This tag is associated with 5 posts

Teaching with sound: links from today’s workshop

Most English students use their eyes. A lot. They use their eyes to compose essays on a word processor, conduct research on the internet, and create presentations with PowerPoint or even Prezi. And of course, for sighted students, words on a page need eyes. Novels, essays, poems, paper drafts, and instructor comments almost always appear broken down into letters of the alphabet. This workshop hopes to open the door to another sense that is handy for making and perceiving compositions: hearing. What are the possibilities of sound for writing classrooms? How can instructors, especially those who teach online, engage students differently through a voice as opposed to a written text?

For easy clicking, here are some links to tools and/or resources that will accompany today’s upcoming workshop, “Composing with Sound” featuring Sarah Etlinger.

Audio commenting

  • Voki: Create talking avatars; embeddable in D2L and can be emailed.
  • Vocaroo:  Online voice recording tool; record audio clips (flash is required); share via web link or embed in D2L. Each recording has no set length. Voice messages can be saved to a computer, or they can be kept on the web site where they expire after a few months.
  • Fotobabble: Web-based app to add voice to uploaded photos and images; requires no downloads; can embed in D2L

Archives of sounds and music for use in audio compositions



  • Musicovery Moodpad: a graphical interface that allows users to play songs based on mood

Know about more resources? Put them in the comments!

Image by Flickr user Laura Bendall


Rachael Sullivan’s iMovie workshop was fantastic! Although she prepared the workshop for iMovie 09 (per the loaner computer from L&S IT that was supposed to mirror the computers in CRT 108), the room actually has iMovie 08. Details…

In spite of this, we got a great introduction to the general layout and workings of iMovie, learning basic skills that could transfer to all versions of iMovie. Here are the topics we covered:

  • the iMovie interface
  • importing video
  • editing video
  • using the yellow selector box
  • using the Edit tool
  • the Clip Trimmer (called Trim Clip in iMovie 08)
  • the Precision Editor (iMovie 09 only)
  • splitting clips
  • adding transitions
  • changing the speed of a clip (iMovie 09 only)
  • adding still images
  • adding text
  • adding and editing audio
  • crediting sources and choosing a license
  • exporting the video
  • iMovie 09 advanced features (we can dream, right?)
  • iMovie resources

You can download the iMovie basics handout to see exactly what we covered during the workshop. It includes lots of screen captures that any first-time iMovie users could follow to create their first video—but remember, the handout is written for iMovie 09. Feel free to distribute it to students, or email Rachael for the editable file (sulliv97 [at] uwm.edu). Thanks to everyone who attended the workshop!

And for those who are interested, here are some of the resources and links that Rachael has gathered over the years. (She credits Ken Stone for his excellent iMovie guide, from which she adapted a few screen captures and some instructions for my own handout.)

Material Licensed for Remixing

Video footage

Prelinger Archive


FreePlay Music



Free Sound (just sound, no music)

Stock Music for Educators


Flickr (go to Search > Advanced Search > Creative Commons)

Possible Assignments, Student Samples, etc.

Bill Wolffʼs gallery of student videos

Bill Wolffʼs “the one” assignment

iMovie Public Service Announcement (PSA) assignment

Using iMovie to Talk about Tragedy

Madeline Sorapure’s “Between Modes: Assessing Student New Media Compositions

Fair Use regulations for educators

Know about more resources? Put them in the comments!

sweet new journal isues blowing my mind

This is probably redundant — if you ever check this blog, you probably keep up on journals like CCC and Computers & Composition. But just in case you haven’t checked them out for a while, I highly recommend going to the library or its website or your not-yet-sorted-through mail pile to fish out these journals.

CCC‘s new special issue on the future of rhetoric and composition includes, among other things, Steven Fraiberg’s “Composition 2.0,” which tackles multimodal/multilingual literacy in a high-tech Israeli workplace. Computers & Composition‘s March issue is devoted entirely to Composition 2.0.

There’s all kinds of good stuff here, but I thought I’d highlight two articles:

  • The first touches on remix, which we’ve addressed in a past workshop. Abby Dubisar’s article “Palin/Pathos/Peter Griffin: Political Video Remix and Composition Pedagogy” promises all kinds of mixy and mashy greatness.
  • And just in case you’re a writing instructor still looking for inspiration or justification for getting on board with digital technologies in your English pedagogy, let me suggest J. Elizabeth Clark’s “The Digital Imperative: Making the Case for a 21st-Century Pedagogy.”

Of course there’s more — but there’s always more. So what’s been blowing your mind lately?

remix redux

To get started thinking about remix, you might find it helpful to look at the Wikipedia entries on assemblage in composition and Lawrence Lessig’s book Remix.

Additionally, there are a lot of resources listed here and here.

Our conversation on remix started by looking at how remix was framed as the theme of CCCC 2010: Remix is there used as a metaphor for “changing it up,” “looking at things in a new way.” Not quite “remix,” but not too shabby.

According to the Wikipedia, “a remix is an alternative version of a song, made from an original version. This term is also used for any alterations of media other than song (film, literature etc.).” The notions of “remix” and “mashup” (a mix of two or more songs together) come from music. This has been reinterpreted and translated to image (think AdBusters or Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup cans or comic strip mashups) and video (think sweded movies, montage, changing the audio track of a video clip— stretching out to Auto-Tune the News, etc.). It can also extend to writing.

Digital appropriation
There are images, sounds, video clips and text aplenty online. Copying those and reworking them with software (or printing images and text and reworking them on paper) is one way to accomplish a remix.

So why do it?
Appropriation and remix are primarily used to make some kind of commentary—but it can also just be a lot of fun to work with a song or image you really like. But “why?” is an important question: why would or should your students should make a remix of something? What does that help them to accomplish?

Other issues surrounding remix

  • One concern regards copyright: does the work you and your students do constitute fair use? How will you work with and talk about copyright, Creative Commons, etc?
  • Does it make sense for your students to learn Photoshop or iMovie or GarageBand (or any of their open-source alternatives) to do remix work for your class? How might you introduce new software?
  • What about remixing text: how should students quote or cite what they’re using? Should they? What kinds of textual remixing could your students do?
  • Other questions/issues?

If you’d like this post in a PDF, here is the workshop handout.

introduction to digital image remix & appropriation

How might you use digital image remix and appropriation in an English class?

Or, perhaps, first, how can you work with digital images?

While Photoshop isn’t the only program you can use, it is on the CRT 108 laptops, as well as on lab computers across campus. If you or your students are interested in alternative and open source options, the Wikipedia comparison of raster graphics editors compares an overwhelming number of options. One popular free software alternative is GIMP.

Here are a few resources for those working in Photoshop:

  • Photoshop selection tools introduction (PDF) (tutorial from Anne Wysocki at the 3/6/09 workshop)
  • The University of Kansas’ technology documentation website has three Photoshop tutorials (scroll down). (Note that these tutorials are for CS2, and we’re working in CS3. In general, the principles are similar, even if buttons and menus have shifted a bit.)
  • A pretty extensive and advanced list of tutorials from Smashing Magazine

I should also note that I’ve had pretty good luck with the help menu and link, as well as with simply typing things like “working with layers in Photoshop” into a Google search. (It’s not the fastest or smartest way to find an answer, but it’s consistently worked.)

So once you and your students are familiar with digital image manipulation software, what’s next?

Courses & Syllabi

(note: these are not necessarily particular to English/the humanities but provide all kinds of interesting takes on image remix & appropriation)

Amerika, Mark. Remix Culture (Fa 08), University of Colorado-Boulder.

Dillon, Grace L. Popular Culture (Winter 07), Portland State University.

FURI (Fair Use Remix Institute)

Rock, Joellyn. Digital Methods in Art Education (Fa 08), University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Sinnreich, Aram. Media, Culture & Communication (PDF) (Fa 08), NYU Steinhardt School of Media, Culture, and Communication.

Tribe, Mark. Open Source Culture: Art, Technology, Intellectual Property (Sp 07; Sp 08), Brown University Wiki.

VJ-U. (Video Jockey Wikiversity site – a stretch from Photoshop, but video is one direction remix & appropriation can go.)

Articles & Essays

Delagrange, Susan H. “Wunderkammer, Cornell, and the Visual Canon of Arrangement.” Kairos 13.2

Hanke, Bob. “For a Political Economy of Indymedia Practice.” Canadian Journal of Communication 30.1

Prelinger, Rick. “Remarks on Appropriation Art.”

Ridolfo, Jim and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss. “Composing for Recomposition: Rhetorical Velocity and Delivery.” Kairos 13.2


Knobel, Michelle and Colin Lankshear. “Digital Remix: The Art and Craft of Endless Hybridization.” Keynote presented to the International Reading Association (2007)

Examples of remix

Adbusters is an often-used example of the commentary you can do with remix and appropriation.

English Downfall.” Kairos 13.2

Red Labor

Additional Resources

(these are the university and personal webpages of scholars working in and around this area)

George, Diana. (works in rhetoric & writing. see Teaching section in particular.)

Lamontagne, Valérie. (works in art/technology/design. see Teaching section.)

Selber, Stuart. (works in composition & rhetoric, technical communication. see Downloads section in particular.)

Shipka, Jody. (works in composition & rhetoric, communication & technology. links to personal website.)


Creative Commons

remix my lit. (literary, not image, mixes and mash-ups.)

Remix Theory. (a site run by Eduardo Navas.)

Teaching Copyright (a project by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, aimed toward middle and high schoolers)

Finally, it bears noting that there are a lot more resources out there — please feel free to share suggestions via comments and email.

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