|Pedagogical Value Conclusion|
Once students completed their posters, the UF Center for Teaching Excellence printed them and displayed them on easels in the Intercultural Student Service Center on campus. Faculty, staff, and students perused the posters, asked engaging questions, and snacked on treats. While most of my students were a tad nervous presenting their semester-long research projects, they found the experience very rewarding. In a survey that ten out of eleven students completed, everyone stated they enjoyed presenting their work in front of a large audience. Also, eight stated they strongly agreed and three agreed the act of presenting the posters helped them gain a better understanding of their research topics through their conversations with the faculty, staff, and students. In fact, their conversations with audience members helped them revise their argumentative papers. A student from Korea noted that he received many good counter-arguments from audience members. He considered his audience’s opposing views and refuted them in his final argumentative research paper. This suggests the act of presenting the posters could be a revising tool and certainly much more research could be conducted on this topic.
In addition to future research, there are ways to make this assignment even more multimodal. For example, Edu.glogster.com offers free software for students to design interactive posters with video, audio, and written text. Such software would provide students with additional multimodal tools to better communicate with a diverse audience. Because students are becoming more and more tech-savvy, software such as Glogster is an easy means for them to hone their rhetorical skills and convince their audience about effective means to internationalize a campus.
Overall, the poster presentations helped students revise their written work and provided them with an accessible platform to voice their opinions about how to best internationalize UF. As one student eloquently stated in his final reflection, “It [creating a poster] was more creative than writing essays. When you are writing, you have a limited set of ways of expressing yourself compared to visual, which byfar has a broader spectrum to express yourself. That is what I like.” Giving students additional tools to effectively communicate and hone their rhetorical skills should be at the forefront of our teaching. And poster presentations are one way to help students improve their rhetorical skills. In addition, the posters help them become engaged and informed global citizens, participating in an internationalized campus.
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