Course & Syllabus Guidelines

ENG 1131 — Writing Through Media


This course originated as an extension of “writing about literature” to entertainment and popular culture media (cinema, television, music, video games, pop literature, comics, magazines, zines, and the like). One difference from 1102 besides the object of study is the method of study: writing through media. Students not only analyze and interpret media works but also use “creative” forms and practices to explore the production of meaning. 1131 with its overview of pop media is distinguished from 1145 special topics and 2300 film analysis.


The goal of the course is to introduce students to the transition underway between literacy and post-literacy (electracy) in contemporary culture. This shift is approached through its rhetorical implications, with the students as makers (and not just consumers) of new media effects. Hence this course is best taught in a computer classroom, in the context of which its more “writerly“ assignments seem less experimental than they do in a conventional setting. At the same time, the course is adaptable to the conventional classroom.


While there is no one best way to teach 1131, there are certain things that students should know as a result of taking the course.

Curriculum (suggestions, not requirements)

A useful template for achieving the outcomes described above divides the semester into 4 segments, one for each of the basic modes, with a final section for integration or experimentation. Each segment includes readings and examples of the mode in both text and tape versions, with web examples as hybrid supplements.


Readings include both works about the forms and examples of them. Principles may be demonstrated with simple examples as well as complex masterpieces. Any work the students are asked to produce should be supported with models or relays for emulation and extrapolation. Exercises may be gathered under and motivated by a semester-long project. A more analytical approach to the curriculum might be based on “adaptation” of a key example to the medium of the web, to explore how the web draws on certain features of both the page and the screen. A more aesthetic approach to web hybridity is to design the 4 projects so that they accumulate into an intellectual self-portrait.


lower division syllabus guidelines

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