Shared Assignments (all sections of English 1101 and 1102)

Common First Week Video 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:

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):

The Library’s gadget-lending service, which allows you to check out a range of equipment, including laptops, tablets, and cameras:

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 Canvas or, if the video is too large, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo (as indicated by your instructor) and submit the link to Canvas. (2) Create a Mahara page with your video embedded and submit the Secret URL to Canvas.

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

Choose the Pages tab (next to “Collections” under the large “Share” title)

Next to the page you want to submit, click “Secret URL”

Add a secret URL and copy it.

Paste the URL into Canvas 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 your final grade and will be assessed using the Writing and Communication Program’s programmatic rubric.

English 1101/1102 Multimodal Reflective Portfolio

Defending Society Assignments


Short Paper 1: Defending Fiction

Your first paper, due February 12th, 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 fictional works (this encompasses TV, film, novels, graphic novels, podcasts, etc.) today. Imagine how you might defend a specific work. This step gives you your PURPOSE.

Step 2: Think about who you would want to convince that this work is good. 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 Sidney’s GENRE as you begin drafting your defense of the work of fiction you chose. 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 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, you might argue people unfairly condemn a work of fiction for promoting sexist ideas when, in fact, it empowers women (propositio)
  4. An analysis of the work of fiction exploring its positive aspects and influence (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.

Short Paper 2: Bartholomew Fair

Throughout the semester, we will engage in class discussion and write in-class essays. Our prompt for Paper 2 will be drawn from students’ suggested prompts. You can expect to write a paper on Bartholomew Fair of the same length as Paper 1 and with an attached reflection.


PechaKucha is a presentation format in which you play 20 slides and talk about each slide for 20 seconds. It is visually driven – the slides should use images rather than bullet points. Good timing, flexibility, and rehearsal are key to a successful use of the format.

For our class, we are doing a modified version of the PechaKucha format. You will only be given ten slides at 20 seconds per slide to make your argument. The argument, like the first paper, is highly structured. Your creative decisions will primarily be in regards to your choice of topic, the kinds of images you find to support your argument, and the sections of your argument you choose to dedicate more than one slide to. This limited scope allows you to focus your energies on nonverbal and visual aspects of persuasion. For the purposes of this assignment, your job will be to persuade your classmates that a disagreement between two sides over a work of fiction opens up some interesting questions to explore. You are not persuading your classmates to choose one side over the other at this point.

Students should incorporate the following elements into the argument

  1. Exordium (opening anecdote or hook)
  2. Narratio (the reason for your presentation)
  3. Propositio (the thesis, or argument offered by one side of the conflict. For instance, what do people who hate Twilight say will happen to the young, impressionable readers or viewers who consume it?)
  4. Partitio An analysis of the work of fiction
  5. Confirmatio (the evidence offered by one side for why their concerns are justified)
  6. Reprehensio (the counter-argument, fully presented. For example, explore the position of the fans of Twilight – how might the book or film exert a positive rather than a negative influence?)
  7. Peroratio (a conclusion with a call to action. This is the most important section because it is where you discuss how the conflict between the two sides has relevance for larger questions. What can the conflict teach us about how people feel about sexuality, class, or werewolves in the twenty-first century? Note, the emphasis is on the lessons we can take from peoples’ reactions to the work of fiction, not the merits of the work itself)
  • An “A” presentation will have 10 slides that the student talks about for 20 seconds each (organization and conventions). The slides will have images that are suitable to the content (development of ideas and design for medium). The student will reference and explain the slides (development of ideas). The student will start on time (conventions). The presentation will incorporate the seven elements above (organization). The presentation will deal with an actual controversy – something people can disagree about – and fairly present both sides (rhetorical awareness and stance).
  • A “B” presentation will do the same things as an “A” presentation but fall short in one or two respects
  • A “C” presentation will have two or more of the following problems. The student may have poorly rehearsed so that they are continually looking behind them to check on the slide (organization). The timer may not work for the presentation (design for medium). The student may not include all seven parts of the argument, or they may attempt to include the elements but fall short in terms of being fair to both sides (development of ideas and rhetorical awareness). The student may offer only an obvious question at the end of the presentation (stance).
  • A “D” presentation will contain three or more of the problems listed above. It may also miss the point of the assignment by not even offering a question (rhetorical awareness and stance).
  • An “F” presentation will miss even the attempt to respond to the prompt.

All presentations must be submitted to Canvas 24 hours prior to the class in which you present. Indicate in the “notes” section of your slides which of the seven argument parts you are intending each slide to cover. A slide may address more than one argument part, or you may use more than one slide on one part of your argument.

Group Project

After the PechaKucha unit of class, students will vote on the PechaKuchas that posed the most interesting questions. The leading PechaKuchas will form the basis of project working groups. After you have picked a topic, you will collaborate with other group members to create a web project. The website must include:

  • A video component. This may take the form of interviewing people who take one side or the other of an issue; sample clips of pop cultural references to your work of fiction; clips from your work of fiction with analysis (if applicable)
  • A resource component. Consider this an annotated bibliography for your site. The goal is to provide your audience with the resources to get background on the issue and form their own opinion as well as judge the merits of your argument. With each resource, give a few sentences of contextualization and description.
  • A blog page with posts from each of your group members of 450-600 words and a minimum of two images, gifs, or videos.

Group Project: Work Plan Guidelines


You will be assigned two grades for your project, a product grade and a process grade. The product grade is determined by the quality of the end product. The process grade is determined by your involvement in the making of the project. If you don’t do any work, you can receive a 0% for the process portion of your grade and a 100% for the project portion, for a final grade of 50% on the assignment.

  • Product: How well does the product meet the expectations set for it in the group work plan? Does it appeal persuasively to a specific audience? Is the video of high quality? Are the blog posts well-written and engaging? Does it answer real questions rather than restating the obvious?
  • Process: This grade will be determined by the students in the work group. Each student will anonymously assign each other student in their work group a grade. I will take the average of the grades for each group member and use that to assign the process grade. You will decide upon grading criteria before you begin work as a group (see below).


The plan must include:

A. A description of the final product. Your description should include a list of features classified by “must,” “should,” and “could” to rate their importance to the final product.

Example: “Feminism and Sparkly Vampires” web project: video page

  • Must: a video that establishes, through interviews, that there is disagreement about the overall message of Twilight as it relates to women’s agency
  • Should: include side-by-side analysis of the novel and the film to take into account how feminist or anti-feminist themes change or stay the same through adaptation
  • Could: include a puppet spoof version of Twilight to summarize the plot in the video essay

B. A list of tasks that need to be accomplished to develop the product. Some of these tasks may include:

  • Liaison work: talking with anyone outside of your group from whom you need to get information, interviews, grant money, legal advice, permission, etc.
  • Web design and layout work (i.e. choosing a template on WordPress, finding images or video, putting all of the elements of the website into a visually-pleasing order)
  • Technical tasks such as writing code, editing video, using a 3D printer other prototyping
  • Writing blog posts, scripts, other content features of the site

C. An estimate of how long each of the tasks will take

D. A timeline that puts the tasks in order and includes multiple “sprints,” or phases

E. A list of teammates and the tasks assigned to them for the first sprint. After your first sprint, you will revisit the teammates and tasks for the second sprint.

F. Rules regarding communication, feedback, and attendance. Decide on your grading criteria for process (50% of your final project grade). For example,

  • An “A” teammate completes all tasks on time. The teammate offers constructive feedback to other group members, attends all classes, and attends all out-of-class group meetings, and communicates well with the rest of the team, responding to messages within 12 hours.
  • A “B” teammate does all the same things as an “A” teammate but falls slightly short in one respect
  • A “C” teammate completes their task, but either does not offer feedback (or offers feedback that is not useful), misses several classes and out-of-class meetings, or responds slowly (48+ hours) to messages.
  • A “D” teammate does not complete their task, or completes the task in a sub-standard way and also falls short in other areas such as communication, attendance, and feedback
  • An “F” teammate does not complete the task and has major issues with communication, attendance, and feedback

Video Essay

You will adapt Paper 1 or Paper 2 to a 3-5 minute video essay. 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.

1: Brainstorming

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.

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.

2: Image-gathering and preliminary analysis

Return to your two ideas and select the one you think you can most effectively adapt to a video.

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.

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?

Revisit your initial idea about who your audience is. 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.

3: Storyboarding

Your storyboard is a process document (rough draft) for your video essay. Put together your storyboard due April 2. Choose and sequence 12-18 images. Each image should have:

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

Storyboards will be graded P/F. Upload a digital version of your storyboard to Canvas 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, then send it to me as a .pdf.

4: Reflection and Submission

Upload your video to YouTube and copy the link to the Canvas 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?


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?


  • 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?


  • 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?


  • 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?