Assignments

Detailed assignment sheets will be posted here throughout the semester. If you do not see the assignment you were looking for, check back later. It will be posted no later than two weeks before its due date.

Common First Week Video: (5%)

Assignment

Review the syllabus for the class and review “Critical Concept Three: Communication Is Multimodal” in WOVENText Chapter 2 (pp. 39-44). Create a video (60-90 seconds). Begin by introducing yourself (name, major, hometown) and identifying your course (teacher, theme) in 10-15 seconds. Your video should articulate a challenge relating to one of the modes—written, oral, visual, electronic, or nonverbal communication—that you’ll be engaging with in class projects this semester. What challenges do you expect to face in relation to this particular mode (use specific examples from your past experience)? How might you overcome these challenges (again using examples from your past experience)?

IMPORTANT: If you completed a similar video in a previous class (ENGL 1101 or ENGL 1102), you should create a new video that speaks to the class you are now in and the specific challenges you see in this course. Why? Because this is a different class, with different expectations and different projects; plus, you’ve grown as a writer and communicator since completing that previous video—what you know about the modes, what you see as challenges, and how you might overcome those challenges have changed. Further, submitting assignments that have been submitted to another class constitutes a special form of plagiarism called self-plagiarism—and so constitutes a violation of Georgia Tech’s Honor Code. Videos that appear to have been submitted in a previous course may receive a zero for this assignment and/or may be referred to the Office of Student Integrity.

Technology: To record your video, use an easily accessible technology: your (or your friend’s or classmate’s) smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer with webcam and mic. You can also use resources available to you on campus:

  1. The Presentation Rehearsal Studios in the Clough Undergraduate Learning Center (CULC), in which you can work with a presentation coach and also record yourself and then send a link to the video to yourself (or anybody else): http://www.communicationcenter.gatech.edu/rehearsal-rooms-0
  2. The Library’s gadget-lending service, which allows you to check out a range of equipment, including laptops, tablets, and cameras: http://libguides.gatech.edu/gadgets

Audience: Imagine your audience to be other first-year students at Georgia Tech and other faculty members. They’re interested in your supported opinions, not your ability to summarize materials with which they are familiar.

Planning: In planning this video, you need to create a script (or at least elaborated talking points). Consider that for most people speaking at a normal conversational rate, a half-page paragraph (in 12-point Times New Roman, double-spaced, with 1” margins) is equivalent to about one-minute of talk, so your 60-90 second video will have a script that’s one-half to three-fourths of a double-spaced page long.

Design: An important aspect of any video is its design. Think about how you will not only deliver your argument to your audience but also present it in an engaging manner that uses the affordances of the video genre. If you speak directly to the camera, consider the angle and placement of the visuals, the setting in which you’re speaking, your appearance, your body language, and your eye contact. Or, consider if a slideshow, stop-motion, time-lapse, or other kind of creative style might be better suited to representing your argument. For any video, ensure that your voice is clearly audible and easy to follow.

Rehearsal: Do NOT just wing it. Do not have the first recording be the final take. Rehearse. A LOT. Maybe five or six or even ten times. In your video, you want to appear and sound relaxed, poised, and confident.

Submission: Submit your video in two ways: (1) Upload it to T-Square or, if the video is too large, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo (as indicated by your instructor) and submit the link to T-Square. (2) Create a Mahara page with your video embedded and submit the Secret URL to T-Square.

To submit the Secret URL, under the Portfolio tab, choose “Shared by Me”

  1. Choose the Pages tab (next to “Collections” under the large “Share” title)
  2. Next to the page you want to submit, click “Secret URL”
  3. Add a secret URL and copy it.
  4. Paste the URL into the textbox on T-Square and submit it.

Reflection: During the class period after you submit your assignment, your instructor will ask you to reflect on the project. “Reflecting” in this case means that you’ll respond in writing to a set of prompts or questions that ask you to consider how and why you made the choices you made in completing the diagnostic assignment. You’ll then save that reflection and return to it later in the semester as you prepare your final portfolio.

Why is reflection important? Because when you take a step back to critically review the ways you approached a problem and implemented a solution, you learn how to generalize that process—that is, you learn how to apply those critical thinking, communication, and project management skills to other subjects and areas of your life.

Grading: This diagnostic assignment is worth 5% of the total grade and will be assessed using the Writing and Communication Program’s programmatic rubric.

Short Paper 1: Unlawful Recreations

Your first paper, due September 18th, is a 3-4 page (900-1200 word) genre imitation paper with an attached reflection

Step 1: Take 5-10 minutes to write by hand, without stopping, on the subject of controversial hobbies today. If you were a modern-day Gosson, which hobby would you single out to condemn? This step gives you your PURPOSE.

Step 2: Think about who you would want to convince that this hobby is bad. Other concerned citizens? The U.S. government? A specific religious or secular community? This step gives you your AUDIENCE. Once you’ve decided upon your audience, think of the most persuasive STANCE you can adopt and how to most effectively communicate it.

Step 3: Imitate Gosson’s GENRE (the polemic) as you begin drafting your argument against the hobby you have specified. Your MEDIUM and DESIGN follow the conventions of the traditional academic paper (i.e. 12-point font, one-inch margins, double spacing).

After you have completed these pre-writing steps, begin your paper. Remember that you may want to revisit this argument and expand it using visual and aural resources later for your midterm video essay.

Your paper should be accompanied by a brief (about 200-400 word) reflection that describes your writing process and how you completed steps 1-3.

  • An “A” paper will develop a claim logically and coherently, offering relevant evidence and persuasive analysis. It will adapt its stance to the audience at hand, following the conventions of the genre. It will include the following rhetorical moves:
  1. An opening anecdote (exordium)
  2. A description of your reason for writing, the occasion for your argument (narratio)
  3. A thesis – for instance, your particular hobby has a detrimental effect upon society that can be curbed if your audience takes proper action (propositio)
  4. An analysis of the negative aspects of the hobby and a prediction of where they will eventually lead society (partitio)
  5. Evidence offered as proof of your claims (confirmatio)
  6. An acknowledgement of possible exceptions that anticipates likely arguments against your case (reprehensio)
  7. A conclusion with an exhortation to take action (peroratio)
  • “B” papers meet the requirements of A papers, but in fall short in one or two respects
  • “C” papers have an argument of average quality, but miss either important aspects of the rhetorical situation or skip some of the rhetorical moves above. Its effectiveness may also be compromised by problems with grammar, mechanics, or organization.
  • “D” papers fall short in the same way as “C” papers but lack an argument and include many grammatical, stylistic, and proofreading errors
  • “F” papers have no argument, poor organization, and many grammatical, stylistic, and proofreading errors. They do not attempt either to analyze the rhetorical situation or to make the required rhetorical moves.

PechaKucha Presentations

PechaKucha is a format of presentation in which you play 20 slides through continuously while you speak for 20 seconds about each slide. You will be using this format to present an image-driven argument about one of the three topics discussed below. Unlike an analysis paper, the presentation is not designed to be a place for nuanced and complex argumentation. Think of it as a polemic instead – your goal is to have a simple, clear point that you present in an entertaining and engaging manner. The goal of the presentation is not really to prove a hobby’s worthiness, but rather to study the mechanisms of persuasion. Signups for PechaKucha will occur during the third week of class.

Topic 1:

  • Scenario: You and a select group of mostly like-minded people are forming a new utopian society. However, your fragile new civilization is being threatened by the excessive or inappropriate practice of (x) hobby. Blame your social ills on this pastime and convince your classmates to illegalize it, or to limit its scope severely.
  • Alternately, you find yourself in charge of determining the high school curriculum for your utopian society. The school only has funding for one hobby because the other curriculum design members on your committee are convinced that pastimes should take up minimal resources. You are allowed only one hobby to support in school, and all students must participate in the hobby. Convince the rest of your committee that it should be (x).

Topic 2:

  • Scenario: Imagine that you are part of a newly forming group around the practice of a specific hobby. To be eligible for funding, your hobby community must submit documentation about the ideal practitioner of the hobby. You are competing with others in your group to define the character trait or social good that is most representative of your hobby (for instance, the perfect courtier’s most important trait might be sprezzatura).
  • Alternately, you have just found out that the bulk of your nation’s hobby funding is going to a competing pastime that you intensely dislike. Present an argument on the primary negative outcomes developed by this hobby, thus freeing up funding for your own.

Topic 3:

  • Early English sonnets are typically arguments of one kind or another (i.e. “seize the day” or “settle down and have kids”). Take any sonnet and convert its argument to presentation form.
  • Alternately, discuss with me ahead of time a PechaKucha project relevant to class themes and/or the skills we are exercising. For example, you may have found a salient example of controversy in your hobby community. You may pick a side and argue it.

Assessment:

You will be graded on:

  • Organization: the number of slides and your ability to stay on track as they scroll behind you. Are there 20 unique slides that each advance after 20 seconds? Do you start precisely at the beginning of class, or do you fail to arrive in time to be prepared? (40%)
  • Development of Ideas and Design for Medium: the persuasiveness of your argument and how well you use verbal, visual, and nonverbal elements to convey it (25%)
  • Stance and Rhetorical Awareness: how engaging your presentation is to the audience. Are your viewers bored by it, or does it hold their attention? (25%)
  • Conventions: how smoothly your presentation runs. Do you have technical or mechanical errors that distract from your message? Do you need to turn around and look at your presentation? (10%)

 

You are required to submit a copy of your presentation to me via T-Square 24 hours before the class period in which you present.

Short Paper 2: Leisure in Twelfth Night

Short Paper 2 Prompts

Review the pages of Reading and Writing about Literature by Janet Gardner that are posted under “resources” on T-Square. Pay close attention to the examples of explication and analysis papers given. Then, choose between the following two prompts, the first of which emphasizes explication and the second of which emphasizes analysis.

Prompt 1

Select a passage from Twelfth Night in which a leisure activity is used figuratively to illustrate some larger theme or make an argument. Explicate the passage, taking what is “implicit or subtle” in the passage and making it “explicit and clear” (Gardner 56). In your explication, pay special attention to style, imagery, word choice, and figurative language (i.e. similes and metaphors). The finished paper should account for why a particular activity is used as the vehicle for the argument or theme conveyed. For example, if you were explicating the first lines of the play, you might explore how the hunting metaphor sets up the play’s approach to love.

Prompt 2

Select a scene from Twelfth Night in which people are engaging in a leisure activity. Compare two film versions of this scene. Describe and analyze the WOVEN elements of the scene. With reference to the play text, comment upon how the decisions of the directors show their approach to the play as a whole and to the theme of leisure specifically.

Your paper will be 3-4 pages in length with 12-point font and one-inch margins. Please use MLA format if you need to cite outside sources. Include a 200-400 word reflection on your process of writing the paper.

Video Essay Assignment

Final Project: Due October 20th

Storyboard: Due October 16th

Transform one of your short papers into a 3-6 minute video. Your goal will be to enhance the argument and evidence from your original paper by using the affordances of the video medium. These may include sound effects, lighting, backgrounds, props, camera techniques, costuming, gesture, and movement. Follow the process described below to develop your storyboard and video essay.

Brainstorming

  1. Re-read both of your papers. Spend 10 minutes with each paper brainstorming how you would convert them into videos. Set them aside. Describe both potential videos to 2-3 other people, preferably of different ages and audience types (for example, your roommate, your boss, a grandparent or other elderly acquaintance). Set your notes aside for a day, or at least a few hours.
  2. Decide on the kind of audience you want to appeal to. Think through what they are likely to know. Consider whether you want to use a more formal or a more casual tone.

Image-gathering and preliminary analysis

  1. Return to your two ideas and select the one you think you can most effectively adapt to a video.
  2. Spend 30-45 minutes on internet searches for images, video clips, sound effects, and other electronic elements you might incorporate into your video. Try at least 2-3 ways of ordering the video essay elements you found.
  3. Write a sentence or two to go with each image that describes what it is and its purpose. Is it making a claim? Evidence to support a claim? A camera technique designed to create a certain mood or tone?
  4. Revisit your initial idea about who your audience is. Review review your brainstorming and image-gathering work to make sure it is persuasive to that audience, or change your intended audience so that it is one that will be persuaded by your rhetorical methods.

Storyboarding

Your storyboard is a process document (rough draft) for your video essay. Put together your storyboard due October 16th. Choose and sequence 12-18 images. Each image should have:

  • A description of the image
  • The image’s purpose
  • The kind of camera shot you are using (i.e. extreme closeup, long shot, etc.)
  • Duration of each shot

Storyboards will be graded P/F. Upload a digital version of your storyboard to T-Square by your class period on the due date. Make sure to retain your draft for the end-of-the-semester portfolio. You may use any format you want to make the storyboard, provided that you turn it into a file that I can open with using a standard PC and Microsoft Office Suite or Adobe Creative Suite. For example, if you choose to make it using posterboard, scan the finished posterboard (there is a giant scanner in the DILAC lounge on the third floor of Skiles), then send it to me as a .pdf. There is also a .pdf template available on T-Square you can print out and fill in.

4. Reflection and submission

Upload your video to YouTube and copy the link to the T-Square assignment page. Include a 200-400 word reflection on the process of making the video. What would you change if you had more time or could do it again? What do you feel worked well, or was less effective? What changes did you make in response to feedback?

Evaluation

I will use the following criteria to assess your video. As part of your storyboarding process, you should go through this checklist and ask yourself each of these questions. Then, review the list one more time before you submit the finished video.

Rhetorical Awareness:

  • Do you have a clear sense of audience? Are you making assumptions based on your own knowledge or value system, or do you adapt your message to take into account what they might know and believe?
  • Does your tone (casual or formal) match the anticipated audience?
  • Do you answer all of the aspects of the assignment?

Stance:

  • Do you make an argument? Could someone reasonably disagree with it, or is it an obvious statement of fact?
  • Do you make clear the stakes of your argument and why it matters?

Development of Ideas

  • Do you pair evidence with analysis persuasively for each claim?
  • Do you anticipate potential counterarguments and address them?

Organization

  • Do you transition between your analyses in a logical sequence? Do your analyses build upon previous points and support the overall argument?
  • Does your video essay have a beginning, a middle, and an end?
  • Does the footage sync up in a logical way with the narration?

Conventions

  • Are there errors (this does not include intentional, audience-driven decisions to use casual speech) in the written or spoken elements of the film?

Design for Medium:

  • Does the text take advantage of the video essay medium by combining images, sound effects, narration, camera techniques, editing techniques, etc. in order to produce meaning?
  • Are the images and sound in the film of high quality?

Alternatives

If you do not wish to revisit either of your short papers, you may make a video essay on another topic. You may either choose the official alternative topic, or you may propose a topic of your own. An email and/or office visit to discuss a proposed topic of your own is required. It is recommended if you decide to write on the alternative topic below.

Courtiers in Popular Culture

For this topic, you will choose at least two depictions of courtiership in pop culture (i.e. The Tudors, Black Adder). You will compare and contrast the modern-day visions of what it means to be a courtier to Castiglione’s model of courtiership in The Book of the Courtier, using at least three direct quotations from Castiglione.

Elements of this assignment sheet are adapted from the work of Dr. Tina Colvin