Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}


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 - Attention and Digital Landscapes

Are you paying attention? To what, and why? Are you happy about how you're spending your precious and limited hoard of attention? The digital landscape clamors for our attention, begging–or forcing–us to spend it, with dazzling images, juicy tidbits of information, and, of course, the stealthy algorithms that deliver all of this amazing content right to our devices, just for us. In this course, we'll take a step outside of this landscape so we can pay more attention to how we're traversing it, and ask ourselves whether the attention we pay online is well spent. We'll spend time in class experimenting with different modes of reading, observing, and writing–some digital, some analog; some inside and some outside the classroom–to discover more about what can help us pay more, or a better kind, of attention to the world around us.

Outside of class, you'll write about these experiences and read what other writers and artists have to say about attention. Expect weekly readings and informal writing assignments, one major project due at the end of class, and a project proposal due at the midpoint, with regular attendance and participation during class sessions comprising a non-trivial portion of your grade. 

Writing 201.002 - Writing with ChatGPT

ChatGPT, a human-like AI chat bot, went live on November 22, 2022, and has since acquired millions of users. In this course, we will investigate ChatGPT’s features, including its use as a digital tool for writers. Through course readings and discussions, we’ll consider how ChatGPT might shape notions of authenticity, authorship, citation, editing, and plagiarism. Throughout the class, students will experiment writing with ChatGPT in all stages of the writing process. As a final project, students will submit a portfolio that critically reflects on their experiences writing with ChatGPT.

Writing 201.003 - 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 201.004 - Tell Me What To Do: The Rhetoric of Online Advice

When people anonymously seek guidance from an advice columnist, or a forum like reddit’s r/AmITheAsshole, they are often seeking solace, sympathy, practical suggestions, and, whether they like it or not, moral judgment. A peek at the pleas for help on daily columns like Dear Prudence, Ask a Manager, and Carolyn Hax reveals resonant cultural crises of our times, just as newspaper columns like Dear Abby and Victorian conduct guides did in years past. In this mini-course, we will explore how advice columns reveal fascinating implications about the norms of etiquette, relationships, self-perception, and how we “should” go about something. In other words, we will explore ideological and rhetorical nuances of “online advice.” 

Writing 201.005 - What Makes an Influencer?

Ten years ago, “influencer” was not even really a common term used to describe a person. Almost no one could say “influencer” was their career. With the advent of highly democratized and multimodal mass communication, especially via YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, becoming an “influencer” is now the pinnacle of self-made social media greatness, and some influencers enjoy celebrity on par with major artists and actors.

How did this happen? What are the ingredients to success? In this course, we’ll investigate the influencer phenomenon via closely studying one particular influencer’s career and compositional style. You’ll choose an influencer relevant to a hobby or other cultural area that you care about, and we’ll analyze them and learn their tricks over this mini-course. 

Writing 201.006 - 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.