Digital Rhetoric & Embodied Media ADVANCED EXPOSITION

ENC 3310: Dr. Shannon Butts

Course Description

Expository writing works to describe, explain, and inform. Often portrayed as “setting the scene,” expository writing can introduce the dashing main characters of a film, describe visual elements of a work of art, or even detail relevant facts to help people make informed decisions. Rhetorically, expository writing draws on concepts of ekphrasis and aesthesis—writing practices used to describe sensations and experiences. Drawing on each of the five senses, this course will examine how digital environments have changed the ways that we communicate ideas and make sense of the world around us.

Every day, we interact with computers and mobile devices in visual, verbal, aural, tactile and assorted other sensory ways. We swipe right to go on a date, use voice commands to Google questions, and track physical activity through wearables that rely on motion or gyroscopic input. As interfaces grow increasingly more digital, scholars, artists, and designers have begun to engage bodies, materials, and technologies to analyze how digital environments inform sensory experiences. This course will invoke the senses to help students make sense of rhetorical acts of exposition. Throughout the semester, we will read, research, and write across a variety of media to better understand how digital spaces shape our sense of self and influence ideas of gender, race, class, ability, and more.

Course Materials

  • Douglas Eyman, Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, Practice (Online at University of Michigan Press) 2015
  • Charlie Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky, Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing (Online)
  • Account with Adobe www.adobe.com
  • Account with Tinkercad https://www.tinkercad.com/
  • All other readings/videos will be available on our class page in Canvas or in our course schedule. Unless otherwise noted, bring a fully charged laptop and smartphone/tablet to each class meeting.

Course Objectives

  • Understand the importance of rhetoric in exposition, asking what is digital rhetoric?
  • Analyze and engage new modes of reading and writing in digital environments
  • Explore and understand digital spaces as rhetorical spaces
  • Design rhetorically compelling multimedia content across writing platforms
  • Design for accessibility, functionality, and aesthetics
  • Write a researched critique connected to a specific place, text, or object
  • Collaborate in groups to create multimedia augmented reality content
  • Show how Digital Rhetoric relates to Embodiment, Materialism, and Activism

Major Assignments

All assignments for this class will use a project-based learning model to fulfil the 6000 word writing requirement: students will analyze, propose, design, and make texts using emerging writing technologies such as Augmented Reality, 3D printing, and podcasting. Accounting for materials, tools, and technologies, we will reframe acts of 'writing' as ‘sense-making’ and examine how digital environments create new ways of experiencing information and new methods for creating sensational texts that inform and persuade.

Sense Making

Discussion Posts - Students will be expected to maintain a weekly discussion blog due by Thursday, 9am of each week. Students will be required to read and respond to at least two other students' discussion posts before Friday's class.

Writing Goals: Crafting a Response - Inductive/Deductive Composition

Scents of Failure

Pinterest Fails Project - Students will pick a Pinterest project, analyze the design, document the making process, and work to reproduce the product. Paying attention to the digital environment, students should articulate how the interface affects the project exposition. Deliverables include a short analysis of the Pinterest post, a detailed description of the making process, (including a scent story and taste test) a presentation of the project, and a finished material product.

Writing Goals: Rhetorical Analysis - Make a Claim, Provide evidence

Check out a few student projects here

Touch and See

Tactile Book Project 3D Model - New writing technologies compose across physical and digital space, creating conversations about design, accessibility, sustainability, and progress. To analyze how new technologies impact the rhetoric of design, students will design and print a 3D book – reframing a visual medium through a sense of touch. Starting with a conventional children's book, students will analyze the text and consider how visual and print elements could be adapted for tactile learning. Then students will compose a proposal for adapting their chosen book into a 3D experience. The proposal will include a rhetorical analysis and design plan for specific textual elements. Using entry level 3D modeling software, students then have the opportunity to make a tactile version of their text. Finally, makers will write a persuasive memo to a publishing company, arguing for why (or why not) tactile designs should be made available for select texts. Coupled with readings from disability studies, design rhetorics, and critical making, the different steps of the assignment challenge students to consider how rhetorics of touch and digital/material making can reframe experiences for diverse audiences.

Writing Goals: Dossoi Logoi - Arguing from both sides, Organization, Remediation

Student projects have included adaptations from The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Rainbow Fish, The Ugly Duckling, The Lorax, Goodnight Moon, 10 Little Monkeys (Jumping on a Bed), The Haunted Mansion, and Jack and the Beanstalk

Sounds of Silence

Podcast, Playlist - Podcasts often do the expository work of summarizing complex ideas, sharing new information, or creating texts that describe and detail relevant issues. Students will pick an artist and do the expository work to analyze the artist, their work, and the impact their work has on the public. Artists can be visual, musical, or performance based, but must produce work that involves a clear sense and involves digital rhetoric. This project provides students with a well-researched foundation for understanding arguments made through design and culture. Papers should define the media, present a cultural context, and explain how digital rhetoric affects the media. Students should split the word count evenly among the three modalities in this project (video, audio, and text).

Writing Goals: Evaluation - Drawing Conclusions, Arguments of Design

A Sense of Place

Site-Specific Augmented Reality Proposal - Students will write a researched argument proposing a specific location to augment in Gainesville. The proposal should describe 1) why this location is ideal for a site-specific AR application, 2) the kinds of overlays and content that will be used at the location, 3) the kind of background research and technical knowledge required to carry out this proposal. Students will present their proposals formally to the class along with a short Prezi. The class will vote to determine which proposal(s) will be accepted to make for the final project.

Writing Goals: Persuasive Appeals - Writing to Persuade, Detail and Context

Digital Doxa

Defining Digital Rhetoric - Using whatever media you choose, create a definition of digital rhetoric that includes references from at least 2 of the articles we have discussed in class and one you found on your own.

Writing Goals: Definition - Writing to Summarize, Detail and Support

Created By
Shannon Butts


Christina Animashaun/Vox CU Boulder Tactile Book Project