Video Lexicon


One of the distinctive elements of Emory’s first-year writing program is that its instructors develop themed courses informed by their research or other cultural interests. An issue that this articulation between advanced study and/or enthusiasm and general education sometimes poses is a disconnect perceived by students between the scholarly interests of the instructor and the general goals of a first-year writing course. For the generic version of these goals, see the Council of Writing Program Administrators Outcomes Statement.

To help address this issue, develop a short (1-5 minutes in length) video that dramatizes a theoretical concept from your area of interest for first-year writing students. Think carefully about how this concept can help first year writers understand language and its uses in ways that will inform their writing, which in itself should be considered a central text in your course.

Your video will become a part of a lexicon built over time by students in the Composition Theory seminar that will be made available to all teachers of first-year writing at Emory.

This video should not be one of the procedural “how-to” videos that have proliferated on YouTube. In other words, steer clear of instructing students about how to properly format an MLA citation, how to use EndNote or RefWorks, or how to write an engaging introduction to an essay.


These examples should give you ideas about how people have leveraged the affordances provided by video to explain or dramatize conceptual material. Note that each example has strengths as well as elements that might be changed to keep the audience’s attention or perhaps better serve its purpose.

Introduction to Rhetoric (Purdue Owl)

What is Rhetoric?

Discourse and Socialization (Introduction)

Discourse and Socialization (Foucault and Power)

RSA Animate Videos

Language as a Window into Human Nature

Crisis of Capitalism

In Plain English Videos

RSS in Plain English

Wikis in Plain English

Google Docs in Plain English

Finally, here is a link to the entries to the lexicon developed by the 2014 cohort.

Process and Assessment

You’ll complete this assignment in stages. As you learn more about developing video and finish some readings about assessment, we’ll work together to develop an assessment rubric for the final video artifact.

Component Due Date Assessment
Video proposal (posted to blog) February 25 Oral feedback in class (formative)
Shot list (posted to blog) March 4 Written feedback in blog response (formative)
Rough footage March 4-April 8 Oral feedback (formative)
Edited video April 22 Written feedback on assessment sheet (summative)


Cameras and Tripods. I’ve reserved a number of cameras and tripods for our class. You can pick these up at the Music and Media Library desk in Woodruff Library. You should also feel free to use your own equipment, including your phone, to capture video.

Software. I recommend you use iMovie (video editor) for this project. There are a number of machines on the third floor of Woodruff Library that have iMovie installed. Several of you also have access to iMovie on your Macs.

If you want to do more sophisticated sound work, Audacity is a powerful and reliable free tool.

For those of you wishing to experiment with screen capture, Screencastomatic and Jing are free. Woodruff Library also has machines running Camtasia, which is an industry-standard screencast editor. A 30-day free trial of the Camtasia software is also available.

Of course, you’re welcome to use any other tool you feel will help you achieve your vision for this assignment.