Diane Penrod's book,
Composition in Convergence: The Impact of New
Media on Writing Assessment, is a good place to start when sorting
through the issues of assessing student-produced proposal
documentaries. Penrod acknowledges that "a text and what student
writers do with the production of a text are always at the center of
writing instruction and assessment, regardless of the medium used"
(29). Not only must we make the objectives and expectations of the
assignment clear, we must always be clear in our methods of assessment:
. . .
only will have to design curricula that
account for teaching students how to become electronically and
informationally literate but will also have to create assessment
practices that explain how student writers develop and master the
multimodal abilities needed to be considered literate. This suggests
that writing specialists need to address the textual, design, and
writing process variations between electronic texts and papertexts as
well as the transformations that must take place in writing assessment
to accommodate the shifts in texts, design needs, and composing
Essentially, it is our
duty to validate the merit of composing
multimedia texts in our writing classrooms. If the functions of
literacy are transforming as Kress and Bolter suggest, as
compositionists we must prepare both our students and the academy for
this acclimation into what I call the "new age in composition studies."
Carefully planning the
components of the proposal documentary has been
part of my learning process with this assignment. I agree with Penrod
when she states that "greater efforts need to be made to demonstrate to
the naysayers that course goals, standards, and outcomes can and do
exist for these new textual forms" (33). I have found that clear
strategies for implementing the documentary assignment and assessing
the assignment are readily available.
Once again, let us turn
to the Meek and Ilyasova's review where we find
Alison Crockett's useful process for development of a digital video
assignment, which are very similar to the traditional writing process.
I had already begun to implement many of these steps in my proposal
documentary assignment, but to find them so concisely listed provides a
great resource worth replicating here:
- First, the concept or a thesis/main idea is created
- Then a treatment or brainstorming occurs--a more
detailed idea coming out of the concept.
- Next, an extended treatment or an outline might
- Research or getting your elements--which might
film and video footage, music stills, graphics, etc.--is next.
- Then, depending on your elements, storyboarding or a
and complete outline follows.
- The script or draft is developed around this time.
- Finally, post-production or possibly a second/final
where you blend the elements together to tell your story. (8)
It is more than obvious
that the components described by Alison
Crockett validate digital video production as an exercise in the
writing process, albeit through a different tool of expression. Writing
is undoubtedly taking place in the production of new media texts.
This is the conclusion I
wrote in 2008. >>