Jeffrey Reeder

  • Infographic Evaluation
  • Jeffrey Reeder
  • Modern Languages Literature Dept.

The Assignment

My infographic project was originally going to be based around data comparing Spain with the United States and selected countries in Latin America for my SPAN 306 (Cultures of Spain) course. However, upon further reflection, I opted to conduct the project in my SPAN 300 (Advanced Spanish Language) course instead.

SPAN 300 is the first advanced-level language course in the upper-division sequence; students are challenged by the fact that we require them to read and write in varying linguistic registers or styles, so it was my opinion that this course would serve as a better venue for experimenting with the use of infographics as teaching tools. The particular assignment that was selected was an assignment that had previously been classified as “informative brochure”. In that assignment, students were required to create a tri-fold brochure about a topic of their choosing – students were tasked with using one of the Microsoft Word tri-fold templates for the design and the linguistic goal was to encourage students to be very concise in their use of written language. The best language styles would be those with short, catchy phrases and strategically placed keywords and illustrations, in short, seemingly just what the infographic seems suited for. For this semester, students were given the option of choosing either the infographic or the tri-fold; at the beginning stage of the assignment I demonstrated each one and generated a sample in class (displayed on the projector).

My Evaluation

Adapting my assignment to include infographics was quite simple – little change was needed, indeed, the only difference was that instead of just having to ‘demo’ one format I had to show two, which meant another 15 minutes or so of instructional time. At first I was worried that it would be cumbersome or time-consuming to learn how to do an infographic well enough to demo it “live” in class, but it turned out to be rather simple; I just practiced for a few hours and tried a couple of different websites to satisfy myself that I was recommending a good one to the class. In the end, about half of the students chose to do an infographic, while the other half chose the tri-fold brochure. Students doing the infographic seemed to have fewer technical problems, although both groups did report some kind of difficulty.

In terms of overall results, I’d say that for this particular activity the infographic is a superior way to elicit this type of student work. Students are encouraged to use fewer words on their infograhpic than with more traditional formats, and for purposes of this particular activity that aligns with the goals. This had the corollary benefit of making students’ oral presentations (to the class) of their projects much more spontaneous, with less reading directly the brochure. It is an easily sharable assignment, students seemed pleased with the results, it met the assignment’s goals, and it seemed to have very little impact on workload.