The Dangerous Blog for Grad Students

A How-To Tale

“Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments” Precis September 16, 2008

Filed under: Precis — deduvick @ 3:25 pm
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Mary E. Hocks

When creating a digital writing piece, it is essential to return back to the basic rhetorical fundaments.  Students are not just focusing on writing a little bit and then throwing some pictures in – they have to consider how they put things together and who they put them together for.  

There are essentially four mains points to consider in creating this kind of work:  audience stance, ethos, transparency and hybridity.  The audience stance refers to how the readers/viewers are invited to participate in the interface, allowing them to choose sections, jump to explanations, explore the text on their own terms and in their own time.  The ethos is how the author prompts the audience to make those discoveries, to interact or not to interact.  Transparency refers to how well a piece of digital writing relates to other texts of a similar nature or a printed text or anything other format that an audience might be familiar with.  It can fit up with these and be more understandable to the audience or it can break those guidelines set up in a way to meaningfully convey something to the audience.  How well a document integrates its different medias, including text, image, sound, etc. all contribute to its hybridity.  Unless there is a purpose, these elements should not be jarringly differentiated from each other; instead, they should flow and meld together. 

There are many examples of digital writing that can be analyzed so that students can fully understand how these pieces work and function together.  And the more they understand the four main points mentioned above, the better they can craft their own work for maximum effect.


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