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Virtual Persuasive Essays

Professor Madhumita Lahiri

Assistant Professor
English Language and Literature

Professor Lahiri's research focuses on the intersections of language, ideology, political movements, and aesthetic forms and the relationship between the cinematic and the linguistic, both in literal and metaphorical terms.

Dr. Lahiri teaches a variety of upper level courses, including ENG 345: Introduction to Indian Film, a course that focuses on the popular filmmaking industry known as Bollywood.

Dr. Lahiri shares the results a video essay assignment, the objective of which was for students to closely analyze films and utilize sound effects and visual techniques alongside those of a written argument.


Browse resources for the virtual persuasive essay assignment and examples of student work. 

Course Details


ENG 375 Introduction to Indian Cinema

Related Learning Objective:

Demonstrate your skills in close analysis of film in relation to a meaningful series of significant clips from a single film

Assignment Prompt/Description:

Your most substantial piece of work for this course will be a video essay, working in groups of three.

Assignment Details

Part 1: Visual Essay Proposal

Define which member of your group is fulfilling each role – editor, sound designer, scriptwriter – and then answer the following questions:

  1. What is the topic for your video essay? You can phrase this as a question you wish to answer, or as an aspect you wish to highlight.

  2. What parts of the film seem particularly relevant to this topic, and why? You can describe these in relation to the film as a whole (i.e. within the plot).

  3. What resources outside of the film will you need to make your argument? This could include formal academic research, or it could include more popular sources.

  4. How do you plan to complete the project? Please list the meetings that you have scheduled, as well as any additional platforms (i.e. not in person) that you are using for collaboration.

Part 2: Essay Draft

Please upload the following:

  • From the editor: a rough cut (of the scenes that have already been put together), as well as a list of any scenes that are yet to be added, and how the transitions between them will be handled.

  • From the scriptwriter: a complete script for the essay, with each person’s contribution clearly marked.

  • From the sound designer: an acoustic plan for the essay, mentioning the sounds used at various points (voice-over, existing soundtrack, other musical elements, sound effects).

You can always make changes as you bring the project together, but I do want to see a detailed plan at this stage.


Part 3: Final Draft  

Over the course of about a month, you will generate a video that is:

  • Three to five minutes long

  • Contains at least two and no more than five different scenes from the film

  • Provides at least three key formal comments, provided at the relevant point in the clips, whether as voiceover or as on-screen text

  • And suggests an argument, much like a written essay, on how the film works as a whole, given those clips.

Examples of Student Work

EN 375 Fall 2017, Video Essay, Film Majors Example
Students: Brielle Bonetti, Caitlin Ivory, and Emily Martin

EN 375 Fall 2017, Video Essay, No Prior Experience Example
Students: Aditi Jajoo, Richa Patel, and Shashank Rao