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Intercession: January 2016
Aimée Knight, Ph.D.
Communication Studies invites you to explore the ﬁeld
of digital publishing in New Zealand, the adventure
capital of the word. In this course we will write,
photograph, and video original content for travel essays
and online publications as we hike, bike, and kayak
through the country’s rainforests, glaciers, and
coastlines. *This 3-credit course fulﬁlls a COM elective
and is open to all SJU students.
Students in this course will learn about innovations in digital publishing and gain real-world
content creation and production skills in writing for online publications.
Students will learn invention strategies, consider consider diverse organizational options, and
reﬂect on stylistic choices in developing writing projects. Students will also explore how story and
design elements work within digital publications (e.g., typography, images, layout, color, video,
Through analyzing texts and practicing their own writing, students will improve non-ﬁction
writing skills. Through activities and class discussion, students will engage in lively conservations
about writing strategies and learn how to analyze and justify writing decisions regarding form and
Through participating in the drafting process, students will
learn the techniques of effective revision. All students will
participate in peer-review workshops and examine the persuasive
effects of multimodal compositions – texts that combine words
with image, sound, or video to create a compelling narrative.
Through classroom instruction and feedback on their work,
students will learn the writing conventions of digital publishing. At
the end of the course, students will have a portfolio of work with
three ﬁnished writing projects ready to submit to online
publications such as National Geographic Traveler, Matador,
Destinations, Isssu, Fathom, and 50 others.
Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. Kristen Arola, Jennifer Sheppard, and
Cheryl Ball. (2014).
Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing: Expert Advice from the World’s Leading Travel Publisher
National Geographic New Zealand, 2nd edition. Peter Turner (2013).
Excerpt from The Magazine Writer's Handbook: For Writers Who Want to be Pros. Peterson and
Kesselman-Turkel (2006). (PDF)
15 days traveling from the North (Auckland) to South
(Christchurch) of New Zealand.
Maximum Class size is limited to 15. Sign up early to ensure a
place. Deposits due TBA.
13 breakfasts, 5 dinners included. Allow 250USD (300 NZD) for
meals not included.
Please note: class activities and itinerary are subject to minor
changes due to inclement weather.
Prior to departure the class will arrange to meet four times in Merion 174 for 75 minutes during
Tuesday free periods/Fall 2015 semester.
Reading discussion: Intro to Digital Publishing; Writer/Designer Ch. 1 What are Multimodal
Projects? Assignment: Describing Multimodality in Everyday Texts
Reading discussion: Writer/Designer Ch. 2 Analyzing Multimodal Project; (Audience, Purpose,
Context); Wordpress tutorial and blogging workshop Assignment: Rhetorical analysis of multimodal
Reading discussion: Lonely Planet: Finding and Focusing your Story; Crafting Structure; Bringing
your Story to Life; Elements of Style; Voice; Pacing; Pitching stories (pages 6- 51); Online portfolio
COM 382 Digital Publishing 2
Reading discussion: Lonely Planet: Rewriting and Self
Editing; Examples of Good Travel Writing (pages 53-
112); Excerpt PDF from The Magazine Writer’s
Handbook: “Ten Standard Article Formats”
Assignment: Find and rhetorically analyze instances of
ten different writing conventions
Dec. 27 Flight to Auckland
Reading: Lonely Planet: The Craft of Travel Writing
Dec. 28 Arrive in Auckland
Reading: Lonely Planet: Getting Published; The Rise of
the Internet; Apps (pages 182-227)
Dec. 29 Hahei; Visit Coromandel Peninsula, Hot Water Beach.
Optional - sea kayaking.
Reading discussion: Lonely Planet: The Tools of the Trade:
Journal, Audio Recorder, Interviews, Camera, Photos, Video
Recorder (pages 239-248)
Activity: Nature photo and audio tutorials
Dec. 30 Tamaki Marae/Rotura; Visit geothermal mud pools.
Optional - raft a waterfall. Overnight in Maori village
Activity: Interviewing techniques; ethics and codes of practice
(truthfulness, accuracy, fairness, public accountability)
Dec. 31 National Park; hike active volcano or Tongariro Crossing.
Activity: Video tutorial
Jan. 1 Wellington; Scenic train journey to Wellington.
Reading discussion: Writer/Designer Ch 7 Revising and Reviewing Your Project (Giving and Getting
Feedback; Using Feedback to Revise Your Rough Draft) Assignment: Peer-review Project 1;
discuss revision plan based on feedback
Jan. 2 Kaikoura; Ferry to South Island. The town of Kaikoura is
known for its volcanic black sand beach. Optional whale
watching. Dinner on the beach.
Activity: Food writing discussion and photography tutorial
Jan. 3 Christchurch; travel the coast by train to Christchurch.
*Morning conferences with instructor for individual feedback on
Jan. 4 - 5 Franz Josef; travel through the Southern Alps, through
Arthur’s Pass. Overnight in the rainforest beside the world’s fastest
COM 382 Digital Publishing 3
Jan. 6 - 7 Queenstown; Travel to Queenstown. Go bungee
jumping, jet boating, sky diving, mountain biking, and/or hiking.
Assignment: Peer Review of Project 2; Writing and editing for
clarity and purpose; discuss revision plan based on feedback
Jan. 8 Milford Sound; explore the Fiordland National Park and
Miford Sound from the deck of a boat. Take in the waterfalls and
wildlife or venture out on a kayak. Sleep onboard
*Morning conferences with instructor for individual feedback on
Jan. 9 Central Otago; travel to the center of the South Island and
explore a historic mining area. Reading discussion: Lonely Planet:
Resources, Publishers and Editors, Online resources, websites and tools (pages 295-326)
Jan. 10 Christchurch; cycle around Christchurch. Farewell dinner
Jan. 11 Depart to Philadelphia
Jan 14 Conferences with instructor arranged for individual feedback on writing
Jan 18 Online portfolio of Projects 1-3 and reﬂections due
20% Active participation in discussions, peer review of
project drafts, informal activities and assignments
This class requires your active participation. Each member
of our learning community needs to be actively engaged in
the learning process. Each student is here to contribute to
the exchange of ideas. Ask questions. Be curious. As a
student in this course you will create your own communal
context for learning by engaging in conversations with
others. As such, being prepared to participate in
paramount. This entails having read, annotated, and thought
about the required materials carefully before class.
100-90% Exceptional. The student is actively engaged in the
course and leads discussion of the exchange of ideas.
Exceptional contributions may also include making
connections between the weekly readings, considering
multiple perspectives, encouraging the contributions of others,
validating other’s ideas, bringing in outside materials that are of
interest to the collective whole, and habitually engaging in
reﬂexive dialogue with peers in the course.
COM 382 Digital Publishing 4
89-80% Proﬁcient. The student is reasonably engaged in the course and regularly participates in
the exchange of ideas. Satisfactory contributions may also include frequent contributions to class
discussion, valuing other’s viewpoints, asking questions, collaboration, offering reasoned
arguments, new insights, and demonstrating engagement with the course and its content.
79-70% Underdeveloped. The student indicates comprehension of course material in class
discussion. Contributions consist of description, summary, or personal anecdote. Participation
indicates little substantive engagement with the course materials, consideration of alternative
perspectives, and/or connections between larger ideas in the course.
69-0% Limited to no engagement. Participation is limited. Student repeats other’s responses and
displays little evidence of engagement with the day’s material. The completion of the reading
assignment is questionable. When a student indicates a lack of interest in the learning community
by tardiness, distracting others, or not bringing necessary materials to class, they will receive a low
participation that day, guaranteed.
20% Journaling daily on blog
In this course you will develop as a writer by practicing elements from the readings and discussions
on a daily basis. You will keep a written account of your experiences throughout our time abroad.
Students are responsible for one post per day with a minimum of 100 words per post (with or
without wi-ﬁ). When wi-ﬁ is available you are expected to update/publish your back-logged posts.
Blog posts wil receive frequent instructor comments with the aim of developing as a writer/blogger.
Zero credit for late posts. Blog assessment is ongoing (Each post will receive a check plus, a
check, a check minus, or no credit).
60% 3 Major Writing Projects
You will create three writing projects for potential publication in this course (each worth 20% of your
total grade). In each project will practice skills essential to travel writing and digital publishing:
ﬁnding, recognizing, framing, and pitching story ideas; research, reconnaissance and interviewing
techniques; the appreciation for and acquisition of story context; tools for evaluating issues of
ethics; an understanding of story elements, organization and assembly; writing and editing for
clarity and purpose; time and deadline management. You will be introduced to conventional genres
and the state of digital publishing today. Each project is designed to help you develop and submit
your work for publication. * Each written project will also have a multimedia component (image,
video, or audio).
Write a travel narrative featuring a place you are traveling in or recently traveled to in the past few
days. Note the people you meet, their customs, the location, and anything interesting. Pay
attention to the ﬁve senses while preparing to write. What can you see, smell, taste, touch, and
hear? These notes will be helpful when writing your narrative. Spend your time wisely at the site/s
in order to collect unique images and compelling stories. While writing, pay attention to good
storytelling elements—the compelling anecdote, the colorful character, the lively quote, the telling
detail. Your reader should be allowed to experience the destination directly through the words and
actions of the people they encounter in your story, not just through your narrative (show them don’t
tell them). Draft due for peer-review on January 1st (Happy New Year!). Final project due in portfolio
on Jan. 18.
COM 382 Digital Publishing 5
Every traveler, no matter how seasoned, wonders what awaits at a new destination. This wonder
goes beyond weather and accommodations and language and museums.There's a certain degree
of expectation: How foreign is this destination? What new experience will I have? This is travel as
texture—the feel of a place, its essential differentness, its look, its unique ﬂavor. In this project you
will convey that “texture” as you write about one of the following subjects: a national or state park,
a historic place, a city, a little-known or undiscovered place, a train trip, a cruise, or a driving trip.
Service information should be given separately at the end of the story in a section that includes
how to get to the destination, things to see and do there, and where to obtain more information.
Draft due for peer review January 8. Final project due in portfolio on Jan. 18.
This last essay is about the journey inward; how have you changed from your travel experience in
New Zealand? This essay should be written with a sense of discovery and reveal insight which
speaks to the soul of traveling abroad. Some examples might include holding less prejudices
against another culture, having a heightened awareness of something occurring in another area of
the world or country, developing new interests or learning more about yourself, or meeting
someone who changed your perspective on life. Discuss the development of this project with the
instructor in a conference. Project due in portfolio on Jan. 18.
• Wordpress blog will host a portfolio for your work. (Final projects due January 18).
• Late portfolios will be deducted 1 letter grade for each late day
Grading criteria for projects
100-90 Connects ideas and synthesizes diverse perspectives to create something new
89-80 Analyzes and applies learning; critically examines ideas, concepts from course
79-70 Comprehends and applies learning from course (uses ideas to convey, express)
69-0 Comprehension of course material is not demonstrated
100-90 Project employs narrative elements to communicate a powerful sense of signiﬁcance with
appropriate spelling, grammar and punctuation.
89-80 Project employs narrative elements to communicate a sense of signiﬁcance with with clear
spelling, grammar and punctuation.
79-70 Project employs narrative elements to communicate a vague sense of signiﬁcance
69-0 Project unsuccessfully employs narrative elements
100-90 Multimedia elements of the project come together to exhibit mastery of technique
89-80 Multimedia elements of the project come together to exhibit proﬁciency of technique
79-70 Multimedia elements of the project exhibit limited technique
69-0 Multimedia elements of the project exhibit questionable technique
100-90 Project creates a new idea (or method) that proves useful, timely, and engaging
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89-80 Project re-conceptualizes; devises a new observation about a larger concept or idea
79-70 Project modiﬁes or relates or extends a concept for a new situation
69-0 Project summarizes or routinely deploys tropes
Guidelines for peer-review
1. Describe your goals for this project. What, speciﬁcally, is this piece trying to accomplish–above
and beyond satisfying the minimum requirements outlined in the task description? In other words,
what work does, or might, this piece do? For whom? In what contexts?
2. What speciﬁc rhetorical, material, methodological, and technological choices did you make in
service of accomplishing t he goal(s) articulated above? Catalog, as well, choices that you might 7
not have consciously made, those that were made for you when you opted to work with certain
genres, materials, and technologies. Why did you end up pursuing this plan as opposed to the
others you came up with?
3. How did the various choices listed above allow you to accomplish things that other sets or
combinations of choices would not have?
4. What about this project still needs development? What speciﬁcally would you like to change or
I expect you to arrive to class and excursions on time, fully prepared to engage in the exchange of
ideas. It is your responsibility to bring the necessary materials to class. On all excursions and site
visits I expect you to bring a camera and a reporter’s notebook. We are always working!
You are expected to attend every class and excursion. We will often critique projects, watch
videos, conduct group work, and other activities during class and excursion time. There is no
substitute for your presence during class. If you miss a class or excursion, your participation grade
will suffer. Lateness or leaving early is considered unprofessional and will also affect your
participation grade; show respect by being on time.
Late work for your portfolio is deducted 1.0/day (24 hours). This means an "A" project will become
a "B" within 24 hours. This policy stands, even when your technology crashes. (Always back-up
your work.) That is not an excuse. The only excuse from this policy is a note from your doctor., the
Pope, Barack, etc.
While abroad, ofﬁce hours are in the mornings by appointment. If you have questions or want to
talk about your projects let’s arrange a meeting sooner rather than later. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you use ideas or information that are not common knowledge, you must cite a source. This rule
applies to all the course activities and projects including reading responses, multimedia projects,
COM 382 Digital Publishing 7
and essays. How to cite a source will be discussed in class. St. Joseph’s University’s academic
honesty policy can be found here: http://www.sju.edu/int/resources/registrar/ahpolicies.html. The
penalty for plagiarism is an automatic Fail for this class and a letter of notiﬁcation to the Committee
on Discipline. If you are suspected of plagiarism or an act of dishonesty, action will be taken.
Acts of dishonesty
In all courses, each student has the responsibility to submit work that is uniquely his or her own. All
of this work must be done in accordance with established principles of academic integrity. Speciﬁc
violations of this responsibility include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. Cheating, copying, or the offering or receiving of unauthorized assistance or information in
examinations, tests, quizzes, reports, assigned papers, or special assignments, as in computer
programming, studio work, and the like;
B. The fabrication or falsiﬁcation of data, results, or sources for papers or reports
C. Any action which destroys or alters the work of another student;
D. The multiple submission of the same paper or report for assignments in more than one course
without the prior written permission of each instructor;
E. Plagiarism, the appropriation of information, ideas, or the language of other persons or writers
and the submission of them as one's own to satisfy the requirements of a course. Plagiarism thus
constitutes both theft and deceit. Compositions, term papers, or computer programs acquired,
either in part or in whole, from commercial sources or from other students and submitted as one's
own original work shall be considered plagiarism. All students are directed to the standard manuals
of style or reference guides for discussions of plagiarism and the means by which sources are
legitimately acknowledged, cited, quoted, paraphrased, and footnoted—whether presented in an
oral report or in writing.
F. Unauthorized Collaboration
Rules regarding the use of information in this course
1) If you use the language of your source, you must quote it exactly, enclose it in quotation marks
and cite the source - even in your weekly reading responses and your blog posts. If you use the
language of your source, quote the wording exactly. This is called a direct quotation. A direct
quotation is either enclosed in quotation marks or indented on the page. If you omit part of the
wording, use an ellipsis (three periods, four if necessary for punctuation to indicate the omission). In
any case, several words in succession taken from another source constitute direct quotation and
must be acknowledged.
2) A paraphrase employs source material by restating an idea in an entirely new form that is original
in both sentence structure and word choice. Taking the basic structure from a source and
substituting a few words is an unacceptable paraphrase and may be construed as plagiarism.
Creating a new sentence by merging the wording of two or more sources is also plagiarism.
COM 382 Digital Publishing 8
Those of you who have or think that you may have a disability (learning, physical or psychological),
are encouraged to contact Services for Students with Disabilities, Room 113, Science Center,
610-660-1774 or 610-660-1620 as early as possible in the semester. Accommodations can only
be provided to students with current (within 3 years) documentation. Students are encouraged to
discuss their instructional (“reasonable academic adjustments”) and accommodation needs with
their professors. The Ofﬁce of Services for Students with Disabilities will do all it can to
accommodate qualiﬁed students with disabilities. However, there may be times when a
disagreement will occur between the student and the University. The student has a right to ﬁle a
grievance for complaints regarding a requested service or accommodation on the basis of a
disability under Section 504 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) and University policies. If you have any questions contact Jim Scott, Director
of Services for Students with Disabilities – Science Center – Room 113, 610-660-1774
COM 382 Digital Publishing 9
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