Thursday, April 5, 2012

Blog Post #8: Reflective Post (due by class on 4/19)

Your final blog post assignment is a reflective post about your experience in this class. Reflective writing enables one to gain a better understanding of the self and the relationship between one’s self and the world, by exploring personal attitudes, experiences, and memories. As you write, you look forward to the goals that you might achieve and backward to see what you have accomplished so far. Writing prompts (such as below) help your thinking in this process.

For this assignment, please respond to the following questions, and post your response to your individual course blogs by the class period on Thursday, April 19th. Please title your blog entry as “Blog Post #8: Reflective Post.” (For grading purposes, you may also identify all of your posts by the post assignment # by going to your blog's dashboard and editing the post titles.) 

1) What information did you find useful in this class?
2) What do you think were the best or challenging aspects of this class?
3) In general, how might you incorporate the knowledge and experiences gained from this class into your personal, academic, and professional life beyond this classroom?
4) Think of a specific question or issue that is most pressing to you right now. How would you use the knowledge from this class (e.g., knowledge of rhetoric and/or rhetorical criticism) to gain perspective on this question or issue?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blog Post #7: Final Essay Prewriting (due by class on 4/3)

Make a new post (always identify posts by the post #).  There is no format for the content of this post, but make sure to include the following information: Choose a mediated popular culture text (movie, TV program, song, cartoon, comic strip, or advertisement/ad campaign) that you are interested in analyzing for your final paper and that has a potential to yield material for a rhetorical analysis of at least 1000-1250 words.  Your texts can appear in any media (e.g., television, Internet, radio, etc). However, you must make sure that you choose artifacts with accessible texts (written words, visuals or movie files that can be downloaded or taped, etc). Briefly, you should be able to examine your artifacts–both their discursive and nondiscursive content—in detail.  Put a complete Works Cited list entry of your artifact into your post (you may find MLA guidelines at the links provided on the assignment sheet).  For example, if you are analyzing a movie, make sure to post a complete entry that includes the director name, etc (see MLA citation guidelines).

In your post, describe and summarize the artifact you will analyze (what is it about, what is going on in this artifact, etc) and offer relevant background information about it (for example, the director who made it, the company that released it, the times and places where it appeared, its significance, information about audience reception, etc).  Your description should be as detailed as possible so that you have enough material to revise and use later for an important section of your final paper.

Choose an appropriate method to analyze your artifact and state it in your post. Explain why you have chosen this method to analyze the artifact and how you plan to use them-- bu do not post your analysis results yet! 

Note: You may explore the artifact of your choice from any of the perspectives discussed this semester, except the dramatistic perspective (since it was already used for the first essay). If you want to combine perspectives, make sure to run your idea by the instructor well before the essay due date and discuss how you will narrow down the focus enough so the method used to analyze your text will be clear throughout the essay. 

Artifact Presentations (only those who haven't presented before): In 3 minutes, present your artifact to the class on 4/5.  For this presentation, briefly describe the text of your choice.  Tell us why you have chosen to analyze it, what is interesting about it, what method you have chose to analyze it, and why.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blog Post #6: Music and Visuals (due by midnight on 3/28)

For this post, you will write a short analysis of an artifact through a music or a visual perspective. Note that this is NOT a prewriting assignment for the final paper, but an independent blog post writing assignment; the purpose of this assignment is to reflect on the value of these perspectives, whether you use the same perspective in your final essay or not.

Selection of Artifact and Perspective:  Select a song to analyze it through the illusion of life perspective to music, OR select a visually rich text (such as a TV show, a commercial, etc) to analyze it through the visual pleasure theory.  Select only one artifact and perspective for this post (you don't have to do the both).  You may want to check the related chapters by Sellnow as necessary.

Analysis:  Using the constructs of the perspective of your choice, write an at least 500-word analysis of the artifact (see your class notes from related discussions and the tips of writing a rhetorical analysis-sample outline on Blackboard).  In other words, state and very briefly describe your artifact, comment on the artifact's target audience, explore what messages the artifact might be communicating to this audience (explore this through the constructs of your perspective) and some potential implications of the message on the audience (either positive or negative).  Contact the professor with any questions.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Blog Post #5: Applying Rhetorical Perspectives (due by class on 3/13)

The next post in your course blog will be a mini rhetorical analysis.  Select a popular culture text that intrigues you in some way.  Then write a 500-word analysis of this text through at least one of the methods (or you may combine two or more) that we have discussed in the last couple of weeks: Narrative, Feminist, and/or Marxist Perspectives. 

This short essay should show the conventional characteristics of a rhetorical essay, such as a brief description and some background about the artifact (the pop culture text that you analyze), a thesis statement that summarizes the text's overall rhetorical strategies and effect, a few paragraphs that provide examples from the pop culture text that support your thesis, and a conclusion that wraps up the overall effect of the text (see the Tips for Writing an Analysis on Blackboard>Course Documents, if you need a reminder on these conventions). 

On Tuesday, March 13th, we will meet in BAL 1013-A lab to complete a peer activity on these posts.  Make sure that you have made this post exactly by the class time so that your peers can work on it (students will lose significant points off the top of the course blog grade for incompletion of such posts).  If you have any questions, email

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Blog Post #4: Rhetorical Analysis Prewriting (Due by Midnight on 2/7)

Using your knowledge of the dramatistic perspective from our class discussions and the tip sheet and the assignment sheet for Essay #1 (Blackboard>Course Documents), complete some prewriting on your essay and post it to you blog by midnight on Tuesday, February 7.  Here is what you need to do and post to your blog:

-Go back to the artifact of your choice for your Rhetorical Analysis essay assignment.  Observe the verbal and visual details in your artifact carefully and take notes on the significant features of the artifact from a dramatistic perspective.  For this exercise, you may want to watch/observe your artifact several times.  For example, if you are analyzing a video, watch it once, and then watch it again without sound, and then watch it again only with sound and no visuals.  Check for the presence of a God/devil term. Identify the pentadic elements (agent, act, agency, scene, purpose); if you have already done so in your previous post, you might want to check again and confirm whether you have the right pentadic set (once you identify an agent, the other four terms should be based on that agent, etc).  Also check for possible motives- transcendence, mortification, victimage.

-Brainstorm and do some freewriting about your artifact to flesh out ideas (for example, try to form full sentences about how a particular character's idea/behavior is justified by a certain pentadic-orientation or a certain motive, etc).  This is meant to serve as an exploratory writing exercise-- don't worry about sentence structures, grammar, completeness of ideas, etc at this point. Just write.

-Go over your exploratory writing, and try to see the patterns in your artifact. Once you solidify some ideas, draft a tentative "outline" of your essay according to your thinking so far.  Keep in mind that this outline can change as you complete a draft of the essay itself later-- so, do not limit your ideas by this outline.  However, an outline will help you to put your ideas on paper, give some shape to them, and create an organizational structure.

-Based on your thinking and your points in your outline so far, draft an "introduction"-- see the tip/assignment sheet for reference about what needs to be in the introduction.

-Post your OUTLINE and INTRODUCTION to your blog by the deadline.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blog Post#3: Artifact Presentation (Due 1/31)

Choose a pop culture text (movie, TV program, song, cartoon, comic strip, or advertisement) that you are interested in analyzing through a dramatistic perspective (see chapter 4 in our textbook).  In 2-3 minutes, present your text to the class on 1/31 (presentations might continue on 2/2).  For this presentation, briefly describe the text of your choice.  Tell us why you have chosen to analyze it.  Identify the five elements of the pentad in the text:

Also identify what seems to be featured as the main point of the drama--e.g., what have been offered as reasons for the behavior.  What is justified in what ways?  Etc.

Note that you don't have to write a complete analysis yet; this will serve as an exploratory prewriting assignment for your upcoming essay using a dramatistic perspective (Essay #1).  The presentations and a preliminary discussion of artifacts are also part of the process.  During the presentations, class members may provide suggestions to others and get ideas about their own work.

***All blog post assignments are due by the beginning of the class period on the due date stated in the blog title.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Blog Post #2: Public Speech in Pop Culture Texts (Due 1/19)

Find a TV program or commercial, which includes the delivery of a speech.  Create a new post in your blog in which you examine what the speech is communicating through a Neo-Aristotelian perspective.

*What is the context?  Who is the audience for the speech?  What may be some of the audience expectations?
*Identify the five canons of rhetoric in the speech.
*What implications might the message of the speech have on viewers?

Be prepared to share your text and short analysis in the class.  Include a link to any online videos and/or transcript of the speech.