Whoever controls the images…controls the culture

There are problems for assessing new media literacies. We do not know how to evaluate new media literacy. There is so much more involved than print text—such as visuals and logic behind words. Should we just get rid of assessment together?

Madeleine Sorapure in “Between Modes: Assessing Student New Media Composition” suggests using a mix of criteria that applies to both new media and print text.

Eportfolios are one suggested method of assessment.

Sorapure points out that we make the common mistake of assessing the print portion of a new media assignment.  She suggests a “broadly rhetorical approach” where assessment is based on whether you reached a specific audience with a specific approach.

New media is putting together threads of ordered complexity (e.g, a graph is easier to understand than a chunk of text. In this case the writing is of higher complexity than the image)

An interesting point to note is that we are not qualified to assess the effectiveness of how well different mediums are put together but rather on the effectiveness of different resources combined.

Relations between modes in new media need to be explored. Metaphor and metonymy can be used to describe relations between modes.

An image such where modes are too closely matched are not as effective as when an image is a metaphor for something else.

Anne Frances Wysocki in her article “The Sticky Embrace of Beauty” wrote a fascinating bit on why we are attracted to looking at a woman’s picture. She gave us criteria for creating such a visually stimulating picture: the only reason we see it is because of the contrast of light and dark and the way the words are shaped around the silhouette of the female body.

Wysocki mentions that we should not create new media images that are simply designed to catch our attention in this way, but to see new media as a series of choices where we can continually revise images to create more thoughtful relations between each other.

Wysocki also sprinkles images and different fonts throughout her article which at some points seemed random but they definitely brought a meaning to the text. I particularly enjoyed the right curly brace on page 172. 

We should be careful not to simplify the deep and complex ideas of new media.

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2 comments on “Whoever controls the images…controls the culture

  1. “There are problems for assessing new media literacies. We do not know how to evaluate new media literacy. There is so much more involved than print text—such as visuals and logic behind words. Should we just get rid of assessment together?”

    “We should be careful not to simplify the deep and complex ideas of new media”

    These points you raised combined summarize one of my fiercest apprehensions with respect to new media applications. How can I, someone who is really quite hopeless with computers and digital literacy, hope to help students improve their efforts in creating new media, if I myself am relatively un-versed in its effective application? Do I simply rely upon my ability to “think critically”, developed over years of study, to guide me in some kind of assessment of student work? Do I take it as an artistic endeavor (if it is like Sorapure’s visual quote representation) and not assess it at all? Do I do a LOT of research to get myself versed in its applications before I dare assign it? Unfortunately, I lean toward the latter of these three, and I one of my fears is that no matter how furiously I study, I will never be able to catch up to the changing times and technologies. All of these considerations leave me feeling uncomfortable, and I tend back to that which I know- write an essay. I’m not really sure what my job is these days, because it seems that getting them to write decent essays is hard enough without asking them to engage in effective “new media” based literacy practices.

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