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).

Example Annotations

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 Annotated Bibliography Perdue Owl

McKee, Heidi A. “Policy Matters Now and in the Future: Net Neutrality, Corporate Data Mining, and Government Surveillance.” Computers and Composition 28.4 (2011): 276-291.

McKee argues ensuring that all Internet communication moves at the same speed is vital, not only to the health of the Web, but also to digital composition. If large corporate entities can pay for faster transmission of content, then user generated content and small Web presence will diminish. She further argues that privacy laws are at best outdated and at worst geared toward protecting the rights of corporate structures over individual users. Since data collection can string together user activity across websites, privacy policies at specific sites may matter less than the larger aggregate of information about each user available to advertisers. Specific to the topic of password protection and “personally-identifying information,” McKee argues national policy shifts and can impede extensive corporate data tracking and warrantless government surveillance (282). In the face of what she sees as dwindling user and Internet freedom, McKee advocates instructors of digital composition make privacy issues part of course content through discussion of legal issues, privacy settings, Open Source Options, and interrogate rhetoric and assumptions about Internet privacy issues.

Reyman, Jessica. “User Data on the Social Web: Authorship, Agency, and Appropriation.” College English 75.5 (2013): 513-533.

Reyman argues users of social media need to remain mindful of the series of “trade-offs” in which they engage: users give up control of content in exchange for network connections that sites such as Twitter and Facebook provide (514). She explains that while most data mining is conducted with corporate interests in mind, some aggregation platforms provide useful services responsibly. For Reyman, “User data… is not merely a technology by-product to be bought and sold; rather, it forms a dynamic, discursive narrative about the paths we have taken as users, the technologies we have used, how we have composed in such spaces, and with whom we have participated” (516). Helping students reflect on user data as collaboratively produced “narrative paths” through networked connects will help ameliorate privacy concerns. Furthermore, certain open source agreements help make student publications available for to audiences who are then free to remix and revise those public domain texts, so long as the iterations remain publicly available.

Shannon, Laurie. “Eight Animals in Shakespeare; or Before the Human.” PMLA. 124.2 (2009): 472-479. 18 April 2012.

In her article Shannon compares the very few times Shakespeare uses the word ‘animal’ to the overwhelming instances of his use of specific names for animals or the word ‘best.’ Through her comparison Shannon argues that in the pre-Cartesian worldview, Great Chain of Being or God’s virtuosity in the Book of Nature, “there was no such thing as the animal” (474). Instead the human/animal binary was not essential in Early modern constructs, b/c all creatures possess a soul. This is not to suggest that the early modern world view did not place humans at the top of a hierarchy, instead, Shannon shows the scientific worldview that linked humans and animals to argue, “There are scales of being of course, but early modern humanity is relatively ecosystemic: it always has a animality (and divinity and plants and elements) in or with it” (477). Animated by the same soul and made-up of the same elemental materials, humans and animals in a text such as The Jew of Malta exist before the Enlightenment invoked “animal” to define man.  Shannon also suggests that we look to Shakespeare’s “zoography” for examples of ethical relationship between humans and animals.

Green Peace. Detox: How People Power is Cleaning Up Fashion. Online video clip. You Tube. You Tube. 24 October 2013. Web. 15 November 2013.

The authors of the video argue that the fashion industry produces glamour, profit, and environmental ruin. The greatest devastation caused by textile and garment factories around the globe is water pollution. Specifically, manufacturers dump waste from dyes and petrochemicals used to manufacture cloth into streams, rivers, and oceans. The waste contaminates waterways and contributes to the lack of clean drinking water around the globe. The video persuades audiences to only purchase clothing brands committed to reducing water pollution through a combination of data laden narration, scrolling images, scary music, and a problem/solution structure. For example, the first minute or so of the video is effective because the authors contrast clips of models in beautiful clothes and fancy urban department stores with images of toxic waste pouring into rivers and oceans. The authors reinforce the alarming images with statistics about China where a majority of textiles are produced: “320 million people have no access to clean drinking water; 40% of surface water is polluted; and 20% of urban drinking water is contaminated.” The video does not rely solely on scare tactics and exotic statistics to persuade audiences; instead, the authors devote the second half of the video to providing suggestions for problems they outline in the first half. To help clean-up water polluted by textile manufacture and stop more water from being polluted, Green peace and clothing brands/retailers such as H&M,Levi, and Zara have joined together as past of the “global Detox campaign.”  Those companies have taken steps to eliminate toxic chemicals and waste from their supply chains, and participants in “Detox” continue to demonstrate and protest to encourage more companies to follow suit and to direct consumers toward earth friendly brands. For my video on songbird devastation I will draw on the following techniques from this video: juxtaposition of imagery, problem solution structure, and awareness of audience.