Wednesday 16th October 2019
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Digital Writing: Students Learn to Craft Content

David Grant September 26, 2013 IDS General, Learning, Writing Comments Off on Digital Writing: Students Learn to Craft Content

A simple way to think about the .ids Writing Bundle is to think content — the words, images, sounds, and stuff we go online to get. The writing bundle features a new course, English 4040/ 5040 Digital Writing: Theory and Practice, that focuses specifically on creating content with digital tools.

Digital writing is a bit different than traditional writing because it is multimodal, a fancy way of saying it combines text, image, and/ or sound. Traditional print-based documents might be fine within your company or organization, but the public wants that translated into something they can understand quickly and efficiently; no shovelware permitted here! So, we work with digital tools to redesign information and create compelling original content. 

Through scenario-based projects, we apply and practice the basic “how-to” of digital content creation as well as explore more theoretical questions such as ethics, rhetoric, and professionalism. Students learn that digital content must be designed collaboratively; with an eye toward audience, context, and purpose; and that the ethics of digital content are not yet resolved.

While we read from Lynda Felder’s Writing for the Web and Tim Peeples’ Professional Writing and Rhetoric, we also examine digital texts such as TED Talk videos, Wikis, and podcasts. In other words, we look at good digital content to learn how to craft our own!

Richard Miller said we are facing the greatest technological revolution since the printing press. If that is true, students will need to understand both literacy and this new way of understanding content, electracy.

English Departments have always been about reading and writing. Digital Writing looks at what that means today. And companies are finding this valuable — in health care, education, media, and finance companies are looking for digital content producers. With courses such as Digital Writing, we hope to carry to the traditions of the past into the future!

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Associate Professor of English Rhetoric & Composition at the University of Northern Iowa.