Rhetoric, Comp & Computers

This course is designed to introduce you to the rhetorical complexities and practices of composing texts for public audiences in the digital age. A key issue in, perhaps even the source of, said rhetorical complexities lies in what counts (or doesn’t) as “civil discourse.” What are the competing conceptions of civility? How are incivility and resistance different — or are they? How have historically disenfranchised groups been dogged by accusations of being uncivil? How important is civility to repairing a fractured public sphere today?

You will be introduced to key concepts and principles in rhetoric, particularly as they pertain to civility (e.g., what Quintilian calls “the good man speaking well”), and you will explore those concepts and principles by analyzing and producing digital compositions. You will not be expected to become an expert in coding or in computer programming; instead, you will be expected to come to know a handful of contemporary applications that will facilitate/enable digital compositions in public settings.


1. You will be required to maintain a WordPress blog for this course, and you will have pay to upgrade your plan in order to present audio and video content — which will cost $8/month. If you cannot cover that cost, then this is not a class you should take. Taking this cost into consideration, I will keep the cost of readings (books) down to no more than $25.

2. This course will function as a workshop, allowing you to become a stronger writer by offering you opportunities to participate in more complex processes of generation, collaboration, and revision (more complex, in part, because they will recur in various mediums).  As such, it is essential that you do not miss class and that you come fully prepared to each meeting.  If your schedule this semester does not allow you to make such a commitment, this is not a class you should take.