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328.2 Issues in Style & Technology (20%, 200 points)

What are contemporary issues in style and technology? Working with a partner, you will explore this question, first by choosing an article on an issue in style or technology (listed below), and then by rendering the article into an 8.5x11-inch poster. The poster will succinctly present the most salient aspects of the article: keywords and their meanings, crucial questions, insightful quotations, identifiable controversies, summary or overview statements, and selected further reading. In effect, you will be working collaboratively to refashion the article into a miniature poster, thus creating an illustrated and simplified representation of some contemporary issue in style and technology.

Your grasp of the issue will also figure into an open gallery—a day when the posters produced by everyone in ENGL328 will be on display and available as handouts. Sample posters are shown below and will be distributed in class on Monday, Oct. 4. In addition to the poster itself, then, you and your partner will prepare a brief explanation of a selected issue in style or technology, and you will informally introduce the issue and the poster to passers-by at the open gallery in class on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Finally, the third component of this work is a reflective statement. For the reflective statement, you will work individually to recount the composing process for the poster, the choices you made with your collaborator, and the quality of the experience for you as someone actively learning about style and/or technology by way of this project and the course more generally.

In class, we will convene a selection process to determine which of the following articles will be focal to your second project in ENGL328.

Barnard, Ian. "The Ruse of Clarity." College Composition and Communication 61.3 (2010): 434-51. (PDF)

Brooke, Collin Gifford. "Perspective: Towards the Remediation of Style." Enculturation 4.1 (2002). Web. <http://enculturation.gmu.edu/4_1/style/>

Flannery, Kathryn. "The National Prose Problem." Paul Butler, ed. Style in Rhetoric and Composition: A Critical Sourcebook. New York: Bedford St. Martin's, 2010. (PDF)

Johnson, Steven. "How Twitter Will Change The Way We Live." Time. 5 June 2009. 10 June 2009. Web. <http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1902604,00.html>.

Johnson, T.R. "Ancient and Contemporary Compositions That 'Come Alive.'" Paul Butler, ed. Style in Rhetoric and Composition: A Critical Sourcebook. New York: Bedford St. Martin's, 2010. (PDF)

Kelly, Kevin. "We Are The Web." Wired 13.08 (Aug. 2005). Web. <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.08/tech.html>

Kreuter, Nate. "Style, Student Writers, and the Handbooks." Composition Forum 19 (Spring 2009). Web. <http://compositionforum.com/issue/19/style-writing-handbooks.php>.

Ohmann, Richard. "Use Definite, Specific, Concrete Language." College English 41 (1979): 775-798. (PDF)

Ong, Walter. "Writing Is a Technology that Restructures Thought." Cushman, Ellen, Eugene Kintgen, Barry Kroll, and Mike Rose, eds. Literacy: A Critical Sourcebook. New York: Bedford St. Martin's, 2001. (PDF)

Smitherman, Geneva "'How I Got Ovuh': African World View and Afro-American Oral Tradition." Paul Butler, ed. Style in Rhetoric and Composition: A Critical Sourcebook. New York: Bedford St. Martin's, 2010. (PDF)

Reflective Essay
You will write a 1000-word reflective essay on the process of producing the poster, sharing it on October 20, and learning about style and technology as a consequence of these activities. The essay should be typed and double-spaced, adhering to MLA guidelines for formatting and, where applicable, citation. The most important aspects of the essay are 1) that it provide an account of your individual process/product, 2) that it engage with the reviewers' comments shared at the open gallery, 3) that it explicitly respond to the issues addressed in the article you worked with, and 4) that you include a clear statement about how the work should be graded. Upload the essay as a .doc file to the appropriate dropbox in EMU Online no later than the start of class on Monday, October 25.

Half of Project Two will be self-assessed. That is, your reflective statement will include a section at the end that evaluates your work throughout the project. If your reflective statement is detailed, thorough, and persuasive, it is likely that I will simply agree with you and assign as my own evaluation the same grade you applied. I am looking for the following qualities in your work:

* Evidence of a careful summary;
* Evidence of deliberative design in the visual arrangement and presentation of the poster;
* Evidence of balanced, collaborative efforts among team members;
* Evidence of personable facilitation at your table in the gallery;
* Evidence of investment in the review of other groups during the gallery;
* Evidence of care with the reflective statement;
* Even participation throughout the course of P2 and during in-class time devoted to workshopping.

My response to your work will attend more directly to the reflective essay you compose (i.e., I will not be annotating posters as a part of the assessment process). If you find it helpful to do so, you can frame a portion of your reflection using some version of the scale applied to Projects One and Three.


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.

Sample Posters
The following two posters were developed as representations of the "Clarity" chapter in Joseph Williams' book, Style: Toward Clarity and Grace. Click on the image to download a PDF version of each poster.

Williams Sample One

Williams Sample Two

Contact Information

Derek N. Mueller, PhD
Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing
Director of Composition
Department of English
Virginia Tech
Office: 315 Shanks Hall
Spring 2020 Office Hours: T, 12-3
Phone: +1-734-985-0485

"Neither The Elements of Style nor any other style book can be the definitive text on writing in every genre or media." —ENGL328 student, Fall 2009

"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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