Visual Rhetoric/Multimodal

I was really taken by many of the assignments outlined in Arola, Sheppard, and Ball, and by the comment in the intro where they stated: “writing thrives in and outside of our classrooms and to interact with texts and writing processes in (re)productive ways” (3). The latter notion was really profound and had me thinking upon ways in which the processes and approaches in the writing class can wriggle into other realms for them. And the assignments within the manual really seem to capture the ability to do that. The assignments for the 100-level class were really innovative and seem to enact the kind of writing they call for that strives to be beyond the classroom. The interview project seems fabulous in its ability to do a lot of things at once, particularly framing questions that can generate further ideas. I also thought that perhaps a brief kind of writing before the interview, like context that you see in magazines or articles that occur before the interview, would suture together the audience and beyond the classroom approach nicely. To be honest, however, the PSA for the first assignment seems rather bland and I don’t know if students would be compelled by it. I say this because they need a reason to invest themselves in the course, they need to be able to see themselves gaining from it, which I believe a personal essay really is the outlet to do this. Or something like the personal essay that allows for experimentation. Perhaps the PSA could be inflected with the personal, or structured as a personal essay in some form. Otherwise, I’m not sure if I, as a student, would be enticed by this kind of first project. I remember having something like this in a public speaking course in undergrad and I and the other students particularly found it drab and monotonous.
I also was really enthralled by the Edbauer Rice piece on the defense of mechanics, initially, that is, until she utilized the case study. The case study, to me, was not representative of the kinds of dynamics within our classrooms. Particularly, the dynamics of mandatory composition courses. The fact that she elects to use a study in which the participants are in fact willing participants, or indeed participants who actively want to engage and learn the material, is problematic. I can perhaps name one student in my class at the moment who would genuinely opt to take this course. Everyone else knows it’s a mandatory class, and that manditoriness is felt. Not to mention the fact there is a grade and that constant looming thing clouds the dynamics of the classroom and the willingness to experiment and fumble. Therefore, this sheer difference in space that Rice does not account for significantly undermines the defense of mechanics as one where rhetoric production is able to foster: “imagination, improvisation, and enactment.” I do not disagree with her at all that. In fact, I agree with her analysis. However, does that method of engagement to process and fiddling with mechanics necessarily translate across to a composition classroom? Where students do not have the same interest, or motivation for that matter, to learn as those students Rice takes as her study? Ultimately, I guess, my biggest apprehension is the process will be overlooked for the product since students are more focused on hammering out something quickly and efficiently as possible to get the grade/get the product for review. Altogether, I did take the “exploratory pedagogies” and “personal projects to think with” as very tantalizing for a composition course and can perhaps open students to the process and the mechanics of things.