Reading & Writing

Here’s where we’ll keep track of our reading and writing assignments. TBD… mostly. We’ll start with the below. The most recent will be the last. It just works better that way for me. Plus, you’ll get to scroll through all the amazing things you’ve done through the term as we go!

Jan. 9, Monday

First day of class. No reading is due. We’ll do introductions. I’ll talk about the class. We’ll write some. We’ll think. We’ll brainstorm possibilities for learning. We’ll learn something interesting about each student in class and do that general first-day thing. It’s important to be there for this class. Very important.

In Class:

We’ll be watching Charlie Todd talk about Improv Everywhere:

Writing started on Jan. 9. and due by Jan. 11: you’ll take notes and jot down how this video makes you think, feel, and how it might inspire you to think about creating public memories of something we do this semester. What shared experiences will we make this spring? 150 words, please, in narrative or bullet points–either way. On your blog please.

Jan. 11, Wednesday

Reading due:

Writing due:

  • One blog post about what you’ve read in the WWSG–300 words.
  • One blog post about “Why Blog?”–300 words.

Jan. 16, Monday–MLK Holiday–no class meeting

Reading due:

Writing due:

  • Blog post about HLM–300 words–include image of a map that strikes your fancy (you choose the map from anywhere on the web).
  • Comments due on HLM (we’ll have picked some groups for commenting for the first few weeks)
  • Blog post on “Beyond Black on White”–150 words–quick response to what you learned from this and how you will apply in in your own writing.

Jan. 18, Wednesday

Reading due:

  • Finish the Web Writing Style Guide (no need to read and digest the final parts on coding, HTML or CSS–those parts are great, but not necessary for this class).

Writing due:

  • More posting on the WWSG: 150 words–NO SUMMARY–say what you have learned that you will do with this knowledge.
  • Make a map of a room, scan it or take a photo of it, upload the image to a blog post–and write about it–300 words.
  • Comments due on maps.
  • Questions to consider: why this room, why these things mapped–what significance for the room does the map give the reader?

In class:

We’ll be watching a short video on mapping and visuality (, and then we’ll be talking about this in light of our HLM reading. We’ll be writing about what we watch, too. OR… maybe we’ll watch this one: This last one uses the word “awesome” more than once, so… I’m leaning that way.

For sure, we’ll be talking about poetic self-portraits and how we’re going to play with these.

  • Some of you have them, some don’t. If you don’t, I’ll bring a hard copy handout to class–we’ll go old school on this one.
  • Using the reading we just did on WWSG, we’ll revise our poems to include hyperlinks. Please see the OCU professor’s sample for how one person did this experiment (directions are coming below).
  • Here are some thoughts for extra time we may have this day in class:
  1. Begin to brainstorm about your poetic self-portrait.
  2. Starting thinking about links to your poem (if it exists or as you are crafting it–that will make an interesting discussion).
  3. Read the directions for next Monday, and we’ll talk about this assignment–or this should have been #1. Oh well.

Jan. 23, Monday

Reading due:

  • Refer to Rhetorics of Web Pages for details on correct hyperlinking strategies.
  • OCU instructor’s experiment. She’s also created a post that ponders this very assignment. This is helping me think about my own experiment.
  • Read the blogs from the OCU class to find their “Where I’m From” experiments (they have your URLs)–you’ll find their blogs linked on the home page of Topographia. (Topographia is also linked into my blogroll.) Each of the students’ blogs will have a “Where I’m From” page.
  • You’ll see that each of their blogs has a page for “Where I’m From,” and they will be putting their hyperlink versions on their blogs as posts in the coming week or so.

Writing due:

  • Please do this: keep your original poem where it is, but take it and put in links and then create a blog post with the links.
  • You will learn how many links in class on Jan. 18–you’ll each receive a different number of links you need to include. WHAT you include as links is totally up to you.
  • You’ll need to also add a short description of at least one interesting or important hyperlink choice you made for the revision (see OCU prof’s notes at the end of her poetic experiment as an example).
  • ALSO, after reading some of the original and revised poems by AUM and OCU folks (instructors included), write a 300 word post about what struck you as particularly interesting about the differences in the original poems and the hyperlinked versions.
  • Please comment at will.
  • And be prepared to share in class an intriguing thing you learned about someone else’s poetic self-portrait and links.
  • Thank you.

Jan. 25, Wednesday

Reading due:

  • The two OCU blogs you were assigned during class on 1/23. (Don’t post about your findings right now. Just read them and we’ll discuss them and the grading rubric during class.)
  • Remember our operating definition of Visual Rhetoric is:

Visual rhetoric is a form of communication that uses images to create and analyze meaning or to construct an argument.

Writing due:

  • Compose a 100- to 200-word posting answering this question: Given our basic definition of visual rhetoric (above), why are hyperlinks relevant to the study of visual rhetoric?


We’ll talk about your writing/reading and start to break down what makes an intriguing blog to read and look at and what that means for evaluation (grading).

  • What matters the most in a blog?
  • What matters the least?
  • What kinds of visual rhetoric choices do you make and how can that be evaluated?
  • Grammar counts?
  • Should there be a check list of features you should have in order for it to be a good blog, an “A” blog?
  • We’ll share examples from our own pages and the ones we’ve read in class and talk.
  • Like all that, for instance…

Jan. 30, Monday–CLASS MEETS IN TAYLOR 230

Reading due:

  • Analyzing a university web site–another way to use visual rhetoric for analysis of “text.” Please read this web site, starting on this page: Visual Rhetoric and Strategies of Persuasion. (URL is:
  • There are several examples of visual rhetoric that you will explore (some more oriented to a university site than others).
  • As you read, do as the page suggests and follow the link to the university’s introduction and poke around–then go back to the visual rhetoric page and continue.
  • Then, please note the ways visual rhetoric are used in the various examples (2, 3, and 4–at the bottom of the page).
  • THEN explore some aspect of AUM’s web pages (a team’s web page, a tour of the school, a department’s web page, the home page–you pick) and analyze what you choose to view with the visual rhetoric savvy you are gaining.
  • Do the same for OCU’s web pages–pick something to focus on.
  • A hint below on a smart way to do this…

Writing due:

  • Post 350-400 words about visual rhetoric on these two university web sites (that’s 350-400 words total for both AUM and OCU); specifically share what you notice, your analysis, and do a brief comparison between the two universities. What’s simliar, different, why? Or do they attempt to do the same things in the same ways? How does “design” matter?
  • It might be easier for you to focus on similar visuals of each school–home pages only, or the school tour page, or departments’ home pages only (biology at AUM, biology at OCU). Then your comparison might be an apples to apples thing.


We’ll meet in Taylor 230 to speaker Jon Meacham–author, editor, famous dude–talk about writing and thinking and so forth. You NEED to ask him questions about writing and visual rhetoric. He was editor at Newsweek and made a lot of decisions about images and text–you need to ask him about this somehow.

  • Pre-talk: for in-class on Monday, you need to have researched this guy and do a posting about who he is, what he’s written, what he’s doing at AUM, and post three questions you’ll pick from to ask him in the small session we’ll be in. I don’t anticipate it being a crowd of 500, so you’ll likely have a chance to ask a question or two and hear from a writer who’s been involved on a national level of publishing. Take advantage.
  • There is a session immediately following our class period–it’s likely Mr. Meacham will not give the same talk, so if you can, you might want to stick around.
  • Pre-talk post: 200 words on him with the three questions before class Monday.
  • Post-talk post, due. Feb. 1: 200 words on what you learned from the talk/session. Questions that were asked, answers he gave, the conversation that happened, any visual rhetoric happening anywhere? Think about the room arrangement and clothing choices as a kind of visual rhetoric… Were there posters to advertise this event? Yes. Wonder what they conveyed besides the actual text? Might do to have a look at one of those hanging around campus on EVERY door…

Feb. 1, Wednesday

No additional reading due for this day. We’ll debrief about the Meacham talk, review the university web site things and begin to talk about a more detailed collaboration with OCU.

Post-Meacham talk blog post is due on this day before class, so we can talk about what you gained from the experience about writing, visual rhetoric, editing, publishing, etc. Or was this an hour of your life you’ll never get back again?

Feb. 8, Wednesday

Work on rubric in class–posted on That Inane Laugh. We’ll get this organized for grading the next week.


  • 2 of 1-3 explorations
  • 2 of 4-8 explorations

Your choice as to the order in which you proceed. One is due each Monday starting next week:

  • Feb. 13
  • Feb. 20
  • Feb. 27
  • Mar. 5

Feb. 13, Monday

First exploration officially due.

Due before class: everyone writes about…

  • Music–any aspect, personal, historical, etc. (300 words).
  • Visual or musical image required.

Feb. 20, Monday

You’re posting a “memory palace” about ethos, pathos, and logos. Yea! Don’t forget to regularly comment on each others’ blogs and the blogs of our partners at OCU who you are reading.

Feb. 22, Wednesday

You’re posting about how you think or want to be remembered at the end of the spring term. NOT an easy assignment, I think.

In class–read the post from Tuesday, 21 February. We’ll work on this in class and talk and read.

Feb. 27, Monday

Class does not meet.

Feb. 29, Wednesday

You did a review with Clay Sims. Whew… getting busy.

March 5, Monday

Last exploration is due! Celebrate good times! We’ll catch up on where we are, what we’re doing, and where we’re going!

And we’ll be exploring some maps in class. Fun.

March 7, Wednesday


We’ll start in on the Map Book now as a way to get progress for our bigger projects.


  • Think back to the maps you created of a space, pretty early in the term. Now I want you to look back on those maps and think about the stories they tell. Please post what story those maps tell you know. Then look at someone else’s map and see what story you can figure out from their map (don’t read what they wrote!). This post can be pretty short: 200 words–100 for your map, 100 for another person’s map.


  • We’ll start talking about maps and what we’ll do with them for our big projects for the term.
  • AND exciting news about mapping we’ll be doing for our trip to OK City.

And then spring break happened, and then we had to finish our project 2 for the OK City trip, and then we took the OK City trip, and then we got back home and the semester is nearly over. Well.


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