Friday, September 23, 2011

What Video Compositon Classes Look Like

Lovett, Maria, et al. "Writing with Video: What Happens When Composition Comes Off the Page?" Raw (Reading and Writing) New Media. Eds. Ball, Cheryl and James Kalmbach. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2009. Print.

This chapter, co-authored by Katherine Gossett who very recently taught at Old Dominion, looks at a class taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I) entitled Writing with Video, considered an advanced composition course. Students in this course use the writing process to create films for class. Lovett et al explain: “The course seeks not just to have students write more or create slick videos but to have students recognize the multiple modes available to them in making meaning” (5).* The writers continue on by saying that what they aim for students to get out of such a class is the realization that multimodal texts do rhetorical work (6). While film making and editing is an obvious part of this process, the students take scrupulous notes or organize and journals to reflect on their composition process during the semester. One student has more than 20 pages of written text based on her ten minute film (13). The article concludes with some very practical looks at how to incorporate what is an interdisciplinary class at U of I, including funding of technology and teachers, departmentalization, and the cross teaching of instructors. The premise behind the whole article is to explain why such classes should be taught and then to inform others on how to go about incorporating into a curriculum.

The article makes the point that film making is a key resource in the teaching of composition and applying rhetoric outside of writing. In some ways it is exactly what I need to be reading, to see how a class was created around the ideas of rhetoric, composition, and film. The article is theory and pedagogy driven with practical examples of that theory in practice. It’s not a perfect match, though. The article is looking at an advanced composition course and I am thinking more of an introductory class for my paper. It does, however, give great insight as to what great things using multimodal techniques in introductory classes can lead to in later classes. It also reinforces the idea that we do a disservice to students by only teaching them how to write a standard academic paper.

*Note: I am actually working from an unpaginated pdf of the chapter. I will borrow the book from the library if I choose to use this source for my paper. This is my current source:

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