This is where we’ll talk about Jennifer Sheppard’s, “The Rhetorical Work of Multimedia Production Practices: It’s More Than Just Technical Skill.” It’s another example of one of those readings where it isn’t quite on-point with what we’re doing in class this term, but it’s as close as I can come to finding readings (appropriate for a graduate level course, that is) where there is serious engagement with the ways in which working with “the tools” and the rhetorical choices we make as writers are very much connected. You’ve got to have some skills both as a rhetorician and as a technologist.
Three quick thoughts for now:
- The tension between Sheppard and her client scientists about what to include or not include (they didn’t want her to “dumb down” things too much, etc.) happens in these kinds of projects in real settings A LOT. Tracey posted this as a comment a while back, but this episode of The Oatmeal, “How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell” seems relevant here. A lot of what Sheppard is describing is sort of a less intense/softer version of this comic.
- The example she talks about on page 126 (and maybe elsewhere) of developing a web site that is too technology intense to be viewed by the target audience of kids at a middle school rings too true for me. I’ve seen that in classes like “Writing for the World Wide Web” plenty of times in the past, and it seems to me that it is possible in your productions too: shooting video that is beyond the capabilities of wevideo, for example.
- This reading (and some of the other things we have been talking about lately) makes me wonder if I shouldn’t include an assignment in this class the next time I teach it that is more about the “multimedia presentation” on a web site rather than just limiting it to audio and video. Don’t worry– I’m not going to change any assignments on you right now, that’s me thinking out loud and wondering about next time.