Assignment Ideas

Integrating multimodal composition and digital publication opens up the ways teachers and students approach learning. This list will always be changing and expanding. Please check back periodically.

The majority of multimodal courses will include blogs, social media, and individual student built/administered websites. Class and student websites will manage course assignments, as well as curate and archive student work. Beyond the basics of course management, the digitally integrated classroom provides a wide array of creative assignments.

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  1. Websites and Apps for Teaching Digital Writing by Troy Hicks, Digital Writing Workshop
  2. DS106 Assignment Bank. This site curates hundreds of creative assignments in some of the following mediums: audio, visual, web, mash-up, design, and writing. Though initially designed for those taking part in the DS106 story telling course, any user can borrow assignments from the site, as well as up-load their own.
  3. Telling Their Stories: Oral History Archives Project. This project based out of the Urban School of San Francisco provides a template for video and audio oral history projects. The site archives a variety of projects in which students record the experiences of people who witnessed and participated in “key historic events of the twentieth century.” Beyond project archives you will find links to web and print resources, descriptions of assignment sequences, production guides, and sample projects. The following may offer further inspiration for digital oral history projects: Storycorps, Tell Me Your Stories, and Oral History in the Digital Age.
  4. World without Oil. The world without oil project is a serious, alternate reality game that “imagines what an oil crisis would really be like” through crowd sourced blogs, videos, and images generated by participants. Though the game has ended, the site preserves the 1500 plus digital imaginings of participants. World without Oil has provided a template for other multimodal classrooms such as Remixing College English, Composition+Video Games, and GCO offer further suggestions for incorporating game design in the college classroom.
  5. scistarter.org. This site is a terrific resource for faculty looking to incorporate crowd-sourced research and data collection into assignment sequences. Regardless of discipline, crowd-sourced data collection questions the line separating expert and learner and allows novices to make modest contributions to professional fields.
  6. Slow Violence and Environmental Storytelling. The Neiman storyboard, a Harvard hosted publication that supports narrative journalism, archives a variety of articles on craft. Of interest to those teaching environmental or ecological themed courses is Robert Nixon’s blog entry in which he provides rhetorical techniques for representing slow change climate change. Ecocomposition Annotated Bibliography, Ecocomposition, and Sidney Dobrin all provide further suggestions for multimodal and environmental creative assignments.
  7. Tactical Media. The NYU archive provides examples of tactical media assignments and products, as well as articles written by teachers and practitioners. Assignments designed as “temporary, hit-and-run interventions in the media sphere over the creation of permanent and alternative media outlets” teach students about modes of persuasion and audience and allow for modest contributions (wiki “tactical media). Some further resources include but are not limited to the following: Adbusters, Occupy Wall Street, Interventionist Aesthetics, Participatory Media and Social Practice, and Metamute.