Infographics

Assignment Overview

  • Infographic Outcomes 
  • Infographic Scaffolding
  • Infographic Assessment
  • Infographic Afterlives

Why ask students to compose infographics?
While qualitative data and findings based on that data have always been represented visually, studies on modal revision and dual-coding theory suggest that students are more likely to process and retain information by representing features of alphanumeric texts in non-linguistic mediums. The infographic can also be a great tool for teaching argument and revision. When students compose infographics, they have to make rhetorical choices that communicate complex information about a specialized topic to a nonspecialist community of readers. Graphics also teach students design basics they can apply throughout the semester. When published to student and/or course sites, the graphics the students compose supplement course content.

How do I plug an infographic assignment into my semester?
An Infographic assignment likely requires you to complete the following steps:
  • Analyze Published Graphics: You may want to project a few graphics on the wall during class and discuss the relative successes and merits with students. Prior to class, you may want to introduce students to design and/or qualitative data rendering theory. You might also ask students to bring in infographics of their own that they can use as models or compliment the course theme/student research topics. 
  • Infographic Tool Workshop: After you and your students develop a criteria for what counts as successful graphic, you need to walk them through the basics of an infographic builder such as Piktochart or Canva. Students can also write graphics in Google Presentation or PowerPoint. Remember you do not need to be an expert user of these tools, there are lots of Youtube videos you could show or ask students to watch. Also, students pick up tools such as Piktochart really quickly.
  • Collect Data: Unless this is a revision activity (i.e. students are rending in iconography a portion of a project composed in another media), you and your students need to know what they are writing about. You may want to ask students to bring their topics/arguments and supporting evidence in another medium and then discuss translation strategies.
  • Write a Draft: Keep in mind that most infographics are made up of a series of smaller compositions laid out in separate panels. This block structure makes it easy to ask students to compose a headline or title block and then blocks and/or individual graphics that will support and/or develop the main goal. Alternatively, you can ask students to draw their own graphics. Regardless, as you respond to the drafts as a class, discuss how well each achieves the goals for good graphics established in the first part of the sequence.  
  • Publish Final Draft: Students can embed Piktochart, Canva, et. al. graphics onto their personal sites or the class sites. If students compose in Power Point or Google Presentation, you can access them in Google Docs.

How do you assess infographics?
The following are some possible criteria you can use to assess graphics. You may want to develop assessment criteria with your students. As with many creative assignments, you may consider requiring students to write a reflective and/or introductory paragraph. Also, consider consulting rubrics such as Live Infographic and Daniel Zeevi.
  • Does the rendering meet the assignment criteria? Did you create an infographic in the assigned tool, and publish it as specified on or before the due date? Does short reflective paragraph precede the image on the page?
  • Is the goal of the graphic clear? Do the images, graphs, icons, and frames work together to advance the the central goal of the graphic and persuade readers of its efficacy?
  • Does the graphic contain at least 1-2 citations from source material?
  • Is the overarching idea reflected in equal parts visual and verbal? Is the tone of the graphic appropriate to its form?
  • Does the graphic help readers better understand the primary text? Does the graphic help readers think about the information it presents in new ways?

What can students do with their graphics later in the semester?
Graphics also teach students design basics they can apply throughout the semester. For instance, if students are having trouble deciding on a theme or design strategy for their websites, you can ask them to develop the color and layout schemes in the graphic. When published to student and/or course sites, the graphics the students compose supplement course content. Consider ways you may want to use student graphics in subsequent courses or feature student graphics in a gallery.

Sample Student Graphics Gallery

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