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iRhetoric Placeshifting: A New Media Approach to Teaching Classical Rhetoric

The Academy by Rich Rice
Texas Tech University

The roots of contemporary composition stem from classical rhetoric with the Sophists in the 5th-Century B.C.E., followed by the great teacher Isocrates, the idealist Plato, the philosopher-father Socrates, the systems theorist Aristotle, the great rhetor Demosthenes, the stasis theorist Hermagoras, and other practitioners. Classical Rhetoric courses typically trace rhetorical theory through Greece into the Roman rhetoric of the statesman Cicero and the educational psychologist Quintilian, to the medieval religious leader Augustine. The classical system includes the canons of invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. And teachers prompt student discussion over concepts like stasis theory, commonplaces, kairos, true and false rhetoric, imitatio, enthymemes, the rhetorical paideia, phronesis or practical wisdom, the topoi, the appeals, how classic inventio differs from its modern use, neoclassical and contemporary applications of the classical system, and how the seemingly disparate twin legs of Plato's dialectic and Aristotle's rhetoric come together in Augustine's Christian rhetoric to form a sort of epistemological conceit. Teachers also focus on the social functions of the ancients' emphasis on deliberative speeches, forensic speeches, and epideictic speeches. The deliberative is the political, the forensic is the legal, and the epideictic helps the audience understand and celebrate the present. The Classical Rhetoric course emphasizes the situational and the contextual, and this is what contemporary composition theory concentrates on, as well. It's the conceptual framework that modern theorists often hammer into the well-known shape of the rhetorical triangle.

There it is. That is my conjecture. The Classical Rhetoric course in a paragraph. Enter new media. Content must be contextualized, teachers must bring theory into practice, and students must relate the objective via the subjective.

To move forward the tone of the course must be personally meaningful.



      using new media in personally meaningful ways to teach rhetoric

    new media
      electronic forms of media, often regarded as experimental

      redirecting of a single live TV stream from a cable box, satellite receiver, or DVR to a viewer's PC or device located anywhere in the home, using a Slingbox

      the virtual location of proximal development and content application for learners in an online course