Prof. Christine Cucciarre has been teaching "Writing the New Media" at UD since 2011. The popular course, which focuses on writing for the web and social media, continues to evolve.
"Electronic communication has dramatically transformed our society—the ways we do business, participate in the political process, and live our social lives," says Peter X Feng, Associate Chair of the English department. "The way we communicate in 2013 is different from the way we communicated in 2012, and I think it's changing us in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. It's an important enough topic that we're in the process of making this course a permanent part of our curriculum."
Students from across the University have taken "Writing the New Media," and many have graduated and found internships and jobs as social media writers.
Professors Feng and Cucciarre sat down in January to talk about the course, which is offered in Spring 2013.
Feng: You introduced this course in 2011: how has New Media changed in the last two years? Have you redesigned your syllabus for 2013?
Cucciarre: New Media constantly evolves and thus my syllabus has to as well. Some of the course focuses on writing to unknown audiences, participatory culture and ways to revise writing to fit into new media communication. Still, I have some core assignments that include blogging, writing wikis, and re-imagining a past essay within the new media landscape.
Feng: Why do you think this course appeals to so many different kinds of students?
Cucciarre: We are all immersed in new media. Clearly, anyone who is communicating electronically can benefit from this class. But savvy students also know that if they can show that they write well and effectively in social media (certainly a component in this class) they are valuable to any company. Marketing, writing and communicating via social media is a growing area of need for all business. In fact, several students from past classes landed jobs and internships as social media writers in part because of this class. One student interned at ElleGirl.com.
Feng: How is writing for New Media different from the other kinds of writing that we teach at UD?
Cucciarre: This class is both practical and theoretical. We study the foundations of rhetoric and apply them to new media. This strategy gives students the critical tools to understand persuasion and their audience in a way that is pragmatic and intellectual at the same time.
Feng: Can you give an example of a project that students can look forward to?
Cucciarre: One of the many fun projects students work on is creating a new wiki either on WikiHow or on WikiTravel. Students learn the rules (explicit and implicit) of Wikis and how they work, plus the unique genre and audience that these sites attract. Some of my students have become "Rising Stars" on WikiHow because of their innovative posts.
Feng: How did you get interested in teaching writing?
Cucciarre: I loved being a student and wanted to be one forever. I always liked writing, but was a terrible academic writer because I didn't understand audience or revision. Teaching writing continues to help me learn about both of those writerly issues, while it satisfies both the practical and intellectual sides of my personality. Teaching writing and thinking through writing is something that helps students in every aspect of their lives. And rhetoric and writing is the glue that holds all of education together.
ENGL 367 meets MW 8:40-9:55 in the Spring 2013 Semester. The course satisfies the College of Arts and Sciences Second Writing requirement.