WRT 330


Instructor: Lori Ostergaard
Office: 382 O'Dowd hall
Email: ostergaa@oakland.edu
Webpage: http://comp-rhet.net/WRT330/index.html

Class Meets: MW 10:20-11:27 & Online FridaysOffice Phone: 248-370-2075
Office Hours: MW 11:30-12:30; Tuesday/Thursday 10-2:00; in Lori's office; Moodle chat; Skype; & by appointment

Any student needing to arrange a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability should contact Disability Support Services in North Foundation Hall, by calling (248) 370-3266 or TTY: (248) 370-3268; faxing (248) 370-4989; or emailing dss@oakland.edu.

Catalog Description

An examination of the rhetoric and ethics of internet technology and culture. Introduces theories of digital culture and its effects on both online and actual identities and communities, especially in relation to ethnicity, gender, class, physical ability, and sexual orientation. Includes individual and collaborative analysis and construction of web projects. Identical with COM 330. Satisfies the university's general education requirement for a writing-intensive course in general education or the major, not both. Satisfies the university general education requirement in U.S. diversity. Prerequisite: completion of the university writing foundation requirement (WRT 150 & WRT 160).

General Education Learning Outcomes

U.S. Diversity
Students in this class will:

Graduate Credit

If you are taking this course for graduate credit, please see me after the first class to discuss the additional work that you will need to complete to receive that credit.

Partially Online

This course has been designated "partially online," which means that some of your course work will be completed in online learning activities. We will meet in our classroom on Mondays and Wednesdays and online on Fridays. You will be required to complete activities in Moodle, in a class wiki, in Diigo, or elsewhere online.

Course Goals (Students in WRT/COM 330 will)


Reading/Viewing material will be provided online.

Class Materials

Writing Intensive

This course has been designated as a "Writing Intensive" course; therefore, you should expect to do a great deal of writing this semester. In addition to online course responses and reading responses, you will write emails, surveys, questionnaires, research questions, scripts, analyses, story boards, short videos, project reflections, progress reports, proposals, etc. The level of formality for each of these writing assignments will vary, but you should always be prepared to produce only thoughtful, critical, and polished written work for this class. While some of the work we complete this semester will engage with audio and visual elements, you should anticipate composing no fewer than 500 words of written/alphabetic text every week.


In-Class/Online Work (40%): This includes your active and informed engagement with course material and assignments and with the work produced by your peers in this class. You will be required to read/watch all online texts and to respond twice weekly to course materials in Moodle forums and at other online sites. Your responses may require you to develop visual, audio, or video texts, so be prepared to play with a lot of new software this semester.

Digital Autobiography (10%): You will research and critically analyze your own engagement with digital culture. While this analysis will include your personal experiences with various forms of digital culture (software, hardware, networking sites, interactive mediums, etc), you may conduct some secondary research to support the personal claims you make about those forms of digital culture. Your digital autobiography will be presented as a digital story using a combination of Audacity for audio recording/editing or GarageBand and MovieMaker or iMovie.

Research of Emerging Media (20%): You will conduct both primary (interview, survey, observation, participation) research and secondary research to develop a critical analysis of some emerging form of digital culture (software, hardware, networking site, interactive medium, etc). You will present your analysis in polished, formal writing (wiki or article), cite your sources using APA style, and address your work to a specific (informed but not expert) internet audience.

Digital Ethnography (20%): For this project you will work with a small group to explore one unique online digital culture. Your group may examine a particular digital space, a digital activity, a digital community, a digital artifact, or a digital ritual online. You may model your own ethnography off of those available here, or you may chose your own medium for exploring some aspect of our (or others') digital cultures (video, digital story, audio essay, website, wiki, interactive game, hypertext...Note: NO POWERPOINT ALLOWED!). The online community you choose to investigate must be readily identifyable and researchable. You must behave ethically in your interactions with this group, representing yourself and your project to the members and informing them of their rights as subjects in your research. Your group will gather both primary data (observations, interviews, surveys, etc) and secondary data (popular articles, reports, academic works). This project is due the last week of class. You will present this work to your peers and me & then you will have no other work to submit for this class, and no exams to take.

Field Work Notebook (10%): While your digital ethnography will be the compilation of all of the research your group has gathered about the digital culture you are investigating, you will keep your own Field Work Notebook where you will record your own formal observation notes, interview notes, reports about your encounters with the culture you are studying, and your own reflections on this culture. You may include images, soundclips, audio recordings, text, charts, etc.

Grade Distribution

In-Class/Online Work = 40%

Digital Autobiography = 10%

Research of Emerging Media = 20%

Digital Ethnography = 20%

Field Work Notebook = 10%

Course Policies

Academic Conduct Policy: Cheating on examinations, plagiarism, falsifying reports/records, and unauthorized collaboration are considered serious breaches of academic conduct.  The Oakland University policy on academic conduct will be strictly followed with no exceptions.  See the university catalog under Academic Policies and Procedures for more information.

Attendance: All WRT classes adhere to the OU Excused Absence Policy for OU events and activities:  http://www2.oakland.edu/provost/web/reports/OU_Excused_Absence_Policy_Final.pdf
For absences not covered by the university policy, students in writing and rhetoric courses are allowed a certain number of absences without penalty: 3 for three-times-a-week classes, 2 for twice-a-week classes, or 1 for once-a-week classes. This includes absences due to illness, car trouble, or schedule conflict. Participation in online activities counts as class attendance. For each absence beyond those allowed, the student's final course grade will be lowered by 0.1 points on the 4.0 scale for three-times-a-week classes, .15 for twice-a-week classes, or .3 for once-a-week classes. Students who miss more than three combined weeks of class are not eligible to receive a grade above 0.0.

You will be counted absent if you do not complete any online assignment before the deadline for that assignment expires.

Class Participation: is both crucial and considered a given. I expect you to be actively engaged in class discussions, activities, peer reviews, and group and individual work.

Social Practices: In addition to class participation and attendance, I expect you to act in a professional manner at all times. I expect you to be respectful, gracious, generous, and kind to your classmates and to me. I hope that you will all be enthusiastic (or at least willing to fake it) about the work we are doing together.

Response Policy: I will provide both formal responses (written and audio responses to drafts you are required to submit to me) and informal responses (audio, email, or written responses to drafts you'd just like another opinion on) to your work throughout the semester. I will respond to some of your Moodle responses at the beginning of the semester, but I will expect you all to respond to each other throughout the full semester.

Revision Policy: We live in a digital age and material on the web is permanent, but revisable...as a result, most of the work you complete this semester may be substantially revised for a better grade. If you wish to revise your digital autobiography and/or emerging media project, you will have two weeks to complete these revisions after each project has been graded. And you should feel free to ask me if there is any other work you wish to revise throughout the semester.

Late Work: I reserve the right not to respond to or return late work until after I have caught up on my other work. I also reserve the right to grade you a letter grade lower for each class period an assignment is late or not to grade late work at all. Work submitted late may not be revised for a better grade.

The Evil Computer Ate My Homework Excuses: are rarely acceptable these days (their only real chance of working is in the event of a whole system--like the entire OU network--failure and even then you're skating on very thin ice). We're all expected to deal with technology and deal with it responsibly everyday of our adult lives, so err on the side of obsessive when it comes to saving the documents you're working on: save them to a free dropbox account, email them to yourself, save them to disc and jump drives, save them to your MP-3 player, save them to your desktop at home, send copies to family members' email account just for kicks; in sum, save each and every new draft you compose in a variety of places. And please keep in mind that Moodle can be unreliable. When responding to discussion forums, you may wish to compose your responses in word before copying/pasting them into Moodle.

Creative Commons License
These course materials are licensed by Lori Ostergaard under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.