Welcome to the CourseSite for English 308j - Digital Rhetorics & Literacies, Spring 2016. When we're not meeting face-to-face, this is the main portal through which you will access course materials and information. You'll also create your own blog for the course and use it to post responses to readings, short assignments, and projects. The design of this course emerges from the assumption that learning writing and rhetoric in the 21st century should include digital literacies that innovations in technology over the last 30 years have brought about. The goals for this course are centered on improving our writing, reading, and critical thinking abilities, but we will also consider what it means to be "literate" during this time in history when texts, and they ways we write and read them, are undergoing massive changes. To accomplish this we'll read and write frequently to both increase our understanding of digital literacies and practice them, using new media and web technologies for writing projects. One central idea that will be a common thread throughout the course is the notion that texts and the writing technologies used to produce them are tools that influence our social lives, feelings, behaviors, even identities. We're also going to start thinking about texts as more than just printed words on the page. As digital technologies develop and become more widely available, texts are increasingly including image, video, and modes of organization that go beyond the traditional. Projects in this course include a personal essay written from your social media feeds, a Wikipedia edit, an analysis of a digital community, and a reflective essay on how you've come to understand digital literacy by the end of the course.
Attitudes for Success
The success of this course depends a great deal on the energy and engagement each of us brings to the course. I want to do something a little unorthodox here and ask that each of you do your best to bring three attitudes to our meetings, the assignments, and your interactions with me and each other. First, I ask that you be interested. Interest, to me, means a curiosity, a desire to learn something new and expand or develop your current ways of thinking. Second, I ask that you are engaged with this course, that you bring a sustained level of physical and mental attention to all of our activities. Finally, I ask that you bring an experimental attitude to the course, a way of looking at ideas and assignments that is both open-minded and appreciative of readings and projects that are challenging or present ideas that are new or uncomfortable.