What needs to change when you write not for the page but the screen? That question drives this course.
For the most part, our approach to this question will be practical. I’ll ask you to experiment with two modes of digital writing: (1) designing and keeping an idea-centered blog, and (2) composing a digital essay that joins writing with images, video, and audio. As you work on these projects, we’ll try to see what sort of advice about writing transfers from the page to the screen and what doesn’t, what new possibilities are opened up by digital writing and what new constraints are imposed.
We’ll also read and respond to what other writers and thinkers have had to say about how intellectual work is changing as we move from a print to a digital culture. I’m interested in what it means to be a writer in a culture in which so much of our reading is done onscreen. I’ll thus keep the focus of this course resolutely on writing—rather than composing, for instance, in video or audio—but on writing in an environment saturated with images, links, videos, and sound files.
This course requires no technical expertise, but it does assume an avid interest in writing. It is the sort of course that rewards consistent, thoughtful effort; you’ll be expected to keep up a steady pace of reading and writing throughout the semester. If you are interested in a profession that involves writing—teaching, journalism, public policy, law—this will be a good course for you.