The software I utilized during the semester was WordPress and Squarespace.

WordPress was used for my blog and Squarespace was used for the creation of the SJC website.

WordPress served as a very useful tool in the creation of my blog.  Each week I was responsible for writing three blog entries:

  1. Weekly In-Class Reflection
  2. Weekly Roundup
  3. Practicum Update

In- Class Highlights:

A highlight for me this semester was an interview with a group of students from Ross Roads Elementary School in North Vancouver.

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Eleni McLaughlin, Saoirse Pontin and Madeline Williams are the sixth-grade students who created the Hike-Safe mobile app, which functions to inform hikers on the safety of various hikes in regards to trail length and daylight hours.

When applied Burke’s dramatic Pentad, which tool for analyzing rhetoric and the rhetor’s motives for a situation, one can see that McLaughlin, Pontin and Williams have effectively addressed the ART, SCENE, AGENTS, AGENCY and PURPOSE of creating the app.

  1. Act —The central focus of the Hike Safe app is to provide a practical tool to hikers so that better safety can be attained on the mountain
  2. Scene-The girls saw a need in their community and choose to address it.  In living in North Vancouver they saw lots of search and rescue helicopters going out to help hikers who hiked too late in the day
  3. Agents–  Mclaughlin, Pontin and Williams are the agents of this cause.  They spent many hours learning about coding and designing each aspect of the app
  4. Agency –  The action took place through the mentorship of Cher Main
  5. Purpose – The purpose behind this app is to create positive change and bring safety to the hiking community of North Vancouver

Social Justice Centre Practicum Highlights:

During the first class of English 4300 we were presented with various practicum options.  I was placed in Mike Ma’s group and began the journey of creating a new website for the Social Justice Centre (SJC).  I look forward to presenting our new website with you!

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  1. Talking with advocates for social justice
  2. Taking my learning outside of the classroom
  3. Learning how to use Squarespace
  4. Working along side Jenn and Mike in the creation of the SJC website
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Wish Centre Visit- Connecting with Advocates for Social Justice
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Touring the Wish Centre
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The Surrey Drug War Survivors Workshop

DHSI Highlights:

  1. Participating in the grant proposal process
  2. Putting rhetorical theory into practice
  3. Presenting at UVIC
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Poster Presentation Group
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Poster Presentation

Our DHSI group was featured in the Kwantlen News


Weekly Roundup: Week 12

This past week in class we were instructed to take a sample of our writing and cut it up into sentence strips.  We then took those strips and exchanged them with a partner.  Each student then had to attempt to reconstruct the paragraph of our partner.

Jenn and I exchanged paragraphs and I was surprised to see just how hard this task was (despite the help I had from trying to match the cut lines).  Jenn was able to reconstruct my paragraph with only one error; however, it did take a fair amount of time and consideration.  My sentence transitions tend to lack cohesion with the sentence before, which subsequently created a difficult task for Jenn when she had to recreate my sentence order.

Writing is an art.

Earlier in the semester we brought a paragraph sample in and charted out how many word we have in an average sentence.  This challenged me in my writing to seek cohesion.  When I write I look to have short sentences.  Instead of using punctuation to prolong sentences I now seek to shorted and separate my thoughts.  This weeks class exercise showed me that in my quest to shorten my sentences I have lost some of the natural flow to my writing.  Sentences need to carry on information, which will lead to higher understandability in my writing.

As a visual learner I found this class exercise very beneficial.  It is amazing what you can see when you deconstruct a paragraph and lay it in front of yourself to analyze. The exercise allows you to see where information is lacking and where information is in excess.  Some sentences can be combined and others can be broken into parts.

The formation of sentences requires balance.

Not too much.

Not too little.

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This coming week I have two final papers to write.  One is for a Philosophy of Ethics class and the other is for English.  In writing these papers I will seek balance in paragraph formation.  My goal is to have sentences that share both known and unknown information.


Weekly Roundup: Week 11- Invitational Rhetoric

Weekly Roundup: Week 11- Invitational Rhetoric

In chapter 8 of Rhetorical Theory Timothy Borchers defines INVITATIONAL RHETORIC as:

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“A way of using rhetoric that invites understanding by creating a relationship with the audience based on equality, value, and self-determination” (Borchers 225)

Two primary objectives of the Invitational Rhetor:

  1. To bring for perspective (212)
  2. To create “external conditions that allow others to present their perspectives in an atmosphere of respect and equality” (212)

Essential to the role of the Invitational Rhetor is the questioning of his or her own perspectives (212).  The Invitational Rhetor uses storytelling and illustrations to present a perspective in a way that open conversation and reflection, but they do not depend on the audience agreeing (212).

Success is found when each audience member is allowed to “feel like they are a unique individual” (212)

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Invitational rhetoric is not persuasive based- it is  audience and conversation based.

In reading about invitational rhetoric I immediately thought about Wayne Fenske’s Philosophy (Foundations in Ethics) class I am taking this semester.

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The class is centred around thoughts of cultural philosophy and the movement from a “me vs. them” attitude towards a “us vs. them” attitude of thinking.  Within this class we discuss topics of Moral Philosophy.

Wayne’s approach to the class is a prime example of invitational rhetoric.  His goal is not to persuade; he seeks to invite conversation.  The class is student centred and celebrates diversity of thought.  Students are expected to critically engage with theories and are encouraged to come to genuine conclusions and opinions.  Wayne makes his position clear, illustrates his reasoning and explores other ideas of thought.  However, within his clear presentation of his thought he makes it clear that he does not want students to merely accept and repeat his thoughts.

The following is a question that was given to the class during an in-class essay:

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Wayne’s note after the question is key to his invitational approach to teaching.  He presents the author’s view and juxtaposes it against his own view.  He asks the student to consider both sides to the argument and formulate individual thought.


Borchers, Timothy A. Rhetorical Theory: An Introduction. Long Grove, IL: Waveland, 2011. Print.



Weekly Roundup: Week 10- Identity

Timothy Borchers states: “Our conception of what it means to be human is constantly shifting because the categories we use to create and establish identities are constantly shifting.  There is no essence to our identity.  Foucault adds that discourse and disciplinary practices create certain kinds of beings” (Borchers 303)

Essentially, “what it means to be human has varied over time” (293).  Applied to my personal life I can see that my experience as a Canadian is vastly different than the experience held by Canadians years ago!  While my experience differs from past generations of Canadians many core values have remained unchanged.

What categories create our identity as postmodern Canadians?

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In visiting friends in the southern states I was able to gain perspective on what makes up my identity as a Canadian (both from differences I observed and observations they made).  My little Canadian-isms that came second nature to me were foreign to them, which leads me to believe that I act the way I do because of the rhetoric that has been taught to me.  I was born a Canadian and subsequently trained to be one.  This is seen in my core cultural values all the way to more simple and non-consequential things (like word pronunciations).

One thing I know for sure is, I am proud to be part of a nation that has core values that honour and respect all people!


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We VALUE the world around us

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Borchers, Timothy A. Rhetorical Theory: An Introduction. Long Grove, IL: Waveland, 2011. Print.

Weekly Roundup: Week 9-Discursive Practices

In Rhetorical Theory Timothy Borchers explains DISCURSIVE PRACTICES and the rules, roles and power that accompany them.

Discursive practices “refers to the discourse that, because it follows particular rules or has passed appropriate tests, is understood to be true in culture” (Borchers 287)

He presents the following table: FullSizeRender-1.jpg

Borchers then goes on to apply the theory of discursive practice to Disneyland (290-1).  The rules, roles and power that function throughout Disneyland function in such away that they shape the experience had by the visitor (290-1).  Furthermore, the discursive practice that takes place at Disneyland impact the way in which the visitor is permitted to interact with he park (291).

Discursive rules, roles and practices result in predictability and trust.  The consumer is able to trust that the product is always the same.  When someone walks through the gates of Disney it is guaranteed that employees will appear and act in a certain manner.  There is wholesome fun and respect throughout the park.  The discursive practice results in Disneyland being known as the happiest place on earth.

When organizations lack discursive rules the result is a product that is not dependable and therefore can not be trusted as true.  An example of a system that lacks effective discursive practice is Facebook.

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When applied to the above table one can see that Facebook does not qualify as trusted discursive system:

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With consideration of the various aspects of discursive practice it is evident that Facebook does not rule or govern its user in such a way that structure and truth is guaranteed.  The validity of information shared is dependent on the person who chooses to share it.  Unlike Disneyland, Facebook carries no guarantee.  When you log on there is no telling what you will encounter.  There is potential for uplifting, truthful and interesting information– however, with this possibility is the risk of false information, criticism and offensive content.


Borchers, Timothy A. Rhetorical Theory: An Introduction. Long Grove, IL: Waveland, 2011. Print.





Weekly Round-Up: Week 8- Electronic Eloquence

In Rhetorical Theory Timothy Borchers talks about ELECTRONIC ELOQUENCE.  “Electronic eloquence, has, according to Jamieson, five characteristics: it is personalized, self- disclosive, conversational, synoptic, and visually dramatic” (Borchers 263).

Technological advancements have changed the avenue of rhetoric in society (263).  Rhetors are now able to reach the audience within the comfort of their own home.  The shift away from mass audience and grand scale venue has resulted in a change in communication goals (263-64).  Rhetors are no longer seeking to impress with long dialect “sparring,” rather they aim to create emotional and relational connection (264).

Electronic Eloquence is… 

PERSONALIZED: “Building intimacy with an audience is accomplished by using an individual to embody, or represent, the ideas of the rhetor’s message” (264).

SELF-DISCLOSIVE:  The Rhetor builds personal connection with the audience through self-disclosure (learning ones convictions and experiences aid in a deeper understanding of the speaker) (265)

CONVERSATIONAL: Words are chosen and spoken with the purpose of building relationship (266)

VERBAL DISTILLATION: “Rhetors do not use language to convey complex notions; instead they rely on short snippets of words to communicate their ideas” (266)

VISUAL DRAMATIZATION:  “Electronic eloquence is most effective when it combines words and images” (267)

Electronic Eloquence Applied:

TedTalk- Draw Your Future- Take Control of Your Life by Patti Dobrowolski

Personalized- Patti begins her speech by drawing on the personal.  She informs the audience that she had always wanted to go into business herself. She then proceeds to share the inner dialogue that is so common in all individuals.  She connects her personal with the personal of the audience.  Patti is the embodies her message and in doing so connects the audience to the message.

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Self-Disclosive- Patti does not shy away from sharing her own experience, which therefore gives her authority on the topic.

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Conversational- Patti’s entire talk is set as a conversation.  She draws the audience in and asks the audience to critically engage with the topic.  Her systematic construction of her speech directs the dialect to the audience in such a way that a response is warranted. For instance, she asks: “What dream or vision do you want to turn into a reality?”

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Verbal Distillation- While Patti does utilize lengthy portions of dialect she also utilizes short and powerful snippets of information.

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Visual Dramatization-  Patti’s talk is full of visual dramatization.  She effectively ties her message together with images so that her message is conveyed in a clear manner.


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Patti effectively embodies all that defines ELECTRONIC ELOQUENCE.


Borchers, Timothy A. Rhetorical Theory: An Introduction. Long Grove, IL: Waveland, 2011. Print.

Weekly Roundup: The Medium and the Message

This week we were assigned chapter 10 of Timothy Borcher’s Rhetorical Theory.  In this chapter Borcher’s discusses Marshall McLuhan’s assertion that “the medium is the message” (1964).

Borchers notes that “McLuhan is saying that the medium used to transmit a message will affect how audience members perceive that message.  In other words, the meaning of the message is dependent on the medium used to convey that message” (Borcher’s 258).  Later Borchers goes on consider the constraints that the medium can put on the message (259).  For instance, when one chooses to use pen, paper and written word the message subsequently is limited to the lines of the page (259).

Furthermore, “McLuhan believed that how we think and how we perceive the world are dependent on the communication media we use.  In fact, he hypothesized that electronic media would one day unite all of us in a “global village.” The rhetoric of a culture reflects the media of that culture” (259).

In applying McLuhan’s theory to the performative aspects of slam poetry one can see how the medium impacts the message.

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Slam poetry is just as much about the words spoken as it is about the way in which they are spoken.  When one performs poetry rather than simply writing it the tone of voice, environment, body language and audience all take part in the message. The artist is not limited to the lines of page and is more effectively able to draw on the emotions of the audience.  Pauses, tone changes and movement around the stage create tension and create a connection between the poet and the observer.

Slam poetry is not limited to just one message.  Through their performance poets can address comical topics, societal issues or share personal heartache and experience.

Examples of slam poetry:

“Rape Joke” by a team from Los Angeles

“I Don’t Know My Name” by Grace VanderWaal

“Feminism” by a team from Denver

“Say No” by Megan Falley and Olivia Gatewood

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Borchers, Timothy A. Rhetorical Theory: An Introduction. Long Grove, IL: Waveland, 2011. Print.