Monthly Archives: January 2014

A Response to John N. Killoran’s “The Rhetorical Situations of Web Résumés”


In this article, Killoran is exploring the idea that as we become more technologically advanced and begin using this technology more as a means of communication, the way in which we communicate also changes. Additionally, he suggests that these changes in how we communicate coincide with the new opportunities to do so that are made possible in the new technologies. While I’ve never given this idea much thought before, I think that it is a novel hypothesis that would help to explain the large shift towards technological communication that we’ve experienced over the last few decades. Referencing Bitzer’s idea that rhetorical situations arise as a result of three factors – an exigence, an audience, and constraints – Killoran’s study on web resumes proves that these are all indeed influences on how we choose to communicate. His study did, however, come across many sampling problems and limitations. He was only able to reach 19% of those he intended to reach due to a plethora of reasons, but luckily the results that he yielded proved to be very useful and aligned with his research plan

Seeing as this article is from 2009, even more advances have begun to shape our rhetorical situation since then. For instance, nowadays many newspaper and magazine publishers have turned to web versions and have enacted hyperlinks, pictures, videos, and other items that were previously constraints. Likewise, they can now reach an even larger and new audience because the geographical constraints have been lifted, and their prints can be accessed anywhere via the web. And now, because more people have access to more news and stories from more places, people, and publishers with more ideas, the exigence of having information asymmetry has been somewhat alleviated.


A Response to Jody Shipka’s “Sound Engineering: Toward a Theory of Multimodal Soundness”


In this article, Shipka attempts to have her students express their individual knowledge, theories, and perspectives through mediums other than the typical writing of a paper. I think that this is a good way for her to practice the movement toward multimodal soundness because students are able to express their creativity in ways that may be able to display more of what they actually learned than traditional methods would. The fact that she did not put specific guidelines for her students, but rather let them explore the means that they thought were best, could be seen as a benefit or a drawback. For students that need more structure and guidance in their curriculum, this may be a drawback for their learning experience. However, for students that are looking for an outlet to show their creativity and find projects easier in conveying their knowledge, this could be very beneficial. Requiring a rationale is a good way to try to make up for this imbalance. Students who are better with words have the opportunity to explain what they were trying to convey here, and this may also give students encouragement to be even more original or creative in their project design process. Overall, I think that Shipka has the right idea in letting students express themselves in different ways to convey an underlying message. I also feel that the movement toward multimodal soundness is a great step within the education community, especially for students who can effectively communicate through nontraditional means.