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The IDEAL Semester

This tailored semester is designed to use when teaching the Rhetoric curriculum. The projects and assignments promote deep and multifaceted student learning in the crucial skills of writing, reading, speaking, and listening across the core assignments of Rhetoric: rhetorical analysis, understanding diverse perspectives, and creating informed persuasion. Students also learn civic responsibility, information literacy, multimodal composition, and collaboration skills.

Document: The IDEAL Semester


IDEAL works with such partners as the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities to create podcasts of community leaders in Muscatine, the DIY History project in the University of Iowa’s Libraries to digitally transcribe archival texts, and piloted over the summer of 2014 a street art performance series with the Iowa City Downtown District. IDEAL’s mission is to create sustainable and appropriate project-based digital assignment for students and interested community partners.

Would you like to set up a partnership with IDEAL? Email us at to set up a meeting!

Starting an IDEAL Project

While IDEAL originated from a pilot program in the University of Iowa’s Rhetoric Department, the basic process for assignment design and digital engagement can be applied for most partners who are seeking to leverage digital resources, work with communities outside the classroom, or simply introduce innovation and collaboration amongst students to create lasting work that endures beyond the semester. IDEAL can provide pedagogical training for instructors and faculty, provide instruction on digital tools and technology, and offer assignment design to facilitate enhanced learning opportunities.

Have an idea for a project and looking for collaboration? Email us at to set up a meeting!

IDEAL Project Toolkit

Outlined below is a step-by-step guide to the best method of creating IDEAL projects and partnerships.

Step 1. Pre -Planning: Digital engagement and learning can be a valuable component of any course or initiative. A preliminary meeting will help you assess whether the IDEAL model will help you accomplish your goals. To schedule a meeting, contact

Step 2. Instructor Interest: IDEAL projects should be driven by instructor interest from the early stages of development.

Step 3. Inclusive Partnerships: IDEAL will help participants identify all key stakeholders connected with the project. Gaps and weaknesses in stakeholder groups should be identified and filled before project launch.

Step 4. Project Viability: Partners involved in developing an IDEAL project should have a basic understanding of the extent of digital capabilities and their boundaries.

Step 5. Visioning Exercise: Partners should undertake a visioning exercise with all major stakeholders to identify the issues, objectives, and timeline.

Step 6. Development Resources: Partners will work with IDEAL to identify and secure necessary resources.

Step 7. Project Launch: Release forms are prepared for clients, subjects, and students. A web template is created for the project on

IDEAL Partnership Flyer

PDF iconIDEAL Toolkit flyer.pdf