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).

Local Revision

Please read through the following sentence and be prepared to respond to the following: How would you revise each sentence? Why would you revise each sentence?

The main goal of this work illustrated a comparison between environmentalism and hoarding. It claimed that hoarding was more like the conservation of materials rather than a mental illness.

Cronon points out a key term “wilderness” in this essay, which by technical definition, is “The most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet.”

It just so happens all of my classes are held in buildings around the quad so I walk through it everyday.

In the article “Powers of the Hoard”, Jane Bennet gives her own unique view on hoarders that many people may disagree with because she relates hoarders to environmentalists.

In The Ecological Thought, Timothy Morton offers a “prequel” to one of his previous works, Ecology Without Nature.  Timothy’s main argument is that the chief stumbling block to environmental thinking is the image of nature itself.