Making and Pitching Multimodal Texts

This is the post for the Monday, November 2, 2015 class meeting.

Don Draper on Mad Men set, with the caption I got 99 problems but a pitch ain't one.Important Dates

Today is the end of the grace period for Project 3. Be sure you have turned it in by 11:59 PM tonight. All other upcoming dates are all on the Project 4 Schedule page.

Additional Tools

Note the table of software programs in the textbook on page 78. Here are some additional tools you can use as you work on your projects:

If you find anything problematic (e.g., racist, stereotypes) as you work with these tools, let me know and I’ll take that tool off the list.

Deciding What Tools to Use

Test the tools (slideshow with examples) that you are considering for your project to ensure that they do what you need them to.

  • Will the tool support your rhetorical situation?
  • Does the tool give you control of pertinent design choices?
  • Does the tool support the modes you want to use as you retell the story?
  • Are there useful affordances to the tool?
  • Are there problematic constraints?

Before you make your final decision on the tool that you want to use, you need to check some specific constraints that have been a problem in the past:

  • Are there any time limits to how long you can use it?
  • Are there any other restrictions on how much you can use it?
  • How does it export your work? (and yes, I have the student’s permission to share this work):

Key Points from Chapter 5

As you read and use information from Chapter 5 of Writer/Designer, pay particular attention to these details:

  1. Table of Technology Choices on page 78.

  2. The book explains that a multimodal project doesn’t have to be digital; however, what you make for Project 4 does have to be digital.

  3. As you firm up your decision on what tool(s) to use, keep in mind the same questions you used to evaluate an interface in Project 3. There’s also a case study that starts on page 79 and a technology review on page 81.

  4. Pay attention to the tips on organizing and naming your files on pages 88–89.

  5. Consider making a short style guide for your work to ensure consistency, following the suggestions on page 89.

Pitches (In-Class Writing)

Complete the "Project 4 Pitch" quiz in Canvas to tell me about your current plans for Project 4. Please be specific as you answer each of the questions. I will use the information to ensure that you have chosen a project that will fulfill the assignment.

If your plans change in the future, you will need to talk to me to get approval for the new direction you are taking.


For today, please do the following:

  • If you didn’t complete your "Project 4 Pitch" quiz in Canvas, please use the grace period to finish by 5:30 PM Tuesday (11/3).

For Wednesday, do the following before class:

  • Read Chapter 6 of Writer/Designer. We’ll talk about storyboards and mockups in class.

For Friday, do the following before class:

  • Bring whatever you need to work on your project in class. Friday will be an in-class workday.
  • Anyone signed up for the English Career Connection will be allowed to leave early, after I check in with you on your project.


Project 4 Examples

This is the post for the Wednesday, October 28, 2015 class meeting.

Black kitten with bat wings, captioned I am the night. Fear me.Important Dates

  • Mon, Nov 2: Project 3 grace period ends at 11:59 PM
  • During Nov: In-class work on pitches, timelines, storyboards, mockups, and so forth
  • Tue, Nov 17: Peer Review Draft due by 11:59 PM
  • Wed, Nov 18: Peer Review Feedback due by 11:59 PM (no class meeting)
  • Fri, Nov 20: Revision Plan due by 11:59 (no class meeting)
  • Thanksgiving Break: Nov 21 to Nov 29
  • Mon, Nov 30: Project due by 11:59 PM
  • Wed, Dec 2 through Wed, Dec 9: In-class Presentations
  • Wed, Dec 9: Project Grace Period ends at 11:59 PM
  • Final Exam (officially):
    • 10:10 course: Due by 9:45 AM on Wed, Dec 16
    • 11:15 course: Due by 5:25 PM on Mon, Dec 14


All the Student Examples Possible!

As you look through the examples, keep this information in mind:

  • Grades for these examples range. FERPA regulations prevent me from telling you specific grades.
  • Taking risks works into the grade, so you cannot see everything that went into the grades.
  • Be respectful as you discuss the work of other students.
  • Please do not leave comments/questions on any of these student sites.
  • The situation matters for how many projects were created, so ask me if you want more info.
Title with Link Format
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Prezi
Anthony Blankenship (ant) and Gregory Porter (grasshopper) Facebook
Around the World in 80 Days Prezi
Beauty and the Beast on Facebook Facebook
Beauty and the Beast Newspapers Prezi
Beauty and the Beast Remix video
Belle Magazine magazine
Boston Tea Party video
Attack of the Deranged Mutant Monster Killer Snow Goons Remix video
Cat in the Hat Goes College Instagram
Cat Identity (Winnie the Pooh) video
Chamber of PostSecrets PostSecret
Daisy Buchanan Pinterest
Don Quixote and the Giants video
Ethereal Ariel blog
Frozen: Blacksburg Edition webpage
Game of Thrones Red Wedding chatroom
Game of Thrones Memes meme photos
Green Eggs And Ham Remix: A Story video
Guess How Much I Love You, Celebrity Edition slideshow
Harry Potter Timeline infographic
Harry Potter Title Sequence (was to be an animation) storyboard
Keeping Up with the Hokies (Princess and the Pea) Twitter
Legend of Sleepy Hollow flipbook
Marching Through Manhattan (Little Women) blog
Midsummer Night’s Dream Twitter
Most Dangerous Game comic
Mount Vernon Christmas Pinterest
Music Man Remix Facebook
Peter Pan Enters the Job Force infographic
Postcards from Captain Nemo slideshow
Pride and Prejudice on Page Six newspaper
Princess and the Pea magazine
Princess and the Pea video
Rapunzel video
Rose-Red and the Bear video
Same Love by Macklemore as told through The Gay Rights Movement video
Scooby-Doo & Mystery, Inc.: What’s The Gang Up To During Retirement? Buzzfeed
Scout’s Instagram Account Instagram
Snow White and the Huntsman Instagram
Spider-Hokie Swings into Blacksburg video
The Borrowers text messages
The Folly of Hades (Hercules Myth) Twitter
The Hunger Games, Time Magazine Edition magazine
The Little Mermaid Facebook / Prezi
The Nutcracker Toy Catalog flipbook
The Once Upon a Times newspaper
The Three Little Scholars Broadcast video
Very Hungry Hokie Instagram / Prezi
A Week in the Woods (Hansel and Gretel) Prezi
What Happened to Little Red Riding Hood? Prezi
Who Is The Fairest of Them All? website



For Friday, do the following before class:

  • Finish reading Chapter 3 of Writer/Designer, from p. 45 to the end.
  • Spend time exploring the pertinent examples from the list above so that you have narrowed down your choice of tools.

For Monday, do the following before class:

  • Read Chapter 5 of Writer/Designer.
  • Be prepared to write a pitch in a quiz, following the questions on p. 56 of Writer/Designer.


Project 3 and 4 Overviews

This is the post for the Monday, October 5, 2015 class meeting.

Important Dates

  • Cat, reading To Kill a Mockingbird says, WTF...this book has absolutely no information on killing birdsOctober 16: Fall Break (no class meeting)
  • October 21: Project 3 Peer Review
  • October 26: Project 3: Interrogate a Story Source due by 11:59 PM

Analysis Feedback

I’m still working through your quizzes from Friday. You will use the same form as you work on Project 3, so I need to look through them carefully.

Project Assignments

Today we will go over:


For Wednesday’s session (10/7), do the following before class:

  • Review all the options for Project 3 and 4, and begin thinking about the story that you want to explore for these assignments. I will ask you to tell me the story you have chosen on Friday.
  • Be ready to analyze some example story sources in class.
  • If you are considering a project that you need feedback on, ask me on Wednesday (or email me before then).


Pinterest Board Ideas

Hand-drawn Pinterest LogoConsider these ideas as starting places or inspiration. You don’t have to do any of them as they are listed. The goal is simply to think through some of the possibilities and give you some more examples for your own project.

  1. Author’s Inspiration: Capture how the text might have been composed by pinning artifacts an author might collect while composing a text. As an example, what would Steinbeck collect while working on The Grapes of Wrath? Think about inspirations and research!
  2. Character’s Special Event: Create the pinboard a character would make while planning a special event, like moving to a new home, planning for the birth of a baby, or going on a trip. For instance, what would Hermione Granger pin as she was thinking about returning to Hogwarts for her second year?
  3. Figure’s Hobby or Research: Gather pins a character or historical figure might collect to focus on a special interest, like a hobby or favorite subject. Think about how the collection reveals the person’s changing or growing knowledge about the topic. What would Betsy Ross have pinned as she thought about her work as a seamstress?
  4. Essayist’s Evidence: Collect the resources that an essayist might gather while working on a particular piece. Think about illustration and evidence for the piece and create a sort of multigenre version of the essay. Imagine, for example, what Thoreau might have collected while working on Walden.
  5. Witness’s Momentos: Take the viewpoint of first-person witness to an historical event, and create a pinboard that illustrates what you saw and noticed. For instance, what could you collect if you were on Wall Street during the week of the stock market crash in 1929?
  6. Missing Details: Build a pinboard that fills in missing details for an event in the story or that provides the missing details on how something came to be. For a fictional story, work within what you know about the character and the situation; for a nonfiction story, stay within the facts and details that are established (that is, don’t make things up).
  7. Figure’s Goals: Think about what a character wants to achieve, and create a pinboard the character would make while thinking about those goals. You could focus on the career that a fictional character might want to pursue. If you focus on a real person, think about the things that person might collect that would show his or her interests. For example, what might Sally Ride have pinned as a child (assuming Pinterest existed then)?
  8. Fashion: Focus on a character’s fashion sense, and build a pinboard of clothes and accessories that the character would like. Think about key events in the story and collect potential outfits that might work for the different events. Search for clothes that fit the time period of the story you are working on.
  9. Recipes: Compile the recipes that a character would save or that a group of characters might save. What would go into a fairy tale cooking pinboard, or the collected cooking pins of Sleepy Hollow?
  10. Scrapbook: Design a scrapbook that a character would make after a trip or event. Think about the places that the character goes and the things he or she would see, and find ways to capture the high points and some of the less obvious moments. Be sure to stay true to the time period of your story.


Project 4: Remix a Story

Worth 25% of your course grade

Calendar IconImportant Dates

  • TBD: In-class pitch of your topic (2 minutes)
  • Nov 18: Project 4 Peer Review
  • Nov 30: Project 4: Remix due by 11:59 PM
  • Dec 2, 4, 7, & 9: Project 4 presentations
  • Dec 9: End of grace period for Project 4. No work is accepted after 11:59 PM.


Icon showing code bracketswrite and design web content, use digital images (and if appropriate, video and audio), and recognize basic HTML and CSS syntax. Tablet icon showing text and image on the screenexplore how linguistic text (words), images, and layout combine to communicate with an audience. Recycling iconrecycle an existing story into something new and interesting.

The Project AssignmentElectric hand mixer icon, signifying the remix project

You will take an existing story (fiction or nonfiction) and translate it into a new, digital, multimodal version. You will present your new version of the story in class at the end of the semester.

The idea of remaking an old story in a new way should be familiar to you. Anytime a movie is made that is based on a book, those involved are creating a new multimodal version of the original. You are not limited to making a movie-version of your text however. Nearly anything goes. You need to use at least three modes of communication. You may stick closely to the original version of the story or event, or you may reimagine the story from another perspective. Your options are open for this assignment. Choose something you want to explore. You should enjoy this project.

Step-by-Step Details

#1 in a maroon circleStep 1: Choose a form and approach.
Choose a format that will use at least three modes of communication, and decide what aspect(s) of the original you will remix. Check the Story Remix Possibilities and the related links on that page for more ideas. Remember that taking risks matters, so you can choose a format that you want to learn. The one guideline is that you have to be able to publish the finished piece in your WordPress portfolio. Check the possibilities for embedding whatever format you are thinking ahead of time.

#2 in an orange circleStep 2: Pitch your project.
You will explain your plans for your project, relying on the ideas in Writer/Designer, Chapter 3 (especially pp. 54–56).

Use the questions on p. 56 of Writer/Designer to plan what you want to say. You will need to identify the original story, your remix plans, the genre you are planning to use, and how you are incorporating risk.

#3 in a maroon circleStep 3: Develop and refine your project.
Following the resources in Writer/Designer, Chapter 4, 5, 6 and 7, you will collect sources and assets, design your citations, develop mock-ups and storyboards, and draft and revise your project (from rough cut to rough draft to final project). You can find full details on all these tasks in the textbook, and we will discuss them in class.

#4 in an orange circleStep 4: Present your project.
Following the resources in Writer/Designer, Chapter 8, you will deliver and present your remixed story. You will have approximately 5 to 6 minutes for your class presentation. In your presentation, you will focus on sharing details about how you worked and the decisions that you made. Use the information on pp. 132–135 of Writer/Designer to determine what information to include.

You will create a digital presentation, using Google slides, Prezi, or a similar tool. Email me the URL to your Google Slides by midnight on the day before your presentation (no grace period).

#5 in a maroon circleStep 5: Submit your project.
When you are finished with the project, you will submit the URL to your project in the Assignment tool in Canvas. Details on how to submit your work will be included in the post for the due date (November 30).


Story Remix Possibilities

You are free to choose whatever genre and format you want to use for your remixed story. The only requirements are that your project needs to be digital, it needs to be published online, and it should use multiple modes of communication.

Because the options are so open, I wanted to provide some example ideas for you. This is not an exhaustive list, just a collection of ideas.