Today’s guest blogger is Jeanne Law Bohannon (see end of post for bio).
As regular readers of Andrea’s Multimodal Mondays know, I often like to disrupt traditional notions of instructor-student communication and create new dialogic opportunities for providing feedback on students’ writing processes. I am calling my post this week a “reverse assignment,” because it is intended for instructors to complete in service to students and to provide a different experience for students as they “read” feedback on assignments. I also find a great deal of pleasure in turning multimodal writing lenses back on us as instructors!
Context for Assignment
Multimodal Feedback Loop is a reverse assignment, completed by the instructor in an online class to create dialogic growth and community in a class. As part of a graduate digital rhetoric course, students submitted a blog assignment and received multimodal instructor feedback in the form of narrated screen capture videos. The students also had the opportunity to tag the instructor in the feedback forum and “talk back” about their writing.
Measurable Learning Objectives
- Assess student writing using multimodal elements
- Synthesize content-meaning through dialogic writing and shared semantics
Background Reading for Students and Instructors
Acts of reading and viewing visual texts are ongoing processes for attaining learning goals in dialogic, digital writing assignments. Below, I have listed a few foundational texts. You will no doubt have your own to enrich this list.
- The St. Martin’s Handbook: Section 18b: Planning Web-based texts
- Writer's Help 2.0 for Lunsford Handbooks: “At a Glance: Guidelines for Creating an Online Text”
- The Everyday Writer: Section 3a: Plan online assignments, including At a Glance box: “Guidelines for Creating an Online Text”
- Writing in Action: Section 6a: Plan online assignments, including Checklist box: “Guidelines for Creating an Online Text”
- EasyWriter: Section 4a: Planning online assignments, including Checklist box: “Guidelines for Creating an Online Text”
After the Assignment Is Submitted: Instructor Action
After students submit their digital writing assignments, instructors access the assignments and pull them up on a computer screen. Using screen capture software or applications, instructors record their feedback as real-time audio accompanying mouse movements on students’ on-screen blogs. You may already have a screen recorder installed on your computer; here are a few free ones: Cam Studio (open source); Jing; QuickTime; TinyTake. There are many apps for smart phones as well.
After recording feedback, instructors can either save the multimodal feedback and send it to students as files or upload feedback videos to a private YouTube Channel, where students can securely access them using their YouTube usernames or email addresses. I embed my feedback videos in our course learning management system (LMS), which offers a loop of electronic communication based on the feedback.
An example feedback recording that reviews a student's blog.
Reflections on the Reverse Assignment – Students
I have found that students appreciate my multimodal feedback, even though some of my initial videos were quite elementary. Some of the comments I received included praise for differentiated communication and gratitude for the attempt to participate as a colleague in multimodal writing. I have not yet received any negative feedback. Below are some student reflections:
I enjoy that I can pause and replay the video as many times as I want and that I get to hear my instructor's voice and watch her thought process as she clicks through the blog. It helps me see where I might need to make things more clear visually. I've started recording screencast videos when delivering feedback to my own students. This method proves especially helpful in courses where my students create media such as videos/animations. I can pause their videos in specific spots and deliver feedback on those scenes in a clear visual and aural manner.
-- John Mindiola, III
I thought the audio feedback was great. I really appreciated the time you took to provide it. It was also great because as an online student, it's great to see your instructor "in the flesh" sometimes. I responded well because it was easy to see how you really felt about the assignment. Also, it's easier to take "face to face" criticism/feedback because I can see your tone, rather than reading it.
-- Brandy Swanson
I perceived your audio feedback as better than written feedback. This was the first time I received anything other than written feedback in graduate-level courses, and I've completed six of them so far toward my master's degree.
-- Kris Spaddacia
I tried this instructor reverse assignment because I wanted to experience creating multimodal writing along with students and because I wanted to revise dialogic communication with my students, especially in an online course. While I did spend more time recording and uploading screen captures and audio, providing a multimodal feedback loop also gave me the opportunity to experience digital composing just like my students. My practice also encouraged me to reflect on my own writing practices and actively participate in community-driven, digital conversations about writing. Try this reverse assignment and let me know what you think!
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Jeanne Law Bohannon is an Assistant Professor in the Digital Writing and Media Arts (DWMA) department at Kennesaw State University. She believes in creating democratic learning spaces, where students become stakeholders in their own rhetorical growth though authentic engagement in class communities. Her research interests include evaluating digital literacies, critical pedagogies, and New Media theory; performing feminist rhetorical recoveries; and growing informed and empowered student scholars. Reach Jeanne at: firstname.lastname@example.org and www.rhetoricmatters.org.