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WRT 105: Practices of Academic Writing

Fall 2015, Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:00-6:20 p.m., MSM 208A


Patrick W. Berry, pwberry@syr.edu, office: HBC 235
office phone: 315-443-1912
office hours: Thursdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m. and by appointment

We must recognize the power of visual compositions


to influence the thinking, behavior, and decision
making of individuals, groups, and whole societies.
Pavel Zemliansky

Visual Analysis Assignment Sheet


In this unit, we will consider questions surrounding visual literacy: What is visual literacy? Why does it
matter? How do we enhance, deepen, complicate our understanding of and appreciation for visuals
and visual arguments? How do visuals provoke responses? What are the ethical, social, and cultural
implications of composing in/with visuals?
For this assignment, you will each work with a New York Times Doc-Opthat is, a documentary short
that addresses a current social issue. The five film options are listed on Blackboard; you will select one
as the subject of your unit essay.
This unit is largely about studying visual images, particularly moving images, and how they make
arguments, both explicitly and implicitly. These are the things youll be expected to include in your
essay:

Thoughtful, in-depth analysis of your doc-op that considers visual rhetoric and includes attention
to the context that surrounds it.
Explicit claims about what you are noticinginterpretations developed through your analysis.
A clear sense of purpose for the writing that takes into account whats at stake and the so what?
question a reader is likely to have.
Attention to style and arrangement of words, images and ideas that invites your audience to see
something new through your analysis.

Your audience for this writing is your fellow students and others interested in visual literacy. For
example, you might think of this writing as something that could be submitted to our own Syracuse
University Writing Program journal, Intertext ( http://wrt-intertext.syr.edu ) or an undergrad journal
more specifically examining issues of representation and power, such as The University of Cincinnatis
Queen City Writers (http://qc-writers.com/), or an undergraduate journal focusing on rhetoric and
composition, such as Young Scholars in Writing
(http://cas.umkc.edu/english/publications/youngscholarsinwriting/default.asp)
Your 1,500-word essay is due on Thursday, November 5. Please post your paper to Blackboard.

Your grade for this project is based on timely and successful completion of all components
introduced throughout the unit. Consider the following questions:
Does the writer organize the essay effectively, starting with an explicitly
interpretive thesis, analytical claims and supporting evidence, appropriate, thoughtful
interpretations, and transitions that avoid simple chronological shifts?
Is there a clear sense of purpose for the writing that takes into account whats at
stake and the so what? question a reader is likely to have?
Does the writer demonstrate an awareness of audience? For example, does the
writer raise and answer questions readers are likely to have? Does the writer use a
voice and style that is appropriate and effective?
Does the title provocatively focus the readers attention?
Does the writer use MLA in-text citation [if relevant] and a Works Cited page
correctly?
Does the writer edit for grammar, style, and usage effectively?