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This is an old revision of DebriefingOnAspectsOfRhetSitExercise made by MorganAdmin on 2015-09-09 12:56:43.


Debriefing on Aspects on the Rhetorical Situation Exercise

in draft as of 9 Sep 2015

Here I review some posts to create general feedback on taking notes on digital artifacts. Many of your notes, especially when taken together, give us a picture of the complexity of the rhetorical situation the BCAC/Watermark web site has to address.

These are my notes on your notes of working with a rhetorical problem. They give us both a moment to consider what you're doing in detail and to extend that doing. Do not slight these notes! I expect that you'll incorporate what I present here into your further understanding and work with the materials in this course. They are not in place of what the text mentions, but in addition to the text.

My notes here are to point out good practices in rhetorical analyses. that's what we're all aiming for right now: good practice.

Examples to come
of good observations
of the seeds of good analyses


Advice: Use the heads I provide as heuristic guides to observing.

Your notes should address the specific artifact you're looking at - both the specific artifact, and the specific occasion, and presuppositions. Rhetorical work starts by addressing specific occasions. This is to say that rhetoric doesn't address a general audience with a general message but places a specific artifact in front of a specific audience for specific purposes on specific occasion.

Your notes should address specific areas or objects on the page that you're looking at, and the notes should link those specifics to the terms you're using. Three text boxes, is each one epideictic? What makes each one specifically so? From this kind of specificity you can develop more substantive analyses. Each text box is worth a consideration - as is the use of Read More ... In notes, note that it's there. For our concern, we have to ask, How does that Read More... command work rhetorically?

You don't need to attempt to explain how the artifact works or if it persuades at this point - although you can include that. Be careful not to close off possibilities yet, however. Analyses follows on good observation.

How detailed? Notes above tell you. How much? 1 - 2 hours of active note taking of this page. Observation comes with practice, so give yourself time and opportunity to practice.

Take close note of the genre - in this case, there may be more than one at play - an observation that comes of presuppositions. It's a non-profit site that needs public support in bodes and $$. That is significant in driving the text, the choices of what to place on the page, and possibly other choices.

Don't short the presuppositions values, beliefs, etc. in your notes. You infer them from considering the context, from drawing on your knowledge of the world, and c. A couple of examples:

Analyses follows on good observation. Might even want to separate notes on observation of the aspects of the rhetorical sit from your analysis of those observations. Example here -

You are learning to read as a rhetorical analyst rather than a casual reader. That's the position we're working from.

Some observations from your notes

Many of the more significant observations came of using the heuristic. For instance,

elements of that page that are rhetorial

That the button is "Learn More" ratter than "read more" is significant to note.

The physical

We tend to overlook the physical aspects in digital rhetoric, but it's as present as a print artifact. Even texts on screens have physical presence. They appear on various screens on devices. On large screens, a text shows up in a window that it shares with others on the screen. It becomes one of many texts and images concurrently visible. Actual readers must scroll to read the texts, must click on links and buttons to get to texts. All invoke the physical. Scrolling, like turning pages in some kinds of books, may not be a rhetorical aspect in some pages, but it might be used that way on others. Clicking a link is surely a rhetorical aspect. Digital messages also have physical side in their creation: built in cameras, on-screen or physical keyboards.

Notes on Kairos

Kairos is more complex than we're giving it notes. In the Longaker text, kairos specifies the occasion of the interaction. In a speech or oral encounter it's a little easier to see kairos. When it comes to digital artifacts, we extend the idea into the moments of the encounter

Kairos is not readily controlled by the rhetor on a web page. Consider what you must consider

However, kairos can be controlled in part by the rhetor on the page. In the site we looked at, current information is not on the front page. BUT - and this is important and you should note it - current information demands clicking the Learn More button on the exhibits text block.

Examples of web pages addressing kairos

When you do notes, delve into consideration of kairos: how the rhetor and the intended audience control occasion.

On the textualized rthet sit of the BCAC web page

Some of your notes develop the idea of textualized rhet sit.
examples here

the real rhetors are those who were hired to write the page, choose colors, etc. In this case, they are

the implied rhetor is inferred by us as analysts from the actual choices on the screen. the sense of the person who made these choices. we don't have a name, but we do have an occasion that we can infer from the page, and we have an ethos: some examples.

the intended audience is inferred by us as analysts from the rhetorical choices made: draw some examples from your observations.

the real readers are whomever actually encounter the site
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