Writing Across Media

Writing Across Media is an advanced composition course course supported by the Center for Writing Studies and the Illinois Informatics Institute.

The ability to communicate effectively in multiple types of media is a crucial part of literacy in our society. In this course, students will explore the intersections of various media: print, film, images, sound, etc. Students will consider the ways in which writing--as an object and as a practice--is shaped by multimodal interactions. The course also integrates practical activities with broader theoretical issues in order to provide effective strategies for designing multimedia presentations, projects, and texts that integrate photography, video, and sound. (Crosslisted as INFO 303/WRIT 303.)

Media changes not only how we write but what we write and what we recognize as writing. It is no longer practical to think of writing as simply words on a page. (Maybe it was never practical.) Writing Across Media (WAM) will pay close attention to those points where text and image meet and consider the ways in which writing is shaped by these interactions. A guiding principle of this course is that effective writing cannot take place simply by learning a set of functions or techniques--that effective writing often requires more in the way of writing than alphabetic text. We will approach multimodal writing from theoretical and practical perspectives. For example, we will consider not only how to create a web site but also why people have chosen to represent their ideas (and themselves) in certain ways.

Some of the questions the course will explore are: What are the invisible media forms that we use each day? Is the media the message? What are the implicit rules that govern how we choose to represent our ideas in different media? How can we identify those rules (and challenge them) to produce effective media productions? How can theoretical ideas about new media inform practical training? What does it mean to read visual images? What are the rules that shape how we choose to design and literally position our ideas?

By integrating practical "how-to" guidelines with broader theoretical issues of what it means to write (and read) with different media, we will work on developing effective strategies for creating dynamic web pages, multimodal presentations, videos and other digital projects. Class sessions will be a combination of class discussion and hands-on training. No prior experience is necessary.

If you're a graduate student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and would like to teach Writing Across Media, download and fill out the WAM teaching interest form and submit it to Spencer Schaffner.