- view a variety of popular and alternative media outlets
- discuss the differences and similarities in genres and modes between media outlets
- generate a list of broad topics
- begin to narrow the broad topics down to smaller issues for the academic paper
After introducing the assignments and homework for this module, I show several media clips in class and ask students to write down ideas for topics. After each segment, we write down the broad topics–for example climate change, immigration reform and police brutality–and then discuss issues within the list of broad topics that would make for good papers and blog posts. We also generate a list of dead topics: topics that argue the obvious, are too big to do justice in one blog post or one paper and topics that argue religion (because the Bible isn’t considered a scholarly source in academia).
The multimodal final drafts are really entertaining to grade! Below are a few projects produced by my students this semester. The quality was not as good as I expected, and in the future I think it will be important for me to give them feedback on the rough drafts (along with the peer feedback). But it’s also the first of four projects, so there is plenty of room for improvement this semester. Here is a summary of the things my students struggled with the most:
- building credibility (and referencing sources in the projects)
- targeting an audience
- clarifying the purpose of a message
- deciding on an effective and appropriate mode for the projects’ message.
To organize the giving and receiving of feedback for the blog projects, I find it easiest to send a sign-up sheet around the room. For homework, students respond to the peer review questions posted below. It is important to preface this assignment with a discussion on the giving and receiving of feedback (similar to managing a peer review session for writing workshop).
Homework #3 asks students to post their rough drafts on Black Board Learn (or Google Drive or whatever forum space your class uses) so that other people in the class can give feedback on the project. As long as the drafts are posted on time, I give all the students in the group credit. The student instructions for submitting the rough draft are posted below.