The site is logically ordered and structured and adheres to best practices for linking (using text tags instead of URLs, linking to all online sources, placing links where they are needed) and image use (using descriptive alt tags, providing citations and links to the original source for all images not created by you). The site meets all of the requirements laid out in the assignment description above.
  • Readability and effectiveness: The text and other multimedia elements are free of major and minor errors in structure, syntax, and grammar and display the quality of writing appropriate for a professional audience.
  • Multimodality: Multimodal elements are effectively incorporated into the site to complement, comment on, and/or extend the written text taking advantage of the affordances of those modes to serve the goals of the site and its audience.
  • Citation and research: All of the elements of the site are either the sole creation of the author, explicitly licensed for reuse, no longer covered by copyright, or used within the bounds of fair use. All media used on the site that are not the sole creation of the author or authors are fully cited. If the original source exists online, there should be a clickable link to that source.

Multimodal analysis

Multimodal analysis description

Note: this assignment is adapted from one by Kristin Arola.

This assignment will test your ability to analyze a series of multimodal texts for their effectiveness for a particular audience or group of audiences. You will select four to six three to five multimodal texts in a particular genre and analyze the potential goals of the author(s) and the effectiveness of the texts with regard to those goals along the dimensions of audience, purpose, context, and genre. In doing so, you should pay particular attention to the affordances (Writer/Designer, pp. 14-19) of the texts and their genre as well as the design choices made in the text. For a discussion of the rhetorical situation, a partial list of design choices, and examples of multimodal rhetorical analysis, see W/D ch. 2.

Although you will not work on this project in a group, I will assign each of you to a small group of 2-3 persons from whom you will receive feedback on early drafts of the project. That is, over the course of the module, group members will share their work on the project with each other and provide feedback on those projects prior to its submission.

The goal of this project is to focus your attention on the rhetoricity of multimodal texts—their persuasive goals and the ways that those goals are or are not achieved through the particular design choices of the author or authors.

Multimodal analysis requirements

You are free to choose the form that your analysis will take: it can be an audio file, a section on your personal website, or a Word document. The only requirement for form is that your analysis itself should be multimodal, and the final product should serve an analysis of the modes and genre of the texts you have chosen for the project. For example, it will be impossible for you to adequately analyze a series of web videos without showing your audience screen shots or clips from those videos.

The final submission should be be 750-1,000 words for primarily textual projects or 4-6 minutes for audio/visual projects.

Multimodal analysis grading

I will evaluate your analysis using the following categories and the grade descriptors above:

  • Requirements: The analysis meets all of the requirements laid out in the assignment description.
  • Content: The analysis demonstrates an awareness of rhetorical analysis and multimodal genres and affordances by directly describing, with examples, the audience, purpose, context, and genre of the chosen texts along with the modal affordances and design choices of the author or authors.
  • Style: The analysis demonstrates an awareness of professional tone, style, and structure, both in its textual and multimodal elements.
  • Format/Conventions: The analysis demonstrates an understanding and application of layout, visual design, audience awareness, and information structure appropriate to the mode in question.
  • Citation: The analysis cites all sources and materials not created by the author in a manner appropriate to the chosen medium (see Writer/Designer ch. 4).

Book chapter remix

Chapter remix description

For this project, you will work in groups of 3-4 persons to choose one chapter from either Alone Together or Net Smart and remix the major themes and arguments of that chapter in a video made by the group.

Here, I use the term remix to mean taking an original text and putting it to a new or innovative use. Just as an audio remix takes samples from different songs—a vocal track from one and a bass line from another, for example—and arranges them together into a new piece of music, your goal will be to take the original materials of the chapter—the text, the argument, the themes—and make something new out of them.

Your project should not take the form of group members simply reading the chapter, although you can quote from it as necessary; rather, you should re-present or remix the content of the chapter in a way that both makes something new out of the chapter and is suited to audiovisual media.

There are many different forms your project could take. You could use the documentary form to present the ideas of the authors, illustrating their purpose with news clips and other media. You could create a narrative around the chapter, using fictional characters or settings to illustrate information in the book. You could animate the chapter, or otherwise illustrate its contents.

I am open to any of these options or others you can think of; the only firm requirement is that your project should take advantage of the resources of video—editing and the grammar of video, the use of still images and video clips, narration, and sound effects—to engage the argument of the chapter.

This project will require a number of steps: First you will need to understand and successfully summarize the main themes of the chapter that you choose. You will then need to create a script for the project, planning out the ways in which you will incorporate the features of the medium to present these themes to best effect. You will turn that script into a storyboard that will serve as a visual roadmap for your project. You will need to research the resources you will include—audio and video clips, still images—and plan how you will record your new material—both shooting video and recording audio. Finally, you will need to record and then edit your video into a coherent final project.

Chapter remix requirements

As you can see from the course schedule, we will not complete all of the readings from these two texts until the end of the semester, so you should scan through these books to decide which chapter you will want to choose for this project. Pick a chapter that is interesting or challenging to members of the group; the more interested and engaged you are by the reading, the better your final product will be.

Your video should have a title and identify the group members by name as the authors of the video. It should clearly indicate that it is a remix of the chapter the group has chosen, and it should also clearly credit the original author of the chapter. It should be 4-6 minutes long. This will require you to summarize and reduce the content of the chapter so that you can present it in that available time.

As with your other projects, all outside sources must be cited, including in-text citations to indicate when you are citing materials and full citation information in the credits.

Chapter remix grading

You will submit it by uploading the final video to a video sharing site (such as YouTube or Vimeo) and then embedding the video with a title and description on the portfolio section of your personal website.

Except for extreme cases, all members of a group will receive the same grade on this assignment. I will evaluate your chapter remix videos using the following five categories and the grade descriptors above:

  • Quality: The video makes effective use of the affordances of video, including the use of visuals, audio elements, and text—both on screen and in narration—to present its argument in a way that would not be possible in another medium.
  • Requirements: The video meets all of the requirements laid out in the assignment description.
  • Readability and effectiveness: The script and other elements of the video are free of major and minor errors in structure and syntax and display the quality of writing and presentation appropriate for a professional publication.
  • Remix: The video does not simply summarize or narrate the chapter, but in its content and style effectively remixes the elements of the chapter—its themes, arguments, etc.—into something new.
  • Citation and fair use: All of the elements in the video are either the sole creation of the author, explicitly licensed for reuse, no longer covered by copyright, or used within the bounds of fair use. All sources used in the video that are not the sole creation of the author or authors are fully cited using standards appropriate to the medium.

Issue/cause website

Issue/cause website assignment description

For this project, you may work individually or in small groups of 3-4. Individuals and groups will pick an issue or cause that is important to your community (traffic problems in Morgantown; clean water initiatives in West Virginia) or demographic (rising costs of college tuition and student load debt; safety on college campuses) and identify a particular audience that is likely uniformed about that issue or cause. Then you will research, design, and build a multipage, multimodal website that informs your audience about the issue. You will create the site separately from your own or any of the group members’ personal websites. You are free to design your own site in HTML or CSS or to host the site on WordPress.com or any other webhosting platform.

Issue/cause website requirements

Your group is free to use a range of multimodal elements and creative organizational structures for this site. However, the final website should consist of at least four separate pages or sections, including

  1. a static home page that introduces the site and its cause,
  2. an about page that describes the purpose of the site and gives a short introduction to the site’s author(s), and
  3. two additional pages or sections, such as: a description of the history of the issue or cause, a video introducing the topic, controversies surrounding the issue or cause, a series of blog posts surrounding the topic, or any other pertinent information related to the topic and purpose of the site or its audience.

The site as a whole must contain a minimum of 1,250 words of text and ten images (not including any images that are part of the site’s template). You are free to use outside images and video, but all images that you wish to be counted toward the requirement above should be created by the author(s) of the site. Any material not created by the author(s) contained on the site or in multimodal resources on the site like videos must be fully cited both in the text, to indicate when material is not your own, along with a complete citation on an easily accessible works cited page. The works cited page will not count as one of the four required sections of the site and the citations will not count toward the required word count.

Issue/cause website grading

Except for extreme cases, all members of a group will receive the same grade on this assignment. I will evaluate your issue/cause websites using the following five categories and the grade descriptors above:

  • Design: The site adheres to the best practices for Web and multimedia design.
  • Accessibility and requirements: The site is logically ordered and structured and adheres to best practices for linking (using text tags instead of URLs, linking to all online sources, placing links where they are needed) and image use (using descriptive alt tags, providing citations and links to the original source for all images not created by you). The site meets all of the requirements laid out in the assignment description above.
  • Readability and effectiveness: The content of the site effectively accomplishes the goals laid out in the proposal, including the quality of its content and its appropriateness for the target audience. The text and other multimedia elements are free of major and minor errors in structure, syntax, and grammar and display the quality of writing appropriate for a professional audience.
  • Multimodality: Multimodal elements are effectively incorporated into the site to complement, comment on, and/or extend the written text.
  • Citation and research: All of the elements of the site are either the sole creation of the authors, explicitly licensed for reuse, no longer covered by copyright, or used within the bounds of fair use. All sources used on the site that are not the sole creation of the authors are fully cited using the MLA or APA citation format.
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