Cold Open Videos

I like to begin each class period with a short video (2-6 minutes long) as a type of cold open to introduce issues of the day or to provide useful information. It allows students to trickle in just a few minutes late without missing something; they can easily re-watch the videos posted on Blackboard. Overall, students say they enjoy the videos.

Please feel free to comment with more suggestions or questions.

Rhetorical Concepts

Introduction to Ethos, Pathos, Logos (3:35)
An introduction to the classical appeals with many visual examples. This video is useful for students learning to analyze these elements in other people's writing.

Logos, Ethos, Pathos (4:28)
A class lecture on the classical appeals with definitions and examples. This video is useful for students learning to integrate these elements into their own writing.

In Defense of Rhetoric Video.flv (14:09)
This video is assigned for homework (because of its length) in the first week of class. It confronts negative perceptions of rhetoric and defends the academic discipline. By interviewing a wide range of rhetoric professors, the video gives definitions of rhetoric and stresses the importance of rhetoric in everyday life.

Developing Personal Values (excerpt) (3:11)
I use this lesson on the day we examine values in rhetoric and communities. For that class, among other things, we read a shortened version of Steele and Redding's "The American Value System: Premises for Persuasion." Comment if you'd like me to send the version I abbreviated to 8 pages.

The History of English in 10 minutes (11:21)

Basic Writing Skills

How to Write a Summary (3:06)
This video notes the ubiquity of summaries before giving students specific tips for effective summaries: A summary must be clear to someone unfamiliar with the original material. It briefly offers the essential main points, without specifics such as numbers, statistics, dates, or figures unless absolutely necessary to the meaning. A summary follows good paragraph structure including a topic sentence that states the title and author of the material, supporting sentences that lay out the main points in the order of the text if possible, and a concluding sentence. A summary paraphrases rather than copying and pasting the authors original points. Finally, a summary should report the material as objectively as possible.

38 Common Spelling and Grammar Errors - mental_floss on YouTube (Ep.9) (9:42)
This whirlwind video of common errors playfully and clearly demonstrates numerous language confusions. You can't really take it all in at one time, but each time I watch it I learn something new and students usually take away a few helpful principles.

Otis College: Peer Writing Review Process (4:36)
This video quotes teachers and students to introduce the peer review process.

Three-step revision process (2:38)
PatTheProfessor teaches his 3-draft revision process. Draft 1: Big Picture. Make sure the essay completes the assignment, presents a clear thesis that the paper supports, and demonstrates strong organization. Draft 2: Paragraphs. Clean up each paragraph so that it has clear topic sentences that all other sentences support. Draft 3: Sentences. PatTheProfessor suggests that the "bulk of your problems" will be with sentence-level errors, which I don't agree with, but he helpfully suggests that students read the essay from back to front. Begin by editing the last sentence, the sentence before it, and so on, until the first line.

How to Take Notes in Class: The 5 Best Methods - College Info Geek (6:39)
This video describes 5 methods for taking notes either by hand or digitally: 1) outline method 2) Cornell method 3) mind map method 4) flow method 5) write on the slides method.

Persuasion in Action

Science of Persuasion (11:50)
This video is assigned for homework because of its length. An artist illustrates the information on a white board as the author outlines the principles of reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking, and consensus in persuasion. It provides a nice view of persuasion from another discipline and cites numerous and interesting studies on the science of persuasion.

The Secret Psychology That Shopping Malls Use To Trick You Into Spending Money (3:36)
WARNING: The narrator yells the f-word at the very end, so be prepared to stop the clip if you would like to.

The Living Room Candidate
Presendential television ads from the 1950s to present day.

Rhetorical Analysis

Loaded Words: How Language Shapes The Gun Debate (audio 3:46)
Excellent NPR broadcast that focuses on language used in the gun debate. This recording introduces a day in which we analyze selections from gun arguments.

Pros and cons of public opinion polls - Jason Robert Jaffe (4:25)
Opens up a discussion of statistics and the uses of public opinion polls.

West Wing, Gall Peters Projection (4:00)
At the bottom of this useful list of maps is a video from the West Wing (#19). I save the video for the end of class, during which we analyze the rhetoric of maps. In the episode, a group of fictitious cartographers petition the White House to change from the traditional Mercator geography map to the Peters projection. The group argues that Mercator “fostered European imperialist attitudes for centuries and created an ethnic bias against the third world” because it distorts the size of nations and continents for the outdated purpose of making navigation easier in the 16th century. Greenland, for example, appears to be the same size as Africa, while in reality Africa is roughly 14 times larger. The characters build their case linking signs to cultural ideology: “In our society, we unconsciously equate size with importance and even power. When third-world countries are misrepresented, they’re likely to be valued less. When Mercator maps exaggerate the importance of Western civilization; When the top of the map is given to the northern hemisphere and the bottom is given to the Southern, then people will tend to adopt top and bottom attitudes.”

C-SPAN: Stephen Colbert Opening Statement (5:29)
Nobody begins class discussions on irony better than Stephen Colbert.

Facebook Leading to 'Digital Narcissism' (2:01)
My writing class reads Andrew Keen's "Facebook Threatens to 'Zuck Up' the Human Race," and so I show this video of him on the first day of our analysis.

Fisch’s “Did You Know?” video (5 min.)
Great video for teaching the rhetorical nature of statistics. Statistics rarely stand alone, rather they are used in service of a larger argument. This highly loaded video allows students to break down visual, verbal, and numerical elements.

Mysteries of Vernacular (for example, Earwig 2:17, X-ray 1:59, Lady 2:08)
These short videos cleverly and humorously depict word histories and origins. I use these videos to show students that words have histories, and that these histories often influence how we interpret words. We look up key words in our texts using dictionary definitions and encyclopedia entries to help us analyze them. There are always new and useful things to learn about words, even when (or perhaps especially when) we think we already know what they mean.

The Culture of Academia & Groups

College Success: Making College Count (2:23)
I use this video early in the semester to stress the importance of college and to justify our group work. He says that students should ask, "How was the organization better or different by the fact that you were a part of it?"

Malcolm Gladwell and Analytics (I play to 3:53 of 5:56)
This video communicates the importance of practice and repetition in mastering skills. Gladwell cites  the 10,000 hour rule--the amount of time generally necessary for mastery in a certain field. I encourage students to be patient, not to become frustrated when they don't understand something the first time, and to be willing to continually revise to become better writers. Gladwell also suggests that plane crashes are higher in cultures in which subordinates are discouraged from open and honest communication with authority figures. I tell students that while the university might also encourage such a top-down structure, I want them to communicate with me so I can help them understand our material and solve problems.

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson (4:07)
Johnson describes the way ideas marinate and interact with other people's ideas to form great discoveries. He describes the invention of the internet, and optimistically discusses the interconnection of the fast-paced digital age.

Mean Tweets, Academic Style (1:28)
Modeled on Jimmy Kimmel's "Mean Tweet" segment, this video features professors reading the meanest student reviews about themselves. I think it would be fun to show this on the day students complete teacher evaluations.

NPR "What Does Modern Prejudice Look Like?" (audio 5:45)


Judith Butler: Your Behavior Creates Your Gender (3:01)
The video begins with the question "What does it mean to say that gender is performative?" Butler explains that while saying gender is a performance implies that we've taken on a role, and that we are acting in some way that is crucial to the gender we are and the gender we present, saying that gender is performative is different. It means we act in ways that "produce a series of effects," that "consolidate an impression of being a man or being a woman." Even though we act like being a man or woman is an internal reality and a fact about us, it is actually according to Butler, a phenomena being produced and reproduced all the time. Next, the question "How should this change how we look at gender?" flashes on the screen. Butler discusses violence and abnormalization against people who are gender different. Nobody really is a gender from the start though, Butler example. She is interested in how "gender norms get established and policed" because she sees gender as culturally formed but also as a domain of agency and freedom to disrupt and overcome.

Feminist Frequency "Tropes Vs. Women" (assorted lengths)
Great videos for teaching gender, literature, rhetoric, genre, and culture, at the least. The tropes vs. women in video games series, for example, includes analyses of the "Ms. Male Character" and the "Damsel in Distress."

The Weird Way Women Downplay Their Success (3:10)
The video from Dnews describes the gender difference in the use of uptalk--using a rising intonation at the end of sentences similar to a question.


'Stereo Hearts' figurative language analysis (Metaphors and simile) (1:36)
The text accompanying this pop song quickly recaps basic definitions of figurative language learned in high school (metaphor, simile, personification), giving examples from the song. Disclaimer: there are egregious typos like two different misspellings of simile.

Idea Framing, Metaphors, and Your Brain - George Lakoff (5:12)
Lakoff begins by discussing Erving Goffman's research on frame analysis in the 1970s. Goffman worked in institutions, such as an asylum, to research frames. He defined 2 parts of a frame: roles (ex. doctors, patients) and scenarios (surgeons operate on patients). Frames have boundaries, and we recognize when someone "breaks the frame." For example, patients don't operate on doctors. Every word is defined relative to a frame, and they are realized in our neuropsychology. We think in terms of frames, and they are highly political. Lakoff next addresses metaphors that exist across multiple cultures and have physical causes such as warmth is love or up is good. He explains that as a child, we watched someone fill our bottles and as the level went up it activated the brain regions for quantity and verticality. In this way, they became linked. There are hundreds of metaphors like these that we learn through social interaction.

George Lakoff on how he started his work on conceptual metaphor (8:35)
This video pairs well with a list of conceptual metaphors from George Lakoff and Mark Johnson's "The Metaphors We Live By." In the video, Lakoff explains the story behind his work on conceptual metaphors. In 1978, he led an undergraduate seminar on performance art and linguistics. On the day they discussed metaphor, a crying woman in the class announced, "I have a metaphor problem with my boyfriend." He had told her "Our Relationship has hit a dead end street," and she was confused. As the class explained the meaning of the metaphor, they noted other instances in which love equals a journey, including "It's been a long bumpy road," "We're going in different directions," "We're at a crossroads in the relationships," and describing struggling relationships as "on the rocks," "off the track" and "spinning our wheels." They break down the parts of the metaphor: love = journey, lovers = travelers, common life goals =destination, difficulties in love = impediments to travel. This systematic linguistic approach to metaphor became the inspiration for future work.

James Geary, metaphorically speaking (10:45)
Metaphor is essential to understanding, and to Geary, is "a way of thought before it is a way with words." We utter about 6 metaphors per minute. When we deal with anything abstract--ideas, feelings, concepts, and thoughts--we use metaphor. Throughout the presentation, Geary cites Elvis, Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Einstein. He names "the mathematics of metaphor" as X=Y. He develops several theoretical concepts about metaphor:

  1. We understand/create metaphors through pattern recognition. He demonstrates our ability to detect and create patterns by viewing optical illusions in which we fill in the blanks to see a triangle. 
  2. Metaphors create conceptual synesthesia. We mix senses as in "silence is sweet" or "ties are loud." 
  3. Metaphors create cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the difficulty we encounter in, for instance, naming a color when we read the word blue that is colored in green (a Stroop test). Metaphors aren't false to us even if they are literally, as in "some jobs are jails." They create a different kind of truth. 
  4. Metaphors create expectations. For example, in financial news, agent metaphors describe price movements as deliberating caused by an actor, "NASDEQ climbed higher." Object metaphors describe something as non-human, without agency, as in " the DOW fell." People exposed to agent metaphors had higher expectations that price trends would continue, which could make for riskier investors. 
  5. Metaphors affect decision-making. When asked to consider military intervention, people given World War II metaphors were more likely to support use of force than those given Vietnam war metaphors.

The art of the metaphor - Jane Hirshfield (5:39)
Hirschfield describes how metaphors invoke imagination and the senses, using examples from cliché and poetry throughout the video. Metaphors are not true or untrue, but they can feel right or wrong. They help us make sense of abstract things because we are used to thinking in images--our dreams are prime examples. Hirschfield describes similes as types of metaphors, saying that simile is more about thinking through the comparison whereas metaphor is more about feeling. Metaphors can exist in verbs and adjectives. Metaphors can appear in extended form, which build one idea in many ways. She suggests in the end that each metaphor opens a new world.

Science & Psychology

What percentage of your brain do you use? - Richard E. Cytowic (5:15)
A quick look at brain function that disproves the myth that humans use only 10% of our brains.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.