Profile: Newsletter Review

In the document "Past Resident Spotlight of the Season," the student wrote a profile that appeared as an article in a student designed town newsletter. By creating the document in this format, the student illustrated that she not only understood the genre conventions of the profile, as described in the class and textbook, but also the rhetorical considerations necessary for building a newsletter. The student conducted an interview with her subject and wrote a detailed profile. Her article explores the growth of the town over time through the perspective of one community member. In addition to the profile article, the student had to consider the design of the document, including what images of the town to display, what colors balanced the images while representing the space, and placement of visual elements. The student writer attempted to be as detailed as possible with the development of the newsletter, right down to the date, volume number, and use of captions under the photos. A professional designer might take issue with some of the layout, such as the inconsistent indentation of paragraphs or the balance of some visual elements; however, we believe the project showcases that the student made sound rhetorical choices as she considered her audience, genre, and medium.

The student said as much in her self-assessment reflection. She stated that she felt the profile would work best in the form of a community newsletter because of the subject she was writing about and her intended audience. "This would ensure that the information was applied to the most suitable audience, since these would be the people she grew up with or their relatives," she stated, adding, "Developing a newsletter also made sense as a visual for this project, since it's a common-day practice for smaller towns to create their own paper of events specific to them." She stated that the online, multimodal nature of the course allowed her to become engaged in the multimodal projects and better understand multimodality in general. The class, she said, helped her develop out-of-the-box projects instead of "a plain old essay printed out on paper." She stated that because the class encouraged "the creation of fully operational websites/blogs (like this online portfolio), mock magazine articles, even audio files," she better learned that "the validity of the message all depends on the success of the genre used." These comments underscore our purpose in requiring multimodal projects and offering multimodal instruction: We aren't trying to teach students how to use particular technologies; rather, we want to teach students rhetorical awareness that will be useful in a variety of formats and media.