Digital Media: Potentials and Challenges WR 120ESL (J1)

Welcome to our Academic Writing Class: Digital Media: Potentials and Challenges

A little bit about the professor:

My name is Dr. Pary Fassihi (she/her/hers), and it is a pleasure to be teaching you this semester! I am a Bostonian with a Persian background. I have been at BU for more than 10 years now, either as a grad student myself, or as an instructor, so I am very familiar with the ins and outs of BU! Do come to me with questions!

I love teaching with the most up-to-date and innovative methods. I especially enjoy blended teaching, and believe that we can use technology in much more effective ways, and one of those ways is in the way we study. You will see in our class that we will be using technology a great deal.... Stay tuned...

In my personal life, I have two active boys who keep me busy when I'm not teaching, reading papers and doing other work stuff!

Paris, 2017

I have many hobbies such as reading, writing (of course), swimming, shopping, video editing, technology work, etc.

Course Days/Times

Tuesdays and Thursdays

Section J1: 8-9:15am

Classroom Location

CAS 427

CAS Building
CAS 427

Contact Information


Office Hours

Tuesdays, 11am-12pm

Thursdays, 12-1pm

and by appointment

Chosen Name and Gender Pronouns

This course aims to be an inclusive learning community that supports students of all gender expressions and identities. While class rosters are provided to instructors with students’ legal names, please let me know if you would like to be addressed by a different name than that listed in the StudentLink. You are also invited to tell me early in the semester which set of pronouns (she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/their/theirs, etc.) you feel best fits your identity. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I am your instructor, but I am also here for you!

Before we get into the details of our course together, I want you to know that I am here for you! I know what it feels like to be home-sick, and to miss your family, so please know that my office door (or my email) is always open. If you need help finding resources on campus, let me know! I have a whole bunch of resources listed on our pdf syllabus on Blackboard, but I can also help you contact those resources if you need to.

Culture Shock

There will be moments, especially if you are a first-year student that you may experience culture shock. That is completely normal! I highly encourage you to talk about these moments, ask questions, and more importantly, don't suffer! I will always be here to listen!

What is this course all about?

Course Description

The First-Year Writing Seminar will help you cultivate skills and habits of mind essential to your academic success and to your future personal, professional, and civic life.

You will write a great deal at BU and beyond, and each occasion will present you with a range of questions: Who is my audience, and what kind of writing does the occasion call for? How should I structure my writing to engage, inform, persuade, and perhaps even entertain my audience? How can I judge sources wisely and use them effectively and responsibly? How can I clearly express my ideas? In this class we will review general principles about how to address such questions, and we will put those principles into practice as we read, talk, and write about our topic of the use and misuse of Digital Media in the current society.

In this course, we will approach and evaluate a wide array of topics related to new and emerging media, one in which you will have an understanding of the new media, and their potentials and challenges. Through discussion and writing (in-class and online), you will be able to create an understanding of the current cultural changes in media production and utilization and develop a critical approach to the use and misuse of these new technologies. Through hands-on activities and projects, there will be opportunities to critique the present and predict, design and write about the potential future new media. The class will draw upon an array of sources, including scholarly research articles, newspaper articles, blog entries, websites, videos, podcasts, etc.

What do we hope to achieve?

Course Objectives

You will develop your abilities to:

  • read a range of genres with understanding, appreciation, and critical judgment;
  • express yourself orally and converse thoughtfully about complex ideas;
  • craft responsible, considered, and well-structured written arguments;
  • produce clear, coherent prose in a range of genres and styles, using different media and modes of expression as appropriate;
  • plan, draft, and revise efficiently and effectively, and help your peers do the same by responding productively to their work;
  • develop and use effective strategies for finding and correcting errors in your own work
  • reflect on your own reading, writing, and editing practices.

Course Requirements/Assignments

  • You will be given a range of assignments in this course, including a self-assessment, various reading and writing exercises, three major assignments, and a final portfolio. Much of this work will not be graded, but that does not mean it is unimportant. Students who prepare diligently for class, participate actively, and take the homework exercises and drafts seriously learn more and produce better work than those who do not.
  • Exercises: These are low-stakes assignments and activities that are designed to help you make progress on assignments that will be graded. You will do some of these exercises in class; others will be given as homework in the form of Flipped Learning Modules. They will not receive explicit grades, but you will receive credit for completing them on time.
  • Major Papers/Assignments (drafts and final versions): We will use the term draft to refer to unfinished or preliminary versions of your major papers. You will be required to write at least 1-2 drafts of your papers. One of your major papers will be in an alternative genre and a different form of media. All your major assignments will receive comments from me, either in written or verbal form; the other will receive feedback from your classmates. Drafts will not receive explicit grades, although you will receive credit for completing them on time.
  • Oral Presentation: As the semester advances, you will be asked to speak about your work with the class.
  • Metacognition: You will have opportunities throughout the semester to reflect on your reading and writing practices. The self-assessment you write at the beginning of the semester will take stock of your writing skills and establish personal goals you wish to pursue over the course of the semester.
  • Portfolio: At the end of the semester, you will submit a portfolio containing your self-assessment, major assignments (drafts and final versions), other supporting artifacts, and an introductory essay. The portfolio provides you with an opportunity to document and reflect on your development as a reader and writer over the course of the semester. Your portfolio will contain work that has already been graded.
  • Individual conferences with instructor
  • Consistent attendance and active participation in class work

Course Materials

Turabian, Kate L., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. Student's Guide to Writing College Papers. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2010. (Required in all Writing Program classes; available for sale at the BU Bookstore.)

A list of articles, which will be our main reading for the semester. The detailed list is on the expanded syllabus, and I will be sharing a pdf file of each article every week on BlackBoard.

Occasionally, we will 'flip' our course content!

Well, we may not flip that high!

This means you will be receiving instruction online by watching a series of videos, and completing short online activities. We will then spend class time discussing, writing, collaborating, asking/answering questions!

BU Fall 2019 Academic Calendar


Class Schedule

Let's Begin!

I'm very much looking forward to working with all of you, and making the most of this semester! Here's to a wonderful, fruitful (and hopefully not too cold) semester!

Created By
Pary Fassihi


Created with images by Kelly Sikkema - "Blank Paper and Pencil" • Pezibear - "hyacinth flower blue blue flower spring flower" • Emma Matthews - "untitled image" • markusspiske - "home office laptop notebook startup web design" • coffeebeanworks - "web design facebook facebook page" • skeeze - "soccer goalkeeper competition" • TeroVesalainen - "checklist check list" • monicore - "notebook pen paper" • Julian Paul - "King Jumper" • Thought Catalog - "Taking notes with a pencil"