This post is a class reading response to Jason Palmeri’s Remixing Composition: A History of Multimodal Writing Pedagogy.

 

I want to say that this book has validated every frustration I’ve had teaching College Composition this year. There were moments when I was reading it in my dingy GTA office, when I had to restrain myself from jumping up and yelling, “Yes! See here everyone, this is how we should be teaching!” It goes without saying that I enjoyed this book quite a bit—it’s one that I am planning on keeping, re-reading, and re-annotating it as I continue my teaching experience as a GTA. 

 

One of the struggles that I experienced while reading this book was the fact that at Colorado State the composition courses aren’t in computer labs. I want to be able to implement more multimodal writing, but I am concerned about students not having access to laptops or the types of programs I want them to use. For example, based on Palmeri’s assertion to challenge the privilege given to alphabetic texts (pg 72) and to get  students to think about topics differently (pg 143), I have begun to develop a plan for a podcast assignment. I thought that by asking students to create a podcast they could gather research by conducting and recording interviews and use that to craft an argument. If I do this though, how can I be sure that all of my students would have a program available to them that records or edits audio? I can’t standardize the teaching of one program, because my students will be working on whatever technology they have at home. I worry that this might create a classist gap, not only with the quality of the technology that the students are working with, but also with the levels of experience that students have with the technology. Students coming from wealthier families or communities might have had more experience with certain technologies, than students from other backgrounds. Having computers in the classroom would at least standardize the access that the students have, as well as my ability to ensure that students understood how to use the technology they have available to them. 

 

While Palmeri does provide examples of multimodal writing by using familiar technologies , like paper and pencil or powerpoint, to avoid problems like the ones I posed, I find this too to be problematic. Students will already have ideas of how to compose in these media, and the aspects of play that arise when composing using less familiar media are not present. It seems to me like students will have a harder time seeing how composing for powerpoint or presenting orally in front of class really differs from composing with traditional alphabetic writing, since these technologies have been linked to writing for so long. 

 

Remixing Composition makes a convincing argument not only about the historical presence of multimodal composition in writing classrooms, but also about the need for multimodal writing in writing classrooms now. However, in order for this to happen English Departments (at least at CSU) need to start placing a value on this type of writing and investing in technologies to allow students to fully engage in multimodal learning. 

An Image Gallery

April 12, 2010

On my portfolio, I will need to include a lot of images to show off my studio artwork.  In order to do this the most efficient way, I need to have some sort of gallery.  I looked at several options, but most of them used some sort of animation that I wasn’t sure would be supported by Michigan State’s web hosting service.  So I want to use an image gallery that uses spry widgets.  I do not know what those are…  But hopefully I can use them.  The example looks really clean and simple, which I like a lot.

There are a couple problems that I can see making me angry.  The template only has slots for six pictures in each gallery, and hopefully I can figure out how to add more if I need.  Also, I will need to add text to describe each image so hopefully I can figure out how to add that if it is not part of the image in the gallery.

A Good Logo

March 25, 2010

I believe the apple logo is a fantastic logo.  The logo is easily recognizable everywhere.  The lack of words allows for the logo to transcend language barriers, and allows the image to speak for itself as the name of the company.  The best thing about the logo is that shape of the logo is very unique, so the colors within the image can change, but the shape is still obviously recognizable as belonging to the company.

The thing that has been the most unsuccessful for me while creating my first site (a new and improved blogging site for myself) is creating boxes.  In my original plan for my site (as seen in an earlier blog entry titled “Module 4 Plans”) I wanted to have double boxes that were slightly staggered.  Thus far, after unsuccessfully spending five (yes, five) hours on attempting to create this effect, I have given up  and am resigning to simply having a tealish box.

However, this horrible box nightmare persists.  After dealing with an unruly and inconvenient box created with a border, I decided to make the box out of a table, even though this would prevent the box from changing sizes based on the amount of text in each blog entry.  The text inside the table now refuses to be aligned on top.

Other than the horrible horrible box ordeal, I really enjoy working with dreamweaver and feel like I am learning a lot.

Personally, I think that a website needs three things to be successful.  (Information, Accessible, not overwhelming)

The first thing is that a website needs to have a purpose or point.  It has to convey some kind of information to its audience.  When websites do not have an obvious point or obvious useful information, the site will not be used.

The second thing a website needs to have to be successful is a clear idea of the audience.  The information needs to be accessible to that audience in both the way it is presented visually and the way that it is presented intellectually.

The third and final thing that makes a website is successful is having clear concise information.  This ties in with the clear idea of the audience, but besides making sure the information is presented in a way that the audience can understand, the information conveyed in the site needs to be as concisely and obvoiusly as possible.  Most people today do not want to spend much time hunting and gathering for their information on a website.  The information should be in obvious places on the page or in the site, and should be able to be understood as quick as possible.

Exit Card Post

March 24, 2010

I asked an exit card question in class, I believe.

Module Four Plan

March 1, 2010

For my reconstruction of the blog, I would like to keep things simple.  I really like the logo I made for myself during class, so the color scheme of the blog uses the same color scheme.  One of my least favorite things about wordpress blogs are the navigation bars, so I would like the navigation for my blog to be at the bottom and not in a bar.  Also the title of each post is at the bottom of the post because I do not think the titles are as important as the actual content of the post.

My portfolio website based on this blog will have the same color scheme, probably have the same logo.

When I got the blog prompt for this blog (what do you wish a website you visit often could do) , I was a little stressed.  I no longer have a facebook, and really the only sites I visit almost daily are my email and google.com.  My first instinct was to say something about Google search, and how it doesn’t allow people to narrow their searches to types of websites or search related articles intuitively, because sometimes my searches have thousands of results and I need to be able to sort through all that information. With this in mind, I visited google.com looking for these things and realized I could actually  do both of those things using cool tools on a drop-down menu on the left I had never noticed before.  Of course I can…  Google would never let me down.

So then I thought about the MSU email system. There are many things I wish the email system could do: search through emails quicker on the inbox page, have a real functioning address book (or at least make it easier for me to figure out how to work the address book), and look less content heavy. The massive amounts of emails I get everyday is hard to look at and sift through. Basically I wish my MSU email was Gmail.  Gmail’s site is clean (while still having a lot of the same tool options as MSU), is easy to store addresses, and  finally is super easy to search through. I actually think I could forward my emails to my google mail, but I am sort of scared to do that just because I am worried that the MSU system will mess it up and I will end up not getting an important email and my life will be destroyed because of it.

So yeah…  That’s all.

How to Fix Colors

February 15, 2010

The website for the Allen Neighborhood Center does not use good colors.  The ANC is a vibrant and exciting program, however the color scheme consists of mostly white and sky blue.  This color combination is boring.  The blue is a really calming blue, and does not inspire any type of action. Because the ANC deals a lot with outdoor activities, and sponsors a Farmer’s Market, the color scheme could be based on a really vibrant picture of something while still holding true to the ANC’s intentions and purpose.  I would suggest a picture of tomatoes or carrots, something organic and a bright red or orange for the background of the site.  Red or orange are both mentally stimulating colors, and would encourage people to get involved and excited about the ANC.

Youtube Videos

February 8, 2010

One design convention that I don’t like that I see often is embedding Youtube videos on to sites.

I think people embed YouTube videos because they believe that the videos are of interest to their audience, and YouTube is probably the easiest way to get the videos onto the website.

There are two reasons why I do not like them.  The first reason is that I think they look tacky. The huge play arrow is really not visually appealing, and neither is the bar at the bottom of the video.  The second reason is I never watch them, and they do nothing to help the content of the website.  For example, the band Frightened Rabbit’s website has a bunch of youtube videos on it, but whenever I am on the website I am looking up information about their tour or news, and am not really interested in watching videos about them, because that just takes too much time to get the information I need.  If I want to watch YouTube videos about anything, I always go straight to YouTube.

I think the simplest way to fix this is just to have a “Media” link list, if someone really wanted to share videos, and planned on using YouTube.  The links could take the reader straight to YouTube to watch the video.  This avoids the tacky looking videos right on the page while still giving the reader the option to watch the videos.