Analyzing Multimodal Projects

I need to do analysis right meowLast class we identified the modes that the many texts we interact with every day use. Today, we are going to analyze a text using the information from Chapter 2, and then I’ll ask you to apply the same analysis techniques to the tool you are writing about for Project 2.

  • If you have not signed up for a tool for Project 2, please do so immediately by visiting the Project 2 Sign-up.
  • I will pass out copies of a flyer titled What is the English Undergraduate Research Conference? and I will give you a few minutes to scan the information.
  • I will ask for a student volunteer to serve as the class notetaker for our discussion. Your job as notetaker is simply to type up our analysis as a comment in the Google+ Community.
  • We will examine the flyer and identify how it works using the information from Chapter 2.
  • We will then do our in-class writing. The goal today is to begin gathering information on the tool you are analyzing for Project 2. The idea is to get started. It’s okay if you don’t know all the answers yet.

    I want you to create your own post in the P2: Interface discussion in the Google+ Community. In your post, address as many of the following points as you can at this point:

    • Identify your tool (give its name and url).
    • Explain the modes of communication it uses.
    • Think through the rhetorical situation for the tool (as well as you can at this point): Audience, Purpose, Context, Author, and Genre.
    • Analyze the design choices for the tool (again, as well as you can at this point): Emphasis, Contrast, Organization, Alignment, and Proximity.


  • You can go back and add information to your community post if you run out of time in class. I suggest you copy the info from the community into a post on your blog. You can label it “Notes” or “Rough Draft” if you want.
  • Next time, we’ll talk more about affordances and constraints. Review the related information from Chapter 1 of Writer/Designer (pp. 14–19). We’ll identify the affordances and constraints of some examples.
  • Spend some time exploring your tool. I’ll ask you to write about the affordances and constraints of the tool you are interrogating in class.
  • Remember that you should have a rough draft on Tuesday, February 18 (that’s one week from today).


What Are Multimodal Projects?

Ninja Mode!Today we are going on a multimodal dig. Remember that there are five modes of communication, as explained in Chapter 1 of Writer/Designer (see the image at the end of the post if you need a refresher).

For today’s in-class writing, begin by digging through your bags and finding all the multimodal texts that you have with you. Think broadly and creatively. Try to think of texts, and not devices. For example, your smartphone is a device, but Angry Birds is a multimodal text on that device.

Go to the Google+ Community in the Main Discussions area and create a post that lists the multimodal texts you have with you. It doesn’t have to be an exhaustive list, but aim to have 6 to 12 if you can. Once you have your list, label the items by the modes they include. You can use the first letters (e.g., L=Linguistic, V=Visual). Be prepared to share and talk about why you found in your dig.

After we talk about the writing, we’ll go over the assignment for Project 2.


  • Before the start of class on 01/11/14, choose the application you will interrogate for Project 2.
  • Read Chapter 2 of Writer/Designer.

The Five Modes of Communication

For reference, here are the five modes, as illustrated in Figure 1.6 from Writer/Designer:
The Five Modes of Communication


Submitting Project 1

My reaction when I find out the assignment was due todayToday is the due date for the first project for the course, Building a Web Portal. Remember that you have a one-week grace period for turning in your project if you need it.

You can use the class session to check the grading criteria for the project, make any last-minute updates to your site, and write your project reflection.

Project Reflection

Your project reflection is a a short (about 1 page) message to me (it’s meant to be a letter, so you can begin “Dear Traci”) that tells me the URL to your website and then explains the decisions you made as you created your website. There are guiding questions listed on the Project 1 assignment page. You can compose your message in Google Docs so that you have a back-up, and then you’ll submit the reflection in Scholar.

Submitting Your Project

Follow these steps to submit your project:

  1. Log into Scholar and go to our class
  2. Choose the Assignments tab in the left sidebar.
  3. Click on the P1: Web Portal assignment.
  4. In the Assignment Text box, add your project reflection and be sure that it includes the URL to your Web Portal. (Make your URL a hyperlink if you want to make me happy.)
  5. Scroll down and indicate that you followed the Honor Code (unless you didn’t, and then we have a problem).
  6. Click the Submit button to turn in your work.
  7. Save a copy of the submission confirmation information. You’ll need this information if something goes wrong in Scholar and your work is lost.


We’ll go over the assignment for Project 2 in class next time. Please be sure that you have read Chapter 1 of Writer/Designer for Thursday. I’ll ask you to use information from the chapter for your in-class writing.

In case you’d like to work ahead, you can read Chapter 2 of Writer/Designer for Tuesday, 2/11.


Tips for Project 1

Project One Why U So Confusing?There have been some questions about the pages that are required for the first project, so I have some extra information here to help you understand what information goes on which page. The differences among the pages are nuanced, but I do imagine them as covering distinct and unique information.

The Welcome Page is the introduction to the site. It welcomes people to the site (duh?) and tells them a little bit about the site. If it were related to a book, it might be the information on the front flap of the book cover or the information in the description on the back cover. In the Welcome Page I have been working on for my sample WordPress site (still not finished), I decided to explain what memes are and why I focused on them. The page is just a brief overview of the topic for someone to read before diving into the projects. Your welcome page will be completely different because your focus is quite different from mine. Here are some example Welcome pages to help you see the possibilities:

The About Page tells someone about you, the author of the site, and why you made the site. At it’s most basic, it identifies you as the author and says you made the site for the course. It’s similar to the author bio that you’d find on the back cover of a book. Here are some random examples that show the kind of information you might include:

  • About Traci (the about page for my teacherly website)
  • About, from Tengrrl Cooks (the about page for a blog where I occasionally post recipes)
  • About The Hudson Team (this page covers an entire team, where yours only needs to describe you, but it has example bios)
  • HOLLY CROMER (I’m not in love with the layout of the about info, but the page is a nice, brief bio)
  • ABOUT ERIN ANDERSON, THE SLEEPYTIME TEACHER (this one is longer than yours needs to be, but full of information)

The Site Information Page tells someone about how you made your website. The information is the same kind of details that you would find on a colophon in a book. You would explain about the theme that you used and who made it, the plugins you are using, and the image that show up on every (or most) of the pages on your site. Here are some random examples that show the kind of information you might include:

  • DAVE SABOL (this one is probably longer than I expect from you)
  • HELDER LUIS (this one seems a little short)
  • Behind the Curtain (Colophon), from Pixelyzed (this page includes historical info that I don’t expect from you)
  • Colophon, from The Design Office (this one is barebones, but has all the necessary info)
  • Colophon, from The City of Birmingham Choir

[Photo: Made on Meme Generator]


Working on Web Portals

Too Many ThemesWe’ll continue working with WordPress today. By now, I hope you have all had a chance to look through some of the themes and find one that you can work with. If not, my advice is to choose something for now, and come back to the theme later.

You’ll spend most of the class session today working on your web portal. Please feel free to ask each other for help. I like to see students sharing course work with each other and collaborating to solve problems. I’ll also do my best to help anyone with a question as well.

I have been working on the sample web portal that I created during the last session, and I want to share a few tips based on what I’ve seen:

  • If you’re new to building a web page, choose something simple.
  • If you find something that is close to what you want, play around a little with the options.
  • Use the Quick Edit option to make changes to the date, categories, or status.
  • When you are editing pages or posts, pay attention to whether the editor is on Visual or Text.
  • Before you click Save Draft or Publish, always highlight the Text version of what you have written and copy it. Things sometimes go wrong. You can paste it into a Google Doc or an email message. Backups are good.
  • Use the toolbar to simplify the process of marking up your content. It’s how to add a link, change text to boldface, etc.
  • Use the Add Media button if you want to include images or other resources.

In-Class Writing

We’ll do the in-class writing at the end of the session, in the last 15 minutes or so, following this process:

  1. Go to the P1: Web Portal discussion in our Google+ Community.
  2. Go to the “Share what’s new” box and click link. Add the link to your Web Portal.
  3. Add a comment that tells us about what you have done so far and asks for feedback on something specific. Try to phrase your question so that it’s an open-ended question (that is, not one that would be answers with “yes” or “no”).
  4. Once you post your web portal, go look at posts for 2 or 3 other people, and provide them some feedback on their work. If you notice that several people have already responded to someone’s post, please move on to one that hasn’t gotten feedback yet. The goal is for everyone in the class to get a response or two.
  5. By 5 PM tomorrow (Friday, 1/31), send me an email if you have any questions or concerns about your project. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll assume you’re on track. You only have to email me if you have questions or concerns.


Your web portals are due next class session, so your homework is to keep working on them. You will have time in class to make last-minute revisions, and we’ll go over and write the project reflection. I’ll also demonstrate how I want you to submit the work in Scholar.


9th Annual English Undergraduate Conference

I know that some of you are English majors and minors, so I want to pass along this call for proposals for the English Undergraduate Conference from Vanessa Ruccolo. Use the e-submission form for 2014 to submit a proposal. Submissions are due by February 28th. If you need any help, let me know.

There is also a T-shirt/Poster Design Contest for the conference, with cash prizes for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. See the UGRC Tshirt Contest Guidelines for more information. The deadline for contest submissions is February 4.

What is the Undergraduate Research Conference?

The conference is a one-day event that showcases the wide variety of writings and other products students create in literature, professional writing, and creative writing classes. Whether you consider yourself a poet, a professional writer, or a literary scholar, you will discover a place for your work at the undergraduate conference.

Why should I participate?

  • Conference participation helps you hone your writing, research, and presentation skills, build your resume for graduate or professional school, and get the mentoring you need as you make the transition from student to professional.
  • In addition, participating in a small, supportive conference like this one can build your confidence, motivating you to participate in university-wide, regional, or national research conferences.
  • Your participation may also make you more competitive for undergraduate research awards, such as those offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences under the sponsorship of the Undergraduate Research Institute.

What do I submit?

  • critical essay, research essay, a composition essay
  • poetry, creative nonfiction piece, or fiction (short story, play excerpt)
    poster, project
  • video/movie, website
  • grant proposal (or other professional writing document)