Wk12: Pedagogy Project

This is a bit broad strokes and a thought-in-process…

Since I’ll be teaching a class on Rhetoric and Culture in the Fall, I’ve decided to create a short digital assignment that I could possibly use. The class focuses on cultural and rhetorical sensitivity and flexibility across groups, organizations, people, and locations, and I foresee a portion of the class discussing the creation of digital representations of specific cultural communities. Some potential driving questions:

  • How do we ethically represent a community for an online audience?
  • How do we balance community needs/requests with meeting the communicative demands of their target audience (i.e. issues of privacy yet need for transparency for grant funders)?
  • How do we make content culturally distinct yet accessible and appealing for a wider audience?

Though answers for these are complicated and reliant on context, visualizations are one consideration for appealing to diverse audiences in ways that could side-step specialized language and communicate a concept in broader terms.

Assignment: In groups of 2-3, identify a website that represents a community you belong to and modify or add a visualization to supplement or add to their content. Once you’ve created your visualization, create a pitch to the community as to why this visualization should be included. Consider matters of accessibility, user experience, argument (what are they persuading their audiences?), and even content oversight (are parts of the community misrepresented? Not represented at all?).

Objectives: Think critically of community, audience, and digital production. Experiment with a new digital tool. Practice pitching it to a community. Practice visualizing data as a form of persuasion.

Digital Tools:  Not limited to, but may include:

  • Text analysis – Voyant
  • Interactive timeline – TimelineJS
  • Mapping – Google Maps; Leaflet; Mapbox
  • Data visualization — http://app.rawgraphs.io


Wk 1 – Proposal: Description of chosen site, interpretation of site’s content strategy, your positionality in the community, and proposed modification/addition and how it could strengthen community content.

Wk 2 – Mockup of Visualization: sample visualization (can be based on small set of data/content to start).

Wk 3 – Visualization Pitch: presentation to community as to why the viz should be considered for inclusion. Be sure to touch on possible limitations, audience impact, and insight for further development.

Helpful Readings:

  • Participatory and Visual Digital Methods, Aline Gubrium and Krista Harper
  • Champion, E.M. (2016). Digital humanities is text heavy, visualization light, and simulation poor. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, 32(1): 25-32. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1093/llc/fqw053

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