Course and Assignment Description

Rhetoric 379c: Advanced Topics in Rhetoric and Writing is an advanced course focused on specific theories or practices of rhetoric and writing

In this course, we will explore how the changing multime­dia landscape is opening the possibilities for rhetorical com­munication and how those changes impact critical scholarship. Particularly, we will focus on how the changes associated with the emerging digital culture, changes intricately linked with digital com­munication technologies, radically alter how we come to and come to understand rhetorical discourse. From this perspective, we will con­sider the production/creation, distribution/dissemination, and assess­ment/evaluation of multimedia, and critically/creatively examine poten­tial methodologies, heuristics, and heuretics for examining these areas.

With our focus being on digital communication technologies and rhe­torical discourse, we will approach the course in terms of knowing (theoretical knowledge), doing (practical or pedagogical knowledge), and making (productive knowledge)—placing an emphasis on mak­ing. This emphasis is paramount as making not only opens a variety of ways to engage different types, kinds, processes, and practices of rhe­torical communication, but also is one of the key advantages of working in digital culture where making, not knowing, takes center stage. As such, students will be required to complete several digital productions.


Multimedia Research-Argument Creation
Using the principles, skills, and techniques learned in the course to this point, students should create a multimedia researched-based argumentative “document.” These creations should demonstrate a significant research effort as well as showcase students abilities to write, think, and express themselves via the integration of multiple media. But unlike the common approach to this type of “writing,” where students/researchers write a traditional paper and then try to remediate that into multimedia forms, these MRCs will be “born digital” in the sense discussed by Anne Friedberg. Meaning, students will think, draft, design, and revise in multimedia, not engage in a text-to-multimedia practice.

This title, multimedia researched-argument creation, is a fairly wide-open description, but its breadth is necessary as each MRC will be different and take different shape depending on the topic and intent of each student-author. In fact, each issue driving these creations and the varying rhetorical strategies employed in them will determine the shape, scope, and/or mix of these projects. We will more fully discuss this “scope” flexibility in-class, both on the day this project is assigned and throughout the course, to ensure students have a solid grasp of how to navigate these potential floating guides.

That being said, more concrete guidelines include:

Must take a stance on an issue/topic and attempt to persuade readers/viewers;

Must integrate and/or utilize multiple media for rhetorical purpose;

Must include at least 15 quality sources:
– At least 5 must come from scholarly resources
– At least 5 must come from non-textual media

Must be created in Sophie or in a Web authoring platform

The content areas of each of these MRCs can and will vary. But they should all have a touchstone in multimedia scholarship. Thus, whether topics touch on issues of subjectivity or perspectivism in visual media, rhetorical invention in multimedia authoring, the role of multimedia for creative fiction, or issues of convergence, remediation, and the like, students should be attempting to critically work through an issue of some relevance to the larger course theme.