Audio Essay: Song Analysis

Increasingly, New Media projects in writing courses are a way to teach critical skills and help students see themselves as producers of authentic texts, with meaningful ideas to share. However, New Media pedagogy has yet to be widely applied to Basic Writing courses—for populations that most feel they “don’t belong.” Problematically, these students often enter the university believing that their experience, language, and texts have no place in the academy.

Responding to this disparity, in Fall 2016 I collaborated with two colleagues, Margaret Frozena and Jason Peerce, on an audio essay assignment for ENG095R. The assignment introduced students to textual analysis by way of a spoken-word music review. By recording an audio essay, the students’ dual role as producer and audience created an enhanced sense of purpose for the assignment. The resulting texts demonstrated both student ownership and analytical depth.

We shared our experiences with planning, teaching, and evaluating the audio essay at the 2017 Pedagogicon, Innovations in Teaching and Learning. A revised version of our presentation appears in the conference Proceedings and in a Special Supplement to The Journal of Faculty Development, vol.31 no.3, 2017.


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