The three frameworks and pedagogical approach I present in this webtext have helped me to be successful in teaching video arguments in FYC. It would be misleading, though, if I didn’t discuss some of the challenges instructors might face as they experiement with incorporating video arugments into their classrooms. The first challenge I’d like to note is technological resources. I’m lucky to teach at a university with a technology center where students can check out video cameras and other recording devices and use computers with video editing software. However, I recognize this reality is not the case at a lot of institutions. But in the age of the smart phone, with its ability to shoot video footage and take photographs, many students have access to their own personal recording devices. Additionally, cloud-based video editing programs like WeVideo offer students free access to powerful digital tools. A second challenge is responding to students' fears about the assignment, particularly if they have never composed a video for a school assignment using video editing software. I’ve found that using a scaffolding approach that teaches students about technology and guides them through a complex multimodal composing process addresses most of my students’ concerns and fears. Lastly, frequent questions about using technology might deter some writing instructors from experimenting with teaching video arguments. My response to this challenge is simply that instructors need to become video composers themselves. Engaging in the process of remediating a written argument into a video argument is a great way to learn about technology and multimodal composing. Also, as Ames Hawkins (2010) contended, it’s important for instructors to compose new media texts in order to “feel what it is like to not know how to move forward with a piece, to feel the discomfort and insecurity of not knowing what to do next” (p. 19), which in turn can assist them in empathizing with their students. The first time I taught video arguments in my FYC courses I took an academic argument I had written along side my students in a previous semester and remediated it into a video argument entitled “Genetically Modified Foods: Potentially Dangerous.”


Cynthia Selfe (2009) argued, “As teachers of rhetoric and composition, our responsibility is to teach students effective, rhetorically based strategies for taking advantage of all available means of communicating effectively and productively as literate citizens” (p. 644). In the 21st century, all available means includes video arguments. Admittedly, teaching video arguments can be challenging, but the benefits to students are great. They get the opportunity to compose with a wider palette of communication tools while developing a deeper understanding of rhetorical principles. Some of them might even discover like Paige did that they “prefer telling an argument or a research paper through a video.”




Timothy J. Briggs is a Special Lecturer in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric at Oakland University and a PhD student in the Rhetoric and Writing program at Bowling Greeen State University. He received the 2007 Excellence in Teaching Award at Oakland University and the 2011 Kairos Teaching Award. His research interests include digital rhetoric, multimodal composing, and new media scholarship.