This week, we’ll finish up the pecha-kucha presentations and begin thinking about the end of the semester. We’ll look toward wrapping up the blog assignment, beginning our discussion of data in the humanities, and planning for final portfolios.
Monday, October 27
We’ll continue with a full schedule of pecha-kucha presentations.
Wednesday, October 29
In sections A and J1, we’ll have one pecha-kucha presentation. Then, we’ll move on to a discussion of the end of the semester. First, we’ll go over guidelines for the final portfolios. Next, we’ll talk about wrapping up the blog assignment (which will be finished after the next round of posts and comments, in the weeks of 11/3 and 11/10. Then, I’ll briefly preview the infographic/visualization assignment, which we’ll begin working on in earnest next week.
Friday, October 31
Today marks the final round of pecha-kucha presentations.
This Friday, you’ll email a complete rough draft of your longer multimodal essay to two of your peers—and you’ll receive rough drafts from two of your peers. By next Wednesday, October 29, at 11:59 p.m., you should email those two peers with clear, useful feedback on their drafts. Please be sure to include me in all email threads related to this assignment.
In the emails to your peers, you should:
Briefly describe your understanding of the essay’s argument and paraphrase the claim of the essay. If the claim has major issues—if it’s not contestable, for example, or supportable with evidence—politely point out those issues.
Identify at least one place in the essay where you see room for disagreement with the author or complication/qualification of a point. Do any observations/points of analysis in the essay feel incomplete? Are there any holes in the argument?
Briefly point out two strengths of the essay
Clearly and directly describe TWO ways the author might improve the essay in revision. If the point of improvement occurs throughout the essay, cite one example of the trend from the essay’s text.
I will email class rosters, with email addresses, on 10/22. The two students you are responsible for responding to will be the two students below you on that list (if you’re at the bottom of the list, circle back around to the top).
After you’ve presented in class, you’ll record your pecha-kucha as a narration and make it into a video for the web. Doing so means that this presentation persists, becomes useful outside our classroom, and potentially reaches a wider audience.
Once you’ve recorded your p-k, it should look something like this:
You should not record yourself presenting in front of a screen, but should instead present the p-k as a series of images with a voice narrating them.
The procedure for doing so differs in Mac v. Windows (and each platform has some advantages and disadvantages). If you want to explore other options for recording than the ones described here, for example using screen-casting software to record it, you are welcome to. At the end of the process, you should have a YouTube video that can be embedded on your class blog.
Your classmate Jeff, from section G2, has prepared a useful set of instructions for recording a screencast of your PowerPoint using free Open Broadcaster Software. Those instructions are here.
Less Desirable Option
Follow the instructions for recording directly in PowerPoint provided by Microsoft here. There are two basic steps:
Recording a narration for your presentation and
Exporting the presentation as a video.
You will probably need to click to advance your slides using this method… if that is the case, don’t worry about each slide occupying precisely 20 seconds (as long as your presentation is somewhere in the vicinity of 6:40, you’re good to go).
On a Mac
The process here is a bit different. You use QuickTime Player to record your screen as PowerPoint automatically advances your slides. The output here is a video file that can be uploaded to YouTube. Follow these instructions—make sure you select the appropriate microphone before you begin recording.
If you have any trouble recording, please visit me at office hours or at another time—I’ll get you set up in a quiet room to record. Once you have recorded, you should upload your video to YouTube. If you want to leave it public, feel free to do so. If you prefer to keep it private, set the privacy setting to “Unlisted,” then password-protect your blog post with your section’s password (which I’ll remind you of on Wednesday 10/22).
Reflecting On Your Process
You should embed your video at the top of a new blog post, then offer a 400-500 word reflection on the process of making it. In your reflection, include at least two images from your presentation—explain how the image works in relation to the narrated part of the presentation, and explain how you are doing something with the visual imagery that you couldn’t do in text.
Beyond these close explanations of two slides, write about other aspects of your process. Don’t view this set of questions as a catalogue to be answered in full, but as a series of ideas for aspects of your process you might reflect on: How did you select a topic? How did you narrow that topic? How did you develop an argument based on that topic? How did you select images for your presentation? How did you prepare to present in class? How is the version of the presentation in class different from the presentation on the web? Did you have to answer challenging questions? How did the focus of the pecha-kucha change as you worked on it? Would you approach any aspects of the project differently if you had to do the assignment again?
Post your video and reflection to your section’s blog by 11:59 p.m. one week after your presentation. If you presented on 10/17 or 10/20, you may have a bit more time—post the videos by 10/28 at 11:59 p.m. In WordPress, mark the post with the category “Pecha-Kucha.”
This week, we’ll continue with student presentations of pecha-kuchas. On Wednesday, we’ll discuss matters related to the longer essays and pecha-kucha recordings/reflections. On Friday, you’ll distribute a rough draft of your longer essay to two peers.
A reminder that the blog posts for this two-week period have been canceled to give you more time to work on pecha-kuchas and longer essays.
Monday, October 20
Student pecha-kucha presentations.
Wednesday, October 22
Today, we’ll discuss a variety of logistical matters: recording and reflections for the pecha-kuchas, for example, and best practices for citing sources in your longer essays. We’ll also talk about the feedback you will be giving classmates on their rough drafts. The reading for today is optional, but it’s interesting, so I’ve left it as an optional reading on the syllabus.
Please note: my office hours Wednesday will be from 2:00-3:30 instead of the usual time.
Friday, October 24
Student pecha-kucha presentations. This evening, you’ll email your rough draft to 2 peers to get their feedback on your draft.
In your groups, analyze the assigned artifact as a rhetorical object. Think about ways the object uses ethos, logos, and pathos, and consider the varied purposes of the rhetorical object. How might its purposes vary when it is viewed/used by different audiences? Some of these objects will seem “neutral,” but what aspects of them have an agenda? Include some images on your slides that point to specific, important details/evidence from the rhetorical object at hand. You might also consider how/whether the object at hand affects your view of data-driven education reform.
As we return from what has hopefully been a restful fall break, we’ll turn our attention to education and data reform. We’ll also begin hearing—and seeing—the work of classmates in the pecha-kucha presentations.
Wednesday, October 15
The reading for today is a think-tank piece about how big data and analytics can/will change the way colleges do assessment. I’ll ask you to reflect on your own experiences with the datafied education system, which undoubtedly included lots of standardized testing and preparation for the same. We’ll also talk about proper citation practices for your multimodal blog essays.
Friday, October 17
Today, your classmates will begin presenting their pecha-kuchas to the class. You should come ready to listen attentively and to ask question that push the class’s conversation forward. Presenters should email (or otherwise share) their Powerpoint presentations with me before class—things will go smoothly if everyone presents from the main classroom computer. Each presenter will have around 10 minutes—6:40 for the p-k, and about 3 minutes for questions and answers.
Potentially Interesting Links/Resources
Relevant to our discussion of education and data: an article arguing that contrary to conventional wisdom, American public schools are better than they’ve ever been.
We’re all used to hearing that Wikipedia is a no-no when it comes to classroom research and writing. This article argues on the contrary that it can be a great teaching and learning tool.
Data-journalism guru Nate Silver argues for some of the qualities that makes for a good infographic. The piece includes examples of strong infographics, such as this one about famous writers’ sleep habits and productivity. A selection:
The multimodal essay we took a look at in class today—the one about the fade-out of the fade-out in popular music—can be found here. I’m particularly impressed by the way this essay intermixes written, visual, and auditory evidence.
This week, we’ll continue working toward our pecha-kucha presentations and longer multimodal essays as we continue pursuing our discussion of surveillance, transparency, and leaks in the era of big data. Prompts for the week’s short blog posts can be located here.
Monday, October 6
We’ll begin class with another sample pecha-kucha presentation. Then, we’ll spend some time thinking about oral presentation techniques—read the WOVENText chapter on oral communication in advance of class, and come prepared with questions. In the second half of class, we’ll worked to refine topics for the longer multimodal blog essay.
Wednesday, October 8
We’ll devote today to an extended discussion of surveillance, transparency, and mass leaks. We’ll think about the Assange reading we did last week and the Snowden material we’ll read this week. If you wrote a reading-response post that introduces a resource related to either Assange or Snowden, come to class prepared to discuss it.
Friday, October 10
Today, you should bring a significant portion of your pecha-kucha script, talking points, or outline. I won’t expect you to have full drafts finished, but you should bring evidence of significant work already done. We’ll devote most of the day to workshopping these scripts.
An article about controversial new features Apple has built into iPhones that lock the NSA and other government agencies out. The headline announces a “Post-Snowden Era” in which companies seek to protect consumers’ privacy rights.
We worked in class today to make our blog conversations more productive. In particular, we’re trying to foster more actual substantive discussion in the comments—we don’t want them to be random text strewn into the ether for the sake of fulfilling a set quantity.
The new commenting guidelines all the classes agreed to are these:
The persons primarily responsible for commenting each week will be responsible for at least one, rather than the previously specified three, substantive comments. Since the quantity has gone done, expectations for quality go up a bit. Everyone in the class would prefer one really solid, useful comment to ten random, irrelevant ones. You should post on whichever posts interests you, but if there are posts without comments, you should try to find something interesting to say about them.
Authors of original posts should respond to some of the comments on their posts by Monday of the following week.
At the conclusion of the blog assignment, you will be responsible for showing evidence of your substantive engagement in comments sections, both as a commenter and as an author responding to comments.
Some classes noted that many useful comments posed direct questions to authors, pointed authors to relevant resources, pointed authors to complicating counter-evidence, or respectfully took objection to specific parts of the post. Authors also appreciated comments that pointed to unexpected ways of thinking about images or details the original author did not address in her post. The key goal of the entire class is to make the comments sections useful and interesting.
I have added these changed expectations as an addendum to blog assignment on the Assignments Overview page of the syllabus.