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Writing with Digital and Social Media Mini-Courses

Credits: 1 | May be elected 3 times for credit | May be elected more than once in the same term

In WRITING 201, students analyze and apply rhetorical principles in their writing with digital media. A variety of topics and innovation in pedagogy are hallmarks of this course. Why pay attention to multimedia in a writing course? As members of a media-saturated culture, we know that print text is only one form of "writing" and communication, and sometimes it is not the most effective choice. Because all of us make sense of texts and issues in a variety of ways, this course will ask students to utilize multimodal (visual, aural, kinetic, etc.) forms of communication and become more informed and critical consumers of digital media writing themselves.

Writing 201.001 - Collecting Stories

Do you love stories, especially getting other folks to tell theirs? This one-credit digital media course will introduce you to conducting field research interviews in order to collect valuable stories. We will examine the art of interviewing as we explore how to define a narrative arc for a person’s story. Ultimately, we’ll be working to find and shape those stories that best represent the person doing the telling. We’ll think about how voice, inflection, pacing, and soundscapes can contribute to meaning.

Using Story Corps and other forms of ethnographic story collection as models, we will share drafts and conduct peer review of our rough cuts. Students will have the opportunity to contribute to an on-going campus story archive.

Writing 201.002 - Zines

Do you like making things? Are your ideas waiting for a way to be expressed? 

You may be ready to make some zines. 

Our making-centered course will include a glimpse into zine history so far and why zines can matter to individuals, communities and movements. We will explore zines from DIY culture, punk, and Riot Grrrl, including photo zines by Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot, comic zines, and perzines. We will build our own zines in a series of experiments: writing, drawing (stick figures welcome!) and doodling, collage and design. Our class will focus on process and experimenting, with lots of feedback and revision, as we self-publish our own zines. 

pronounced: “zeen;” an imaginative & rebellious form, related to the more conventional and commercial “magazine” 

Writing 201.003 - The Rhetoric of Instagram: A Workshop for Content Creators

Aristotle defined rhetoric as the faculty of observing, in any given case, the available means of persuasion. In this course you will experiment with different ways of making meaning on Instagram by identifying and interrogating all of Instagram’s available means of persuasion—of which the visual image or video is only a part. We’ll accomplish this by composing a range of rhetorically-situated, course-inspired IG content, including posts, reels, and stories, which we will workshop every week. While the workshop process is aimed at improving your technical skills and vision, you will also draw inspiration from seeing how others in class are handling the assignment. From this corpus of weekly content, you will select several posts or videos to refine, revise and submit at the end of the semester as part of a final IG portfolio.

Writing 201.004 - Digital Archiving as Ritual

How do we bring intention, respect, curiosity and creativity to the practice of collection? How do we represent others and the materials they’ve created to a new audience? How do we curate multiple artifacts and narratives so that together they become a SEAMLESS archive mindful of its sum and its parts? How do we bring mindfulness to digital tools and scholarship? What does ritual mean to you and how can ritual be enacted through archiving? In this course you will create a digital archive with artifacts of your choosing. Through a framework of ritual, we will encounter texts, tools, and archives to prepare you for the skillful, ethical, rhetorical, personal, and communal practice of digital archiving.

Writing 201.005 - Yik Yak and Affect

In Yik Yak and Affect we focus on how posts on Yik Yak participate in a rhetorical and social discourse, and we attempt to apply affect theory to a social app. In other words, we delve into Yik Yak to discover, describe, and define affects that arise as we use the app.

The course explores new practices in multimodal and digital writing, with a special attention to the many social situations when subjects and objects participate in meaning making. Students do not need any special technical expertise to take this course, although having a smart phone or tablet to access the app is necessary. Students who are pursuing a minor in Writing or in Digital Studies are invited to enroll.