Multimodal Products, Copyright, and Accessibility

Following the Stage III guidelines, today you will be sharing your first draft of the argumentative research paper with a peer (focusing on the established rhetorical situation, the specific argument, and structure based on a master outline), but you will also get started with your multimodal production. From the Stage III calendar:

Multimodal Presentation—

Create a multimodal product in which you present your results.

Lastly, you’re going to put your rhetorical knowledge and skill to translate your academic essay into a persuasive multimodal argument through a different medium for a different (non-academic) audience. Each of you will choose a medium that you can work with confidently and effectively, but the common goal will be to reconfigure your academic argument into a multimodal product, be it digital, print, visual depiction, sculpture, song, video, podcast, poem, performance, etc.

Not all media are appropriate for all audiences (or topics). You should determine the audience for your argument before settling on the medium. Ask yourself: How does a new medium affect your argument? Who, realistically, is (could be) your audience? How might you engage and appeal to your audience in new ways?

Some Guidelines:

  • Time is short, so keep your project manageable.
  • Attend to the details of your academic research paper and showcase those details in new, imaginative ways.
  • Make an argument without regurgitating your entire paper.
  • Create a balance of modes: visuals, text, sound.

Unlike your argumentative research paper, where you are specifically targeting an academic audience, for this assignment you should think of addressing a “non-academic” audience. In fact, for your next reflexivity journal you should write about what audience you would target and how you would change your medium based on that.


Copyright and Accessibility

Copyright law can be very tricky, so that’s why I would suggest you search for images, sound and video files that have a creative commons license. Still, because your assignment is not for profit, and is meant for education purposes, you could have some leeway to include segments from more popular texts.

Refer to the following link where “the visual communication guy” explains copyrights for image use– (http://thevisualcommunicationguy.com/2016/03/24/you-can-use-a-picture-if-guidelines-for-image-copyrights/)

As I’ve mentioned before, we should be attuned to the ways in which we can make our texts accessible to a large majority, which twitter suggests we address in terms of adding “alt text” to the images we embed in online spaces. Read the following blog post from twitter (https://blog.twitter.com/2016/accessible-images-for-everyone).

In your reflexivity journal entries you should include a note about how you would address accessibility in your multimodal production (whether it be via captions or providing a transcript, etc.) and how you would avoid any copyright issues.

Genre & Conventions & Grammar

If genre is “a particular type or category of literature or art”

&

“conventions are generally agreed on practices or rules that writers should pay attention to when they compose a text… [f]or example, in academic writing, you should write in a formal style while using certain styles of citation to deliver your arguments to your audience…Conventions [thus] refer to certain traditions or rules of a context or genre.


In trying to demonstrate the fluid nature of genre conventions, I’ve blended MLA citation practices with those established in blogosphere, while also suggesting how academic writing is thought to be formal, and argumentative.

This semester we’ve been trying to break away from the notion that all academic writing is argument, given that you’ve engaged with other kinds of genres: can you think of one genre you’ve written and name a few of the conventions you took on?

There have been assignments in which I explicitly asked you to use MLA, but for this last argumentative research paper, you should take up whatever format you are most comfortable in. What is the purpose of a style guide? What does it guide, specifically? What does MLA stand for?

Regardless of the format you use, make sure that you are following its main guidelines. Refer to Purdue’s OWL for a user-friendly guide of MLA formatting.


Another component of academic writing that I’ve pointed to in most of my feedback to you all is grammar. Here’s a very timely video to complicate things…

While we do have to keep in mind how grammar can play the role of gatekeeper, especially for those who didn’t necessarily have the funding to expensive (and perhaps elitist) institutions that train their students into the “proper” way of saying things, it is still important to have a good understanding of how these grammars function. The main purpose for grammatical attention in this course has been clarity and specificity.

A recent article from NPR also pays attention to a grammatical practice– diagramming sentences. It might be useful to go through the exercise of diagramming in order to understand the role that each word has in each sentence, the role that each sentence has in each paragraph, the role that each paragraph has in each section, and the role that each section has in your article/chapter/blog post, etc.

I’d suggest you take a random paragraph from your proposal and start diagramming: where is the subject? verbs? modifiers? Are they placed in a way that is understandable? The same questions can be asked about the sentences that are up a paragraph: where is the topic sentence? supporting statements? transitions? 

Once you’ve written a set of paragraphs, then you can start thinking about the structure of your argument more broadly, and you can begin to reverse engineer your paper in order to make sure you are presenting information in the clearest way possible.


Next few steps: Reverse Engineering

  1. to get started with your paper, I suggest you go back to the writing you’ve already done, notice what you’ve already said about your topic, and start writing outlines based on each of your paragraphs (as they are).
  2. write another set of outlines that you wish you could have written; for example, there are a few instances in which I suggest you could unpack further, so how would you do it?
  3. compare each of your outlines and write another (master) outline for the way in which you foresee your argumentative paper to be organized.
  4. include the master outline in the first (full) draft you bring in to class on Monday.

Forwarding, Countering and Conversing with Sources

Thus far, Stage III has maintained attention to setting your work within a specific rhetorical situation, which may be based on your proposal and the analytical claims you made in your transcript analysis. You may be asking yourself, where do I go from here? If you refer back to the assignment descriptions provided in the Stage III Calendar, you’ll notice that I provide more explicit suggestions about the way the argumentative research paper could be constructed:

Argumentative Research Paper—Report on your research following MLA conventions

Ultimately, you will write an 8-10-page research paper, specifically directed toward an academic audience. Drawing on the sources you have been reading & analyzing, you’ll position yourself in relation to the topic or an issue you’ve been studying and build a case for understanding or action. The essay should not be an informative research report; it requires you to take an explicit position in relation to your topic, to analyze and complicate your topic, and to use your sources sparingly but strategically. You’ll practice using other sources—illustrating, authorizing, borrowing and extending—to forward your own ideas.

During Stage II you created a series of documents that should have positioned you within a specific “conversation” and started conducting primary research. For Stage III you will demonstrate how you’re entering the conversation; this time you will aim to provide a new perspective. Your contribution should stem from your primary research.

  • recognize and attend to what your readers will need in terms of explanation/preparation/ contextualization. Make sure to, among other things,
    • define key terms and concepts,
    • carefully introduce your sources,
    • anticipate confusion or resistance,
    • use rhetorical appeals and strategies appropriate for your rhetorical situation and
    • anticipate counter-arguments.
  • argue a particular perspective; that is, be explicit about how your ideas fit into the ongoing debate/conversation—synthesize.
  • provide a new perspective stemming from the primary research you take on, analyzing your data, demonstrating how it pertains to your topic and what it adds to the conversation.

Today we are going over a few notes from Joseph Harris’ book, Rewriting, specifically his chapters on Forwarding and Countering. As you read through these notes, what are the ideas you have about the way in which you will approach your argumentative research paper? Which moves have you engaged in already? How can you begin to synthesize your own ideas, with those of other primary and secondary sources?

Notes on Joe Harris’ Rewriting

 FORWARDING

“Learning a subject means acquiring a discourse, not just mastering a body of knowledge.” (35)

  • discourse– a mode of organizing knowledge, ideas, or experience that is rooted in language and its concrete contexts (as history or institutions) <critical discourse>

“A dialogue is not a debate.” (36)

“One scholar will criticize the work of another less in the hope of having her rival recant than in persuading other readers to see the good sense of her (rather than his) views.” (36)

“In forwarding a text, you extend its uses; in countering a text, you note its limits.” (38)

“Remember, though, that when you forward an idea or passage from another text you need not simply to cite but to use it.” (39)

Illustrating

“You need somehow to make their work yours. Faced with the impossibility of rendering the whole of an image or performance in words, you can only instead point to what you see as its key moments or features.” (41)

  • ideology– a) a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture b) a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture c) the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program.

“The text is not the object of his analysis so much as a tool for his thinking.” (42)

“The literate person, Pattison suggests, realizes that words never simply describe the world but rather always offer a particular view of it, and thus that we can use language to shape beliefs and events—for both good and ill.” (43)

Authorizing

“Sometimes [turning to another text for a key word or concept] occurs as a quick appeal to another writer as a voice of authority.” (44)

Borrowing

“You can call on other texts not simply to support but to advance your work as writer through borrowing a term or idea from another writer to use in thinking through your subject.” (45)

Extending

“writing tends to become more exciting as it moves outward – selecting, excerpting, commenting, and, sometimes, changing or inflecting the meanings of the texts it brings forward.” (46)

Complexities of Practice

“A problem with offering advice about writing, though, is that while you can isolate certain moves that writers make, they rarely make those moves in isolation.” (49)

COUNTERING

“the aim of academic writing should not be simply to prove how smart you are but to add to what can be said about a subject … [thus,] to counter is not to nullify but to suggest a different way of thinking.” (56)

“the aim of countering is to open up new lines of inquiry … to develop a new line of thinking in response to the limits of other texts.” (57)

“you usually need to come to terms with his or her project, to offer a sense of its aims and strengths. To identify what a text fails to do, you need to be clear about what it achieves—or at least what it attempts. Otherwise your criticisms will seem flippant or unearned.” (57)

Arguing the other side

”attaching a positive value to something another writer denigrates or a negative value to what another writer applauds.” (60)

Uncovering Values

“you will often find that you need to uncover a term of value that a text has obscured or repressed before you can question it.” (60)

“the values and attitudes of our society are often insinuated in the very metaphors and turn of phrase, examples and images, stories and characters, that we are given to work with in writing… [t]hey often turn out to be connected to deep cultural beliefs about gender, race, sexuality, social class, and religion.” (63)

“But countering is not an exercise in political correctness; it is a move to examine what a text (or set of texts) leaves unmarked or unquestioned; to highlight the unseen” (63)

Dissenting

“when your aim is to counter not just the work of a single writer but to dissent from a view shared by a number of thinkers … you need first to show that a certain consensus exists, so you can then define your position against it.” (64)

“you need to counter something more like a shared line of thought. What you need to do in such cases is to show how this line proceeds from one point to the next, to restate the key moves or logic of the argument in your own words—and then to offer examples of writers making these same moves.” (64)

Civility

  • Focus on positions more than phrasings: “Your job is not to correct the infelicities of a text but to respond to and rework the position it puts forward.” (68)
  • Don’t guess at intent: “In countering you need to respond to the position taken, not to the person taking it.” (69)
  • Be careful with modifiers: “You want the force of what you have to say to reside in your nouns and verbs, not in your descriptors.” (70)
  • Stress what you bring to the discussion: “The point of countering is to push knowledge forward … The most civil way to counter another writer is to show how your response to her work opens up new forms of talk about her (and your) subject.” (70)

For homework you should keep exploring your options/goals as you read over a few chapter selections from They Say/I Say, adding to the reflection you’ve started writing in class today. How are these scholars helping you to frame academic arguments?

Reflecting on Research & Composition Process(es)

Interview Process

Before going into today’s activities, take five minutes to talk to a peer about where you are in the research stage: Have you turned in the interview protocol? Have you contacted those who you want to interview? Did you already interview them? How was it? Have you started transcribing the interview (focusing on moments wherein you can gather “rich data”)? Have you been able to analyze some of your data? How is it informed by/informing the conversation you had with secondary sources (in your “conversing with sources heuristic”)? Refer to the Interview Assignment and Stage II Calendar for a reminder of the necessary steps in this process.


What is Research/Composing?

As you’ve moved from exploring the broad topic of representational politics of citizenship, to developing a set of research questions, doing secondary research, and coming up with a research project, you’ve negotiated a series of intellectual positions and have started to engage in primary research. Before going into Stage III, where you will finally be able to articulate and argue for a specific position based on your research findings, it might be productive to think through the processes you’ve taken up to study your topic of inquiry in relation to the different composition processes necessary for the different genres you’ve practiced in this class thus far. Based on the reading, and informed by your research and composition experiences in this class: How is the composition process described in the DK Handbook similar to the research process and creating/expressing knowledge(s) you’ve engaged in this class?

To answer this broad question, you can start to write down and explain:

  • What are the different genres you’ve composed?
  • How is rhetoric informing how your research/writing?
  • How should audiences be conceived?
  • What contexts have you considered in your research process? How can you convey this in your writing?
  • What assignment made you think about purpose most explicitly? How is purpose contingent upon genre?

Reflect upon these prompts in writing, discuss them in class, and submit your reflection via Blackboard’s Discussion Forum.

 

 

Using Sources and Interviews

Cathy Birkenstein and Gerald Graff’s They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing is a concise but understandable explanation of how to engage in specific rhetorical moves that are common-place in academic writing. Because we are about to embark in a more explicitly academic production of texts, such as “the” academic research argumentative paper, it’s good to remind ourselves of how to summarize, quote and respond to other writers in your research.

In terms of summaries, Birkenstein and Graff suggest that “writing a good summary means not just representing an author’s views accurately, but doing so in a way that fits your own composition’s larger agenda” (36). This was the approach suggested for your critical summaries—which you then turned into a review of the topic your interested in. The signal verbs, templates for introducing summaries, and quotations on page 38-40 should be useful as you continue to write about what others have already written in regards to your research question, and consequently how you are framing your study (in your proposal, for example). I would suggest you use these in your own writing regularly.

With the understanding that you are incorporating other people’s ideas into your own writing, you should be careful about how you differentiate your ideas from that of others. I would agree with Birkenstein and Graff: “the main problem with quoting arises when writers assume that quotations speak for themselves” (43). They suggest to quote relevant passages and frame every quotation–highlighting the importance of choosing specific quotes that you couldn’t have said better and using the analogy of a ‘sandwich’ to frame quotes–and they also provide templates for introducing and explaining quotations.


Written Exercise: Before going into our discussion of the reading(s) assigned, practice summarizing and quoting Prof. Ping-Chun Hsiung, from the University of Toronto, and her descriptions of Conceptual Baggage.

What is conceptual baggage and why is it relevant to consider throughout the interview process?


 

Rhetorical Appeals, Audience and Location

oratory: “the art of speaking in public eloquently or effectively” “public speaking that is characterized by the use of stock phrases and that appeals chiefly to the emotions”

In “The Specter of Nuestra América: Barack Obama, Latin America, and the 2009 Summit of the Americas” René De los Santos presents a critical view of Obama’s presidential speech as providing definitional work in U.S.- international relations. De los Santos situates his argument in presidential rhetoric studies, using David Zarefsky to hone in on the “institutional function” (164) that speeches made by U.S. presidents may serve, especially in international contexts. He does acknowledge the pathos-driven, oratorical function of a president’s national address, but concerns himself with the kinds of identifications available to such rhetors in the broader American hemisphere, and how these suggest a series of ideological assumptions that can have political repercussions.

The assigned reading brings up concerns about rhetorical appeals, audience (public), and location (context, subject-position). How do you see these concerns manifested in the reading? Can  you think of ways his argument can be updated given Obama’s efforts to lift the Cuban embargo?


 

To briefly discuss the different rhetorical appeals you can identify in other people’s writing, or use on your own productions, refer to the following table from the work in two different composition textbooks:

RHETORICAL APPEALS

  From Writing Analytically From DK Handbook
Ethos “… the character of the speaker, which is important in determining an audience’s acceptance or rejection of his or her arguments… the personae (versions of ourselves) we assume when we write have a formative impact in what we think and say” (74).

 

“Composers can use any strategy available to them to shape how audiences understand who the composers are… In traditional rhetorical terminology, the sense that audiences develop about composers is called ETHOS” (86).
Pathos “… refers to the emotional component in writing, the ways it appeals to feelings in an audience” (74).

 

“In rhetoric, a composer’s use of strategies to shift an audience’s emotions is called PATHOS” (88).

 

Logos “… refers to the logical component of a piece of writing or speaking” (74). “To move audiences, composers make choices about the order in which they hope audiences experience their work” (90). These choices can be studied in terms of a large scale (encounter with a text), middle scale (specific arrangements in the text), and small scale (secondary details that contribute to meaning).

 

As you watch the following clip from Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show:

  1. who do you consider to be the featured rhetors/writers?
  2. who is the intended audience?
  3. what is the context and the potential rhetorical ecology?

After watching the clip, get together in groups of three and analyze:

  1. what are the rhetorical appeals used?
  2. what are the intended effects?
  3. how does this clip compare to the “barbaric-civilized dualism” that De los Santos points to?

HOMEWORK:

Conversing with Sources – After doing some more research on your topic, choose four more sources and create a table in which you write:

  • MLA citation for all of the sources found
  • context of publication
  • exigence addressed by authors
  • main claim(s)
  • important flash-points about your research questions

 

From Rhetorical Situation to Rhetorical Ecologies

Jenny Edbauer’s rhetorical ecologies model does not do away with the traditional conception of “rhetoric’s contextual character” (20). It would be useful to re-evaluate your understanding of rhetoric, and how rhetoric happens.

The rhetorical situation triangle

The development of a theoretical explanation of a rhetorical situation and the elements of communication has, as Edbauer delineated, shifted in the development of rhetorical theory. Each scholar cited by Edbauer situates the action of communication differently. Edbauer, inspired by scholars like Barbara Biesecker and Louise Weatherbee Phelps (the founder of the Composition and Cultural Rhetoric program here at Syracuse University), wants to think of these communicative elements in an “ongoing social flux” (9). In addition, networks are important, as a ‘”networked life’ is a matter of actual, historically shaped forces of flows” (Edbauer 9). The action is in the encounter, in the interaction between such elements.

“An ecological, or affective, rhetorical model is one that reads [and produces] rhetoric both as a process of distributed emergence and as an ongoing circulation process” (Edbauer 13).

Historical projects like the Schindler’s photoblog are interesting examples of the ways in which rhetorical ecologies function, even while addressing the past. Here’s a local example of SyracuseHistory via Instagram.

A few questions:

  1. What do you think Edbauer means by affective?
  2. Do the case studies she use represent enactments of citizenship? How so?
  3. How are you thinking of the situation you want to address in your paper?

Proposals:

As you start thinking of writing a proposal, explain what you think a proposal is meant to do. Given the rhetorical ecologies model, how would you situate the importance of your topic? If exigency is “something that is necessary in a particular situation,” as a simple Merriam-Webster’s definition suggests, then what is the exigency you are attending to?

 

 

Aesthetics and Design

“Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.” John Berger, Ways of Seeing.

According to Merriam-Webster’s, aesthetics is: “the branch of philosophy that deals with the principles of beauty and artistic taste.” The concept is applied to a broad variety of concerns, from different modes and trends of artistic expression to body image(s). It can be used in regards to particular styles, like “punk aesthetics,” for example.

Sex Pistols Iconography

Within the punk aesthetic, and judging by the selection of texts delineated in Steven Heller’s Atlantic article, promotional material and other compositions contained a particular design that caused it to be recognized as punk.


 

The Four Basic Principles of Design

CONTRAST- The idea behind contrast is to avoid elements on the page that are merely similar. If the elements (type, color, size, line thickness, shape, space, etc.) are not the same, then make them very different. Contrast is often the most important visual attraction on a page–it’s what makes a reader look at the page in the first place.

REPETITION- Repeat visual elements of the design throughout the piece. You can repeat colors, shapes, textures, spatial relationships, line thickness, fonts, sizes, graphic concepts, etc. This develops the organization and strengthen the unity.

ALIGNMENT- Nothing should be placed on the page arbitrarily. Every element should have some visual connection with another element on the page. This creates a clean, sophisticated, fresh look. The basic purpose of alignment is to unify and organize the page. Think about alignment in terms of the invisible horizontal and vertical lines that connect parts of a page. For strong alignment, make sure that you’re always aligning things in the same way and connecting different elements of the page through alignment (the same invisible line).

PROXIMITY (“Grouping”)- Items relating to each other should be grouped together. When several items are in close proximity to each other, they become one visual unit rather than several separate units. This helps organize the information, reduces clutter, and gives the reader a clear structure.


 

Fonts are an important component of the punk aesthetic. As you watch the next few clips from the documentary film Helvetica, make notes about how the four basic principles of design are presented in descriptions of this ubiquitous font type.


 

There are font design choices described by graphic designers David Carson and Michael Bierut that are based on epistemological differences, or on how we come to understand our world from modern or postmodern perspectives (one prefers order and logic, the other celebrates multiplicity and play). Maybe you remember that we talked about episteme based on Foucalt in Hall a few weeks ago, being attentive to representation. Before you start work on posting text and images in your website, keep in mind the four principles of design (C.R.A.P.) and the kind of perspective you deem relevant for your topic of inquiry and personality (whatever subject position you want to represent). You may be constricted by the theme you chose, but you could always go back and change it.

For now we should focus on adding images into your blog posts and to categorize pages into the Stage I section of your website.

Why Data Visualization for Research

Last week’s talk by Clay Spinuzzi focused on the different ways academics in the social sciences, including those in IT, are studying networks. It was very useful to learn about the difference between using social network analysis, studying sociotechnical networks, and organizational networks as distinct foci. However, his workshop the next day focused on the benefits of visualizing qualitative research. We have not discussed the difference between those two kinds, so we should do so before going into the benefits of data visualization in research practices.

Quantitative methods emphasize objective measurements and the statistical, mathematical, or numerical analysis of data collected through polls, questionnaires, and surveys, or by manipulating pre-existing statistical data using computational techniques.

On the other hand,

The word qualitative implies an emphasis on the qualities of entities and on processes and meanings that are not experimentally examined or measured [if measured at all] in terms of quantity, amount, intensity, or frequency. Qualitative researchers stress the socially constructed nature of reality, the intimate relationship between the researcher and what is studied, and the situational constraints that shape inquiry. Such researchers emphasize the value-laden nature of inquiry. They seek answers to questions that stress how social experience is created and given meaning. In contrast, quantitative studies emphasize the measurement and analysis of causal relationships between variables, not processes. Qualitative forms of inquiry are considered by many social and behavioral scientists to be as much a perspective on how to approach investigating a research problem as it is a method.

Without going further into the nuances of methodology options, there is a possibility for using both kinds of approaches. Can you think of different methods for each? Which kind of research do you think you’ll be doing the most in this class?


As we reach the end of Stage I, you should know that this exploration phase is meant to help you find a research question that you will pursue throughout the remainder of this semester. We’ll be addressing how to write research questions next week, but for now you should know that you can find more information about how to write “good” research questions following this link to a handout created by the Writing Center at Duke University.


To go back to Clay Spinuzzi’s workshop, he suggested that visualization methods allow researchers to systematically analyze data. In order to contend with the apparent domination of quantitative approaches as providing an objective truth, the burden of qualitative research is how people perceive it —“Data is not the plural of anecdote” — which suggests a certain invalidity when data is solely based on experiential knowledge. Therefore, qualitative researchers have developed tools to generate different kinds of truths. Methods should generate knowledge based on:

  • Research Question or Concern —as opposed to “seeing what happens”
  • Related data—relate interviews to observation/each other, impressions thast probably won’t cohere
  • Testable inferences
  • Evidence for claims—old school rhetoric approach (“basketweaving” information) building interrelationships

In addition, Spinuzzi talked about different ways to analyze:

  • Triangulating—observe something (etic account) – interview (emic) – a lot of times they don’t overlap—triangulate across sites (where the diversions are)
  • Coding—re-represent and summarize data, re-represent the things I want to (hash)tag and compare across
  • Memoing—write impressions separate from the data (interpretations we could record)
  • Modeling—re-representation/crystallization pulling out from the data – to reduce the account/reduce the noise – second order representation of what I do
    • Three kinds of models network: for nonsequential relationships | flow: for sequential relationships (directionality) | matrix: ordered comparisons

Basically, always DOUBT what you know!

MODELS in qualitative research: Visual representation that allows you to abstract relations at each level | not always used/useful | useful for visualizing and exploring different types of relationships in the data | spotting, testing, verifying, and elaborating patterns in the data and, consequently, for developing further hypotheses

The one model that we will be using is a word cloud. Eric Detweiler provides a useful definition: “Word clouds measure word frequency in a selected body of text and generate a vaguely cloud-shaped visualization of all words contained therein.” The word cloud you will generate this weekend serves the purpose of invention. It should help you notice what words were used most frequently in your critical summaries and in your CND. I’m suggesting you use wordle to create your word cloud, and that you write a Reflexivity Journal entry on the insights that you gather from the activity.

Review Blog Post | Critical Summaries

Before moving on to discussing the next assignment, take a few minutes to write a short reflection on the different processes in which you engaged readings while filling out the Media and Research Log. Where did you go to find each text? What did you take into consideration while classifying each one? What features did you notice? Which one was easier or more difficult to find?

It is very likely that you encountered a variety of texts in a variety of genres. Consider the following distinctions posed by Deborah Coxwell-Teague and Dan Melzer in their introduction to Everything’s a Text: Readings for Composition:

If a mode is a channel of communication–oral, visual, digital, print–then a medium is the tool that the composer uses within that channel to deliver his or her message. For example, composers working in a visual mode might use mediums such as photographs, painting, or billboards. Composers working in a print mode might use mediums such as books, magazines, newsletter, or fliers. Understanding the way that the medium of a composition affects its content can help you understand and analyze any type of text, whether the medium is a sculpture, Web site, or poster (16).

Look through the sources you annotated in your Media and Research Log and determine what mode and medium was used in the composition of each text. How does it affect the meaning you gathered from it?

Moreover, Coxwell-Teague and Melzer write:

If a mode is a channel of communication, and a medium is a tool for delivering a message within that channel of communication, then a genre is a form of that tool that is appropriate for specific literacy situations. For example, within the oral mode of communication, there is the medium of the speech, there are genres such as wedding toasts, political acceptance speeches, graduation speeches, and so forth. Each genre of a speech is appropriate in a specific kind of situation (a political rally, a graduation, a wedding, and so forth). (19)

Write another column where you indicate the genre of each text. Make sure to write down any new insights about your research before turning in the Media and Research Log.


What is a Summary as Blog Post as Review?

Considering the above definitions, we can posit a review as a specific genre. You may be familiar with Yelp reviews, or maybe you read through the reviews written by buyers on Amazon before getting the best pair of snow boots for this winter season. There are also multiple kinds of reviews for media texts like movies, music, tv shows, among many others. Because we are in an academic setting, we should pay close attention to the ways book reviews are described as a genre that “offers a critical perspective on a text.”

The description of critical summaries I’ve already offered is similar to the characteristics delineated in the UNC-Chapel Hill Writing Center handout. But there are also similarities with the ways Joe Harris suggests we “do things” with texts. Although you can find the chapter of “Coming to Terms” from his book Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts on our Blackboard,  I’ve created a handout that summarizes his main ideas. Lastly, in “What We’re Doing When We Blog,” Meg Hourihan, cofounder of Pyra Labs or the company that launched Blogger, discusses strategies for composing in what Coxwell-Teague and Melzer call “one of the most popular digital genres, the weblog or ‘blog'” (294). Based on these three texts, what do you suggest should be the main components of a Review Blog Post where you put together your Critical Summaries, or the exercise I’ve called Summary as Blog Post as Review. What kinds of negotiations will you make based on the typical blog post genre as described by Hourihan and the more traditional academic review? How can Harris’ strategies help you construct the critical summary component of the Review Blog Post?