CATEGORIES: Foundation Courses

ENGL 250 – Multimodal Arguments

To help students prepare for the Multimodal Arguments module, Jessi Brock has designed an activity that will help students understand the conventions and advantages of different genre forms. The purpose of this assignment is to introduce students to multiple genre forms through group work before they decide on their chosen genre for their Multimodal Arguments document and presentation. 


Before choosing a genre to work in, it’s important to recognize the strengths and barriers to understanding what each genre has to offer. Rather than have each student researching several different genres on their own, the class will break into small groups and each group will do a deep dive on 1 of 6 major multimodal genres.



**Important Notes**

This activity requires students to use computers – either instruct them to bring their laptops or conduct in a computer lab.

For smoother transitions between presenters, create one public Google Slides document and have everyone edit it – assign each group 2-3 slides.

  • Group Genre Analysis activity – Part 1– Preparation
    • Break into groups of 6 and each group take 1 of the following 6 major multimodal genres: infographic, webpage, podcast, audio essay, photo essay, video essay.
    • Each group should prepare the following:
      • 3 key features of their genre
      • 3 examples (which should showcase the key genre features)
  • Group Genre Analysis activity – Part 2 – Presentation
    • Group should first explain the key genre features, then present their examples. For each example, they should define the rhetorical situation and identify key features.
    • After a group finishes (short applause!), ask the rest of the class:
      • Do you notice any additional key genre features?
      • What seem to be the strengths of this genre?
      • What kind of barriers to communication might this genre pose?
    • If missing any key features, instructor should do so before moving on.
    • Make link to the live Google Slides presentations easily accessible


  • Solo Genre Analysis activity – Freewrite
    • Have students freewrite about one or all of the following:
      • Which genres interest you the most, and why? (Try to narrow to a top 2-3)
      • For the 2-3 genres that interest you – who might audience be for each?
      • Mindmap for genres you’re interested in – brainstorm topics for each.
    • **This activity bleeds into the next step of Choosing a Topic and Genre, or can easily be saved for that lesson—but doing a little freewriting while the genres are fresh in their minds is helpful, as they are usually already forming ideas at this point!


  •  At the end of this lesson students should all have a thorough understanding of each of the 6 main multimodal genres. They should be able to identify the rhetorical situation of a multimodal design. Instructor might further emphasize the importance of considering the rhetorical situation while choosing a genre.
  • In the next lesson, students should continue brainstorming topics and prepare to choose just one genre and one topic to work with. Their official choice of topic/genre should include identifying the rhetorical situation.