Course Assignment – Semiotic Domains (7.1)

Students will create an interactive image using the skills they have learned in this course. These images will allow student authors to utilize visual elements and visual architecture in rhetorical ways in order to guide different user explorations into a particular issue/focus.

Requirements to Start Assignment
– Complete all L1 assignments
– Complete L2 Trading Card
– Complete L3 (Info)Graphic Exposition
– Complete L5 Interactive Image Pitch

To complete this assignment, students must produce an interactive image (using one of the programs we discussed in class or an instructor-approved alternative) that offers a significant engagement and/or critical commentary on an issue related to rhetoric and games (an issue they identified, preliminarily explored, and situated in relation to a particular approach or perspective as part of their Interactive Image Pitch). These interactive image composites must include at least 15 clickable elements, with at least three major lines or threads of extended engagement.

Assignment Description
Students must create an image composite that offers both a significant engagement and a kind of critical commentary on an issue related to rhetoric and games (approved as part of the Interactive Image Pitch). To do so, students will turn various visual elements in their image composites (i.e., what we have called sprites) into clickable entities that not only open paths for particular types of exploration but that themselves offer rhetorical significance with relation to the path and/or the image as a whole. (Note: we will explore program options for this in class.)

The challenge for students, then, is to use the clickable elements to help viewers/readers better understand the central issue they identified in their Interactive Image Pitches. As indicated above, these projects should have at least 15 clickable elements that lead to a deeper engagement with the topical focus. Additionally, there should be at least three extended threads or lines of engagement that allow users to move through multiple layers or stages of a particular line of thought—i.e., moving further down the rabbit hole.

Minus the primary image composite level or layer, subsequent layers will likely include any combinations of media (text, video, sounds, etc.). While it is difficult to predict “how much” of any media a student will need in this project, the key in the context of this course is that each student offer a significant undertaking in which the majority of ideas, text, media, and the like is of their own creation. Medial elements borrowed from other locations should include referential or citation information (which can be included in a variety of ways).

These projects will be evaluated on the depth of their engagement, the sophistication of their use of images to organize and situate a particular set of ideas, the quality of the image productions themselves, the quality of medial integration, the seamlessness and function of the interactivity, and the overall performance of the assignment. [Note: Individual media elements will be assessed appropriately.]

The goal of this assignment is to allow students an opportunity to think about expository practices in ways that move beyond the bounds of text—i.e., How might new forms of media and user engagement change the way we think about expositions? Through this assignment, students will not only demonstrate their ability to sustain a more complex type of engagement, but they will further refine their visual production skills, be exposed to basic interactive (and/or hyperlinking) logics (simple techniques central to games), and will learn to utilize user design principles in their expository practices.