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 easel.ly.
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.
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.
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.
Source: The Oatmeal
Irony (n): the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
This is a blanket definition of irony when in fact; there are many different forms of irony. Too many people use irony as a catchall term to refer to anything out of the ordinary, amusing, or dramatic. The ignorance stops here. By understanding the various forms it comes in, you will (hopefully) use irony correctly.
If one of your friends or classmates comes to you and says, “I wish my professor would call on me more, I love the feeling of absolute terror you get when everyone in the class is staring at you.” Unless they’re some kind of masochist, they obviously don’t enjoy being spontaneously called on and suffering the scrutiny of their classmates. This is known as verbal irony though it is usually referred to as sarcasm.
The most common irony is situational irony, which refers the actions of someone based on an expectation that lead directly to the outcome they wish to avoid. For example, in the movie Shrek, it was expected that “love’s true form” for Fiona would be human when in reality it was an ogre because Shrek loved her ogre form.
In the works of drama or fiction, dramatic irony is when the reader or audience is let in on a fact that is unknown to most of the characters. The most famous example is in Romeo & Juliet when the audience knows that Juliet has taken a potion to merely appear dead, while Romeo only sees her dead body and proceeds to kill himself.
Cosmic irony would only be used for dramatic effect in real life, but it basically blames the gods or fate for having a hand in our struggles. For a fictional example, in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort’s motivation throughout all the books is to kill Harry and in the end, that’s what destroys him.
The juxtaposition between a historical event and what has happened since to contradict it is historical irony. Leading up to its departure in 1912, the Titanic was declared unsinkable – and then it sunk on its maiden voyage.
Based on the Socratic teaching method, Socratic irony is feigning ignorance in order to get a certain reaction or answer out of someone. So when your professor asks you to read the material and then you come in the next day and they say “I don’t know the answer” as they sit back and ask you question after question and you end up teaching yourself – you’ve just become the victim of Socratic irony.
Check out more examples of irony at Huffington Post.
You’d think the most persuasive words, the ones that have the most impact on us, would be impressive and lengthy and foreign-sounding; you’d need to roll your tongue and take on a fake accent in order to reach the word’s high level of persuasion. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The truth is – these words are commonplace. They’re used every day in everyday conversations. It’s probably really disenchanting how overused they are. Nonetheless, the trick is how they’re being used that makes them so persuasive – it’s the rhetoric. The way they are presented and pitched, greatly affects how the audience perceives not only the words but also the content. There is an art to persuasiveness and it lies in the creative process of the copy. Every word must keep in mind the content, purpose, and audience in order to succeed in persuasion. You can find the 5 compelling words at Copyblogger’s article here.
If you’ve ever stared at a blank Word document, you know that achieving inspiration is harder than it sounds. Ideas don’t come easily, especially when you force them. Instead, allow yourself to be lazy. Let the ideas come to you. Or, get feedback on the ideas you already have, even if they aren’t very good. Knowing where or how your best ideas come to you is highly beneficial. And no matter how you go about searching for inspiration, make sure you have a strategy for documenting your ideas at any moment.
But what is inspiration? Well, there are a lot of brain waves and neural connections involved, but basically, the more you work your brain, the better it becomes at generating ideas. Our brain is a map of connections, each thought attached to another in a never-ending field of associations. The more we use those connections, the stronger they become and the easier it is to create new ones. Keeping your brain active is essential to this process. We’ve all heard of the numerous benefits of exercising and meditating. However, here’s an excuse to be even lazier: reading and playing video games also offer opportunities to create new neural connections. “Dude, how do you have time to play Assassin’s Creed 4, again?” “I’m strengthening neural connections and establishing new pathways in my brain every time I kill someone.” Yeah, you’re welcome. Read up on inspiration at Lifehacker.
Showcasing your skills and presenting yourself in the best way to your employers is challenging. However, students in the Professional Writing major might not have it quite as hard. Nowadays, employers are complaining that they can’t find job candidates despite the high unemployment rate. They say that this is because candidates don’t have near satisfactory writing skills. Many new hires received excellent grades all throughout school; however, they didn’t develop their writing and it left them behind all the other candidates. Some say that the root of the problem is in college curriculums; others say it stems earlier than that, but they all agree that the education systems aren’t doing enough to focus on written and oral communication.
The Graduate Management Admission Council conducted a survey in 2011 reporting that 86% of corporate recruiters said “strong communication skills were a priority”. Jobs now are mostly text based; communication occurs through emails, memos, reports, and other documents of the like. When that much of the daily conversation within and outside the company occurs in a documented format, it is vital that an employee’s written skills are up to par in order to assure the company is being represented appropriately. As a result, communication is one of the most sought after skills for employees and a major key to success in the employed world. For more details, check out the article at NBC News.
Everyone realizes it at some point – my WordPress theme is being used by thousands of other bloggers. So, how do you make your blog standout? Most people shy away from customization of their layouts because they believe it takes exceptional coding skills and mastery of all computer languages. Well, they’re wrong. There are a few simple things you can tweak on your blog to make it match your own individual flair. From fonts to images to colors to the basic layout of your blog, there are many ways to make your blog stand apart from the rest. Check out more tips on Copyblogger.