Writing

I’ll ask you to do some brief writing for this course each week.  I anticipate that most of these pieces will run around 400-500 words, and that their tone and format will often be personal, informal, and experimental. The running deadline will be Thursday at 10:00 AM.

I’ll ask you to post most of your pieces to this course website. One consequence is that your work will have a public and collaborative aspect. This site will feature all our voices, not just mine. I hope you agree with me that there is something exciting about that.

For the first few weeks of the semester, you will be writing in response to the books we are reading together: Carr, boyd, Ronson. I’ll ask you to work as part of a group of five students who read, comment, and talk about each other’s post from week to week. (It would be pretty much impossible for any of you to keep up meaningfully with the work of all 25 writers in this class.) And, as we continue through the term, I will ask you to incorporate different media into your responses—mixing images, video, audio, and hyperlinks with your written text.

But I’ll also ask you to compose some different types of texts as we move forward. These will include a 60-second video, a review or comment posted to another website, a text that intervenes in a public debate outside this class, a profile of a digital writer, and a portfolio that showcases your work as a digital writer. We’ll talk much more from week to week about the focus and aim of each of these writings. For now, here’s what I can tell you about what I’ll look for in your work:

  • Do you have interesting things to say about the texts we are reading and issues we are discussing?
  • Do you write clear and engaging prose?
  • Do you make imaginative use of the affordances of the web—links, images, audio, video, slides, etc?
  • Do your make effective use of other texts when useful?
  • Are you professional? Do you edit your writing carefully? Document your sources? Double-check your links? Tag and categorize your posts?

In addition, I’ll expect you to keep up with and contribute to the social media feeds for this course on Facebook, Twitter (#e397dr), and Instagram (#e397dr). As a rule of thumb, try to make two or more posts per week to these platforms.

Since what I most want you to do in this course is to (a) write frequently, and (b) experiment with a wide range of formats and media, I will not assign letter grades to individual pieces. Instead I will simply mark your pieces with a √ or √– as a way of tracking whether your work is thoughtful, imaginative, and on time. See Grades for how I will convert these checks into a letter grade at the end of the semester.

I think that together we can create an interesting and dynamic website for what I hope will be a stimulating and engaging course . I look forward to reading your work!