Traveling Through Digital Spaces: Digital Rhetoric


WRA 415 Digital Rhetoric is a course offered to students in the Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC) department, which allows students to dip into different styles of digital spaces. This course is designed to help students gain knowledge that is essential to the study and practice of digital rhetoric. I had the opportunity to take Digital Rhetoric with Professor Liza Potts in Fall 2013. In the four months I was in this class I learned how to use three new Adobe programs, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and InDesign. I also had the opportunity to experience online programs, such as Camtasia, Joomag, and

I wasn’t the only one who got the opportunity to improve my digital skills. This course allowed my peers and I to explore different spaces on the Internet and analyze how individuals communicate and build audience through these spaces. In analyzing these spaces, we were able to create projects and present them in different ways, with the common goal of delivering our findings through the digital world.

Liza encouraged us to step outside the Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, and to choose from other delivery options that best fit our projects. She wants her students to “explore different tools and different delivery modes. These projects are their opportunity to learn new tools, practice skills, and explore issues of audience and persuasion.”


WRA 415 Student Projects?

Carly Mangus, a senior in Professional Writing with an emphasis in editing and publishing, used Weebly to delivered her final reflection paper, which was “Defining Digital Rhetoric”. Weebly is a web-building tool designed to offer step-by-step web development instruction to help anyone establish a website. Carly chose to deliver her project in the form of a website because she felt that it made the most sense, if she is discussing digital rhetoric it makes complete sense to apply the concept of digital rhetoric visually.

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11 Elements Every Blog Post Needs


The allure of my headline is the fact that it declares there are things every blog post needs and the fact that you don’t know them motivates you to read further. To survive and thrive in the blogosphere, bloggers must hone their skills and commit to their craft. Their voice needs to be persuasive, their language seductive. Blog posts need to provide something for the reader – a laugh, a tip, a piece of anecdotal advice. If they’re not beneficial, they won’t be read.

Every post needs to leave their readers wanting more, obsessively checking for the next entry. And don’t underestimate the power in the simplicity of a bulleted list. The easier it is for readers to digest, the more likely it will be consumed. Check out the incredibly cool infographic in its entirety by Copyblogger here.

PW Senior Maude Campbell accepted to NYU Summer Publishing Institute

We are proud to announce that Professional Writing senior, Maude Campbell, has been accepted to the prestigious New York University Summer Publishing Institute. While in a conference about her future for WRA 493 with Jon Ritz, he encouraged her to apply for the program. Associate Professor Stuart Blythe, who has known Campbell since she started in PW, expressed his excitement for her: “I’m happy that she’s representing MSU at NYU. She’ll be a terrific ambassador for our program.”


Over the course of the six-week program, Campbell will learn the ins and outs of book, magazine, and digital publishing. Along the way, faculty members of the Institute and guest speakers will discuss various aspects of the publishing industry including the marketing, business, and creative sides of projects. “I hope to learn more about magazine publishing and the industry from professionals working in publications that are world renowned,” Campbell said. Lucky for her, she will be working closely with prominent publishing companies that will act as industry advisors throughout the program.

During the first three weeks, she will be expected to produce launch plans for new magazine brands and for the last three weeks, she will be focusing on creating imprints for book publishing houses. Throughout the entire program, emphasis will also be placed on publishing in digital formats including web, tablet, and mobile platforms. Final projects will be judged by a panel of senior publishing executives from publications such as Condé Nast and publishers such as HarperCollins.

At the very end of the program, a Career Fair will take place where students will interview with leading publishing companies in the book, magazine, and digital publishing industries. Campbell conveyed her worries about this, “I’m nervous about meeting with professionals I have admired for years through reading their publications.  It will be intimidating but through them I can gain further insight into my growing passion.” Since Campbell is in the Editing and Publishing track of PW, this program will provide a perfect opportunity to learn, grow, and network within the industry. “I am hoping we can invite Maude back and she’ll share the fruits of what will be an amazing experience,” Professor Dànielle DeVoss said.

For more information on this program, check out their brochure here.

30 Day Challenge: Write the first draft of your novel

Source: Jess Wilson, The Guardian
Source: Jess Wilson, The Guardian

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) doesn’t have to come only once every year. November isn’t the magic month where creativity peaks and words flow from your fingertips like liquid gold. Most of the time, depending on how you work, the writing process is complete and utter chaos. Plots start at the height of the action and then never come to a resolution, spend too much time on the setting and not enough time on character development, or the characters become too complex that you can’t see past them to the plot. These are common writing practices, and sometimes they work, but sometimes you can get lost in your own work. Creating a rigorous outline of your story will help you train yourself to become a productive writer.

There are six stages to this 30-day challenge. In the first week, you create your tentative outline including character, plot, and setting sketches as well as research strategies, the summary outline and any extra notes you may have. The second week consists of in-depth research. Delving into your characters backgrounds, the necessary details of the plot, and the facts needed for the proper setting. Once you have sufficient amount of information, the third week is spent introducing the formatted outline you created in the first week. In the final days of the challenge, you’ll be evaluating the strength of you formatted outline and finally revising your first draft. It’s important to have structure when writing, especially a schedule that pushes you to stay on target. It’s not impossible to write a novel in a month, but it’s definitely not easy. Challenge yourself. Check out The Guardian’s “How to write a book in 30 days” series.