English 518 Course Blog

April 16, 2007

“With Eyes that Think, and Compose, and Think: On Visual Rhetoric.” Teaching Writing with Computers: An Introduction

Filed under: Uncategorized — spiders8 @ 11:58 pm

Traditionally, rhetoric involves the art of speaking to a variety of audiences.  However, visual rhetoric is defined as the use of the available means of persuasion to achieve particular ends, and when the means of persuasion include visual strategies, there is visual rhetoric at work. Further reading drew my attention to the phrase “widened notion of persuasion” which includes anything we make for each other as well as speeches, printed texts, furniture and the like.  Visual presentations fit into and reinforces our cultural practices of authority, standardization, and mass production.  Moreover, rhetoric is is subject to careful analysis and composition because it shapes the values and behaviors that fitr us into the structures andhabits of our places and times.  

There are three reasons why visual rhetoric should be considered when teaching writing with computers.  1).  Readers expect the visual aspects of texts on computer screens and now also on paper to be given more attention than they were afforded in the past.  This is primarily due to our cultural and technological advances steming from the early days of the printing press not to the age of computers and computer literacy.  Learning to analyze and use visual rhetoric can help students in classes compose effective texts on and for computer screens and paper.   2).  We have more texts in our culture today.  Different formats of texts are available today than in the past.  For example, these could include online newspapers, magazines, academic texts and journals, nightly news, graphic novels, scientific visualizations, three-dimensional animated courtroom simulations of crimes, web pages, music videios, magazines of all genres, and advertising.  It is important to be attentive to how different meanings or emphases result from different visual formats.  Students need help in learning how different choices in visual arrangements/formats on screen and off encourage different kinds of meaning making and encourage use to take up various values.  Furthermore, we need to learn how to analyze and create texts that do not ignore the visual if we are to be responsible and appropriately critical citizens.  3).  Utilizing visual aspects of texts (both in analysis and making, on screen and off) to learn about and perhaps to make changes in other values at work in our culture.  Analyzing and experimenting with the visual rhetoric of our texts can help us perhaps develop new thinking and relationships that might help us better achieve our ends.

Utilizing concepts of visual rhetoric in writing classes may take the format of web pages, visual signs, graphic designs, writing arguments different from what we have become accustomed to seeing, and making decisions about the visual arrangments of texts.

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1 Comment »

  1. Allowing different arrangements of texts and making meaning out of it will help creative thinking

    Comment by Tuba Angay — July 29, 2011 @ 5:36 pm | Reply


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