Rhetoric, Composition, Computers

Course Goals:

This course is
designed to introduce you to the theoretical and practical elements of
composing arguments for public audiences in the digital age using new
technologies. You will examine foundational principles of classical rhetoric as
they are enacted in traditional print media and as they are reconfigured in/by
electronic media. You will apply those principles as you analyze and produce
digital (or digitally enhanced) compositions that make use of a variety of
currently popular software applications.


Because this is an
introductory course that explores the intersections among rhetoric,
composition, and computers, you will not be expected to learn any particular software
program in serious depth; nonetheless, you will be expected to learn about (and
begin to make use of) a handful of contemporary applications that will
facilitate electronic communications. In past courses, for example, students
have learned to utilize programs like GarageBand and Acid, Photoshop, Flash,
Dreamweaver, i-web, and WordPress—all at an introductory level, and all through
a lens of rhetorical theory and practice. This will be a highly collaborative
class: you will learn through seminar-style discussions, through workshops in
which you teach each other new software applications, and through shared
processes of writing and revising.


The writings you
produce for this class will primarily consist of the following:

  • email interactions and/or blog posts,
  • an analytic academic essay that will be web-based and will
    incorporate graphics, hyperlinks, and/or other media, and
  • one substantive digital composition in which you make use of
    digital tools in a rhetorically effective way.

Because of how
collaborative and interactive this course will be, attendance will be
mandatory: if this is a semester in which you cannot come almost every class
session, this is not a course you should take at this time.