Creating Spaces for Strategic Contemplation:

A Collaborative Webtext



By David Maynard and Christine Denecker

Designed by Megan Adams





ENGL 501


Ask the Expert


Overview: This assignment is a multimodal interview of an expert, novice, or anyone in between who has or is currently teaching writing. The assignment consists of both audio/video elements and writing; thus, it will fit with our working definition of “multimodal composition.” You can interview one another in the course or you can take the project outside the classroom and interview a professor, a fellow teacher/colleague—your choice! In short, the assignment will provide you the opportunity to discuss and analyze writing instruction with someone (other than yourself) currently working in the field. Your Ask the Expert assignment is worth 300 points.


Assignment Goals:


The learning goals for this assignment include the following:


· Analyzing interview responses for evidence of the various theories discussed in this course.


· Reflecting on findings in an academic manner; this includes synthesizing information discovered through the interview process with course information/sources. In other words, you’ll be applying what you’ve learned in the course to the evidence found in the interview—much like you’re doing with your case study but on a broader scale.


· Demonstrating your ability to compose in a multimodal format.


· Presenting your findings to the class and discussing the implications of those findings.


Assignment Details:


1) Choose an interview subject and secure a date for the interview.


2) The interview can be video or audiotaped.


a. It’s a good idea to ask the interviewee to bring copies of writing assignments or samples of student work to the interview.


b. The questions you ask should reflect areas of study for this course, such as: “How do you approach grading a writing assignment?”; “Do you have your students think about audience when they write? If so, when?”; “What kind(s) of writing processes do you have students engage in?”; “What makes a piece of writing good?”; and so on.


c. We will have the interviewees sign a release form granting permission to use the interview for class purposes. The format for the release will be shared in class.


3) Analyze and reflect upon the findings. You can do this in writing or via videotape/audiotape. If you have another idea for this step, please feel free to clear it with me.


4) Determine how you’d like to present your interview and findings to the class. This might require editing the video/audiotape and splicing in your reflection. It could take the form of a digital movie where all information has been recorded and you press “play” for the class. OR there may be video/audio elements, plus oral discussion, and/or handouts. OR . . . (you fill in the blank). The goal here is to present using more than one modality to communicate your information; in rhetoric-speak this is called utilizing “all available means.”


a. Your presentation should be roughly 20 minutes in length and include the components listed above. In addition, you should be prepared to answer audience questions once your presentation is complete.


b. A Works Cited should accompany your presentation—either in paper or video/screen form.


Finished projects will be shared during Weeks 10 and 11 of the course.