Writing about Screens

“The more intuitive a device becomes, the more it risks falling out of media altogether, becoming as naturalized as air or as common as dirt” -Alexander Galloway

Course Description

This course focuses on the role of the “screen” as a major actor within the rhetorical complexity of 21st century writing. Students in this course learn to analyze the role of a variety of digital technologies within our culture, including augmented and virtual reality, “natural” user interfaces, and ubiquitous computing technologies, among others. This course also focuses on the “outside” effects of digital technologies by examining the impact of screens on things such as the human brain, education, foreign labor, journalism, protests, and political revolutions.

Course assignments provide students with opportunities to hone their digital writing skills in a variety of new media genres, including tweets, online videos, Facebook posts, memes, infographics, and blogs, among others. In doing so, students not only gain greater acuity in operating within a variety of media, but also a more nuanced understanding of the strategic, dispersed nature of digital writing..

Course Materials

Course Outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Identify different aspects of society that are being (or will be) affected by digital media
  • Compose with rhetorical awareness within a variety of new media genres
  • Find, evaluate, and incorporate sources from a variety of online databases in response to an original research question

Major Assignments


Blogging continues to grow as a popular writing platform. Although it is often disparaged as an informal genre rife with personal indulgence and sloppy writing, a blog can be a useful tool for regularly connecting and interacting with a more specific audience. For this class, we will be using Blogger primarily to explore and hone ideas from class readings and multimedia texts. All blog posts will be written in response to specific prompts listed on the schedule and readings page and are due on the date under which they are listed.

Online Technology Article

Write an online tech article evaluating the rhetorical potential of an unreleased and/or fictional screen-based technology. This could be a new physical device; a new kind of software or operating system; or even a technology from a movie, book, or television show. For example, you might provide a brief overview of Intel's new Real Sense technology and use the product information from the website to critically evaluate the claims that Intel makes about its potential to revolutionize our everyday interactions with the desktop interface.

Live Tweeting

The purpose of this assignment is to practice the rhetorical style of one of the most popular new media genres of the twenty first century: the tweet. In order to do so, you must attend and live-tweet a public event related to your major. If you are having trouble finding an event, ask some professors from your department if there are any upcoming events at the university they would recommend. If you do not know any of the professors from your field/major, this would be a great opportunity to establish a professional relationship with one of them and share your own passion/interest for your field of study.

Online Video

Create a 3-5 minute YouTube video that depicts the fictionalized journey of an electronic screen (phone, television, laptop, etc.) as it impacts a particular sector of society. Examples can be drawn from different sections of the course and include education, the news media, electronic waste, childhood development, social interaction, among many others. Although it is not required, I would encourage you to choose a sector of society that is related to your field of study (e.g. medicine, business,sports management, etc.).

Online Video Rhetorical Rationale

Write a detailed blog post explaining your rationale behind the various rhetorical choices you made in creating your video. This assignment should incorporate specific screen shots from your video explaining why you chose certain images, placed text in certain places, and/or chose to present your research via narration, text, etc.

Crafting Viral Links

Using a variety of viral new media genres, promote your video on social media. On a spreadsheet, note the date, time, and content of your posts along with the number of favorites, re-tweets, and shares that they received.

Created By
Jacob Greene


Created with images by freephotocc - "laptop ipad organic" • Pexels - "iphone touchscreen smartphone"

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