Low Stakes, High Return

Here are two, successful low stakes assignments that I used in my Composition I virtual synchronous course.

Video Introduction Analysis
Overview :
Students will engage with rhetoric by producing a multimodal composition in the form of a video
introduction. They will then analyze their own use of rhetoric in the execution of the video.

Learning Objectives:
1. Students will be able to create a multimodal composition.
2. Students will be able to identify rhetorical devices and logical fallacies in multimodal
3. Students will be able to analyze the effectiveness of rhetoric in multimodal compositions.

Step 1: The Video Introduction
At the start of the semester, assign your students to create a video introduction for the class as a
discussion post. Outline your expectation for the content of the video.
In a 30-90 second video, introduce yourself to your professor and your classmates. Your video must include your
name and major, but you can choose to add as much (or as little) information about yourself as you’d like. Some
suggestions include preferred pronouns, musical interests, and career aspirations. Feel free to be as creative as
you’d like—dance, sing, paint—do what will make your video the best reflection of who you are. Please remember
that this is still an academic setting, and your video should reflect that.

Step 2: The Lesson
This step is less about your students and more about you. During your module or unit on rhetoric and
rhetorical analysis, be sure to teach at least one focused lesson on multimodal rhetoric. Give your students
the tools the need to identify and analyze elements of rhetoric in multimodal compositions.

Step 3: The Analysis
After you have taught multimodal rhetoric, have your students perform a rhetorical analysis of either their
own video, one of their classmate’s videos, or both.
In at least 250 words, write a compare and contrast rhetorical analysis in which you juxtapose the use of
multimodal rhetorical in your video introduction with the choices made by one of your classmates in their video
introduction. Explore the similarities, the differences, and the effects created by both. Also point out any logical
fallacies that appear within the recordings and discuss how they affect the intended message. Be sure to provide
specific examples from each.

Step 4: The Context
Finally, as a class, discuss the rhetorical choices (intentional or unintentional) your students identified and
the way these choices affect the communicator’s purpose.


MEAL Plan Practice
Overview :
Students will learn the MEAL Plan organizational pattern as a tool for determining and composing the
elements of a paragraph.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Students will be able to identify the elements of a paragraph.
2. Students will be able to compose a paragraph using MEAL Plan.

Step 1: The Sample
Compose a sample paragraph that uses the MEAL Plan structure. Highlight each sentence according to
which portion of the structure it corresponds to: M – Green, E – Yellow, A – Orange, and L – Red.

Step 2: The Lesson
In class, teach students MEAL Plan organization using the sample paragraph you created. Be sure to
contextualize the importance of each element in the communication of the paragraph’s message.

Step 3: The Practice
Divide your students into small groups, and in a Google Doc, have your students either compose a
paragraph in accordance with MEAL Plan or paste a paragraph from their essay drafts. Next, using the
same color guide, have the students highlight each sentence of their paragraph based on the element of the
acronym with which it aligns. Finally, have them discuss which organizational pattern they used, whether
it was effective, and whether revising to adhere to MEAL Plan (if was not used) would improve the

Composition I Assignment Samples

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