Writing is multimodal. We’ve been trained to ignore some of our visual mediums – seeing, for example, a book page as transparent and nearly invisible – but all writing occurs in visual contexts. In this course we’ll take our mediums seriously, examining how the strategies we use to compose arguments in pictures, video, and in different webspaces shift our understanding of our arguments and audiences.

Throughout the semester we’ll read theoretical texts from a variety of perspectives on visual rhetoric, ranging from comics to semiotics. We’ll think about font size, text placement, and what happens to our research and citation methods when we’re working with Vines and .gifs as well as books, paintings, and scholarly articles.

To assist in working through these questions, you’ll create two analytical essays focusing on visual artifacts, two multimedia projects, a final project and oral presentation, and blog posts. The course is designed to encourage thoughtful innovation, there is considerable flexibility built in so you can create and analyze artifacts that are interesting to you.

Course Outcomes

At the end of the course, students can expect to

  • be familiar with the history of visual rhetoric
  • critically analyze and create effective visual arguments across a variety of mediums
  • navigate digital media platforms

Required Texts

  • Picturing Texts, Lester Faigley, et al.
  • Online course readings will be provided.
  • Students should own a college-level composition handbook such as Easy Writer