Writing with Digital & Social Media (200: 3-credit, 201: 1-credit)

Our Writing 200 and 201 courses are among the most popular Sweetland courses with topics that include photo essay, podcasting, technical writing, and rhetorical analysis of social media platforms, infographics, blogging.

Writing 200.001 - The Art of Podcasting This three-credit digital media course introduces students to the genre of podcasting with a focus on collecting stories within our local communities. We’ll explore engaging podcasts to examine what makes them tick. We'll practice the art of interviewing, asking questions and close listening. As a class, we will envision and create a podcast season together; each student will have the opportunity to draft and design a podcast episode and to work collaboratively. The final project will be your podcast episode that will be published on a public website, Michigan Voices.

Writing 200.002 - Hoaxes, Parodies, Conspiracies, and Lies: Confronting Fake News in All its Guises In this course, we will examine the ways that political discourse has changed during and after the 2016 election to challenge the very notion of shared, objective reality, and consider what, if anything, can be done about it.We will consider the historical roots of “fake news” in America as well as a range of contemporary examples, from misinformation regarding Covid-19 and the 2020 election to the return of flat-earthers and the rise of QAnon. Regular written assignments will include critical analysis of fake news stories, drafts of parody news stories, proposals for anti-fake-news action plans, and reflections on our evolving understanding of fact and falsehood in the so-called post-truth age.

Writing 201.001 How Not to be a Troll: The Rhetoric of Online Commenting In this course, we will focus on understanding and analyzing the rhetorical strategies of online comment culture, from places like that strive to have civil participatory spaces to the strategies of the subcultural troll. We will identify some of the rhetorical conventions of civil (and uncivil) commenting, and question what constitutes normative online communication. We will complete weekly short (1-2 page) writing assignments to analyze online commenting culture, reflectively participate in comment culture ourselves, and gain a broader understanding of what it means to engage “below the line.”

Writing 201.002 The Rhetoric of Instagram: A Workshop for Content Creators In this course, we’ll look at Instagram as a complex expressive ecosystem, one that includes images, language, stories, hashtags, videos, and more. By bringing a rhetorical lens to bear on successful Instagram accounts from diverse Insta communities, students will gain a keener sense of how to compose messages that resonate and matter for their own Instagram audiences.

For International and Multilingual Students

In Writing 229 Editing & Style for International and Multilingual Students, students explore the rhetorical effectiveness of stylistic elements commonly found in American academic and professional writing. In each class, students will work individually on editing exercises and collaboratively in stylistic discussions. Students will have a chance to bring their own essays and editing questions to workshops with their classmates and the instructor. Additionally, students will identify and practice styles of writing in different contexts, such as writing in science, business, and psychology.  (1-credit)

Writing 240 Professional & Technical Presentation for International & Multilingual Students is designed to prepare future engineers, scientists, business persons, physicians, architects, etc. who need to present professional and technical information in international contexts. Students in this course will design presentations for experts and lay audiences. To achieve this goal, we will study the rhetorical components of presentations, such as audience types (e.g., selected and concerted), audience’s background knowledge (e.g., expert and lay audience), and purposes of presentations (e.g., informative and persuasive); we will analyze and practice techniques for creating engaging introductions and impactful conclusions; we will study and apply organizational techniques (e.g., inductive and deductive) for presenting information clearly and efficiently; we will discuss and practice persuasive strategies in presentations (e.g., logos, ethos, and pathos appeal); we will synthesize different modes (e.g., texts and visuals) into presentations; we will practice techniques for handling audience questions.

Transitional Writing Courses

Transfer undergraduates and other upper-division undergraduates who feel they may need additional support in upper-level writing can enroll in Writing 350: Excelling in Upper-Level Writing. This course can be taken at the same time as a ULWR course. Operating in a workshop and discussion format, it provides an opportunity to identify writing strengths and issues, set personal goals, and practice writing in a collaborative environment. The course uses the writing that students produce in other classes as the basis for workshops. (1-credit)

Students who have yet to fulfill the First-Year Writing Requirement who want to improve their ability to express ideas and arguments in writing can enroll Writing 100: The Practice of Writing. This course emphasizes an intensive one-on-one approach to teaching writing, including frequent student-teacher conferences. It addresses key features of college writing including: analysis in addition to summary; revision for focus and clarity; development and generation of ideas; and style built on a solid grasp of conventions of grammar and punctuation. Students gain confidence for writing assignments typical of college classes. Activities include discussion and analysis of readings, explanation and modeling of writing strategies and techniques, along with peer review workshops. (3-credit)

Writing 120 College Writing for International and Multilingual Students is a three-credit course is designed to prepare international and multilingual students for their first-year writing courses. It will guide students in typical university writing practices, including an emphasis on developing well-researched, properly cited papers. Students will develop written fluency and improve their command of grammatical, textual, rhetorical, and multimodal conventions common in a variety of academic disciplines. Students will also work towards the aim of developing a rhetorical perspective on multilingualism as it relates to writing and communication. (3-credit)