In-class Rhetorical Analysis

“Traditional” Approaches to Rhetorical Analysis

–Who is (are) the author (or authors) of this piece?

–Who is the audience for this piece?

–What is the purpose of this piece?

–What is the piece arguing or telling?

–How is it accomplishing this goal?



McKee’s Four Part Framework for Analysis

–How would you describe “vocal delivery” in this piece? And what does such vocal delivery accomplish? Consider from page 340:

  • tension—how tight or strained
  • roughness—how raspy and throaty (with rougher tones being more associated with men)
  • breathiness—how airy or intimate (the more airy, usually in Western cultures, the less authority the voice is deemed to have)
  • loudness—how booming or soft
  • pitch—how high or low (related to gender)
  • vibrato—how trembling it sounds (with more vibrato equated with being emotional)

–How is music being used? Consider:

  • the sound quality
  • the dynamics or the intensity of the sound
  • the speed/tempo of the music
  • the key of the music (minor suggests gloominess)
  • the pitch
  • the structure
  • the familiarity
  • the lyrics

–How are sound effects being used?

–How is silence being used?

How do these elements work together to create effects?


Audio Project Proposal

List three possible approaches you might take to your audio composing project. For each, please note the kind of argument you’d like to make, questions you’d like to ask, or story you’d like to tell, and explain how you might use audio to accomplish those goals. For each possible approach, try to write around 150-200 words.

Post to your blog before class on Thursday.

Invention Audio Project

Open up a new doc. For 10 solid minutes, brainstorm ideas for the Audio. Freewrites are designed for you to simply write. Don’t block your thoughts. Don’t think you’re going in a strange direction. Don’t worry about style, grammar, or punctuation. JUST WRITE.

Think about…
–possible stories you can tell
–ways to structure a given story
–possible formats you might try out
–anecdotes you might fold into your story
–questions you might ask (and eventually answer)
–people you might interview–and questions you might ask of them
–ways you can set the scene for your story
–problems you might encounter

Focal Topic Playlist

What will be the sounds of your focal topic? Part of what you have to do with the larger audio assignment is figure out the best way to use sound to convey your message(s) to your audience.

Before we get there, however, let’s experiment with building a playlist that could accompany your topic. You can be literal, metaphorical, and creative about this. For example, let’s say I’m writing about the trend in architecture to re-use buildings for completely new uses, and the impact that’s having on neighborhoods as well as architecture as a field. That’s a big topic, that I’d have to narrow in on for my soundcast eventually. But for this in-class assignment, I could find songs related to building, or to spaces, or cities. Or I might seek out music that creates a particular mood associated with the topic and my take on it: upbeat, perhaps. Another angle might be to create a playlist one might hear in a church turned coffee-shop, or old factory turned clothing store. If my topic was related to feminism, I could focus on girl bands, or perhaps create what I might call the Sexist Playlist, made up of songs that showcase how sexist popular music has always been. For this I might create a historical view of various pop songs that frame women in particular ways. I might also seek out female empowerment songs, or protest songs for a different kind of playlist. See where I’m going with this?

You want to make a choice, a theme, and stick with it though for the duration of the playlist. Create about a ten-fifteen (5-7 songs) minute playlist, and depending on the song length you might have more or less songs than your classmates. That’s fine.

You can build your playlist in Spotify,, slacker,  8tracks, even YouTube or some other site that creates shareable/linkable lists . Most of the above sites require signing up for services, but on each of them are basic accounts that are free.

When you have built your playlist, I would like you to post them on your blog. Spotify allows you to embed playlists. Youtube creates a link to a playlist, and the other sites all work differently with their links and embeds. If you’re unsure on how to do this, I can try to help. In the blog post, write about how the playlist is related to your focal topic, what you hoped to achieve or argue with the playlist, and ultimately what you imagine a listener response might be.

In class on Tuesday, I will ask you to share your findings and responses.

Midterm Review

In your groups answer the questions in the Google Doc you’ve been assigned. Utilize whatever resources you need to fully respond to each question. Make sure to provide a source for each answer, citing a specific resource from this class. (Resources can be readings, class notes, discussion, in-class activities or web posts).

Bonus Questions for Each Group (not listed in the Google document). 

Name 2 ways to be a responsible digital citizen.

What are the four factors for determining Fair Use?

If asked to write a rhetorical analysis of an image, where would you begin? How would you approach the task?

Visual Verbal Design Rubric for Evaluation

Here is the compiled rubric from our class discussion last week. These are the criteria I will be using to evaluate your visual verbal design projects.


  • logical arrangement (eye knows where to travel) for the argument
  • effective color use (contrast)
  • utilizes white space
  • visual elements appropriate for tone
  • typeface appropriate for rhetorical purpose
  • if using more than one font, fonts should be cohesive  and rhetorically appropriate
  • good quality (high res) images
  • visual and verbal elements work together rhetorically

Rhetorical Awareness:

  • clear audience and destination
  • plausible call to action: clear take away (is it clear what you want your audience to feel, to think, to do?)
  • message is effectively delivered: rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, logos)
  • engages with cultural context/responds to a clear need
  • clear purpose: to inform; to persuade, educate, raise awareness


  • apparent, conscious changes from Rough Draft to final in response to feedback
  • time, effort, and thought went into project
  • Reflective analysis: analyze your decisions, analyzes strengths and  weaknesses, clarifies your intent/purpose, audience, method of delivery

Ethics and Responsibility in New Media


Poster featuring House of Cards character, Frank Underwood, note the upside flag


Questions to Consider: 

What do we mean by ethics and how does it apply to our digital world ?

Are there ethical principles and practices that transcend any and all situations, or are they dependent upon the specific situation?

What does it mean to be responsible online?  As a society, what are we thinking? What are we doing? How might we being proactive, digitally sound role models for younger generations? What are the challenges we face?

Consider the following key areas for digital citizenship:

Safety & Security:
Digital Literacy:
Ethics & Community:

What does it mean in each area to be an ethical digital citizen?

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 9.45.46 PM

Shepard Fairey poses in front of his Barack Obama Hope artwork. (Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press / September 8, 2012)

What part can fair use play in digital ethics?

How does the Obama Hope (Shepard Fairey) poster case complicate your ideas of ethics v. legality?

Is digital manipulation of photos ethical? legal? why or why not?




Peer Response Considerations

What is your initial response? Gut reaction? How do you feel; what do you think?

Who is the primary audience for this text? Who might the secondary audiences be?
What is the context/are the contexts in which this text was created and circulates?
What is the purpose of the text? What type(s) of argument(s) are developed?

Identify the CRAP principles used.

What suggestions (design or rhetorical) do you have for your peer?

Visual Verbal Design Rubric

In your groups, develop the criteria that should be utilized to grade the visual-verbal argument project. They must be clear and specific, and they must demonstrate your rhetorical understanding of rhetoric and design principles by incorporating concepts read and discussed in class. Generate a specific set of at least 4-5 criteria for each of the following categories. You can have more than 5 if you want.

  • Design (typography, color, arrangement, CRAP, etc.)
  • Rhetorical awareness (audience, purpose, context, exigence, rhetorical appeals, etc)
  • Process (drafting, revision, reflective analysis)

Please avoid vague statements such as the images are attractive; the color looks professional, etc. Specify what you mean by attractive and professional. Do you mean the image creates clarity by showing a good use of contrast and color scheme?

Groups 224 A:

Group One: Abbey, Max, Mary, Justin

Group Two: Taylor, Katie, Kevin, Claire

Group Three: Erin, Reid, Alec, Erin

Group Four: Jordan, Olivia, Brian, Alexa

Group Five: Ashley, Erin, Morgan, Ian

Group Six: John, Matt, Grace, Hannah, Adam


Groups 224 B:

One: Steph, Claire, Mack, Rosie

Two: Alison, Kevin, Maria, Kate, Johnny

Three: Amanda B, Sarah, Gwen, Conner

Four: Amanda W, Maggie, Kelsey, Carolyn

Five: Hannah, Angela, Caroline, Colin


Groups 224 F:

One: Scout, Emily, Addie, Mary Allison

Two: Josh, Morgan B, Baixue, Clare

Three: Nick, Abbey, Anne, Hannah

Four: Joe, Jordan, Laura, Sara

Five: Megan, Matt, Lilly, Harry

Six: Ben, Maddie, Katie, Eddie, Morgan D.