A description of the artifact:

Various interactive elements are laid over an unchangeable aerial portrait of the Bemidji State University campus. The university's logo is placed above everything else, and eight drop-down tabs are located directly underneath it (all leading the addressee to explore different aspects of the university). It's also important to note that within each of these drop-down tabs is a singular sentence that highlights how the university stands out from other universities (an example: "No place like this."). Located on top of the aerial photograph is a descending string of five portraits (of faculty who profess various positive aspects [be them personal or impersonal] of providing higher education at the university). Below these elements is another menu that can be scrolled through at the addressees convenience. This menu highlights day-to-day happenings that will be occurring in the following week(s) (it's important to note here that the information presented here is rooted in the 'now' [whereas a lot of the information is hypothetical--being that it is presented to 'prospective' students who have not yet began attending the university]).

The implied rhetor:

The rhetor is both higher education in general, and BSU specifically (and within BSU specifically, you can assume that the five portraits of professors on the homepage [who profess their love of teaching and their valued roles at BSU] also act as sub-rhetors). The portraits speak to the assumption that these professors have completed their higher education and are now happy and excited to be extending their knowledge to aspiring students who wish to achieve that same level of happiness (that can only be acquired through such education). Altogether, it can be implied that the rhetor(s) hold the belief that knowledge is of the utmost importance to furthering yourself in today's society, and that this knowledge can be obtained in no other way than attending a university (and furthermore, that the best university in which to attain this knowledge is Bemidji State University).

The implied addressee:


The implied addressee is anyone who does not feel content with their life thus far (either monetarily, emotionally, even spiritually), and wishes to achieve a more meaningful role in today's society. This is especially obvious when the addressee views the quotations placed above the five portraits ("Change the world" being a good example--being that you can read it not only as 'change the world' but 'change yourself' so you are able to do so). The addressee desires progress above all else, and this progress is made possible at Bemidji State University. Through interacting with the web page, the addressee is enticed to explore the page (and thus explore the plethora of opportunities offered at the university). The placement of the interactive elements OVER the aerial photograph of the campus makes the addressee feel as though he/she is actually exploring not only the page but the campus itself (physically, in a way).
The addressee must work to explore the page, much the same as he/she must work to make the most of the university experience once he/she begins to attend classes there.

The occasion:

It seems the occasion is the turning point in the addressee's life, the time in which he/she must decide what path to follow. The web page itself is laid out in paths (each element in each drop-down menu leading the addressee to another page of the site)--and the presentation of these paths implies that the most logical and rewarding of these paths all begin at Bemidji State University. The addressee knows (somewhat) both what he/she wants (happiness, fulfillment, purpose) AND what means he/she is willing to partake in (the study of biology, economics, philosophy, history, mathematics, etc.) in order to obtain those wants.

The exigence:

The exigence (issue, or problem) is that the addressee has come to a point in life when he/she is no longer satisfied with their personal status quo (and this can mean he/she does not make enough money, or that he/she does not feel challenged enough in his/her current work, or even that he/she is not living up to his/her fullest potential). Also implied in the exigence is the reality that making a decent living (affording a nice residence, health insurance, dependable transportation, etc) is becoming harder and harder to come by. Through BSU, the addressee is able to pursue the possibility of actually making a decent living (alongside being personally fulfilled and happy). Also implied is the fact that, within these possibilities, the addressee's issue or problem may be that he/she has no idea what path to choose (within the bounds of BSU). The web page is meant to act as a guide in which to lead the addressee through the proper channels in order to help he/she find the answer to that question (what am I going to study and for how long and for HOW MUCH money?). The 'how much money' question can be answered by looking in the tuition and fees section (but more importantly--in numerous places throughout the page, the affordability of BSU is stressed [implying that the issue of 'how much will it cost me to attend this university' should be of little to no concern for the prospective student]).


The kind of discourse:

In regards to the actual images of the university (and both the students and faculty enjoying their time there), I believe the discourse is epideictic (being that the images portray HAPPY people who believe in what they are doing [and in this way it is a general PRAISE of both the ideals of the university and the actual RESULTS that occur based on those ideals]).

In regards to some of the text (especially the testimonials of past students [who have gone on to lead successful lives]), it can be seen as judicial discourse (being that testimonials are a direct judgement of past actions [those past actions being their time spent at BSU]). Other parts of the various sections that include text (both interactive and not) hint at deliberative discourse (being that the information presented is hypothetical [prospective students have not yet taken the classes listed in the sections that outline the entirety of a major's requirements] and only suggests how a prospective student will go about achieving a specific goal once he/she is enrolled at BSU.

The forum and genre:

The Internet is the forum (being that the web is the ONLY place to view the page and interact with it). The BSU page itself acts as the genre (being that it is laid out in a very specific manner [the logo designed specifically for BSU, the color green which hints to the geographical aspect of attending university classes in an area where nature is adored and often utilized in many different ways, the images denoting the endless opportunities at the university that all lead to enjoyment and betterment]).

The physical material:

The page is very interactive. Most things can be clicked (in order to bring about more information or to lead the user to a different section of the website). At the top right, the user (if the user is a current student) can click on MyBSU in order to log in to his/her account and view various things (D2L, student email, current fees, update personal information, etc). The drop down menu below the BSU log allows the user to access: About, Admissions, Academics, Student Life, Athletics, Alumni, Giving, BSU News, or 'Search' (to find something not necessarily presented in the prior drop down menu tabs. On top of the vast portrait of the BSU campus is a descending string of five portraits of BSU faculty (with insights into their philosophies about their positions and what they hope to provide as faculty at BSU). Below that is another menu that users can click through and explore and find out about happenings that will be occurring in the present.

The presuppositions:

As I previously mentioned before, it is inferred that the rhetor's presuppositions about the intended addressees are based on the assumptions that they are at various crossroads in life (but ultimately crossroads that demand betterment that can only be achieved by pursuing a higher education at a university). Also inferred is the presupposition that the intended addressees long to position themselves in favorable positions in the hierarchy of today's society (well-paid, presented with challenges that help fulfill them as human beings, meaningful day-to-day duties that ultimately better the whole of society). The intended addressees desire modest-to-high-level monetary gain and/or the ability to do what he/she truly feels passionately about. On a different level, the intended addressee is assumed to have a basic-to-advanced understanding of how sleek websites work (and will also be genuinely impressed and enticed by the fluidity and functionality of the website). Assuming this, it's also fair to assume that the intended addressees are young and well-versed in the technologies of today in general.

The issue or question:

All of the above considered, the ultimate issue and/or question is "I need to attend a university in order to better myself and my situation" and "Is Bemidji State University the university in which I should invest in (monetarily/emotionally) in order to achieve success?".


How the page argues for a set of beliefs/values/etc and how to understand the university:

In regards to argument, the rhetor is using it indirectly (being that reasons and conclusions are not blatantly laid out for the addressee to see and absorb, but rather, a considerable amount of information is presented [about the university, its faculty, and its collection of ideals and philosophies] to the prospective students who are visiting in the page in order to consider attending BSU for their higher education or to already existing students who wish to know more about the university they have invested their time and money in.

The ethos of the rhetor (the various faculty members who comprise the whole of the university--educationally speaking [there is not much mention on the website about the countless other people who maintain the ultimate functionality of the institution--like the groundskeepers who keep the outside appearance of the university picture-worthy, all of the many cooks/baristas/etc who FEED EVERYONE who walks through the union everyday, the janitors who maintain the cleanliness of the insides of all of the numerous buildings that comprise the campus]) is educated, knowledgeable, and willing to provide a quality education to all who wish to invest their money in the university.

I feel it might also be necessary to mention the few rhetorical fallacies the rhetor utilizes in order to entice the intended addressees:

Loaded language: "No place like this." Yes, there is no place that is exactly like another place. We all know that. But, it's pretty audacious to claim that BSU is THE place to acquire a good higher education. The other universities I've attended were of very similar quality to BSU. So, I guess there are places like this.

False Dilemma: It is never blatantly stated, but it's fair to assume that a big part of any university's rhetorical persuasion is going to be the false dilemma of higher education vs. no higher education (meaning, if you DON'T earn [at least] a bachelor's degree, you will not live a happy, fulfilling life (and be stuck working in the service industry the rest of your life). This is massively unfair for any university to claim such a thing. The majority of well-adjusted, happy, intelligent people I've known in my life do NOT have a college education. This is not to knock higher education (I AM sitting here writing this for a class I'm paying a lot of money for). I am only saying that life offers many opportunities (and many of them have nothing to do with a university education).


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