Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dively, Ronda


The purpose of this project is to argue the effectiveness of utilizing comics as a learning tool in the first-year composition classroom to help students better understand synthesis. The two main features of comics that help teach synthesis are comic panels and comic closure. Library research was conducted to give insight into the history and terminology of comics, the value of comics in the classroom and in the field of rhetoric and composition, the practicality of using visual rhetoric and literacy in the classroom, and synthesis in the first-year composition classroom. I furthered my research by conducting a retrospective account of my own synthesis comic that I created during my graduate program. I analyzed how creating the synthesis comic helped me to better understand synthesis. I also analyzed how I was better able to effectively execute synthesis specifically through the genre conventions of panels and comic closure. Based on insights from my retrospective account, I will illustrate how the scaffolding exercise of creating a synthesis comic can be an effective tool in the first-year composition classroom. Additionally, I will offer suggestions for further research on the significance of this scaffolding exercise. Comics are becoming more widely valued in academia at large, as well as valued specifically in the field of rhetoric and composition. It is my hope that this thesis will contribute positively to this trend.




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