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Poster Design and Written Analysis in First-Year Writing & Rhetoric

LEARNING ENVIRONMENT:  Since the University of Colorado’s WRTG 1150, “First-Year Writing & Rhetoric” classes are intimate learning spaces in which CU students gain their introduction to university writing, it is essential to introduce innovative and effective technological pedagogies at this level.  That Writing & Rhetoric courses invite the creative interplay of written, visual, and sound communications, further emphasizes the need for powerful multimedia pedagogies—not as add-ons or filler—but as a fundamental aspect of course content.   The small class size of 18-20 students will allow us to achieve these goals with hands-on experiential learning that encourages a fearless attitude towards exploring new technologies in relation to persuasive writing and the extent to which they can help meet the overarching goals of WRTG 1150.

PURPOSE:  To help students in WRTG 1150 develop the ability to see persuasive communication as the interrelationship between LOGOS and PATHOS across a range of interacting contemporary media: written, aural and visual.  We hope to foster the perception that written persuasion must work to establish a creative interplay with visual images, video, sound, web 2.0 technologies, and social media, all of which have such a pervasive influence in contemporary social persuasion.

TECHNOLOGY & METHOD:  I have designed a short 3.5-week unit of Poster Persuasion and Written Reflection to meet these complex rhetorical objectives.  For this Unit Two assignment, students will design two different 17” X 11” poster treatments of a specific and original organizational “call to action,” as well as a powerfully argued 3-page Analysis/Reflection of their poster goals and rhetorical strategies.  Outcomes will be determined by asking students to submit all drafts of their posters, and more importantly, by emphasizing that students will be graded 50% on their ability to reflect and analyze their overarching persuasive concept in written form, rather than exclusively on the profession quality of their final text/image design.

SPECIFIC TECHNOLOGIES:  Working in the design medium of their choice—Powerpoint, Gimp, Photoshop, In Design, etc—students will gain an understanding of “persuasive composition” as the skillful manipulation of text slogans (or “call to actions”) in relation to their 11” X 17” poster images.  The holistic nature of human sight demands that these two seeming distinct forms of persuasion—TEXT SLOGAN and IMAGE—must be merged if the students’ chosen audience is to be persuaded in poster form.  During this 3.5 week project, we will consult numerous real-world poster models; hold in-class seminars in image/text poster design; create small group feedback teams; and discuss our developing work—both the written analysis and the two 11” x 17” poster treatments—in large group workshops.  Atlas labs are available if students need them, as will the mentorship of graphic designer Dave Underwood in OIT.