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CATEGORIES: Foundation Courses
Claire Jussel
Claire Jussel

For the upcoming Multimodal Argument and Presentation Module, Claire Jussel has prepared an activity for students that encourages them to recognize multimodal genres and arguments in everyday media. The goals of this assignment are for students to learn how to identity genre features and multimodal design choices made in television and movies, and how advertising is accomplished successfully through rhetorical conventions made by writers.

Activity: Getting Hooked: What Film & TV can teach us about crafting multimodal arguments

Goal: Analyze video mediums to identify genre features, multimodal design choices, and the rhetorical impact that television intros and movie trailers have on their intended audiences. Identify and consider how altering one or more design feature within a genre can shape the rhetorical argument. 

Lesson Plan:

  1. Warm Up discussion: review definitions of genre, medium, and multimodal design features (especially those relevant to video formats)
  2. Introduce questions that will guide a series of mini rhetorical analyses for each multimodal video example. 
    1. What is the purpose of the “text”?
    2. Who is the audience?
    3. What is the context?
    4. What rhetorical appeals & strategies are being implemented?
    5. What design tools are they using?
    6. What formatting, style, & content choices are expected of that medium? Does this align with the “text”?
    7. Which features stand out to you the most? Why?
    8. Which multimodal design elements are conveying the strongest rhetorical message?
    9. (after the first example) How do design features of this text compare/contrast to the previous examples? 
      1. What is the rhetorical impact of these similarities and differences? 
      2. How might the context, genre, and intended audience have influenced the design choices of each video?
  3. Video Group 1: Introductions to popular cooking competition television episodes:
    1. The Great British Baking Show
    2. Chopped
    3. Instructor note: I found this pairing useful as two examples from the same multimodal genre of cooking tv show intros that contain very different design/rhetorical choices. But any range of examples could be well suited for a remix or extension of this assignment. 
  4. Video Group 2: Movie Trailer Remix
    1. Staying in the medium of film, but changing to a different rhetorical context (movie trailers)
    2. 1980’s trailer for The Shining  (I know this sounds crazy, but stick with me here. Also, if taught in the fall semester, this module tends to land around Halloween!)
    3. The Shining Reimagined as a Rom Com – Edited footage from the movie with genre features typical of a classic feel-good movie trailer serves as a stark example of how adjusting certain design choices can change the whole aesthetic and rhetorical argument of a piece of media! 
  5. Optional further in-class activity or related homework assignment:
    1. In groups or as individuals, pick a tv show intro sequence or trailer for a movie or tv show. 
    2. Answer the mini-analysis discussion questions (in small groups or as a discussion post)
    3. Pick one specific design feature that is used effectively in your selected video. Briefly reflect how you might incorporate this feature into your own multimodal design to enhance your rhetorical argument.