The traditional wisdom is that “English class” is about picking out metaphors, memorizing a soliloquy, or the learning why Hester’s “A” was scarlet. English 1101, however, is not an application of specialized literary knowledge, but an introduction to college composition. This encompasses a wide range of related skills — critical thinking, conducting research, organization, presentation, media design, and analysis.

Our class will be a special version of that composition class format. We will be exploring and employing forms of new media, developing fluency in those forms, and learning how the digital landscape is changing composition. The goal of this class is to prepare students for academic writing across the university landscape. It will also combine the composition process and digital environments to gain media fluency, critical thinking skills, and facility with the concept of research.

In our “New Media Literacy” we will interact with sources across a range of disciplines. The first half of our course will be an intensive study of The Other Wes Moore, and in the second half we will explore Net Smart: How To Thrive Online. Our reading will focus on the intersections of identity, education, composition, and the digital landscape. Our composition assignments will develop out of that engagement with those concepts.

A diverse understanding of audience improves our composition. Additionally, digital media allow us to share multiple forms of communication rapidly and efficiently. Therefore, most of the composing you will do for class will be viewable by your peers. Some of it may be viewable to the web at large. We are responsible to each other to write, critique, and receive critique maturely. You should develop comfort with this aspect of the course or find a new composition class.

The four most important things you can do in this course are to 1) show up, 2) be curious, 3) contribute, and 4) collaborate. I look forward to working together with you over the next four months.

Required texts:

Important dates:
September 3, Labor Day (no classes)
October 9, Semester Midpoint
November 19-24, Thanksgiving Break (Wow, a whole week?)
December 3, Final day of class; portfolio and reflections due

CRN: 80297/7:30am-8:45am/Urban Life 302C
CRN: 80308/12pm-1:15pm/GCB 127 
[banner image courtesy of KEXINO, licensed under Creative Commons]