Welcome to my blog, Rhetoric Matters. This is a public space where I discuss, analyze, debate, argue, etc. issues of rhetorical importance. A trifle about me (CAUTION, rhetorical selfie to follow):
“…writing surrounds us: it’s not something we do just in school or on the job but something that is as familiar and everyday as a pair of worn sneakers or the air we breathe.” — Andrea Lunsford.
Currently, I serve as an Associate Professor of English at Kennesaw State University. I earned my Ph.D in rhetoric and composition from Georgia State University, specializing in digitally engaged composition and critical feminist praxis. My research finds further loci in diverse sub-fields of rhetoric, including digital literacies; 19th-century women’s
public discourses ; and, most recently, (re)conventional grammar uses across digital writing spaces. I also conduct empirical research with student-scholars, interrogating the intersections of theory and practice as they evidence themselves in courses across universities and how students’ information-seeking behaviors impact their own digital literacies. My current projects include the LILAC project, a multi-institutional, mixed-methods effort to describe and analyze students’ research strategies. i am also conducting a digital humanities initiative university-wide with community partners. Our working website is www.anyonesittinghere.org. I have published work in Studies in the Literary Imagination, the Journal of Learning Communities Research, Women in Judaism,Bellaterra, and Composition Studies. I am also a regular blogger for Andrea Lunsford’s Multimodal Monday series. I have presented my diverse work at regional and national conferences on panels and in workshops, including Computers & Writing, the Texas Rhetoric Symposium, CCCCs, RSA, and the Conference on African Diasporas. My teaching praxis centers on disrupting binaries that separate teachers and students as well as on engendering digital opportunities for student-scholars to enter into academic conservations with informed voices.
A blog is a public writing space where you share information, thoughts, and ideas that you want to be read by an audience. Similar to online journals, blogs are only rhetorically successful if their authors are able to generate dialogues with readers and draw web traffic to posts.
A blog is also part of your (or your client’s) electronic Identity (e-dentity). They are digital composition opportunities for you to create ethos (credibility). Blogs are trending right now as composition spaces that are both dialogic and multimodal in their design and a means of disseminating mass information, corporate training, and innovative ideas for schools and companies alike.
Academic blogs serve many of the same purposes as traditional essays. Further, they also have the same parts:
Introduction – In a blog, authors use conversation as a rhetorical tool to convey a message and engage with an audience. In a blog introduction, you should expect a starter to get this dialogue going. Your introduction will also have a banner, header, or image “above the fold” (no scrolling) that invites the reader to engage with your topic. You also want to have one sentence where you situate yourself as the writer.
Thesis – You state your purpose outright. In a blog post, it is OK to write “this blog post will…[insert your verb here]. You may write explicit elements of your claim, but more often bloggers don’t. So, you must be mindful of your post’s organization and make sure you stay on-mission with your message.
Support – In an academic blog, support for your claim comes in a diversity of multimodal content items. Make sure you frame each piece of support, whether you use videos, podcasts, images, or GIFs, or alphanumeric text. You frame your support in your own voice.
“In this video, Olajide “KSI” Olatunji demonstrates a key gaming strategy called “grinding it out.” [insert video, caption it, and source it]. The strategy described by KSI in this video is used by amateur and professional gamers alike to “level up” in all kinds of games.
Conclusions – Academic blogs do, indeed, have conclusions! You should expect to wrap up your argument and support in no more than three sentences. Always include an invitation for commenting and feedback. Re- iterate your contact information.
Academic blogs also have a few additional required elements:
Tags – By inserting tags in your post, you help searchers find your post among millions of others on the Internet. Think of tags as digital keywords that describe your main argument and topic.
Working hyperlinks – In blogs, hyperlinks serve as visual elements and way-finders to create a multi-linear, interactive experience for your audience. Double check all hyperlinks in multiple browsers to ensure viability.
Pro Tip: To easily embed a video instead of a hyperlink (rhetorical visuals are important!), you should be editing on your dashboard in “Visual Mode.” Find the visual mode on the top right-hand side of your dashboard. If you edit in visual mode, then you can grab URLs from videos, and WordPress will automatically grab the embed code too, giving you the visual impact you want. Here’s a helpful video:
Grammar Blogging Assignment
I want you to create a simple blog and write FOUR blog posts that incorporate multimodal elements. You may use your choice of platform, but if you haven’t blogged before, I suggest WordPress (general) or Edublogs (educational). If your school or company already has a website, you may want to write your posts for those spaces.
For Blog #1-3, analyze about a particular grammar element in a digital spaces OR convo with me about another possible grammar topic.
For Blog #4 research and post about a forgotten woman who has made contributions to STEM fields.
Grading Criteria Content Item located in Course Content Tab
After successfully completing this assignment, students will be able to
Synthesize academic essay and blogging conventions
Create digital posts that include all blogging requirements
Demonstrate competency in digital text construction based on academic blog elements
Minimum Word Count: 800 words per post.
How Many: Minimum of FOUR posts.
Multimodal Elements: visual (video, images, hyperlinks), audio (podcast), links AT LEAST TWO IN ADDITION TO TEXT PER POST. Please make sure that your multimodal elements are copyright-free or that you have permission from your company or school to use them. Remember our Google search strategies.
Tags at the bottom of each post. Think about your purpose and audience for each post, then tag each post with at least three keywords. These keywords will help readers find your post when they search for these keywords on the Internet.
Reflection: Post your textual script and link to your blog in the D2L Dropbox for this assignment. I also want you to write a brief reflection on your experiences with this assignment. Let me know what you think about the guidelines, the purpose of the assignment, and how I might improve it for future students.
Using our Podcast Guidelines, our work in class and your choice of grammar structure, write and record a podcast or vlog highlighting your argument or analysis through a research lens. Upload your transcript as a .doc or .docx file ONLY, and include the link to your podcast.
Writing and recording a podcast/vlog is a creative, dynamic, and rhetorical endeavor. Before you begin and during production, read and review the SEVEN criteria below to ensure that your textual product, meets all of our rhetorical elements to determine your growth as a scholar.
1. Author/Authority – your credentials and thesis (purpose) must be explicitly stated at the beginning of the podcast (this is your introduction)
2. Accuracy/Validity – give your chosen contact information for dialogic feedback (establish ethos)
3. Audience – is your language, syntax, and diction rhetorical and specifically written for an audience?
4. Subjectivity – what are your biases towards/against your subject. You MUST own your subjectivity because this increases your own voice.
5. Timeliness – Are you reviewing/critiquing a game that is overexposed? Are you bringing anything new to the conversation? Say it!
6. Scope/Purpose – Is your podcast narrow in scope? What do you want to impart to your audience? Are you focusing on syntax, visual/textual structure analysis, pragmatics etc.?
7. Format/Style — logical organization (introduction to conclusion), audio/video quality, podcaster vocal quality (can we hear AND understand you?), are there TOO many sound effects to understand you? Here is where we also state the length: 1-2 minutes.
Please provide your work in a Mac-Readable format, which is YouTube-Ready. With your permission (IRB signed consent form) your work will be posted on our communal, educational channel.