Student Success in Writing Conference: February 3, 2012

Composition for Change: Documentary Projects in First-Year Composition Courses

This presentation will review how students can create documentaries to reach a wide and real audience as they propose solutions to the most important issues of the day. The speaker will also address concerns with multimedia assignments, such as considerations of copyright and fair use as students navigate the right-click digital age.

Student Produced Documentaries in First-Year Composition

1) Multimodal Composition and the use of documentaries in first-year composition courses was the basis for the mixed methods case study I conducted last year as the subject of my dissertation.

In my study,  students reported that multimodal composition:

  • Allows for more engagement with topics
  • Creates a heightened sense of audience awareness and gives more purpose to their arguments
  • Presents the opportunity for more personal expression through textual, visual and aural outlets
  • Teaches time management, organization and research skills
  • Builds self-confidence in communication and technical skills
  • Provides a beneficial resource  for professional communication

2) The proposal documentary assignment:

  • Asks students to identify a local, regional, national or global problem and offer viable solutions that can be implemented by members of the community
  • Asks students to use similar research, organization and rhetorical skills used in traditional academic writing
  • Gives students an opportunity to add elements of visual and aural rhetoric into their understanding of persuasion
  • Allows students to become critical producers and consumers of media (Anderson)
  • Asks that students publish their work to the world via YouTube and opens the classroom to discussion about how their compositions can influence their community and society (critical teaching pedagogy)
  • Opens the writing classroom to the issues of copyright, Fair Use  and Creative Co Continue reading