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Writing with Digital and Social Media

Credits: 3 May be elected 3 times for credit May be elected more than once in the same term

In WRITING 200, students analyze and apply rhetorical principles in their writing with “new media.” As members of a media-saturated culture, we know that print text is only one form of writing, and sometimes it is not the most effective choice. Because all of us make sense of texts and issues in a variety of ways, these courses ask students to utilize multimodal (visual, aural, etc.) forms of communication and become more informed, critical consumers of new media writing themselves.

Writing 200.001 - The Rhetoric of Infographics

A well-designed infographic can capture a reader’s attention and effectively convey its message by conveying complex information using good design and rhetorical choices. As the popularity of infographics grows, so does the need to critically analyze how data is being visualized and what kinds of rhetorical strategies are being used. In this course, we will examine how a range of infographics tell visual stories from a rhetorical perspective. You will learn how to break down complex information, thoughtfully combine different modes (texts, numbers, images) with informational honesty, consider elements of good design and rhetorical persuasion, and use relevant technological tools. You will also have several opportunities to apply this knowledge to your own infographic compositions.

Writing 200.002 - The Art of the Photo Essay

In this course, you will experiment with different ways of making meaning and telling stories with photographic images. Technically, this course will introduce you to elements of visual composition, as well as basic editing software. Narratively, you will learn how to craft complex stories using both images alone as well as combinations of image and text. Throughout the course you will keep a website that visually documents the evolution of your projects as well as your development as a photographer. You will also write regular reflections on your photographic journey as you work your way toward assembling a portfolio of four thematically and formally distinct photo essays.

Writing 200.003 - Art of the Video Essay

This course is an inquiry into the video essay as a form. We will explore the interplay within text, image and sound as we investigate how to evoke a feeling and to build a narrative through image. We will examine and analyze the many styles of video essays from the lyrical to the analytical — including work by Claudia Rankine and Tony Zhou. You will have the opportunity to make a series of experiments in this genre. The course will culminate with a final individual video essay project of your own design.

Writing 200.004 - Sports Media and the Opposite of Hot Takes

It feels like whenever sports are brought up today, there’s always a “hot take”—the attention-seeking opinion that causes a stir. Often, unfair comparisons are made about players or teams all for the sake of getting ideas out in the universe as soon as possible. What if we took the time to tell a nuanced and researched sports story or work of art? 

In this course, we’ll be focused on long-term projects and narratives written by innovative sportswriters. We’ll watch short films and videos made by Jon Bois and Katie Nolan, read hilarious columns by Shea Serrano, discover features from Bryant Gumbel, and do class activities like creating our own sports—ever heard of professional stone skipping? 

Our class’s activities will involve analyzing the rhetorical appeals of these varied texts and multimedia projects. Our projects will be long-form, modeling our class texts, built in parts over weeks. Do you want to write an article about a local sports hero that you’ve always wanted to interview? Make a video analyzing the stats of a cricket star? Film a short documentary about cheerleading? Record a podcast on the history of your favorite baseball card? The groundwork to creating self-directed, persuasive, and thoughtful works of art tied to sports starts here.