Writing for Digital Media is designed to introduce you to the world of digital composition. But, of course, we already know that world intimately.

We’ve been emailing or IMing since we were tweens. Our blogs, Twitter or Instagram feeds, Facebook profiles, and reddit forums have been a part of our social lives for years, shaping and reflecting real-life identity to a digital world. Wikipedia and Google are our default research sources. Video games and smartphones are among our closest friends – or, at the very least, a primary form of interaction between friends. At any rate, the vast majority of the words or texts we encounter are digital. This is our world.

So we don’t so much need an introduction as we need a framework—a method for critically thinking about digital forms of composition. We need to learn how these digital tools and technologies are influencing writing, how they are creating new genres and new modes of readership and participation. In that way, what we do in this class will be a lot like what we do in a composition class: read in order to analyze, analyze in order to write.

Thing is, composing has the potential to include so many other methods – beyond just words-on-page – of creating meaning for an audience. Putting musical notation on paper, for example, or arranging the elements of a photograph to achieve a certain effect are also acts of composition. In this course, we will try to articulate what it means to compose in the digital environment by exploring different modes of writing (creative, persuasive, informative), using different digital tools (visualization and animation, social media, blogging) and playing with digital ideologies (interaction, collaboration, remixing).

This course is designed to challenge you to push beyond what we understand composition and writing to be today. This will require you to experiment, to use technology in ways and for purposes that may be unfamiliar to you. It will require you to engage your creativity, to begin to think and act beyond the structures created by common practice or software. Above all, this course will require you to play—to be unafraid of imagining, trying, and even failing, in order to explore the new spaces that digital tools and technology have opened up for us as writers.

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