Audio version of RA1

Introduction

a boy holding his ear next to a huge speaker
woodleywonderworks, “LOUD speaker” // CC-licensed from Flickr

You’ll hear the word multimodal a lot in this class, a word built on the words multiple and modality. So a multimodal text is any text that uses multiple modalities, including words and images but also including audio and video (and more!).

Clearly, composing content online makes it easy to compose multimodal texts. For example, because this blog is online, it’s really eay to post both words and images together to make my points, like in this post. (What does the image to the right do for me here?) My choice of how I choose to format my message is part of my rhetorical strategy.

Your final project in this class will be multimodal. Therefore, it’s important that we practice using different modalities to prepare you for that project. In this brief assignment, the modality you’ll practice using is audio. As we’ll talk about in class, you’ll consider how an alphabetic text can be effectively turned into an audio text.

Assignment

Record an audio version of yourself reading a revised version of your Rhetorical Analysis 1 essay. This recording must not be longer than 2 minutes, but it should still communicate the basic point of your essay: describe the strategies made by an author who was using online text to persuade an audience of something. (Rhetorical scholars call this process of changing the media or modality of a text remediation.)

Record your audio essay for an audience who has not read the text version of your rhetorical analysis. That is, you’ll have to introduce the essay you’re analyzing; you can’t assume your audience already knows what you’re talking about.

You may read directly from parts of your essay, or you may completely rewrite your script to better fit the needs of your listening audience. I won’t be asking for a script, so if you’d rather record without writing out each exact word you’ll say, that’s okay too. (If you go this route, I do recommend having a detailed outline prepared so you can transition neatly from one topic to another.)

You’ll also write a brief Statement of Goals and Choices, in which you’ll informally explain the goals you had in mind for this audio version and what choices you made to make it effective.

Assessment

This assignment will count as a 30-point grade in the Small Assignments category (1.5 times a normal reading response blog post).

I will not be judging your ability to expertly record professional audio. That is, it won’t bother me if your voice recording sounds scratchy or if you make other small mistakes. We’re practicing.

What I do expect is evidence of purposeful decisions. At every step, consider why you’re making the choices you’re making and what effect you want them to have. Ask yourself, “How is a listening audience different from a reading audience?” If it sounds like you quickly threw everything together or didn’t know why you made a decision, your grade will suffer.

Your Statement of Goals and Choices is crucial, then: it allows me to see into your creative process and assess your work accordingly. Please put a lot of effort into it–it’s the best way to bump up your grade!

Delivery

Your audio version is due on your blog before class begins on Thursday, February 12.

To turn in this assignment, you’ll make a single WordPress post that includes 2 things: an embedded audio file and a written Statement of Goals and Choices. 

To make that happen, you have a few options.

Recording Audio

To embed your audio file, you’ll first need to get your audio file into Soundcloud.com. (Think of Soundcloud as like the audio version of YouTube.) Therefore, you need to create a free account at Soundcloud. Once you have an account, there are a few easy ways to get an audio file into Soundcloud:

  1. Easier way to record audio: Record yourself talking directly into Soundcloud. You can use their official app and record yourself talking into your phone (which even allows you to edit your recording a bit), or you can do it on a computer:
    • Plug your mic into the computer.
    • Log in to Soundcloud.
    • Click “Upload,” then click “Start new recording.” Click the big red “REC” button.
    • Talk.
    • If you mess up or go too long, start over.
  2. More advanced way to record audio: Use a free audio editing program like Soundation (entirely online) or Audacity (a program you install on your own computer or use in the Starr computer labs). You can record yourself talking into these programs and then edit it exactly as you want, cutting things out, adjusting the volume, adding background music or effects, and so on. Once you’ve edited your file to be exactly as you want it, you can export your file as a .wav or .ogg file and then upload that file to Soundcloud.

Embedding Audio from Soundcloud into WordPress

Once your audio file is stored in your Soundcloud account, it’s easy to embed that file into a new WordPress post. Follow these steps:

screenshot of Soundcloud1. Copy the embed code of your newly uploaded file, which you’ll paste into a WordPress post in a moment.

  • On Soundcloud, click the “share” button beneath your audio file.
  • On the new screen, click the “embed” tab.
  • Check the box that says “WordPress code.”
  • Now highlight the embed code and copy it (either by right-clicking and choosing “copy” or by typing control-C).

2. Create a new blog post on WordPress. Give it a descriptive title so we all know that this will be your audio post. (It’s fine to call it “Audio Version of Rhetorical Analysis” or something more fun. Up to you.)

3. Paste the embed code from Soundcloud into your post on WordPress at point where you want the audio file to appear. The code will look a little messy when you paste it in, but that’s ok. Once you preview or publish the post, it should have a big play button.

The most common errors:

  1. Forgetting to click “WordPress code,” which means the embed won’t work.
  2. Sometimes WordPress will underline your embed code, making it look like a link. That’s bad. If it does, you have to click somewhere in the link and click the “remove link” button in the toolbar you see when you’re editing a post.
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