ENGLISH 315: Digital Writing


ENGLISH 315: Digital Writing

Instructor: Dr. Santosh Khadka

Classroom location: ED 2117 (College of Education)

Office: 834 Sierra Tower

Email: santosh.khadka@csun.edu

Course Description

This course engages the expanded notion of writing, and focuses specifically on the composing practices with multisemiotic resources, such as sound, video, images, web, graphics, and animation, in the digital world. It also deals with social media, digital identity, and ethical issues surrounding the digital production of texts.

Course Outcomes

Students will:

  • Gain experience with a variety of digital writing tools and platforms.
  • Explore the rhetorical effects of different media.
  • Build upon their current levels of experience and expertise with digital writing.
  • Read a series of texts that explore practical and philosophical issues related to digital writing.

Required Texts (List Subject to Change)

Introduction from Why Digital Writing Matters (Selection–PDF in Canvas)

Anderson, Paul V. Technical Communication: A Reader-Centered Approach (Selection—PDF in Canvas)

Top Six Digital Transformation Trends In Media And Entertainment (Online)

Beach, Richard, Chris M. Anson, Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, Thomas Reynolds. Understanding and Creating Digital Texts: An Activity-Based Approach (Buy at Matador Bookstore).

Hempe, Barry. Making Documentary Films and Videos: A Practical Guide to Planning, Filming, and Editing Documentaries (Buy at Matador Bookstore).

Inge, M. Thomas. “Collaboration and Concepts of Authorship.” (PDF in Canvas)

Kennedy, Krista. “Textual Machinery: Authorial Agency and Bot-Written Texts in Wikipedia.” (PDF in Canvas)

Selfe, Cynthia L. “The Movement of Air, the Breath of Meaning: Aurality and Multimodal Composing.” (PDF in Canvas)

Mary Hocks and Michelle Comstock. “Composing for Sound: Sonic Rhetoric as Resonance” (PDF in Canvas)

Tkacz, Nathaniel. Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness (PDFs of Selections on Canvas).

“Wikipedia: Five Pillars.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Five_pillars

“Wikipedia: New Contributors’ Help Page.”


For Other Materials–see hyperlinks in the calendar or PDFs in Canvas.

Course Requirements and Grade Distribution

Major Assignments (For detailed descriptions, see sample assignments below)

  1. Digital Literacy Narrative (10%)
  2. Audio Movie Review (20%)
  3. Documentary Film (20%)
  4. Collaborative Wikipedia Article (20%)
  5. Digital Portfolio (20%)
  6. Blog Responses to Course Readings (10%)



A 120 or higher gigabyte portable or external hard drive, USB 2.0.

An 16 gigabyte SanDisk SDHC memory card, class 6

Required free materials include a blog space.


(Subject to change)

Part I: Digital Narratives/Composing with Sound

Week 1, January 22, Wednesday

Introduction to course syllabus.  Setup of initial website.  Sample post.   Create Blogs. Introduce digital literacy narrative assignment.

Week 2, January 27, Monday:

Introduction to digital writing

National Writing Project: “Introduction: Why Digital Writing Matters.” (PDF in Canvas)

Top Six Digital Transformation Trends In Media And Entertainment (Online)

Introduction to Audio Movie Review Assignment

Blog Post 1 Due

Class Discussion Questions on the Assigned Readings: 

  1. How is digital writing defined across the readings for today?
  2. How do parents view different digital writing activities? Which activities do they see as helpful and which ones hurtful to their children?
  3. Why do you think digital writing matters? Give five reasons.
  4. What are the top six digital transformation trends in media and entertainment, according to Forbes article? Think of 3 instances for each one of those trends.
  5. How is rhetorical view of writing different from general view of writing? 
  6. How is digital writing different from print-based writing in terms of invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery? Think of some concrete examples of differences between them.
  7. How are the contexts and spaces of writing changed these days? How are they different from, let’s say, 20 years ago? Think of some concrete examples.
  8. What are and could be some typical resistances to digital writing or teaching digital writing in college classrooms? How do you respond to such resistances?

Week 2,  January 29, Wednesday

Digital Literacy Narrative Due.

Discuss criteria for Evaluating Print and Online Sources

Discuss writing technologies with a particular focus on audio.

Listen and analyze sample audio movie review from NPR:


Ted Talk on Sound Editing:

Review Proposal Guidelines and Review Grading Criteria (both documents in Canvas)

Week 3, February 3, Monday:

Cynthia Selfe. “The Movement of Air, the Breath of Meaning: Aurality and Multimodal Composing.” (PDF in Canvas)

Mary Hocks and Michelle Comstock. “Composing for Sound: Sonic Rhetoric as Resonance” (PDF in Canvas)

Discussion Questions on Cynthia Selfe’s “Aurality and Multimodal Composing” 

  1. What is Selfe’s main argument?
  2. What are stakes for teachers and students in privileging print only in the academy? 
  3. How did aurality lose its space in the university curriculum? 
  4. What was the role of aurality in college composition classrooms from the mid-nineteenth century onward? In what forms did aurality persisted in college composition classrooms? 
  5. How did different minority communities (African American, Hispanic, American Indian) retain aurality in their cultures? Think of some concrete examples. 
  6. What set the grounds for the revival of aurality/multimodality in the early 21st century college composition classrooms? Scholarship? Technologies? Cultural Ecology? 
  7. What are some common audio assignments the article discusses? What others could be included in the list? 

Discussion Questions on Hocks and Comstock’s “Sonic Rhetoric as Resonance 

  1. What is sonic literacy, and what is sonic rhetoric? Define based on your reading of the article. 
  2. How does the article define resonance? 
  3. What are three modes of listening? How are they different from each other? 

How to Write a Film Review

Audio Only Documentary Sample: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csvsjn

Blog Post 2 Due

Week 3, February 5, Wednesday:

Audio Movie Review Proposal due

Discuss Fair Use. https://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/what-is-fair-use/

Watch Lessig’s TED Talk Video

Clay Shirky: Why SOPA is a bad idea:

Week 4, February 10, Monday:

Workshop on Sound editing. Drafting movie review script. Recording 30-60 seconds of audio review, and learning editing skills.

Week 4, February 12, Wednesday:

No Class. Workshop on your Movie Review at the space of your convenience

Week 5, February 17, Monday:

Presentation of Audio Movie Review

Week 5, February 19, Wednesday:

Presentation of Audio Movie Review

Audio Movie Reviews due

II. Composing with Video

Week 6, February24, Monday:


Introduction to documentary making assignment.

Watch a sample documentary film: Digital Nation

Digital Nation

Formation of Documentary Groups

Week 6, February 26, Wednesday:

Workshop. Introduction to iMovie. Bring to class several short clips of video footage on your camera that total about 5 minutes for download and manipulation in iMovie.

Download Video Composition Resources here

Week 7, March 2, Monday:

Ted Talk on Remix:

Everything is a Remix Video:

Part III: “What Will You Show” and Part IV: “Writing Documentary” (PP. 89-216) of  Making Documentary Films and Videos: A Practical Guide. 

Blog Post 3 Due

Week 7, March 4, Wednesday:

Proposal for documentary film due. Discussion of proposals

Barry Hempe, “Editing a Documentary” (PP. 324-340) from Making Documentary Films and Videos: A Practical Guide.

Discussion of some Film Editing Terms

A Beginner’s Guide to Film Editing Vocabulary

Video Explanation of Some Editing Terms:


Week 8, March 9, Monday:  

Workshop on video production/editing

Download Resources from here for the video composing workshop: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B37jKaJwn4ElaXVBMHNRdFJnMkk

Week 8, March 11, Wednesday: 

No Class. Field Work. Collect further Data or Workshop on video production/editing

Week 9, March 16-22

Spring Recess

Complete the Documentary project. Video Screening begins from Monday, March 23.

Week 10, March 23, Monday 

Group Work on the Documentary Film: Using Zoom or Hangout, collaborate to edit the final cut (version) of your video. Final Cut is Due to Canvas on Wednesday.

Week 10, March 25, Wednesday

Give a finishing touch to your documentary film and turn in both your script and the film through Canvas link by 11:59PM today.

 III. Collaborative Authorship

Week 11, March 30, Monday:

  1. New Group work begins. We will continue with the same documentary groups even for the Wikipedia article group projects. 
  2. Individually and as a group, read and annotate Wikipedia Article Assignment
  3. Read these articles:

                 I. Wikipedia as Accurate as Encyclopedia Brittanica.  

                II. Wikipedia better in Accuracy and References than other Encyclopedias in Three Languages.

          III. Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

4. Also read:

I. Introduction to “The Five Pillars of Wikipedia

II. “The New Contributors’ Help Page.”


Week 11, April 1, Wednesday: 

  1. Create a new Wikipedia account. (each of you need to have an account to add/edit content in Wikipedia)
  2. Review List of Stubs on Wikipedia (As a Group, determine if you are interested in any of these stubs? Which one? Why? Discuss in your group. 
  3. Individually, read these articles from Canvas and write a blog post:

                I. Inge, “Collaboration and Concepts of Authorship”

                II.  “Introduction” from Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness


Blog Post 4 is due today.

Week 12, April 6, Monday: 

  1. Individually, read these chapters:

I. Chapter 1: “Open Politics” and Chapter 2: “Sorting Collaboration Out” (pp. 14-87) from Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness (PDF in Canvas)

II. Richard Beach et.al “Co-Constructing Knowledge through Collaborative Writing” from Understanding and Creating Digital Texts.

Blog Post 5 is Due today.

        2. As a group, start  locating, evaluating, and collecting sources for your feature-length Wikipedia Article. 

        3. Work on your Wikipedia Article proposal. Find Wikipedia Proposal Guidelines in Canvas and draft your proposal around them.

Week 12, April 8, Wednesday:

Complete and Submit your Wikipedia Article Proposal through Canvas (one submission per group with everyone’s name in it is fine)

Week 13, April  13, Monday:

Peer Review of Wikipedia Article (look for peer review groups in your email)

Use these criteria to respond to draft articles of your peer group.

I have paired Group 1 and Group 2 for Wikipedia Article Review. Similarly, Group 3 and Group 4 will review each other’s article. Tamara and Tabitha are working individually and review each  other’s articles. Please get in touch with each other with the emails in parenthesis below and complete the review by Wednesday, April 15. All the best!

Group 1
Suzanne Diaz (suzanne.diaz.905@my.csun.edu)
Tori Bowler (tori.bowler.628@my.csun.edu)
Maria Nicolas (maria.nicolas.589@my.csun.edu)
Laura Perez (laura.perez.220@my.csun.edu)

Group 2
Sally Carrillo (sallyann.carrillo.779@my.csun.edu)
Jonathan Flores (jonathan.flores.903@my.csun.edu)

Group 3
Liam Cetti (liam.cetti.808@my.csun.edu)
Roy Chun (roy.chun.911@my.csun.edu)
Joshua Chung (joshua.chung.685@my.csun.edu)
Joshua Rivera (joshua.rivera.67@my.csun.edu)

Group 4
Ahmir King (ahmir.king.22@my.csun.edu)
Sharene Nance (sharene.nance.909@my.csun.edu)
Cristo Arellano (cristo.arellano.162@my.csun.edu)
Laisha Martinez (laisha.martineznavarro.597@my.csun.edu)

Working Individually

1. Tamara Williams (tamara.williams.189@my.csun.edu)

2. Tabitha Hakimi (tabitha.hakimi.131@my.csun.edu)

Week 13, April  15, Wednesday:

Complete your Wikipedia Article. 

Week 14, April 20, Monday

Prepare a 5-mins Slides presentation using Google Slides and turn in the presentation through Canvas link. Both the link to your Wikipedia Article and Slides presentation is due to Canvas on Wednesday.

Part IV: Composing with Web and Portfolio Exhibit

Week 14, April 22, Wednesday:

Wikipedia Article and Slides Due (End of Group Project)

  1. Individually, read and annotate Final Digital Portfolio Project.
  2. Individually, read and write a blog post about these chapters: 

             I. Paul V. Anderson, “Creating Reader-Centered Websites.” (PDF in Canvas)

            II. Richard Beach et.al “Composing Multimodal Texts through Use of Images, Audio, and Video” from Understanding and Creating Digital Texts.

Blog Post 6 Due

Week 15, April 27, Monday

Individually, start working on the additional artifacts for the portfolio (60 seconds video or significant revision of earlier major projects or 5 new blog posts). Read the digital portfolio assignment one more time for specific guidelines on this additional piece.

Week 15, April 29, Wednesday:

Workshop on your final digital portfolio. Also compose your course reflection. 

Week 16, May 4, Monday:

Prepare a quick 2-minutes video presentation on your final portfolio content and include it in your portfolio itself. 

Week 16, May 6, Wednesday:

Portfolios Due: Submit the link to your portfolio, if you haven’t already. You can make changes to the content until 11:59 PM today. 

Also complete course evaluation online.


Links to Student Portfolios, Spring 2020

Links to Student Portfolios, Fall 2019

Links to Student Portfolios Spring 2019

Links to Student Portfolios Fall 2018

Links to Student Portfolios Spring 2018

Links to Student Digital Portfolios FALL 2017

Links to Student Digital Portfolios Spring 2017