ENG 513 Digital Rhetoric syllabus, updated winter 2012 #513dr

Course: ENG 513 Digital Rhetoric
Semester: Winter 2012
Teacher/Guide: Dr. James Schirmer
E-mail: jschirm@umflint.edu
Office: 320D French Hall
Hours: Tues/Thurs by appointment
Mailbox: 326 French Hall

Writing Center: 559 French Hall
Writing Center Phone: 810.766.6602 (call ahead to make an appointment)
Writing Center Website: http://www.umflint.edu/departments/writingcenter/

Course Description:
Attempts at understanding the cultural significance of the internet proliferate almost as fast as new software, hardware, and social worlds become available to us. The exploration and interrogation of various and sundry digital media now happens alongside their use (or at least should). This class will consider the means of communication and of persuasion through digital media and the possible biases within. This class should have practical use in helping us pay closer and more careful attention to how and what we use to communicate in digital contexts. Course work will include engaging peers and texts through a social network and the development of a significant media project based on approaches discussed in class.

Course Objectives:
Upon completion of this course, you will have:

  • Read key texts in digital rhetoric in preparation for professional presentations and publications
  • Developed an understanding of theories and methods for studying digital media
  • Practiced the application of said theories and methods to the design and/or analysis of digital objects
  • Prepared one or more manuscripts suitable for conference presentations and/or journal submissions 

Required Texts:
Brooke, Collin Gifford. Lingua Fracta: Toward a Rhetoric of New Media.
All other reading materials will be available online or provided via email.

Course Contributions: 
The grading contract outlines many parameters for the course, but not all. Below is more information about the contributions required of all students:

Presence (in class): I expect you to come to class on time, prepared, having completed the assigned reading and writing, and ready to contribute thoughts to class discussions, to listen with attentive respect to the thoughts of your peers, and to participate in all in-class work. I urge you to attend every class, as most of the work done in class is necessary for successful completion of the course. 

Presence (online): To create and sustain further conversation this semester, you are required to create and maintain Pen.io and Twitter accounts. At least one Pen.io page is due every week for the duration of the semester. One “tweet” per weekday is required for at least the first four weeks of the semester. Further details on Pen.io are available here. Further details on Twitter are available here.

Approaches to Digital Rhetoric (ADR): This assignment provides an opportunity for students to explore the proliferation of lively, ongoing conversations around, in, and with digital rhetoric. Further details are available here

Facilitation: Starting Week 6, class sessions will begin with a student-led, 60-minute facilitation based on assigned readings. The facilitation should begin with a pecha kucha presentation, but what follows that is for the student(s) to decide. The bulk of the facilitation can take whatever format is comfortable for the student(s) presenting (discussion questions, in-class activities, online activities, etc.). Students will meet with the instructor at least one week prior to their facilitation to discuss approaches.

Digital Rhetoric Project (DRP): To account for the nebulous nature of digital rhetoric, there are some options regarding the semester-end project, including a portfolio of identity, a professional journal article, or a significant digital document. Further details on these options are available here.

On Technology Use:
We will engage a range of computer tools and web-based applications. No prior skill is needed, only a willingness to engage and learn. If we need to take extra time to engage and learn, all you need to do is ask.

A majority of the tools we will be using in and outside of class are web-based, so you will not need any special software. I might, however, have some recommendations (not requirements) that I will provide at appropriate intervals. Furthermore, you should have an email address that you check regularly for this class. While I prefer to contact students via university email, I am open to other email addresses.

While technology makes life easier, it can also be difficult (computer crashes, deleted work, unavailable Internet connections, etc.). So, plan accordingly. "The computer ate my homework" or "the Internet was down" are not reasons to forgo the work assigned. It is in your best interest to leave extra time, especially in the first few weeks, to ensure that technology does not get in the way of your coursework.

How to Reach Me:
The best way to reach me is by email <jschirm@umflint.edu>. You can also contact me via Twitter <twitter.com/betajames>. I am online almost every day. If you email or @ me and do not receive a response within 24 hours, please feel free to email or @ me again as a reminder. I promise not to consider this harassment. If you are more comfortable with face-to-face communication, you are welcome to schedule an appointment Tuesday/Thursday. My office is 320D French Hall.

Final Note:
Should any aspect of class confuse/concern/trouble you, don't hesitate to contact me.