Writing Prompt: “Collaborative Millennial Literacy Sponsor Infographic “

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Assignment Title: Collaborative Millennial Literacy Sponsor Infographic

Author: Gabrielle Isabel Kelenyi, University of Wisconsin-Madison (kelenyi@wisc.edu)

Date published: August, 2022

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Class Info/Tags: Intermediate Composition, Face-to-Face, Composition Studies, Digital Rhetoric, Multimodal Rhetorics

Course Motivation: This section of English 201 helps you develop your writing skills through investigation of the social, political, cultural, and/or economic forces that shape and are shaped by writing in this era. We will address questions such as “How has the period in which you’ve grown up influenced how and what you write?” and participate in scholarly discussions as well as collaborative and independent research to arrive at a larger understanding of how writing works. Over the course of the semester, we will pay close attention to the rhetorical nature of genres, and specifically writing genres, relevant to millennial influences on literacy. Such attention will help us recognize the social dimensions and public consequences of 21st century literacies, particularly in relation to writing.

Context of Use: This is the first summative writing project in my intermediate writing course, Writing for Zoomers: Exploring Millennial Literacy Sponsors. It builds upon the collaborative essay students compose for Assignment 3 (included in complementary materials), and it’s intended to encourage students to work together to identify the most salient details from their essay for transformation into an infographic to be presented to their peers. This project is an opportunity to turn writing about 21st century literacy sponsors into easily digestible information about how those literacy sponsors act upon these undergraduate writers. Through this project, students demonstrate growing familiarity with key concepts and questions at stake for writing in the current era as well as the genres in which it appears. The project invites students to pay particular attention to how writing happens in diverse contexts and genres.

Instructor Reflection: I like how this project challenges students to work together to distill their collaborative essay into its most important ideas. Students learn how to utilize freely available software (Canva) to develop their infographics and then navigate that software and the task of distilling a 3-4 page essay into a multimodal image in collaboration with their group members. The unit sequence allows group members to get to know one another and connect over specific experiences with the literacy sponsor they’ve chosen (which ranged from Twitter and Snapchat to Google Docs and Grammarly), and this project provides an opportunity for students to share their developing understanding of 21st century literacy sponsors as well as their personal writing experiences with their peers via their infographic presentation. Students are excited to analyze the effects of platforms and software they use every day on their literacy practices, rise to the challenge of using a new platform to illustrate that analysis (very meta), and enjoy seeing how their analyses overlap with those of their peers. This project is a very engaging and entertaining culmination to the first unit of the semester for both instructor and students. Difficulties for this project lie in learning to use a new platform/ software and then using it in a group. Thus, as the instructor, I invited a consultant from the Design Lab (like the Writing Center but for digital projects like presentations, posters, videos, audio, websites, infographics, etc.) to share with students about the elements of effective and accessible design as well as to give an overview of how to use Canva to make their infographics. Additionally, each student group is strongly encouraged to set up at least one consultation at the Design Lab to discuss their projects after developing initial draft infographics. I set aside a lot of class time for groups to work together on their infographics and for discussion of the distillation of the main ideas from their essays into infographics with me. From this project, students gain digital design knowledge and skills that will be useful beyond the course in addition to greater awareness of their personal writing processes. With the help of Design Lab consultants, the instructor, and one another, students develop sophisticated images that effectively communicate the overall impact of their chosen 21st century literacy sponsor on each member of the group.

About Author

Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes is a PhD candidate in the Joint Program in English & Education at the University of Michigan, where she also teaches in the English Department Writing Program. Her research interests include digital rhetoric, gender and discourse, and gaming studies. Her dissertation project explores how women use multimodal discourse—grammatically, narratively, and visually—to navigate online gaming ecologies.

Jennifer Burke Reifman

Jennifer Burke Reifman is a 5th year Education Ph.D. Candidate at U.C. Davis with an emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies. Her research focuses on technology in the writing classroom, writing program administration, and student identity and agency. When she isn't being a graduate student and writing teacher, she spends most of her time playing with her 3-year old son, tending her backyard garden, or diving into a video game.