Envisioning the Pechkucha

2 September 2015

ATL Digital Pedagogy Meetup

Envisioning the Pechakucha: Strategies for Invention and Revision in the Literature Classroom

In my presentation I will discuss the way I use pechakucha presentations—20×20, minimal copy, automatic scroll, slide shows—in my course on Shakespeare and the environment. For their final project, students in my class produce a scholarly webtext, which they develop independently and in a series of stages. Since the final project must be a born digital text that engages some aspect of Shakespeare and the environment, I ask students to present their project as pechakucha slide shows during their composition process. Even though many students are used to creating presentations that showcase and reflect upon completed projects, when visual presentations are used as formative tools they can become “…a site for a rough draft, shared with a real audience. Or: envisionment(Kathleen Yancy, “Made Not Only In Words” 320). I argue that using slide show presentations at the draft stage provides an opportunity for students to generate conversation and garner feedback using visual and aural rhetoric. Furthermore, requiring the pechakucha in the middle of the writing process, as opposed to the end, encourages students to compose their final projects in completely digital environments.


McKenna Rose, Bio:

I am a fifth year PhD candidate in the Department of English at Emory University, where I specialize in English Renaissance drama. My research interests include ecocriticism, deconstruction, object-oriented studies, and humanities computing. I am currently working on a dissertation provisionally titled, Hoarding the Renaissance: Life After Life on the Early English Stage. I also serve as the senior Writing Program fellow for Domain of One’s Own, a digital pedagogy program in which students are encouraged to own and administrate their own websites.


Introduction (Open to your personal site)

Thanks so much for inviting me. I’m here to talk about how I use PechaKucha presentations in my literature course as a strategy for invention and revision. Before I get to the assignment itself, I’ll briefly describe the course, and ways in which the Pechakucha assignment both helps me meet my course outcomes and solve some challenges, which are unique to ENG 210”W,” i.e. continuing writing courses at Emory.

Course Description (Open to the About page of your course site)

My course is an introduction to William Shakespeare’s plays and poems that emphasizes performance history and environmental themes to develop students’ close reading and writing skills; literary historical knowledge; and multimodal research techniques. During the semester students write and administer their own websites on which they publish required projects such as a short paper; an infographic; a digital hypertext; a Pechakucha presentations; a series of short, multimedia blog posts, and a final, scholarly web text they develop on their own. The course centers on the term globe to circumscribe the Shakespearean canon, inform textual inquiry, and compare the past with the present in an attempt to redress the current environmental crisis. We study Shakespeare’s work under dire circumstances: inescapable climate shifts, constant species extinction, relentless resource depletion, and the final adulteration of air, water, and land. Since the Anthropocene began in and around the Globe Theater, Shakespeare’s plays offer resources that can help to sustain our globe by reanimating a specifically Renaissance ethic of intimacy and nonhuman care.

Projected Learning Outcomes (Scroll down to outcomes)

My learning outcomes are Analysis, Literacy, Persuasion, Collaboration, and Imagination. I add to the skills goals, a desire on my part to have students build coursework on Shakespeare and the Environment that can make modest, but lasting contributions to both fields. Both Shakespeare and Environmental studies rely on and are enlivened by contributions by amateur or non-specialist authors. How can individual sites and modal writing work create lasting contributions?

Addressing Challenges (Click on the Major Authors link to the course atlas)

So the course I am teaching is a 200 level continuing writing course. At Emory all undergrads have to take three continuing writing courses to graduate, so what that means is that students at levels enroll in courses marked “W” at any time during their graduate careers. I have an almost equal distribution of students at all course levels in my current course.

Solutions (Click on your Assignment Page)

The Domain project, in general, and the scholarly multimedia assignment, in particular, helps me keep seniors, who are about to graduate engaged without leaving first years behind. I assign a scholarly webtext, so that students at all skill levels can guide their level of inquiry and I can tailor assessment to fit the final projects. In “Assessing scholarly multimedia: A rhetorical genre studies approach,” Cheryl Ball defines webtexts as, “Scholarly multimedia…article- or book length, digital pieces of scholarship designed using multimodal elements to enact authors’ arguments. They incorporate interactivity, digital media, and different argumentation strategies…” (62).  A webtext cannot be translated to a hard copy without significant meaning loss. The webtext she asks her students to author are born digital because as Ball explains, “If you start with Word, you’ll end with word” (72). In order for students to “enact their arguments” in their designs, she asks them to “think of a visual metaphor for their arguments” (72).

Pechakucha (Open the Presentation Assignment)

To draft and present the guiding argument or theme of their final project as a “visual argument,” I require all the students to perform a Pechakucha during the draft phase. Pechakucha presentations are slideshows, comprised of 20, minimal copy, slides set to scroll automatically after 20 seconds. The presenter synchs her memorized, verbal presentation with the scrolling slides. Pechakucha presentations were developed by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture, because “architects talk too much! Give a microphone and some images to an architect — or most creative people for that matter — and they’ll go on forever! Give PowerPoint to anyone else and they have the same problem” (par 3). I have required Pechakucha presentations in the past and I discovered that not only do they keep students focused on their topic, they work well a stage in writing process.

Play example of Pechkucha

Conclusion (scroll down to final portion of assignment page)

Though many students are used to creating presentations that showcase and reflect upon completed projects, when visual presentations are used as formative tools they can become, as Kathleen Yancy argues in “Made Not Only In Words, “…a site for a rough draft, shared with a real audience. Or: envisionment(320). Pechakucha presentations at the draft stage provide an opportunity for students to generate conversation and garner feedback using visual and aural rhetoric. Not only does the presentation style engage audiences, encourage feedback, but also students can revising other projects into the presentation. Then because the presentations ask students to organize their projects according to a visual metaphor, it seems like a great tool to help draft final projects.

Sources Cited

Ball, Cheryl. Ball, Cheryl E. “Assessing scholarly multimedia: A rhetorical genre studies approach.” Technical Communication Quarterly 21.1 (2012): 61-77.

Yancy, Kathleen. “Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key.” CCC 56.2 (2004): 297-328).

EMMC Spring Symposium

The slideshare is embedded below.

Also, happy Earth Day!

Slide One: In the future, there will have been no more water.

This is a picture of Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America, located on the boarder of California and Nevada. The Lake has fallen below its natural rim for the longest time in recorded history because warming and low precipitation has reduced snow pack in the Sierra’s to just 3% of average levels. California and Nevada’s ecosystems, like the Lake, rely on melting snow pack to sustain them. In the absence of snow melting into fresh water and replenishing reservoirs via streams and rivers, the American West stands on the precipice of ruin. As the LA Times reports, satellite data cited by Jay Famiglietti, a senior climate scientist at NASA recently, “explained that the state’s reservoirs have only about a one-year supply of water remaining” (Tony Barboza, “No, California Won’t Run Out of Water in a Year,” 20 March 2015). While the LA Times and Famiglietti have walked that claim back, the reality of drought stricken California suggests the life in the world to come. For example, the New York Times recently publishes a series of anecdotes from California residents on how they save water. Residents respond to drought by hoarding water in ways different from the scale of misuse that brought California to the terrible circumstances they find themselves in. For example, Clairmont resident N.A. Davis and his family,

…have several buckets, containers and small garbage cans in the shower. [They] use one set to catch the water that is not yet heated to shower temperature and another set to capture shower water we have used. We then reuse the water. The clean pre-shower water gets used for watering plants and washing dishes (we microwave a bit of it; we don’t have a dishwasher), and then used shower water gets used to water outdoor plants. (NYT, Samantha Storey, 2 April 2015).

Other residents report they only shower once a week and when they do they collect that water so they can wash their cars and water gardens they raise in the yards. Residents’ parsimony offers a challenge to the vast exploitation of resources that both defines the American west and has caused the dire situation in which they find themselves.


Slide Two: Desalination Versus Reclamation

California is out of water.[1] In this, as in so many things, California’s present is our future. So as some California residents hoard water through hybrid modern and premodern life style choices, and huge conglomerates like Nestle hoard water liquidating into money, the people of the pacific coast are faced with fewer choices over where they should get their water. Since snow pack run off doesn’t fill reservoirs, and ground water is at an all time low because precipitation evaporates in higher than average temperatures, there are only two options left: desalination or reclamation. What does it mean to drink the world’s oceans? To drink the world’s oceans is to drink the world’s weather; destroy already fragile coastal ecosystems; and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions that helped precipitate the warming that contributes to the lack of a available drinking water. The second alternative is reclamation. “Water reclamation is a process by which wastewater from homes and businesses is cleaned using biological and chemical treatment so that the water can be returned to the environment safely to augment the natural systems from which it came” (Wikipedia, “Reclamation”). It is the choice between these options that I plan to focus the remainder of this presentation, and I have a list of questions to help guide the talk. I’d like if we could talk about these questions at the end, because I think I might really want to answer them:

  • What work can desalination and reclamation accomplish to decenter human agency? In the Renaissance, reclamation meant the act of renouncing or revoking (Florio 1611), and also protesting or expressing a formal objection (early 1533). The term doesn’t take on the connotation of “claiming something (formerly in one’s legal possession) back or of reasserting a legal right” till 1626—Royalist implications? But during the interregnum the term also meant, “moral and spiritual conversion or reformation.” It’s not until the very beginning of the 19thc. that the term means what it does today in the context it appears above: the conversion of wasteland, esp. land previously under water, into land fit for use” (#6).
  • Why advocate drinking urine as means to redress climate crisis? Why advocate removing salt and other substances? What emphasis do both place on “purity”?
  • What resources do Renaissance playwrights provide for thinking through the reuse and retention of liquids?
  • How do the plays under consideration here—city comedies that feature a miser figure and trick, and were written ten years, give and take, around the turn of the century—offer resources to think through drought that potentially also mitigate liquid shame?
  • Is it just the news reports, or people in general who refuse to take seriously the agency and threat of nonhuman things—humans, rightly, are cast as the having laid waste, but there is also drought or poisoned water that will be at least as dangerous as humans. What would happen to the state of the state if news reports took seriously the notion that nonhuman things are agents too?


[1] If that’s not sad and scary enough, just this week news outlets around the world have reported the record number of dead sea lions, many of which are just babies, because the 5% increase in sea temperatures of the pacific coast have resulted in food shortage for the mammals.



PowerPoint to iMovie

Below you will find a series of short tutorials followed by a hand out that takes you from a PowerPoint slide show to an embedded movie, with narration on a static page of your site.

The following videos walk users through 1. exporting PowerPoint presentations to iMovie, setting slide times, and fitting slides to frame; 2. recording audio to slide show you exported to iMovie; & 3. Upload imovie to YouTube & then share to web page

Part One: Exporting PowerPoint Slideshow to iMovie, setting slide time, & fitting slides to frame

Open-up  your presentation in PowerPoint; go to file; go to “save as”; save the file on your desktop; and format the show as “png”

Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 12.27.09 PM

Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 12.27.21 PM

After the file has been formatted, minimize PowerPoint; open iMovie; and import the file by clicking on the camera icon at the right of the screen; and then drag and drop the PNG file from your desktop to iMovie

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 10.25.40 AM

Select all the slides by hitting command A;  drag and drop the project to the library in the upper left hand corner.

To make every slide 20 seconds, hit command A again (this time in library); hover over a slide; click on gear icon that appears; choose “clip adjustments”; set the timer to 20 seconds. To adjust clip to frame, hover, click on gear, choose “clip adjustments”; choose “cropping/Ken Burns rotation”; and then click on “fit” on right side. Slides will all expand/reduce to fit frame.

To record audio: (may have to enable microphone in “preferences”); click on microphone; click on very begining of slide to record; hit space bar to stop recording; when finished recording, hover over a slide, click on gear, click on “add adjustment” to line up slides with audio.

Upload to YouTube: (create a YouTube account if you don’t have one); go to file; click on “share” and then YouTube; and once uploaded to YouTube, hit share, copy and paste into static web page. Once you “update” will automatically populate in WordPress page.

CRAP & An Inconvenient Truth

An Inconvenient Truth

While we watch the clip from the movie, please be mindful of the following:

  • Contrast: What contrasts in color, shape, tone, shade, etc. do the authors establish? What is the quality of such emphasis?
  • Repetition: What visual elements reoccur? How does the repetition of visual elements unify or create coherence?
  • Alignment: How do the visual elements line up along vertical and horizontal axis? How does the alignment tie the elements together?
  • Proximity: Discuss some distances between elements in the composition: How does distance among like and unlike elements produce meaning?