Category Archives: 1121 Unit 3-Multimodal Repurposing


And so, we draw to a close.  It has been so great working with all of you.  I said it before, and I’ll say it again, but I have been truly impressed with your work this semester.  You really came through, especially during the pandemic, which goes beyond anything I have literally ever seen (of course). I’m excited to see those final assignments and portfolios.

I will eventually be sending you a little survey in which I ask you to do your own (brief, 1-2 paragraph) reflection on the semester.  This will help us plan next semester’s PD, which will be entirely online! I also want to let you guys know that, though the PD is done,  I am here as a resource for you whenever you need me.  I’ll be continuing Zoom office hours next semester (and a couple of times in August) and also will be around for one-on-one meetings if you need help, have some cool assignments to share or just want to talk!

Here are the amended dates:

May 29th: Final student portfolios to be uploaded to Google Drive.  I’ve sent you this link.  If you did not get it, email me and I’ll resend.

  • Please use the folder “’20 Current PD Portfolios.”
  • Please make a folder with your own name in this format: (HallCarrie_20)
  • Within THAT folder, make subfolders for each class you are teaching with course and section number. (HallCarrie_1101_351).
  • In that folder, you will have either a file or a folder, as you see fit, for each of your students.  Make sure these are also titled clearly by the students’ names (Blair_Ruben) so they can easily be accessed.

June 5th: All of your final drafts of assignments for 1101 and 1121 will be uploaded to the Open Lab.  This is a HARD DEADLINE– as in this is honestly the last possible day! The “deliverables” include: Syllabus (front matter only, you don’t need the full schedule), Assignment Sheets for Units 1,2, and 3 and the handout for the final portfolio: this would include info on the reflection and what the final portfolio should include.

I will attach a copy a template for the 1101 syllabus if you’d like to use it (it’s optional). The 1121 syllabus template is under “Readings: 2020 Winter Institute”

For each of your final assignments, I know this is annoying, but… you will have to post them separately under their correct category.  This will help the next PD be able to look up examples of each assignment.  So, please use the following  format:

  • Categories: FINAL and the unit you are uploading, such as: 1101 Unit 1-Lit Narrative
  • Subject line: (YOUR NAME) FINAL 1101 UNIT 1 ASSIGNMENT

Please don’t forget the category “final” OR the word “Final” in the subject line.  Believe me, it matters in the long run!  Also, you can select two assignment categories, in case you have an assignment sheet that includes, say, 1101 Units 2 and 3, as some of us do.  It’s fine to combine those two.  Please don’t combine all of your materials onto one sheet, though!

Download (PDF, 127KB)

Here is an example of my final portfolio assignment sheet– I gave this to you a MILLION YEARS AGO in the winter, before “the troubles”.  I don’t expect you to be a graphics dork like myself. I also think the reflection Christine and I wrote this semester was much (MUCH) better than this one. However, I include this because it shows what I had my students include in their portfolios:

Download (PDF, 3.41MB)

1121 Unit 3– Optional, but useful

Hey everyone! Thanks for the meeting today– it was quite useful.  I’m really impressed with everything you guys are doing with your classes, especially in light of the circumstances.  Thanks for being so available for your students and for each other.

If you would be so kind as to share your assignment for 1121 Unit 3 as a new post (the category is…”1121 Unit 3″) it would be really useful for everyone else to see. Thanks!

Another example of the research assignment

Hey you guys, here is an assignment I’ve used for Unit 2 in 1121. There are things I might change here to deepen the research, but it might give you some ideas. This could also easily be split into units 2 and 3– that is, in Unit 2, people do more in-depth research than I’ve outlined here.  They develop reports (with infographics, proposals for action, etc.)  In Unit 3, they could then enact some part of that report– write a speech to the city council, a website, a grant proposal, etc…

Community Problems – and working toward community solutions

We have spent some time in this course identifying problems in contemporary America—especially in New York City. In this unit, you will be working in groups of four or five to:

  1. Find out as much as you can about those problems
  2. Figure out who might be able to impact change on those problems (this will be your audience.) As a group, you may decide that you need to reach more than one audience.
  3. Develop a document (or documents) that you think will best reach that audience. This might be a brochure, a speech, a video, a magazine article, or anything else that you believe will impact your audience and encourage them to begin making change toward solving this problem.

It’s up to you to decide if you want to do a big final group project, or if you want to do smaller individual final projects. You should make this decision based on, not only your own needs, but also the problem and audience you’ve chosen. In other words– who do you need to reach and how can you best reach them?


I say “begin making change”  because the problems we have identified are not simple to solve. If they were, they would’ve been solved by now. Too often, student papers are oversimplified: “Racism would end if people just saw each other for who they are” or something like that. What I want you to look for here are CONCRETE steps that ACTUAL individuals can take, even if they are only steps in the right direction. For example, if we are looking at racial profiling among the police in the Bronx, we might want to address a community group to insist on specific practices for hiring a more diverse police force, or a police force that lives in a borough they serve. We might also want to address the police commissioner to ask for police cameras or training for the police.

Whatever the case, your first step is to research the problem. You might think you know off the top of your head what the solution to your problem is, but you will need to back this up with evidence.


Step 1: Have a group meeting. Brainstorm together what you KNOW about this problem and what you WANT to know about this problem. Go ahead and do some quick Internet research on your phones. What did you LEARN from this research? What do you STILL need to know?

We’re going to go to the library after this meeting, so you’ll need to be prepared with some questions. What do you need to get a full scope of this problem? How are you going to delegate the research? There are four of you, so you should each have your own separate task. This is important– you don’t want everyone looking up the same thing. That way, you can come together and share the info. You may also want to interview some people in the community! You’re going to have a few days to do this research.

After the library research, everyone should write up a memo for the group. What have you found?

Step 2: In your next meeting, look at your research. Do you need to find out more? Also, WHO do you think you need to reach in order to start working toward a solution to this problem? What do you think will be the best genre to reach them?

Step 3: It’s time to define your own project. That is, what are the documents (or what is the document) that you guys are going to make in order to reach this audience or audiences? What I’m looking for here is a document that is enough work for all four of you—so if you are, for example, making a 20 page informational brochure to present to the City Council, that is certainly enough for all of you. However if you are doing a poster, that’s probably a 1-2 person job. In this case, some of you might do a poster, and some others of you may do, for example, a video essay to accompany that poster.

Your finished project should: explain the problem to your audience in a genre appropriate to that audience, using diction appropriate to that audience. It should look like a finished document (a decent-looking brochure, a well thought-out video essay.) I know you’re not all graphic designers, but you do need to present this document, and every document you write (for all your classes) with care. Also– even if everyone is doing separate parts of the final project, they should all fit together!

How will this be graded?

  1. The thoroughness of your research. In other words, how well do you understand the problem you are trying to impact? I will assess this through your research memos (DUE DATE)
  2. Your work on audience: have you identified an appropriate audience/ appropriate audiences? Have you identified a genre and tone that will reach that audience?
  3. The care you put into your project. Does it seem finished? Is it thorough? I can’t give you a word count here, but this is your biggest project all semester, guys. If you turn in a brochure with 100 words on it, you won’t pass. This is because you can not make a compelling argument in 100 words. You need to have ENOUGH INFORMATION there to make that argument.

Our next meeting: Nov 20 (and some stuff about Gee!)

Hi everyone! So here are some links to info about James Paul Gee’s work on Discourse Communities:

“Literacy, Discourse and Linguistics” an article in which he describes primary and secondary discourse communities. I personally find it fairly accessible and really interesting!

HERE is a slideshow that accentuates many of the main points from that same article. Many typos.

HERE is a website that bullet points Gee’s general theory of Discourse communities

For Nov 20, please write a draft of 1121 Unit 2 PLEASE BRING IN THREE COPIES. (the unit description is attached below– I’ve changed it slightly. Changes are highlighted. I will attach more sample assignments shortly. Please remember to keep Unit 3 in mind as you write this unit– that is, you may want to write Unit 2 as research that leads into Unit 3.

Please also read Cheryl Ball’s “Genre and Transfer in a Multimodal Class” (if you can open the file. I’m working on it) at the bottom of this page. So far, it prints in legit gibberish!

Unit 2. Inquiry-Based Research

The purpose of this inquiry-based research is to spark and deepen student curiosity. In this unit, students will further their research skills, using evidence to make an argument or explore a topic, question, or issue. With this in mind, students should begin research with a question or a hypothesis, but should NOT begin with a thesis! Students will be expected to use the library’s resources and will also have the possibility of conducting interviews or other observation based research. Research will require that students use best attribution practices including gathering, and evaluating of multiple sources, both primary and secondary sources. Students will be asked to synthesize a variety of ideas and sources while they pursue their research goals and questions. The scope and focus of research projects can vary, and can emerge from discourse community projects, genre exploration projects, or other topics that students wish to investigate. Students should be given some choice of genre in this assignment– that is: what genre is best to deliver the research they have accumulated to the audience they wish to reach?

Research assignments can be individual projects or group projects.



(Remember that Unit 3 is a multimodal assignment that asks students to repurpose writing they have done earlier in the semester to a digital genre. Unit 3 should have an element of persuasion. The description of this is posted in the previous blog post)

Download (PDF, 312KB)


Repurposed Multimodal Project

This assignment asks students to re-think, or re-envision, one of the assignments they have written previously in the semester, presenting it in a totally new genre, perhaps changing  modes: for example, a revision that goes from a written essay to an audio podcast, website, graphic, video essay, rap album, or mixed modal. This assignment builds on the generic, rhetorical and audience awareness that students have worked on all semester long, asking them to consider what discourse community they are trying to reach and, not only what diction, but also what mode of delivery would be best for delivering that message.

This “translation” is key to transfer, one of the core learning outcomes of this course. If students can take a message and transform it for different audiences and media, then they are well on their way to being able to transfer writing skills across fields, disciplines and discourse communities.

As with all the units in the course, reflection and transfer are critical, as Taczak and Robertson point out, “students who develop a reflective framework that allows them to understand writing indifferent contexts are able to reimagine previous writing knowledge that they can adapt to a new situation.” In addition to the main writing project, metawriting assignments should ask students to explicitly concern themselves with transfer. For activities in this regard, see Yancey and Beaufort.


Nelson Graff: Teaching Rhetorical Analysis to Promote Transfer

Brian Ray: “More than just Remixing: Uptake and New Media Composition”

Jaclyn Fiscus: “Genre, Reflection, and Multimodality: Capturing Uptake in the Making”

Voss, Julia: Who Learns from Collaborative Digital Projects? Cultivating Critical Consciousness and Metacognition to Democratize Digital Literacy Learning


Justin Graffa: The Art of Trespassing (Student Multimodal Project)

Chelsea Harrison:  College Students and Social Media (Student Graphic Text)

Hanrick Kumar and Calvin Tiu: To a Rapper’s Delight: An in Depth Look at the Construction of a Musical Collaboration (Student Audio Project)

Sample Assignments

Repurposed Assignment 1

Remediated assignment 2

Remediated assignment 3