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328.3 3.333 Ways to Digital Style

For this project, you will amplify style by remaking a three-paragraph passage of non-fiction prose three ways. By recasting the passage three ways, you will shed light on stylistic effects. Williams reminds us that our descriptions of prose style as "clear" or "turgid," reflect as much about how we, as readers, feel as we experience the prose than about latent properties of the writing itself (17). Your remakes should render those stylistic impressions more sharply, lending depth, perspective, and insight to a reader's experience of a passage's style.

You will create three remakes, choosing from four available options: 1) a Twitter stream, 2) a syntax analysis, 3) a web comic, and 4) an imagetext triptych. Each remake should resonate with the passage you choose. That is, the remakes should key on the text's arguments (implicit or explicit), images, figures of speech, and other stylistic qualities. For these reasons, you should choose your passage with care, mindful from the outset of the ways your passage will be recast. Passages rich in images, figures, and arguments are likely to translate into certain remake options more readily than others. We will look at examples in class and also discuss the selection process early in the unit.

Each remake will accompany a brief comment written to explain the stylistic effect amplified by the remake. In only a few sentences, the comment accompanying each remake will also account for decisions you made in the process of creating the piece. Think of the comment as something like an artist's note for the way it will help readers think about the remaking process, the stylistic impressions you sought to emphasize in the remake, and the context this work emerged from.

The options for remakes are as follows (Note: the examples below extend from this sample passage):

Project Three culminates with a presentation you will deliver to the class. Your presentation will report on your transformations of the three-paragraph passage. It may include discussion of the passage itself, the stylistic aspects of the passage, the remakes, and the decisions you made as you re-invented the passage three ways. Presentations will accompany a Powerpoint slideshow consisting of twenty slides each set to rotate automatically after 15 seconds. Individual slides may not include more than five words. Slides should include images (i.e., these are visually intensive presentations, not text heavy slide-documents). As you present, you may use up to five index cards; however, you are strongly encouraged to present extemporaneously, working informally from memory rather than reading from a script.

Assignment Details
Your project will consist, ultimately, of three remakes, each with notes explaining how style is amplified in the work. The explanatory note for each remake should be between 50 and 150 words. The Twitter stream and syntax analysis will be submitted as texts; the web comic and imagetext triptych will be submitted as images (jpeg files). Specific criteria and formatting details for each of the pieces is explained more fully at the links above. I will add to these explanations as we encounter problems and as you share questions.

Drafts, In-progress Feedback and Deadlines
You may seek feedback on any remake at any stage of the process simply by emailing it to me or stopping in during office hours. If you email, I will, in most cases, respond with suggestions and questions within two days. A full draft of your project is due on Monday, November 23. Include a copy of the passage. You should be prepared to give your presentation on Monday, December 7. Completed projects are due on Wednesday, December 9.

Remember that extra credit options involving the Academic Projects Center are presented in the course syllabus.

Develop a catchy title for your project.

Evaluation Criteria (in progress)

Project Three is valued at 250 points (25% of your overall grade in the course). Two hundred points are assigned to the remakes; 50 points are assigned to the presentation.

The remake portion of Project Three will be evaluated according to the following six criteria:

  1. Rhetorical effectiveness: The passage's style is amplified in the remakes. The remakes key on images, arguments, and figures from the passage in such a way that is suggestive, insightful.
  2. Technical precision: All three remakes are technically precise. Each remake adheres to the conditions established for it (image dimensions, number of filters applied, typeface adjustments, incorporation of links and hashtags, application of the Paramedic Method and Tufte's types).
  3. Wholeness (the project is complete; all aspects are available)
  4. Amplification of style: Style is explicitly addressed in the note accompanying each remake. The relationship between style and the remake process is also explained.
  5. Visual effectiveness (look and design of each remake)
  6. Accuracy (concerning mistakes or errors)

The presentation will be evaluated according to the following three criteria:

  1. Delivery: (eye contact, engagement with audience, presence, command of material, timing)
  2. Slideshow: (auto-rotation, image-intensivity, technical precision)
  3. Explanation of process, remakes, and stylistic amplification: (compelling content, appropriate scope for five minutes, insight into style-technology intersection in remakes)

Each criterion listed above will be evaluated on the following scale:


EX: Exceptional. The writer has applied the criterion with distinction.
AC: Acceptable/meets expectations. The writer has applied the criterion to a satisfactory degree.
NI: Needs improvement. The writer has minimally applied the criterion in the project.
NA: Not applied. The writer has not applied the criterion in the project.

Contact Information

Derek N. Mueller, PhD
Office: 612M Pray-Harrold
Fall '09 office hours: MW, 9-11:30 a.m. and by appointment
Phone: (315) 708-3940 (cell)


"A few years ago, when I was grading papers for a graduate literature course, I became alarmed at the inability of my students to write a clean English sentence." -Stanley Fish, "What Should Colleges Teach?"

"We concentrate on utility at the expense of joie de vivre. And we then wonder, as de Tocqueville prophesied we would, why life has lost its savor" (19). -Richard Lanham, Style: An Anti-textbook

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