wra 360 | spring 2019


this world

Visual Rhetoric

Professor Kristin L. Arola
Classtime: MW 3-4:50pm
Room: 214 Ernst Bessey Hall
Office Hours: MW 10-12 or by appt
Office: Bessey Hall 288
email: arola@msu.edu


Course Description

Catalog description: Visual literacy, design, and rhetoric. Effects of visual elements in print and online documents. Intensive writing and design.

Robust description: Professional writers not only compose a range of documents--including memos, letters, reports, slideshow presentations, web pages, brochurs, flyers, forms, instruction sets, documentation and help files, and many others--we also design thse documents. Document design requires that we think about how structure and elements do rhetorical work and help readers understand and use the texts we create.

Thus, in this writing-, analaysis-, and production-intensive course, we will:

  • explore how design elements work within different types of documents;
  • consider and experiment with the different rhetorical moves that can be made with various formatting and design choices; and
  • describe, analyze, articulate, and justify our design decisions

We will also create documents using different tools (e.g., software applications like Microsoft Word, Adobe Illustrator; using online image databases and materials we gather du ring the semester) so that we leave the class faimilar with:

  • navigating audience, purpose, and context in making document design decisions
  • negotiating the cultural and ethical implications of our document design work;
  • selecting among different typographical elements;
  • understanding how color works in particular documents;
  • working with data displays--knowing when to use a talbe, bar chart, flow chart, infographic, etc.

Required Materials

  • Access to d2l.msu.edu (ALL readings will be provided on D2L)

Course Policies

Attendance and Participation Policy

Participation in this class is very important and is 10% of your final grade. Come to class prepared to discuss the readings due that day adn the topics at hand. Plan on expressing your ideas, frustrations, questions, confusion, etc., even if you're not able to articulate them without some hesitation--sometimes ambivalent or ambigous remakrs spark the liveliest discussions.

If you are absent, you miss valuabe class time with your peers and will have difficulty keeping up with the pace of the class. If you miss class, you are responsible for obtaining class notes and completing work you missed. Repeated absences or tardies, or comign to class unprepared, will impact your participation grade.

Accommodation Policy

Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Requests for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities at 517-884-RCPD or on the web at rcpd.msu.edu. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined, you will be issued a verified individual services accommodation (“VISA”) form. Please present this form to me at the start of the term and/or two weeks prior to the accommodation date (test, project, etc). Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Academic Honesty

The Spartan Code of Honor states, "As a Spartan, I will strive to uphold values of the highest ethical standard. I will practice honesty in my work, foster honesty in my peers, and take pride in knowing that honor is worth more than grades. I will carry these values beyond my time as a student at Michigan State University, continuing the endeavor to build personal integrity in all that I do." In addition, Article 2.III.B.2 of the Student Rights and Responsibilites (SRR) states that "The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards." The (insert name of unit offering course) adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations. (See Spartan Life: Student Handbook and Resource Guide and/or the MSU Web site: www.msu.edu.)

Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You are expected to develop original work for this course; therefore, you may not submit course work you completed for another course to satisfy the requirements for this course. Also, you are not authorized to use the www.allmsu.com Web site to complete any course work in this course. Students who violate MSU academic integrity rules may receive a penalty grade, including a failing grade on the assignment or in the course. Contact your instructor if you are unsure about the appropriateness of your course work. (See also the Academic Integrity webpage.)

Safe Learning Environment

Our class and our university aim to be safe learning environments. Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, etc. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find the appropriate resources here:

Limits to Confidentiality

Essays, journals, and other materials submitted for this class are generally considered confidential pursuant to the University's student record policies. However, students should be aware that University employees, including instructors, may not be able to maintain confidentiality when it conflicts with their responsibility to report certain issues to protect the health and safety of MSU community members and others. As the instructor, I must report the following information to other University offices (including the MSU Police Department) if you share it with me:

  • Suspected child abuse/neglect, even if this maltreatment happened when you were a child,
  • Allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment when they involve MSU students, faculty, or staff, and
  • Credible threats of harm to oneself or to others.

These reports may trigger contact from a campus official who will want to talk with you about the incident that you have shared. In almost all cases, it will be your decision whether you wish to speak with that individual. If you would like to talk about these events in a more confidential setting you are encouraged to make an appointment with the MSU Counseling Center

Needs Support

Any student in this class who experiences difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live, and believes this may affect their performance in our course, is urged to contact their academic advisor for support. You may also contact the MSU Food Bank (http://foodbank.msu.edu) for help getting access to healthy foods. Furthermore, if you are experiencing any other challenges with basic needs, you may also notify me, and I will work to connect you with any resources that I may have access to.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center staff consults with writers at all levels of proficiency, at all stages of the composing process, and on a wide variety of composing projects including essays, resumes, presentations, websites, and digital movies. Visit our website at http://writing.msu.edu to set up an appointment at one of our various sites across campus, including all neighborhoods, the main library, and online. When space is available, all locations take drop-in clients on a first-come, first-served basis.