For my research project, I would like to revise my assignment assignment so that it may incorporate it into my English 151 class. My goal is to preserve most of the core theory behind the assignment, but narrow the scope to a clearly defined medium and genre, making it more practical for an English 151 course. To accomplish this, I will first revise my project using Dr. Rouzie’s advice. Instead of trying to build a resource base that would be the foundation of my students’ multimodal essays, I will instead assign a classical argument essay that: a.) Incorporates text and image and b.) That will be posted on a student created blog using blogger.com.
Inspired by the article “Writing and Citizenship: Using Blogs to Teach First-Year Composition” by Charles Tryon. Tryon’s class was able to draw in people in the blogosphere by asking his students to seek out certain blogs and link them to their own blog response. In the spirit of this, I intend to link my essay to Queer blogs such as towleroad.com, and with composition blogs such as English-blog.com, to see if I can draw a broader audience using the network affordances of the blog. If I am successful, I can revise my assignment assignment to focus on this formula of exploration. Audience and purpose will be at the forefront; I can ask my students to identify blog audiences that will care about their subjects, hopefully teaching my students a more comprehensive understanding of audience.
I have already created a blog on blogger.com, and I am somewhat familiar with its workings. For my multimodal essay, I will revise an alphabetic essay that I wrote for Dr. Nelson last quarter, but also incorporate images that will help to convey the overall message of the essay more persuasively. The essay’s central focus is to question how we a composition pedagogues can explore Queer subjectivities in the classroom and hopefully capitalize on the increasing awareness of Queer brought about by the recent media coverage of gay teen suicides. The reasons I chose this essay are fourfold. First, I put a lot of work into this essay, critically assessing every bit of scholarship I could find, thus, I feel is should be shared. Second, this work will likely be of interest to Queer people as well as teachers of composition. Third, so that I can experiment with MLA formatting as well as exploring citation with images within the genre of a blog. Lastly, it will allow me to test how successful this assignment could be in the hope of using it in the spring.
Though I will not be researching collaboratively for this project, as my students will, that part of the assignment has already been tried and true during my first two quarters teaching here (though Dr. Nelson’s feedback certainly qualifies as review). Thus, the collaborative research portion is not on trial with this experiment. What is on trial is: a.) Whether I can use the blog as an easy way to encourage students to incorporate text and image into their classical argument essays b.) Whether I can use the blog to reach a target audience beyond the classroom that will respond and c.) Possible test students’ comprehension of Chapter 9 of the Allyn and Bacon guide, “Analyzing Visual Rhetoric,” in addition to Chapter 10, “Writing a Classical Argument.”