Writing. Media. Social Change.

Posts tagged ‘kuhn’

Kuhn, V., Johnson, D. J., & Lopez, D. (2010). Speaking with Students: Profiles in Digital Pedagogy. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, 14(2).

This webtext features a dozen video-profiles of students in University of Southern California’s Institute for Multimedia Literacy (IML) honors program. All students in the program complete scholarly multimedia thesis projects in their respective major. These snapshots feature students reflecting on their thesis projects in digital media, which demonstrate a range of student work in new media including SecondLife, Flash, and the open source program Sophie. In making this project, Kuhn accounts for the aesthetic sensibilities of each student’s video profile in order to protect the integrity of the work: “In short, the look and feel, or the tone of the project should translate from thesis project to thesis profile.”

Videos show students discussing their projects and the heuristic by which their thesis projects were evaluated:

assessment multimodalThis webtext argues for the importance of creating a lexicon to assess digital work. Not just the domain of the “bean counters,” rigorous new media assessments can help students, academics and administrators understand the “nuances and sophistication” of new media compositions.

Unfortunately, I found this Flash-based webtext somewhat maddening. I accidentally closed it numerous times.
Note: The heuristic above was introduced to digital writing studies as an assessment method in Kuhn’s 2008 Kairos webtext, ‘‘The Components of Scholarly Multimedia at http://kairos.technorhetoric.net/12.3/topoi/gallery/index.html
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Cheryl Ball. “Assessing Scholarly Multimedia: A Rhetorical Genre Studies Approach,” Technical Communication Quarterly 21: 61-77, 2012

I appreciate the frank, personable, helpful tone of this article. It sounds very much like Ball’s voice, sitting down and having a chat with the reader about multimodal composition, sharing some interesting work by others, telling stories about her own classroom experience assigning and assessing webtexts, creating rubrics with students, what works, what doesn’t. Her experience comes across at every turn – her ethos is everywhere.  And that makes the article highly readable and engaging.

She draws from her familiarity and expertise with assessing webtexts (scholarly multimedia compositions) in her capacity as editor for the journal Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. The purpose of the article is to explore

“how to ask students to compose scholarly multimedia and how to assess their work (63).”

She explores these issues through the lens of her own experience teaching numerous iterations of a course in Multimodal Composition. Students in the course complete a webtext project (scaffolded through a series of assignments [64]), which could be submitted to a digital journal, like Kairos, C&C Online, X= Changes, or The JUMP (Journal for Undergraduate Multimedia Projects). After serious discussion, she describes how her class arrived at appropriate evaluation measures for their projects, which they refer to as Kuhn + 2. These involve:

  • Conceptual Core
  • Research Component
  • Form and Content
  • Creative Realization

+2

  • Audience
  • Timeliness

*See review of Kuhn and pages 65-68 for more details

Ball warns (and rightly so) that this heuristic should not be adopted blindly by teachers of multimodal composition. She explains that this rubric serves her purpose for one particular situation, for one audience, at one point in time (63). Furthermore she emphasizes that rubrics need “to be created fresh” (68), meaning that Kuhn + 2 is not one size fits all. Importantly, Ball emphasizes the importance of making our own, to meet the task at hand, with student input.

In this article Ball also offers some sage advice to webtext authors regarding design concepts, especially how form/content work together: “(a) Your design should enact your argument, and (b) To come up with that design, think of a visual metaphor for your argument (68). *See Susan Delagrange’s 2009 Wunderkammer piece for its exemplarily form and content.

She later notes: “…students should be articulating their design choices (form/content relationship) as rhetorical, aesthetic, technological, and other choices that make sense for the conceptual core of a piece given the medium they have chosen to best present their concept” (70). Although Ball doesn’t explicitly state what an “aesthetic choice” is or could be, I am happy to see it mentioned here. I see is it as part of my own project to explore what we mean when we speak of the aesthetic aspects of multimodal composition.

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