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Radical Revision


Professor Syliva Newman gave us this suggestion:


As part of my digital literacy unit I assign a Radical Revision project.

Students take a written assignment that they have completed for my class or another class and revise it using some digital medium (slideshow, video, podcast, voice-over slideshow, website, or blog).

We discuss the basics of visual rhetoric and oral rhetoric along with this. An integral part of the assignment is the reflection paper they have to do. This is where they explain the choices they made in creating their revision--why they chose the medium they did, why they used a particular color, layout, font, graph, chart, etc; and how they had to change their content for the medium, etc.

This is a wonderful assignment because they get to apply rhetorical principles to genres and media in which they are interested and/or skilled. They also have to present their radical revision to the class because, of course, it will have a visual component (except for the podcast, but no one has taken me up on that option yet).


Students love this assignment even though they always say it is much more difficult than they anticipated. Because I give them so many choices, I don't have to spend time teaching software etc., because they choose a medium in which they already have some proficiency.

Of course, I do primarily get slideshows, but, again, because of the reflection paper that accompanies the assignment, I get good slideshows with very compelling use of visuals.

NOTE: If this assignment sounds familiar, it's because I adapted if from the textbook Everything's a Text by Melzer and Coxwell-Teague. I love this textbook but I don't use it any more because it became dated quickly because of the visual and digital literacy units.

Thanks to Professor Syliva Newman of Weber State University for sharing her favorite assignment!