RHE 312: Writing in Digital Environments (Fall 2018)

Fall 2018. TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 104


312 Syllabus (Fall 2018)

Fake news, bot accounts, trolls, secret sales of personal data, targeted political ads and disiniformation campaigns—the stakes for writing in digital environments have never felt higher. Yet, despite its dangers, digital writing is an undeniably incredible mode of persuasion. Today, it is easier than ever to create and distribute compelling content to the world, and this ease empowers far more people than those who tend to already have it.

In this course we will analyze a variety of venues and rhetors that illustrate the opportunities and pitfalls for digital writing. Meanwhile, you will research a topic of your choice and its rhetorical activity across these venues. Finally, in a series of in-class workshops, you will learn to create different types of digital writings (e.g., visual, auditory); this work will culminate in a final multimodal project that is aimed to persuade audience members for your topic in an online venue of your choice. You don’t need arrive to this class with prior technical or rhetorical knowledge about writing in digital environments, but you will certainly leave with some. In addition, revision will be an integral and celebrated part of this course.

Required Texts:

  • Nicotra, Jodie. Becoming Rhetorical.
  • Williams, James. Stand out of our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy.
  • Additional readings will be supplied by instructor.

Major Projects:

  1. Wiki Essay (revision and peer review are mandatory)
  2. News Media Essay
  3. Rhetorical Analysis of a Digital Venue (revision is encouraged, and peer review is mandatory)
  4. Digital Writing Project (revision is encouraged, and peer review is mandatory)

Other Assignments

  1. Blog Posts
  2. Research Journal Entries
  3. Digital Writing Portfolio


Although students will regularly receive detailed feedback on their coursework, they will not receive traditional letter grades for these assignments. Instead, assessment will be based around the Learning Record portfolio system. In addition to completing the course assignments, students will submit a midterm and final portfolio that demonstrates growth across six dimensions of learning: confidence and independence; skills and strategies; knowledge and understanding; use of prior and emerging experience; reflection; and creativity and imagination.