ArchiMedia Lab is the research arm of MIT's Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication program (WRAP).

Suzanne Lane and Andreas Karatsolis,

Principal Investigators

ArchiMedia has a set of interconnected research priorities: (i) analyze professional and academic communication practices, (ii) examine how they are changing with new media, (iii) develop and assess pedagogy for teaching communication (iv) develop new digital tools for textual analysis and for interactive education in communication. This work builds on close textual analysis of professional communication at the discourse, genre, media, and rhetorical levels, and focuses specifically on the intersection of field-specific reasoning and communication practices.  ArchiMedia’s projects contribute both to broader knowledge in the fields of Rhetoric, Composition, and Media Studies, and to applications in communication pedagogy, in both traditional and online environments.

A sampling of current and past projects:

NORA (No One Revises Alone) is an online micro-peer review platform that can be used for several related functions.  Unlike many online peer-review platforms, NORA is structured so that students will engage in conversation about each other’s texts at the paragraph and sentence level, and provide formative response on the development of syntax, structure, and meaning.  Among its uses are teaching paraphrase, or close textual analysis of poetry, or engaging language-study students in detailed discussion of translations.   

Metalogon is a rhetorically-based video annotation system for providing formative feedback on speeches and oral presentations. In addition to providing the capacity to tag and annotate specific phrases, gestures, and rhetorical moves of the speech in detail, this platform also collates all of the annotated videos into a searchable library of specific examples of these rhetorical features, for use in instruction.

Discipline-specific reasoning and communication diagrams—these diagrams visualize central concepts in disciplines, and map the logical relationships between these concepts, to reveal underlying explanatory paths for communicating research in the discipline to different audiences.  The diagrams aid those new to a field in both understanding and explaining research, and in internalizing communication practices in the field.

Generative Rubrics are genre-specific developmental rubrics that describe levels of performance in a genre, identifying at a fine-grained level what students know how to do well, know to do but not how to accomplish well, or don't yet know to do. Beyond describing levels of accomplishment in conceptual and procedural knowledge, these generative rubrics also provide formative instruction on how to improve. These rubrics aid in creating alignment between instruction and feedback, and between the feedback of multiple instructors in large classes. Importantly, they make the categories of evaluation explicit for students, and increases their meta-awareness of rhetorical moves and strategies. The specificity of the rubrics also allows them to function as research tools, which can be used for assessment of instruction, to drive curriculum, and for longitudinal research on student writing development.