Course & Assignment Description – Jason (1.1)


Rhetoric 312: Writing in Digital Environments

University Course Catalog
A writing course focusing on using, interpreting, and analyzing traditional and emerging technologies. Taught in a Computer Writing and Research Lab (CWRL) classroom.

Instructor Syllabus Course Description
This course will explore the changing dynamic of “writing” as it moves from the exclusivity of print-culture (or what often gets reduced to the notion of “literacy”) toward digital culture (or what we might reconstitute in Gregory L. Ulmer’s term “Electracy”). As such, we will investigate the processes and products for “writing” in digital environments, turning a critical eye on the very notion of “writing” itself, and we will examine the possibilities for rhetorical communication (via “writing”) in our emerging digital world.

As part of this course, students will be introduced to varying classical rhetoric concepts and then be asked to consider and discuss the evolution of those concepts in light of a digital age: reconsidering not only audience, text, rhetorical situation, and authorship and authority, but also issues of ethics, of civic engagement, or even the unfolding possibilities for thought itself (unfolding via changes in the communicative apparatus).

Multimedia Research Essay

As this course explores writing in digital environments, it is imperative that we explore writing across media and writing that integrates media for rhetorical purposes. Thus, you will be required to complete an MRE. This title, multimedia research essay, is a fairly wide-open description and it will remain that way as each issue driving the essays (and the varying rhetorical strategies employed in them) will determine what the shape, scope, mix of these projects will be and include. We will more fully discuss this “scope” flexibility in-class, both on the day this project is assigned and throughout the course, to ensure you 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 12 sources

– At least 6 must come from print sources

– At least 3 must come from non-text sources

– Must be delivered in electronic/digital format

These MREs can be produced in any number of delivery platforms, ranging from an e-book platform (e.g., Sophie2) to a Website platform, from Adobe Flash to Adobe In Design, from a PDF with embedded media to a PowerPoint production. We will discuss specific platforms in class and training/assistance will be provided on how to produce multimedia essays in the specific forms we choose as a class.


This project requires multiple drafts and multiple check points throughout the process. As such, the 20% total breaks down as follows:

12% – MRE Final Deliverable

2.5% – Draft 1 & Workshop

2.5% – Draft 2 & Workshop

3% – Other (topic selection, preliminary sketches, revision process, etc.)

Specific guidelines and grading criteria for each of these will be established in class from evaluative criteria discussion between students and instructor.