visual analysis. compare/contrast.

In this essay (3-6 pages), you will be comparing or contrasting visual elements in web sites, other texts, objects, or places that reflect our theme of college.  These visual elements may be images, type faces, color combinations, or videos.  If you are fluent in a language other than English or have lived outside the U.S., feel free to choose a web site in that other language or from another culture.  Think about how visual elements in these sites appeal to specific audiences.  Think about how these elements enable the text to meet its readers’ needs (for information, practical purposes, entertainment, or prestige).  Consider how these elements reflect a specific culture.  Answer one of the following questions: how is x different from y?  how are x and y similar?

Grading Standards

An A paper is outstanding in its content, approach, analysis, style, and correctness (grammar, spelling, punctuation).  A B paper is above average in all areas although one area of weakness (i.e., surface error) may affect an otherwise outstanding paper.  A C paper is average in all areas although one area may affect an otherwise above average paper.  A D paper is below average although one area may affect an otherwise average paper.  An F paper is unacceptable for one or more reasons (content, approach, analysis, style, correctness, or plagiarism).  Papers with the grade of R need to be rewritten; reasons include content, approach (especially inattention to assignment), weakness of analysis, style, correctness, or absence of MLA citation.

Keep in mind that there is a late penalty of one-third of a grade per day; however, if you let me know ahead of time about the reason why your paper may be late, this penalty can be waived.  (By the way, one reason might be your need to revise more extensively after a tutor’s comments.)  There is also a penalty of one-third of a grade if you do not participate in the peer review.  (This will be waived if you have a significant reason (medical, dental, or legal emergency) for being absent that day and if you show your paper to a tutor at the Writing Center.)

Possible Topics

  • Compare, contrast, and evaluate two web sites or pages from one or more colleges or universities.  (See MyMC for some examples.)  You may look at pages for the major that you are interested in, an extracurricular activity that intrigues you, a program like Inside-Out, or student publications.  You may choose colleges and universities from other parts of the country or even other countries.
  • Compare, contrast, and evaluate the layout and visuals in two textbooks.  What do they tell you about the textbook?  What do they tell you about the course and its subject?  One textbook may be Writing Arguments.
  • Compare or contrast short videos on topics relevant to our topic.  You may compare “Inside Looking Out” to videos from other schools’ versions of this program or films set in prison, especially documentaries.  Consider elements such as time, place, and intent.

Research Hints

Please see the handbook for information on how to cite websites, visuals, and other materials using MLA.  Also, web designers are often creative—or even casual about where they put publication information (author’s name, date of last revision), so you may have to look in several places to find it.

If you are unclear about this assignment, please check in with me or with a Writing Center tutor.





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