Instructor Reflection – Cyber Bullying

By Rebecca Rickly

This project comes from an “Issues in Composition” course, a junior/senior class in which the idea of “composition” is interrogated throughout the semester. About half the students are Education majors, so we talk about teaching composition, reading/writing, rhetoric/purpose/audience, and how context might play a part in how we “read” information. Students first write in a “traditional” manner (via short essays, a literacy autobiography, an imitation assignment, etc.), moving onto blogs, then later in a group project that “must be multi-modal”. While the assignment description is pretty vague, we talk a lot in class about what might constitute a good project. Students were given free rein in terms of how they chose to mediate their work, and we used TheJUMP for a variety of examples/inspirations.

I really appreciated that Liz and Rachel’s project was very attuned to their potential audience, teens and young adults; their dramatic video portrayal of individuals who had been cyber-bullied was poignant. Between the music, the transitions, the lighting, and the character development, I found myself wanting to watch “what would happen” to the young girl in their video, which led me to be open to the resources they provided. I believe their target audience would feel the same way, making this an effective multimodal project.

The site is clean and easy to navigate, and appropriate for their multiple audiences/purposes. The inclusion of stories was powerful as well. I think the project could be improved by making this section a bit more robust (including video stories, audio stories, and so forth). Nonetheless, the inclusion of real narratives helps to humanize and legitimize the situation—and the people involved.

Overall, I think the authors did a fantastic job on a very important topic.