COMM 2527; Writing for Online Media; Spring 2010
Dr. Lance Strate, Faculty Memorial Hall, Room 434A
Telephone: (718) 817-4864; E-mail:
Office Hours: Mon. 4:30- 5:30; Tues. 1-2; Wed. 2-3, or by appointment.

Point of View of This Course:
In this course, we will explore the unique challenges of writing within the online media environment. Our main focus will be writing for web logs, aka blogs, as blogging has emerged as a major medium for the written word online, but we will also consider more generally writing for the web, and hypertext as the full elaboration of computer-mediated writing. We will examine this latest evolution in the technologizing of the word from philosophical, theoretical, analytical, and critical perspectives, taking into account its historical context and relationship to other forms of writing and publishing, and considering various forms and purposes of online writing. And we will learn by doing, as students will be required to create and write for their own individual blogs for this class, and also to contribute to a class wiki about online writing.

Required Texts:
1. Blogging, by Jill Walker Rettberg
2. Writing Space (Second Edition), by Jay David Bolter
3. Additional readings will be provided in class or online, and you will be expected to read blogs and other online media, both of your own choosing and the work of your classmates.

Course Objectives:
1. To explore the use of the written word in the contemporary online media environment in a reflective manner, drawing upon various philosophical, theoretical, historical, and critical and analytical perspectives.
2. To practice writing for online media in order to learn specific skills and techniques unique to these forms of publication, as well as improve writing skills in general.
3. To produce an individual blog that could be part of an online portfolio.

Requirements and Evaluation:
1. You will be expected to create and maintain your own blog, posting new entries at least 3 times a week, and will be graded on the overall quality and substance of the writing, its appropriateness for online media, your ability to integrate images and audiovisual materials, the overall appearance of the blog, the frequency and timeliness of posts, etc. Your blog will account for 50% of the final grade.
2. You will be expected to write and post comments on your classmates blog posts, to contribute to the class wiki on the subject of online writing, and otherwise to engage in additional forms of online writing, and this will account for 20% of the final grade.
3. You will be expected to attend class with a minimum of absences, come to class on time, remain for the full duration of class, be prepared to discuss the assigned readings for the class, participate sensibly during class meetings, and provide classmates with feedback on their blogs in a respectful and sensitive manner. Attendance and participation will account for 20% of the final grade.
4. You will be given a final exam that will account for 10% of the final grade.

Tentative Schedule of Readings

Jan. 25 Introduction to Writing for Online Media Environments

Feb. 1 Rettberg, Acknowledgements, Introduction, Chaps. 1-2

Feb. 8 Rettberg, Chaps. 3-4

Feb. 15 Presidents Day—No Class Meeting

Feb. 16 Tuesday Class Meeting Rettberg, Chaps. 5-7

Feb. 22 Bolter, Preface, Chaps. 1-2

Mar. 1 Bolter, Chaps. 3-4

Mar. 8 Bolter, Chaps. 5-6

Mar. 15 Spring Break—No Class Meeting

Mar. 22 Bolter, Chaps. 7-8

Mar. 29 Bolter, Chaps. 9-11

Apr. 5 Easter Monday—No Class Meeting

Apr. 12 TBA

Apr. 19 TBA

Apr. 26 TBA

May 3 Conclusion to this Course

May 17 Final Exam