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GSOLE and IRW Come Together to Support Online Rhetoric Instruction

20 Aug 2020 3:38 PM | Amy Cicchino (Administrator)

On Thursday, August 20th, GSOLE co-hosted “Delivering Rhetoric Online: A Roundtable Discussion” with the International Rhetoric Workshop, an affiliate organization. This event featured four instructors who had diverse experiences teaching rhetoric and teaching online in domestic and international contexts:

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Foteini Egglezou, founding President of the Hellenic Institute of Rhetorical and Communication Studies and Professor of Critical Pedagogy at the Hellenic Open University in Greece, teaches in the distance Master's program. Dr. Egglezou's research interests are focused on the implementation of Rhetoric and Argumentation to all educational stages, the educational use of debate, the relation of Rhetoric to Critical Pedagogy, Critical and Active Citizenry, and the uses of argument in political speech. She discussed her moving "Odyssey," a debate program for high school students around Greece, online in response to COVID. 

A woman with brown hair and glasses smiles into the cameraErin Wais-Hennen, adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University, teaches Technical Writing and Rhetorical Theory for graduate students. She was Assistant Professor of English at Lindsey Wilson College where she taught Modern Rhetoric, Writing & Culture, among other courses. Dr. Wais-Hennen came to online instruction after a neurological disability caused her to lose her ability to speak. She offered rhetoric instructors alternatives for online instruction outside of speaking or being on camera and shared her social cognitive approach to online instruction. 

A redheaded man with glasses smiles into the camera.Rich Rice, Professor of English in the Technical Communication and Rhetoric program at Texas Tech University, teaches composition, rhetoric, and technical communication courses online, including courses on topics like the history of rhetoric, grant writing, online writing instruction, intercultural communication, contemporary composition and rhetoric, and new media. Dr. Rice discussed how a modified rhetorical triangle can help students account for rhetorical choices in location and modality.

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Brendan Hawkins, a PhD Candidate in rhetoric and composition at Florida State University, teaches History of Rhetoric, Rhetorical Theory and Practice, and Research, Genre, and Context in addition to supporting GTAs as the Online Writing Coordinator for the College Composition Program. Hawkins shared his key terms approach to rhetorical online instruction, which allows students to grapple with broader questions about rhetoric while encouraging them to read across texts and time periods. 

In addition to sharing the strategies they enact in their local contexts, the presenters answered questions related to delivering rhetorical content online and designing engaging online learning. Hawkins noted the value of asking students to produce rhetorical summaries, informal writing assignments that help them work through dense theories before they begin discussing with their peers and instructor. Dr. Egglezou encouraged us to remember rhetoric is an embodied act and explained how she uses video examples and analysis activities to discuss how rhetoric is presented through movement as well as words. Dr. Rice explained that while the discussion board is a very adaptable space for learning, rhetoric instructors can use virtual collaborative platforms (like Google Docs or Wikispaces) as well as multimodal forms of responses to engage students with rhetorical theory. Both Rice and Dr. Wais-Hennen drew strong connections between rhetorical theories and professional practices. Wais-Hennen asks students to apply their rhetorical knowledge to professional documents by creating analysis reports or redesigning the documents to better enact rhetorical principles they study. Rice explained that he allows students to achieve the learning outcomes by examining and composing documents that are taken up by their professional communities. Finally, in an open discussion, presenters and speakers discussed how to communicate expectations for civil engagement in the online classroom. Miranda Eggers, an attendee, suggested having students collaboratively define civil discussion and work as a community to create guidelines. Hawkins noted the importance of transparency in communicating expectations to students early and often. 

We had a well-attended and lively group. Below are additional resources related to the event:

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