Worth 40% of your final grade
See the calendar for all the dates and readings. You’ll work on this project for the rest of the term, doing an oral presentation during one of the last class sessions.
The Project Assignment
Your job is to take an existing story (fiction or nonfiction) told primarily in the linguistic mode and translate it into a new multimodal version. The idea of remaking an old story in a new way should be familiar to you. Anytime a movie is made that is based on a book, those involved are creating a new multimodal version of the original linguistic-focused text.
You are not limited to making a movie-version of your text however. For this project, I want you to think creatively about how to represent the text in a new format and genre. Nearly anything goes. I only ask that you use at least three modes of communication. You may stick closely to the original version of the story or event, or you may reimagine the story from another perspective. Your options are open on this assignment.
- A blog post for each class session that summarizes and reflects on your work to date.
- An informal proposal, sent to me as an email message.
- An in-class pitch of your topic (2 minutes), following details in Chapter 3.
- A rough cut for peer feedback.
- A final draft posted on your WordPress site.
- An oral presentation of your project, following details in Chapter 8.
Step 1. Choose a story by Monday, 10/27
Choose a story that you like or are interested in exploring. I suggest you aim for a shorter, rather than a longer story to base your project on. An entire novel would be far too much. Focus on something like a well-known fable, fairy tale, myth, or historical event. An older story may be easier to work with than a recent story. Choose a story that is classroom-friendly. Nothing X-rated or otherwise inappropriate please.
Be sure that you focus your story very specifically. Let’s say you were going to try working on a historical event. The U.S. Civil War is far too broad for this project. You would need to focus that topic much further to something like a particular skirmish, a specific decision that a soldier or military leader made, or a particular document (like a speech, a proclamation, or even a photo). Lincoln would be too broad. Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” could work. Focusing on the story behind one or more of these Gettysburg Photos or a draft of the Address would be fine.
Step 2. Choose a form for your story by Friday, 10/31.
Once you have chosen a story, you need to choose the form and design for your project. You need to choose a format that will use at least three modes of communication. You can use more than three, if you wish. Check the Story Remix Possibilities and the related links on that page for more ideas. You will informally propose your topic by midnight, Friday, October 31.
Step 3. Pitch your project on Monday, 11/3.
You will explain your plans for your project to the class in 2 minutes, relying on the ideas in Writer/Designer, Chapter 3 (especially pp. 54–56). We will simply go around the classroom with each person explaining their plans for the project to the class.
Use the questions on p. 56 of Writer/Designer to plan what you want to say. You will need to identify the original story, your remix plans, and the genre you are planning to use. You will pitch your project on Monday, November 3.
Step 4. Develop and refine your project.
Following the resources in Writer/Designer, Chapter 4, 5, 6 and 7, you will collect sources and assets, design your citations, develop mock-ups and storyboards, and draft and revise your project (from rough cut to rough draft to final project). You can find full details on all these tasks in the textbook, and we will discuss them in class.
Step 5. Present your project.
Following the resources in Writer/Designer, Chapter 8, you will deliver and present your remixed story. You will have approximately 5 to 6 minutes for your class presentation. In your presentation, you will focus on sharing details about how you worked and the decisions that you made. Use the information on pp. 132–135 of Writer/Designer to determine what information to include.
You will create a digital presentation, using Google slides, Prezi, or a similar tool. Ideally, you will use the 1/1/5 organizational strategy (using no more than 15 slides) to present the information to the class. If time allows, you can share your entire remix as part of your presentation. Email me the URL to your Google Slides by midnight on the day before your presentation (no grace period).
For this project, I want to see you deeply engaged in your project. The grade of A is reserved for excellent work, the kind of work that knocks me down with its impressive nature. Excellent work does not equate with showing up every day, participating once in a while, and turning in your work on time. Those are average achievements, and average work earns a C. Specifically, I am looking for these behaviors:
- Attendance: You need to be here every session. If you decide to skip sessions because we are “just working on the projects in class,” your grade will suffer.
- Timeliness: Don’t show up late, leave early, disappear for 15 minutes, and so forth. I want to see you in the classroom and working on the project.
- Readiness: Be in the classroom and ready to go. Have what you need with you to work, and be prepared to collaborate with classmates.
- Risktaking: You need to take risks and be willing to go back to a previous version if those risks don’t work out. Safe, easy choices are boring. I want to see you stretch yourself.
- Feedback: You need to listen to feedback from me and your classmates and then use that feedback to revise and improve your work. If you choose not to follow our advice, you need to have a very good reason that you can articulate.
Average (C) Work: Create a remix that is published on your WordPress site (or linked to from WordPress), and present your project to your classmates in a short oral presentation. Your audience is the rest of the class, but remember that your remix is public and available to anyone with an Internet connection. Your project meets the following requirements:
- Your remix uses at least three modes of communication, and provides an average retelling of the story.
- The related presentation is 4 to 5 minutes long and relies primarily on linguistic text to present the information to the class.
- All graphics and other content that are not your own work are documented, with credit given to the author/creator.
- Your attendance, timeliness, and readiness are average.
- The project shows takes the safe path, generally avoiding risks.
- Your project is complete, is well-written, and includes no linking, spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors.
- The project demonstrates that you put in some effort, but you could do more to use feedback to improve your work.
Above-Average (B) Work: Complete the C project, but take your work to the next level by also meeting the following additional requirements:
- Your remix provides an very good retelling of the story. It goes beyond predictable or obvious ideas to do something unique and surprising.
- All graphics and other content use high-quality images, videos, and/or audio.
- Your attendance, timeliness, and readiness are above-average. You are in nearly every class and make the most of your time.
- The project includes some risktaking.
- You have demonstrated ways that some feedback was incorporated in the process.
- The related presentation is 4 to 5 minutes long and uses a balance of linguistic text and non-linguistic text (approximately half and half) to present the information to the class. Arrangement and design are consistent from slide to slide.
- The project shows you have worked hard and put in a reasonable amount of effort.
Excellent (A) Work: Complete the B project, but take your work to the next level by also meeting the following additional requirements:
- The remix does something more than just complete the terms of the assignment. It does something impressive and amazing.
- The writing, graphics, video, and/or audio are professional quality.
- Your attendance, timeliness, and readiness are excellent. You are in every class and make the most of your time.
- Your project demonstrates a willingness to take big risks.
- You have demonstrated ways that you considered and responded to all feedback you received.
- The related oral presentation is 4 to 5 minutes long and relies on the 1/1/5 organizational strategy (using no more than 15 slides) to present the information to the class.
- The project shows you have worked very hard and put in a considerable amount of effort.
Professionalism Reality Check: No grade is guaranteed. Your work needs to be error-free, fully-developed, and ready to share with the intended audience. Put in the effort, and do your best work. Be sure to proofread your project before you submit it.
The expectations and assessment sections of this assignment were adapted in part from Cheryl E. Ball’s undergraduate Multimodal Composition syllabus.