Born-Digital Composition

Learning Outcomes

  • Work in a “born-digital” format to create compositions for professional and / or creative purposes.
  • Engage multimodal forms of communication.
  • Repurpose / “remix” existing content in a rhetorical and purposeful manner.

Description

In this assignment, you will create a digital composition, drawing on ideas related to digital rhetoric and writing that we’ve discussed this semester. To give you an opportunity to follow your own interests in the class, however, you will have three different options to pursue: one related to professional writing for content strategy; one related to critical interface design; and one related to experimental forms of digital argument.

To be clear: you will choose one of the following modules for this assignment.

Option 1: Writing for Content Strategy

You have already carried out an analysis of content strategy in relation to an organization’s existing communication practices. Choosing this option, you will produce components of digital content that could be repurposed in a variety of situations and contexts. This practice, referred to as component authoring, is central in many technical and professional communication fields.

You will choose a social or public issue that matters to you and imagine you work for an organization that addresses that issue. You will consider communication channels that the organization might use to circulate information about that issue. Your composing task will be to compose a collection of both written and visual content components (or “chunks”) that can be recombined in various ways for different purposes.

There will be two deliverables for this assignment, with nested requirements:

A Google Sites website including:

  1. A minimum of ten pages, each page including one component of content that could be repurposed. At least half of the pages should be written content. Additionally, while the content itself can be any length, there must be an explanation on each page of how the content can be combined with other components for different situations, audiences, and document requirements. These explanations should be a minimum of 100 words.
  2. The licensing information for any visual elements you include / repurpose / remix. This should be clear in terms of Creative Commons images (see the 10.1 Slides for a review), but even if you are using Unsplash or similarly “open” platforms, you should cite the license that the image is shared under.

A ~1-page professional memo, single-spaced. This memo will reflection on how you composed your content components, the digital-rhetorical considerations that informed them, and a few different example documents that could be authored with the content you produced. To be clear, you just need to describe these example documents, not actually produce them.

Option 2: Critical-Interface Design

This semester, we have discussed how digital interfaces frame our engagement with information. You may remember Selfe and Selfe’s call from early in the semester for English and Humanities majors to become more involved with interface design.

In this option, you will produce a “wireframe” of an application or website interface that engages users in a topic that matters to you. While you can choose any topic you’d like, your final product will need to be rhetorical in some sense, meaning the interface should seek to persuade users in some way regarding the topic.

You will use Figma’s design features to create the interface. To be clear, the interface does not need to be fully developed, polished, or finalized. It should, however, meet the following requirements:

  • Afford user interactivity in some way (clickable links, non-hierarchical navigation structure, etc.).
  • Embrace multimodality and multiple forms of media in a significant way (including images, embedded videos / audio, etc.).
  • Include a minimum of five interface “pages,” each of which should include a significant amount of content related to your topic.
  • Include the licensing information for any visual elements you include / repurpose / remix, either in the interface itself or in the memo (see below). This should be clear in terms of Creative Commons images, but even if you are using Unsplash or similarly “open” platforms, you should cite the license that the image is shared under.
  • Finally, you will also submit a ~1-page memo, single-spaced, explaining your digital rhetorical considerations for designing the interface for users.

Option 3: Creative / Critical Digital Argument

This last option is a sort of “wild-card” option for anyone who would like to take a more experimental approach. There are fewer specific requirements, but this will likely require more thinking and planning. Here, you will make an argument about something that matters to you in some sort of born-digital format. For example, you might make a short film about an issue in an experimental or creative way, do a podcast or audio essay, or put together some sort of digital collage or design. Regardless of the format, your submission should meet the following requirements:

  • Demonstrate an argument that would be impossible in simply alphabetic text.
  • Heavily integrate multimodal forms of communication.
  • Embrace an experimental ethos related to digital-rhetorical communication.
  • Include the licensing information for any visual elements you include / repurpose / remix, either in the composition itself or in the short essay (see below). This should be clear in terms of Creative Commons images, but even if you are using Unsplash or similarly “open” platforms, you should cite the license that the image is shared under.
  • Finally, you will also submit a ~2-page essay, double-spaced, explaining the scholarly ideas we’ve discussed that inform your production.

A brief, final note on this module: given the open-ended nature of this module, you will likely be best served by drawing on digital skills you have already tried or experimented with. If you have ideas but aren’t sure how to enact them, I’m more than happy to set up a meeting to discuss.

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