Writing with Media

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OVERVIEW

“So let me be clear that Twitter is a brilliant device — a megaphone for promotion, a seine for information, a helpful organizing tool for everything from dog-lover meet-ups to revolutions. It restores serendipity to the flow of information.” – Bill Keller

Instragram. Twitter. Facebook.

#YesAllWomen. #BlackLivesmatter #JeSuisParis. #LoveWins

Videos. Memes. Podcasts. Tweets.

The 2016 presidential election demonstrated the growing importance of social media. Twitter was – and continues to be – an important communication tool for President Trump and activists who oppose his policies. Social media spaces have changed how we deliberate, how we protest, how we consume news, and how we respond. As we investigate questions about the political and personal nature of writing with new and social media, we will

  • Participate in ongoing conversations via social media.
  • Produce multi-media compositions that address a specific audience and illuminate issues important to you.
  • Reflect on work by theorists in writing studies and technology as well as your processes of composing and the finished projects you create in the course.

As we engage in these activities, we will consider one fundamental question: how and why does technology matter to writing and rhetoric? As we explore the relationships between these ideas, we will investigate and perform a number of genres. In fact, the five graded elements of this course represent different approaches to writing, rhetoric, and technology. Our goals include play, experimentation, and creation, so we’ll spend time each week doing hands-on work with tools including iMovie, Photoshop, Garage Band, and other digital tools you might use to create multimodal texts.

As we investigate topical questions about social media and digital activism, we will also discuss rhetorical elements (including audience, form, delivery, and credibility, to name but a few) and consider how technologies might change the ways that we communicate. 

OUTCOMES

  • After completing this course, students will be able to
  • Engage thoughtfully in social media spaces.
  • Describe key concepts in the study of new and social media.
  • Define and apply rhetorical concepts including ethos, audience, and purpose to new media compositions.
  • Design and compose a variety of new media objects and content using professional tools and practices.
  • Craft rhetorically aware multi-modal products.

REQUIRED TEXTS

  • Abel, Jessica. Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio.
  • Stockman, Steve. How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro.

EVALUATION

15% Social Media Participation

75% Major Assignments

Infographic Project: 15%

Audio Projec: 25%

Video Project: 35%

10% Portfolio & Reflection    

GRADE SCALE

A         100-94 %                                            C         76-73 %

A-        93-90 %                                             C-        72-70 %

B+       89-87 %                                              D+       69-67 %

B          86-83 %                                             D         66-63 %

B-        82-80 %                                              D-       62-60 %

C+       79-77 %                                               F        59-00 %

I will calculate all grades to two decimal points. If the final grade ends in .45 or higher, I will round up to the nearest whole number; if it ends in .44 or lower, I will round down. 

MAJOR PROJECTS

Social Media Participation (Weeks 1-9; 15%)

Beginning during the first week of the term, students will create a profile on at least one social media platform of their choice. Students will be expected to follow/friend relevant groups and leaders and to, when appropriate, participate in conversations surrounding their chosen issue by sharing resources or information related to their own experiences and interest in their chosen issue. Students will be evaluated based on bi-weekly reflective blog entries that detail their participation, explain their chosen community, and connect their participation to readings and concepts from the course.

Purpose: Discover, analyze, and participate in social media conversations surrounding an issue of interest to you

Genre/Form: Tweets, Instagram posts, Facebook statuses, and/or other social media compositions

Infographic Project (Weeks 1-3; 15%)

Students will compose an infographic informing readers about their chosen topic/issue and any digital activism related to that topic. Students may use an infographic maker (like Piktochart or Easel.ly) or another relevant program (including Publisher, PowerPoint, Slides). When submitting drafts, students will include a brief (750-1000 words) cover letter that details their audience, purpose, and rhetorical choices.

Purpose: Inform readers/viewers about your chosen issue and the kind of digital activism surrounding it

Genre/Form: Infographic

Audio Project (Weeks 3-7; 25%)

Students will compose a brief podcast that explains a problem, incident or event related to their chosen issue. This person/incident/event may be well-known among members of the social media community dedicated to your issue but not to the wider audience you will be addressing. When submitting drafts, students will include a brief (750-1000 words) cover letter that details their audience, purpose, and rhetorical choices.

Purpose: Inform readers about a person/incident/event related to your chosen issue

Genre/Form: Audio/podcast of 3-5 minutes

Video Project (Weeks 7-10; 35%)

Students will create a short video that argues for a particular perspective or solution related to your chosen problem or issue. This video should incorporate research and perspectives from multiple voices and should be visually engaging and well-edited. When submitting drafts, students will include a brief (750-1000 words) cover letter that details their audience, purpose, and rhetorical choices.

Purpose: Persuade viewers to consider your perspective and/or proposed solutions to your chosen problem or issue

Genre/Form: video of 2-4 minutes

Course Portfolio (Week 10; 10%)

Throughout the term, students will set goals, plan projects, draft/revise, and reflect on finished products. Those plans, drafts, reflections, and final pieces will be collected and curated on a WordPress site. This site might be a framed as a learning portfolio for this course or as a professional portfolio to be shared with others outside the course.

Purpose: Gather, reflect upon, and curate your projects from the term

Genre/Form: WordPress site

POLICIES

Course Rules: Though there is some additional information in this section, everything you need to know to succeed in this class can be summed up by two rules.

  1. Respect yourself; respect your colleagues; respect me.
  2. In this class, if you do all your work with investment and creativity, come prepared to class, and thoughtfully compose and revise your work in response to feedback, grades tend not to be a problem.

Laptop/tablet/cellphone policy: I encourage you to bring your laptop and/or tablet to class and to maintain annotated digital copies of our course readings. Please use such devices only for educational purposes during class meetings. 

Attendance: Coming to class regularly is a basic expectation for this course. Your chances for success as a writer at Dartmouth will improve if you are present every day, on time, and prepared to participate in discussions and activities. Our limited schedule demands that we move swiftly through the course material; we only rarely have time to revisit texts. More than three absences for any reason may result in a significant reduction to your final grade.

Participation: Contrary to many accounts of the writerly process, writers produce in community. Our class discussions constitute that supportive but challenging community where we can test new ideas and writing techniques. To facilitate this environment, you must come to class prepared to participate fully in class discussions and activities. Write in the margins of your assigned texts. Record questions and responses to all of our readings. Be prepared to offer your thoughts and/or questions in class.

Drafting, Revision, and Conferencing: For our three major projects, you will produce a draft, engage in a peer workshop, and complete a revision. You are also required to attend one-on-one conferences with me to discuss at least two of your essays. I will post available slots for conferencing in advance of the revision due date. I encourage you to arrange a conference for each essay.

Submitting Drafts Electronically: All drafts submitted to me should be submitted electronically via Canvas. Some in-class activities (including peer review) will require hard copies, but you’ll receive plenty of notice.

Portfolio: Collect all relevant course materials (workshop notes, reflections, drafts, feedback, revisions, etc.). Remember to keep track of your electronic files and to protect them by keeping back-up copies. You will turn in your complete portfolio at the end of the term.

Late Work: Extensions will not be granted unless there are extreme, extenuating circumstances. Papers will lose 10 points for every day (NOT class day) they are late (i.e. a B paper will receive a B-).

Honor Principle: Writers produce within discursive communities, which means that you will share your writing and ideas with others during the drafting and revision process. You will gather, consider, and use feedback offered by your peers and by me. However, all work not designated group work must be your own. Appropriate citation, which we will discuss in class, is required for all course work. Plagiarism will result in a failing grade in the course and disciplinary action. Please see the following page for more information: http://Dartmouth.edu/writing-speech/learning/materials/sources-and-citations-dartmouth.

RWIT: Dartmouth offers a fine tutoring center. The Student Center for Research, Writing, and Information Technology offers one-on-one tutorials with undergraduate and graduate tutors trained to help you with your writing project. If you use RWIT to work on one of your projects, I will grant you a 24-hour extension on the revision (only one extension may be used per paper; the consultation must be about the paper for which you are seeking an extension; this extension does not apply to any other writing assignment in the course).

Academic Skills Center (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~acskills/): The Academic Skills Center is open to the entire Dartmouth Community.

Accommodations: Students with disabilities who may need disability-related academic adjustments and services for this course are encouraged to see me privately as early in the term as possible. Students requiring disability-related academic adjustments and services must consult the Student Accessibility Services office (205 Collis Student Center, 646-9900, Student.Accessibility.Services@Dartmouth.edu). Once SAS has authorized services, students must show the originally signed SAS Services and Consent Form and/or a letter on SAS letterhead to their professor. As a first step, if students have questions about whether they qualify to receive academic adjustments and services, they should contact the SAS office. All inquiries and discussions will remain confidential.

Please Note: If your Dartmouth records do not correspond to your gender identity, or if you use a name other than that listed on Canvas, please let me know.

Religious Observances: Some students may wish to take part in religious observances that occur during this academic term. If you have a religious observance that conflicts with your participation in the course, please meet with me before the end of the second week of the term to discuss appropriate accommodations.

 

Image by Danilo Ramos and available on Flickr