Writing in Digital Environments

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Don’t Get eSchmoozed! and Videos

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  1. Discussion of Ball and Rice’s “Remediating the Text: Reading Multimodal Texts”
  2. Videos: Audience, Purpose, and Context!
  3. Have a Great Mini-Break (no class on Thursday or Tuesday)!

Remediating the Text: Reading Multimodal Texts

Cheryl Ball’s main contribution to this webtext is to provide us with a readerly analysis of a student-produced video (see Designerly ≠ Readerly). The video was produced as part of one of Ball’s advanced composition courses, one that focuses on new media production.  Her analysis is done with an eye toward the analysis and grading a teacher needs to do for such a project. She explains that the student’s intentions (why she did what she did in the video) were just as important as the overall success of the final product.

Rich Rice’s main contribution was to warn teachers about the dangers of eSchmoozery. That is, getting wowed by the visual and aural flashiness of something like a video. He contends this can happen to English teachers and other untrained consumers of visual texts. He also makes the bold claim that all rhetoric is schmoozery:

Schmoozing is rhetoric, and we teach schmoozing textually by playing to an audiences’ needs. Format your paper this way, because it’s a convention that your audience recognizes. Appeal to your readers’ sense of emotion, logic, and authority, in this and this combination. Rhetoric is organized schmoozery. It’s a good thing. But not knowing the conventions or understanding or reflecting over why such rhetoric is valuable is a bad thing. Students who use presentation or form to schmooze the audience, but do not themselves understand the rhetorical affect or even why they’re presenting what they’re presenting, limit their opportunity to learn. (Rice & Ball, full commentary)

He then goes on to argue that new media texts are fundamentally different—a the level of design—than traditional written, print-based texts, especially in the way they incorporate information:

It becomes difficult to separate and distinguish the layers of work we’ve read. That is, Smith, Hocks, Whithaus, Kress, Sirc, Wysockie, the Selfes–their work both inspires and defines mine. My pedagogy is in many ways determined by their own. Perhaps the literature review is a way of attempting to define the boundaries between their ideas and my ideas. That’s what quoting does. But, it’s a false distinction. If we’re to accurately cite the works that inform our work, we would need to include the Library of Congress or some other massive database. This seems to me to be a significant difference between the presentations my students give and the texts they compose. Their presentations embrace others’ information by layering and integrating them in. The term “voice over,” in fact, describes a strategy for layering something that provides ethos. What we’re reading here are voice books or face books or myspaces or networks of layered information that provide valuable yet holistic impressions. Somehow what makes media texts engaging is their ability to interact with the audience in different ways. We’re moving into the interactive Web era. Who are the cool new people, rather than who are the previous cool people. Texts call attention to references by distinguishing them rather than layering them. Is providing ten impressions different than providing ten sources? Are impressions without referencing a form of identity theft or plagiarism?

What is for sure is that the same content in different modes can not be assessed in the same way. The tools themselves change what makes them effective. Logic and authority is what makes text in composition more effective, generally, whereas pathos is king in media texts. (Rice & Ball, full commentary)

So, here are the questions we are left with for today:

  1. what does Rich Rice say we need to know about visual composition in order to not get eSchmoozed? What might we add to his assessment?
  2. what is an appropriate use of new media production in a composition course and how should such student work be evaluated by the instructor (see the list from the webtext below)?

In his commentary, Rich Rice lists the criteria that composition instructors came up with for evaluating new media compositions (see below). Do you think these criteria are appropriate? What would you revise, add, or delete and why?

  • Is there a purpose? Does the text meet its purpose? Is it within the intended genre(s)?
  • Does the metaphor “flow” together and provide a single effect? Move the reader?
  • Does the composition sell the audience?
  • What are the transitions?
  • Does the text evoke ideas or provoke ideas?
  • Are its rhetorical choices purposeful?
  • Intentions…are they critical?
  • Is the media synchronous?
  • Does the composition meet the goals for the course?
  • Does the project transfer?
  • Does it help develop traditional forms of literacy (ironically)?


As we watch the videos, pay attention to all of the aspects going on: images, music/sounds, voice-overs, alphabetic texts, gestural, etc. from our discussions about multimodality. Also, take into consideration the classical rhetorical appeals (logos, ethos, and pathos) along with our discussions about Purpose, Audience, and Context.

Lurpak Cook’s Range

I Will What I Want

Mercator Insurance

Pepsi Co


Coca Cola

Second a Day

Pemco Insurance


Dirt Devil



Research Journal #2 (due tonight by midnight!)

Just a reminder, no class on Thursday, Oct. 13 for English Dept. Reading Days! And now, new and improved–No class on Tuesday, Oct. 18 for a writing and catching up day!

Due Thursday (Oct. 13):

Blog Post #5 due by midnight
Begin thinking about your 4th page (see 4th page directions on web page assignment) due Nov. 15

Due Tuesday Thursday(Oct., 20 when we return from our mini-break):

Read: McKee, “Sound Matters: Notes toward the analysis and design of sound in multimodal webtexts
Here are links to the multimedia examples in McKee’s article:
Breathing/Secret of Roe
Winter Lyric
New York City: After the Fall
Sound Poems

Listen to this: Morality


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Course Information

CO302.002, Writing In Online Environments
Fall 2016

when and where
T/TR @ 9:30-10:45am
Eddy 4

Jeremy Proctor
Eddy 311
jeremy.proctor@colostate.edu or proctorj@rams.colostate.edu

office hours
1:00 to 2:15 TR
by appointment

Most English Department faculty no longer have office phones. This means that the only way to reach me outside of class is to physically come to office hours or to email. During the work week I check email several times a day between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Under normal circumstances I respond to email within 24 hours. If you email after 5:00 pm on a Friday (i.e., on the weekend) you might not receive a reply until Monday morning.

Blogs I Follow

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