Do you tweet regularly? Who do you follow on Twitter—your friends, your favorite celebrities, or both? Are you friends with your parents on Facebook? When someone leaves you a voicemail, do you get annoyed because they didn’t text you instead? Does anyone instant message anymore? These might seem like mundane questions, but this course is based on your instructor’s hunch that thinking critically about how you answer them can help you become a better writer.
I am intensely curious about how the internet technologies of the past ten years have changed the way people see themselves and the way they relate to each other. As young adults, you are the experts on these new methods of self-presentation and communication. The range of writing assignments in this course asks that you explain, reflect upon, analyze and critique how these technologies influence your everyday life and, more broadly, how they have changed the nature of communication, relationships, and social identity in the modern world. Texts for this course will consist primarily of contemporary commentary (newspaper and magazine articles, blogs, scholarly essays, etc.) about social media and Internet culture.
This writing course focuses on the creation of complex, analytic, well-supported arguments that matter in academic contexts. You will work closely with you peers and with me to develop your written prose. Readings cover a variety of different genres and academic disciplines. In addition to producing four polished pieces of analytical writing, you will also be responsible for producing a body of more reflective, informal commentary on our texts and on your own writing process. Most of this writing will be posted online and open for comment by the whole class as part of a classroom website. For each of your formal writing assignments, you will receive feedback from me and from your classmates at various stages of the writing process. We will focus on "macro" concepts like developing strong overall arguments, writing persuasively and clearly and using textual evidence effectively, but we will also spend considerable time on "micro" issues of sentence structure, punctuation, grammar and vocabulary. We will be working collaboratively on a daily basis to develop our writing within the supportive community of the class.