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New  Media  Writing:     New  Media  Advocacy  

ENGL  401  I  Fall  2013   Nathaniel  Rivers  I  

Course  Description    
In this class, you use the tools of new media (podcasts, short videos, blogs, twitter, etc.) to engage your communities in productive, respectful, and service-oriented ways. In this class, you negotiate the focus and tone of your own publications. For instance, you might (using Twitter and Facebook) promote the community gardens that regularly sprout up in the city. You might map (in Google Maps) and document (with a short documentary) the effects of brick theft on the city of Saint Louis. You might promote and celebrate (through Twitter and podcasts) the craft beer scene in Saint Louis. The possibilities are endless. In this class, we ask how can we use new (and old) media to tell stories that make a difference and motivate action. In this course, you are not asked to critique the media; you are asked to become the media. Students enrolled in this course also cultivate the habits of a successful professional communicator working in an increasingly collaborative, free-form, and mediated work environment. Students likewise develop an understanding of how rhetoric shapes action. Additionally, students will establish a voice as a writer, understand the principles and practices of primary and secondary research, gain comfort and competence with new media production and distribution, and develop sophisticated and critical responses to (new media) technology.

cultivate connections with and investment in local publics. Students will then collaboratively participate in these publics when conducting their own in-depth, extended and media campaign designed to reach multiple audiences in order to positively affect Saint Louis University and/or its environs. This class relies on specific definitions of important terminology. Part of the work of this course, then, is defining these terms: Rhetoric   Most generally defined, rhetoric is the use of symbols to produce an effect (e.g., a verbal command to “Stop,” a red traffic light, or a Journey song imploring us “Don’t’ Stop Believing”). From this viewpoint, rhetoric assumes that the use of language is symbolic action is effective. The famous “word vs. deeds” distinction has no place here. Though rhetoric has become a negative word within political circles and contemporary media, it has a rich history as one of the oldest intellectual pursuits in the western world. With a focus on audience, context, and identification, rhetoric can be a positive force within a community. Advocacy   Though most people associate advocacy and a related term, activism, with the radical fringes of society, this course views any concerted attempt to shape the local public environment as advocacy at its core. Advocacy can include any movement that works for political, bureaucratic, legal, service-oriented, or attitudinal changes. Note that advocacy is about actively (re)shaping environments; advocacy is not reducible to something like “raising awareness.” Awareness is an aspect of advocacy but never its sole end. Ethics   Ethics, within the context of rhetorical advocacy, demands integrity, the inclusion of relevant perspectives, audience identification, thorough research, and situational awareness. Ethics is about more than following a static set of protocols; it is about openly engaging others. The Greeks had a name for this approach to ethics: agonism, or the productive strife of a public gathering. Rather than producing clear winners and losers, agonism is about generating a stronger whole. Agonism can be contrasted with antagonism, which literally means “against the gathering.” What  does  this  mean  for  advocacy?     This orbit of key terms collectively emphasizes that advocacy is not the bringing of a truth, already known, to a public. Rather, advocacy is part of the public, agonism, productive and negotiation of truths. We cannot guarantee, ahead of time, the justness of our
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Course  Introduction    
This class believes that productive and reflective citizenship is important to democratic life and that ethical communication is a cornerstone of such engaged citizenship. This course asks students to use media in all its forms to ethically examine and engage in public discourse for the purpose of shaping community. Students engage (read, watch, talk about, analyze, and critique) public discourse such as advocacy campaigns, student involvement, local politics and social activism to

cause. The justness, the justice, of advocacy inheres in how we engage with others, who might very well persuade us in return. It is this give-and-take that marks ethical advocacy.

a cohesive and coherent whole. The semester ends with final presentations and the submission of Field Journals, which, again, document your individual contributions to collaboratively produced segments.

Course  Sequence  
Because this course also puts a premium on production, the sequence of the course is of vital importance. Planning, scheduling, and conducting field work (interviews, observations) needs to coincide with the demands of production: compiling, composing, and editing what we call segments. Segments include audio, video, photographic and textual productions alike. Sequencing is how we get our work done together. Phase  One   The first four to five weeks are spent getting comfortable with the principles and practices of advocacy. We read discussions about, guides to, and examples of advocacy. Class time is devoted to technology workshops where students learn the necessary tools and techniques for production and to field work workshops designed to introduce and model successful practices for interviews, observations, and secondary research. As we are doing in-class workshops, students develop and propose possible advocacy campaigns. The phase includes the production of sample segments and the presentation of proposals. We then organize into teams and move to begin our work in earnest. Phase  Two   We begin phase two by inaugurating our advocacy campaigns. While students do field work outside of class, class time itself is devoted to learning and practicing with production technologies. We also begin our discussion of the rhetoric of advocacy and continue analyzing examples of it. In addition to technology workshops, we commence with segment workshops. At the beginning of the phase, you also begin documenting your individual work in their Field Journals. By the end of Phase Two (week nine), we will have produced our first segment, which will be presented and evaluated during an assessment workshop. Phase  Three   Much like Phase Two, the third and final phase centers around the conducting of field research and the production of another segment. This entails both segment and assessment workshops. We continue to examine and discuss advocacy samples and to think through the rhetoric of advocacy. Following Thanksgiving Break and the finalizing of Segment #2, students articulate their segments into the “Complete Campaign,” which pulls the two segments together into

Course  Workshops  
Workshops are integral to student success in the course. Many class periods are devoted to four kinds of workshops: field work, technology, segment, and assessment.

Field  Work  Workshops   These workshops are devoted to brainstorming, planning, organizing, and executing interviews and field observations. We also work with the tools (the iPad Minis) you will use during your field work. Technology  Workshops   Experience and confidence with new media production technologies is a crucial. In this course, technologies are not treated as neutral means of conveyance. The medium, as Marshall McLuhan once famously argued, is the message. And as that most famous of Billikens, Walter Ong S.J., argued, the technologizing of the word works to restructure consciousness. Segment  Workshops   These workshops afford you the opportunity to work on your segments under the watchful, critical and instructional eye of both the instructor and classmates. Assessment  Workshops   Part of the work of the course entails crafting a rubric with which to assess successful new media science writing. These workshops are devoted to developing and applying this rubric to student-produced segments.

Arts  &  Sciences  Grading  Scale    
A AB+ 4.0 3.7 3.3 B BC+ 3.0 2.7 2.3 C CD 2.0 1.7 1 F 1

100%  Class  Participation1
You are authors in this class. That means you are expected to learn about and follow the social and cultural conventions of professional academic behavior, which I will help you learn during the semester. Because this class focuses a great deal on professional development and writing/authoring, my grading schema reflects that professionalism. Assigning letter or number grades does not improve your learning, just as telling an author that the journal rejects his/her work for publication— without any explanation as to why—doesn’t make him/her a better writer in the profession. I have designed

Grading scheme borrowed from Cheryl Ball at Illinois State University.

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and mapped this class so you can achieve the learning outcomes and excellence by providing structuring assignments that enhance your critical and creative thinking, and by offering a lot of informal and formal feedback on your in-progress work. Feedback Feedback often comes in the form of informal in-class discussions about your assignments and individual or group conferences. For instance, when I and your peers offer critiques of your draft projects, we assume that you will implement those revision suggestions into your drafts. When you don’t, you should have a very good reason in relation to the purpose of the text for not doing so. Otherwise, when I am reviewing your projects, I should be able to see your progress on the text from the time it was workshopped as well as from informal, inclass feedback or conferences with me. I hope that this grading system will allow you the freedom and flexibility to take risks in your assignments while also providing time for you to re-envision and revise those drafts into more usable, sophisticated, and polished texts by the end of the term. Participation?    Attendance: You are required to attend every class session unless the schedule specifically indicates that class is canceled that day. There are no such things as excused vs. unexcused absences—if you’re not here, I don’t much care why. If your absence is caused by a funeral or similar extenuating circumstances, I will take that into consideration when I consider your grade. If you miss more than one class, consider your grade in jeopardy. If you miss a workshop, you’ll be doubly in jeopardy. Also, attendance at out-of-class conferences with me is considered the same as class time. If you miss a conference, you will be counted absent.  Timeliness: If you show up late or leave early or disappear (or fall asleep) for 15 minutes in the middle of class, it will affect your participation. Timeliness also refers to the time-sensitive nature of completing assignments and turning in equipment on time. Late work is completely unacceptable, and I will not give you feedback on it. If you do not have a major assignment ready in time for our workshop days, it is your responsibility to get feedback from your classmates outside of class upon (or before) your return. If you return borrowed equipment late, consider your participation grade in jeopardy. If you fail to return borrowed equipment at all (like, you lose it or break it beyond repair), you are responsible for replacing the equipment with the same kind, and I will

hold your final grade submission until it has been replaced.  Readiness: Readiness is different from timeliness in that it relates specifically to being prepared by the start-time of the class period (and any outside-ofclass work that we negotiate to do). All homework must be completed before class starts. For instance, printing of assignments or uploading of files after the class period has begun will result in a delay of class, which will negatively impact your grade. This bullet also refers to workshop participation and group work participation in that if you do not have a draft ready on workshop day, you are unprepared to provide feedback to your workshop peers, or you are unwilling/unable to perform the responsibilities of your group work, your grade will suffer.  Thoughtfulness: Thoughtfulness translates to critical awareness and participation in all manners of class activities. This may include activities such as having useful, productive questions or discussion items based on homework (readings, assignments, or peer-review work), collegial work completed with your group mates, or thoughtful work demonstrated in the major assignments themselves. In addition (a note for those of you who like to talk a lot), thoughtfulness means that if you constantly need to share in class, but your sharing is largely off-topic, disruptive, or unhelpful, your participation may be more distracting than useful. I will probably talk to you about this before your grade suffers. If you have questions at any time about your grade potential, please make an appointment with me. If I believe that you are on a trajectory toward a C, D, or F, I will let you know by mid-term. If you’re participating in the basics of the class, then you’re probably passing and should only be concerned with your individual goals for earning a B or A, described in more detail below. Everyone in this class starts with a B/C. How you participate changes that grade higher or lower. Students earn As (see below), Bs (for mediocre participation in class, usually related to group work), a few Cs (usually related to multiple absences), and Fs (for failure to turn in a large number of assignments or skipping out altogether). Earning  an  A   The grade of A is reserved for excellent work. Excellent work does not equate with showing up every day, participating once in a while, and turning in completed drafts on time. Those are the average requirements of any class setting, and average equates to a C in this academic setting. Here are some ways to earn an A:
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 Produce excellent assignments. What constitutes

excellence? Doing more than simply completing the terms of the assignment. An excellent assignment may meet any number of qualities, depending on its purpose and genre. We’ll spend much time analyzing possible qualities for your work, which means you’ll be creating evaluation criteria for your own work. If your texts live up to your own criteria, it’s likely your work will be excellent.  Participate excellently in class. Excellence in class participation means not simply speaking frequently, but all of the ways I mention in the class participation section above. As some examples, you should contribute in an active and generous way to the work of the class as a whole by asking questions, offering interpretations, politely challenging your classmates, graciously accepting challenges in return, and being a productive group member.  Be an excellent citizen-scholar. Specifically, be able to demonstrate to me (through discussions, group work, assignment drafts) that you (a) understand and can reflect on the content of this class and show progress toward that knowledge in your final portfolio; (b) reason logically, critically, creatively, independently and consensually, and are able to address issues in a broad and constantly shifting context; (c) recognize different ways of thinking, creating, expressing, and communicating through a variety of media; (d) understand diversity in value systems and cultures in an interdependent world; and (e) develop a capacity for self-assessment and transferable learning. Productive  Participation      have a collegial attitude  bring your materials to class every day  ask for help well in advance of a deadline  accept responsibility for late or incomplete assignments  ask your classmates for missed content if you are absent  be attentive in class so that I avoid needless repetition  provide me assignments on time and in the assigned medium  ask your classmates (or Google) for help during open-lab sessions, then…  …if stumped, raising your hand, calling me, and waiting patiently for help

use email, appointments, or some other agreedupon conferencing medium for private or involved questions understand that strategic (and sometimes maximum) effort results in excellent work

Assessment throughout the semester is layered across different audiences, which include the instructor, classmates, team members, and the individuals with whom students interact with during field work. The following categories for audiences can help us think through issues of quality and effectiveness. Primary  Audience   This is the audience who takes action or otherwise responds to a document’s argument. The primary audience for a television commercial is the desired demographic, for instance, hipsters looking for a new stereo. With respect to this course, the primary audience is often those individuals invested in or affected by what is being advocated. They might have a range of expertise and knowledge. They are also those individuals who seek out unique and multimedia content. Note: a primary audience is never simply “anybody who might read or view or listen to a story.” Secondary  Audience   These are audiences with whom the primary audience consults or asks for expert advice. The secondary audience for a television commercial advertising a new stereo might be a hipster’s friend who has recently purchased a new stereo or who has expert knowledge of stereos. Secondary audiences vary and are multiple, and for this project includes anyone with whom the primary audience might consult or share the story. Tertiary  Audience   This is an audience, while neither targeted nor consulted, that has an interest in the project, subject matter, or media. A tertiary audience for a television commercial could be a media studies professor examining trends in the marketing of electronics or a cultural studies professor interested in hipster culture. Tertiary audiences for student projects might be those individuals who were consulted, political operatives, other advocatesl or new media writing courses, and, even, university officials. Gatekeeping  Audience     A gatekeeper is typically someone in a supervisory or advisory role within an organization. They are often in a position to decide whether the document or story goes public or not. Again, in the example of the television commercial the gatekeeping audience might include the
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stereo company’s general legal counsel (what claims can or can’t the commercial make) or the advertising firm’s market researcher (what The Shins song should be playing during the commercial). In this course, the instructor serves this role, but team members likewise act as gatekeepers for any collaboratively produced document. It is important to remember that these are not static designations. While the instructor is a gatekeeping audience for any story or document (e.g., interview plan) produced by students, he is the primary audience for any report or work log. In the case of Field Journals, fellow group members are often tertiary audiences (interested in who is taking credit for what). Audiences are necessarily complex: the above categories are a way to conceptualize audiences each and every time one sets out to communicate.

Teamwork   Learn and apply strategies for successful teamwork and collaboration, such as:  working online with colleagues  determining roles and responsibilities  managing team conflicts constructively  responding constructively to peers' work  soliciting and using peer feedback effectively  achieving team goals Research   Understand and use various research methods and sources to produce quality documents, including:  analyzing historical and contemporary contexts  locating, evaluating, and using print and online information selectively for particular audiences and purposes  triangulating sources of evidence Technology Use and evaluate rhetorical technologies such as emailing, instant messaging, image editing, audio editing, video editing, presentation design and delivery, HTML editing, Web browsing, content management, and desktop publishing technologies.

Course  Goals  

Writing  in  Context   Analyze cultures, social contexts, and audiences to determine how they shape the various purposes and forms of writing, such as persuasion, organizational communication, and public discourse, with an emphasis on:  writing for a range of defined audiences and stakeholders  negotiating the ethical dimensions of rhetorical action Project  Management    understanding, developing, and deploying various strategies for planning, researching, drafting, revising, and editing documents both individually and collaboratively  selecting and using appropriate styles and technologies that effectively and ethically address contexts and audiences  building ethos through voice, evidence, documentation and accountability Document  Design   Make rhetorical design decisions about documents (and other compositions), including:  understanding and adapting to genre conventions and audience expectations  understanding and implementing design principles of format and layout  interpreting and arguing with design  drafting, researching, testing, and revising visual designs and information architecture    

SLU  Statement  of  Academic  Integrity
The University is a community of learning, whose effectiveness requires an environment of mutual trust and integrity, such as would be expected at a Jesuit, Catholic institution. As members of this community, students, faculty, and staff members share the responsibility to maintain this environment. Academic dishonesty violates it. Although not all forms of academic dishonesty can be listed here, it can be said in general that soliciting, receiving, or providing any unauthorized assistance in the completion of any work submitted toward academic credit is dishonest. It not only violates the mutual trust necessary between faculty and students but also undermines the validity of the University’s evaluation of students and takes unfair advantage of fellow students. Further, it is the responsibility of any student who observes such dishonest conduct to call it to the attention of a faculty member or administrator.

Student  Conduct    
This course’s code of student conduct is informed by Saint Louis University’s own code of student conduct, best encapsulated by the following statement: “All members of the University community are expected to contribute to the development and sustainability of community through word and
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action. Our community is characterized by respect for the dignity of others, honesty, and the pursuit of truth.” Insults, slurs, or attacks of any kind are not allowed in this class (this includes f2f meetings and on the course site). Any student who engages in this type of behavior in the classroom will be permanently removed from the class. This code of conduct is equally important to maintain during group meetings outside of class. In order to have an effective teaching and learning environment we must practice both respect and tolerance, without question. The remainder of the university’s code of student conduct can be found at x24293.xml.

Students  with  Special  Needs  
In recognition that people learn in a variety of ways and that learning is influenced by multiple factors (e.g., prior experience, study skills, learning disability), resources to support student success are available on campus. Students who think they might benefit from these resources can find out more about: • Course-level support (e.g., faculty member, departmental resources, etc.) by asking the course instructor. • University-level support (e.g., tutoring/writing services, Disability Services) by visiting the Student Success Center (BSC 331) or by going to Students who believe that, due to a disability, they could benefit from academic accommodations are encouraged to contact Disability Services at 314-977-8885 or visit the Student Success Center. Confidentiality will be observed in all inquiries. Course instructors support student accommodation requests when an approved letter from Disability Services has been received and when students discuss these accommodations with the instructor after receipt of the approved letter.

English  as  a  Second  Language  
Help is available at the ESL Resource Center, where tutors are specialized to work with second-language concerns. They work with any international student, undergraduate or graduate, who wishes to seek assistance. In one-on-one consultations and workshops, our ESL writing coaches provide feedback and offer strategies to improve your writing at every stage, from brainstorming for ideas to polishing final drafts. We also offer workshops and individual assistance in other language-related areas, including TOEFL test-taking strategies, multi-media projects, grammar, research, and conversation skills. For more information, to make or cancel an appointment contact Christian Rayner at 314977-3052 or visit

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New  Media  Writing:  New  Media  Advocacy  
ENGL  401  I  Fall  2013  I  Nathaniel  Rivers  I  

Course  Sequence  

Week  1  (8.27-­‐29)  

Week  2  (9.3-­‐5)  

Week  3  (9.10-­‐12)  

Week  4  (9.17-­‐19)  

Week  5  (9.24-­‐26)  

Week  6  (10.1-­‐3)  

Week  7  (10.8-­‐10)  

Week  8  (10.15-­‐17)  

Discuss  Advocacy  

Discuss  Advocacy  

Discuss  Advocacy  

Discuss  Advocacy  

Discuss  Advocacy    

Discuss  Advocacy  

Discuss  Advocacy  

Discuss  Advocacy  

Ice  Breaker   Analyze             Examples           Week  9  (10.22-­‐24)  

Reading  Discussion   Technology  #1   Workshop    

  Field  Work   Workshop    

Advocacy  Proposals   Field  Work   Workshop  

Organize  Teams  

Introduce       Documentation       Technology  #2   Technology  #3   Segment  Workshop   Segment  Workshop   Workshop   Workshop   Sample  Segment  #1   Sample  Segment  #2     Documentation   Due   Due   Journal  Check  

Research  Publics  

Research  Publics  

Research  Publics  

Field  Work  

Field  Work  

Field  Work  

Field  Work  


Week  10  (10.29-­‐31)  

Discuss  Advocacy  


Assessment   Workshop   Segment  #1   Due  

Field  Work      

  Week  12  (11.12-­‐14)   Week  13  (11.19-­‐21)   Week  14  (11.26-­‐28)             Discuss  Advocacy   Discuss  Advocacy   Discuss  Advocacy   Discuss  Advocacy                     Assessment     Thanksgiving  Break   Segment  Workshop   Segment  Workshop   Workshop         Segment  #2       Due               Field  Work   Field  Work   Compile  Segments   Compile  Segments     Week  11  (11.5-­‐7)  

Week  15  (12.2-­‐5)  

Discuss  Advocacy   Presentations     Final  Story   Due    

Finals  Week           Documentation   Journal  Due  

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