Instructor: Jaime Kirtz

Sections: 004 & 009

Time: M/W/F 9-9:50 & 10-10:50am

Location:  ECCR 1B08

Class Website:

Office: ENVR 1B50C

Office Hours: M 11-11:50am; Wed 11-1pm


Phone: 303-735-4671



In 2008 when Barack Obama was elected as the President of the United States, he had over 2.5 million Facebook supporters, more than four times that of his opponents (Aaker 16); this is one of many illustrations of how new media, specifically social media, has altered public involvement and civic engagement as well as modes of circulation and composition. This course will focus on intersections between civic engagement and new media with topics such as: new media literacies, digital ethics, collective identity, digital tools for composition and research, civic participation, transparency of media, and authority in digital realms.

This course is meant to develop students’ writing skills as well as rhetorical analysis, research skills and understanding of academic writing. Each week is organized around a general topic (gender, otherness, politics) with specific readings to which we will apply theoretical concepts and rhetorical analysis through written assignments, in class exercises and discussions. Further new forms of academic writing are emerging through digital media; blog posts and class websites can supplement formal papers and class inboxes; therefore our class will endeavor to use these new forms of media while also critiquing them and their prominence in the academy. The goal of this course is to prepare you as best as possible for new academic learning while teaching grounded writing skills. Over the course of the semester, we’ll look at texts that use digital media theory for the purpose of exploring ontological and axiomatic questions. Inquiries we plan to make include:

  • How are various types of digital/new media articles rhetorically constructed/presented?
  • How do changing rhetorical practices (due to digital media) apply to specific important issues surrounding gender, race and politics?
  • Who assigns value in the institutions and how is value allocated in regards to writing?
  • How do we encounter digital text?
  • What counts as digital text?
  • What is the discourse community surrounding digital media studies?

The goal of this exploration is for us all to be more savvy, more informed, and more intentional readers and writers so that we can engage in the important political, environmental, economic, and social challenges of our time through new technology.


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