English 315: Digital Writing


ENGLISH 315: Digital Writing

Instructor: Dr. Santosh Khadka

Classroom location: Online

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)

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

For other Materials–follow hyperlinks in the calendar or download PDFs from file tab in Canvas.

Course Requirements and Grade Distribution

Major Assignments (For detailed descriptions, see assignments in the links 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 26, Tuesday (Synchronous Class)

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

Week 1, January 28, Thursday (Asynchronous Class):

Introduction to digital writing:

Read these articles and write and publish a blog post on your personal site around the following questions:

  1. National Writing Project: “Introduction: Why Digital Writing Matters.” (PDF in Canvas)
  2.  Alexander Bacalija: “Digital writing in the new literacies age: Insights from an online writing community” (PDF in Canvas)
  3.  Top 10 Digital Transformation Trends for 2021 (Online)
  4.  Top Six Digital Transformation Trends In Media And Entertainment (Online)

Respond to these Questions on your blog post: 

  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 some of the top digital transformation trends in media and entertainment, according to Forbes articles? Think of 3 instances for each one of those trends.
  5. How is digital writing different from print-based writing in terms of medium, organization of ideas, style, context, and purpose, and delivery? Think of some concrete examples of differences between them.
  6. 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.
  7. 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,  February 2, Tuesday (Synchronous Class)

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 2, February 4, Thursday: (Asynchronous Class)

  1. Read these two articles and write a blog post addressing the questions below:

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)

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

  • What is Selfe’s main argument?
  • What are stakes for teachers and students in privileging print only in the academy?
  • How did aurality lose its space in the university curriculum?
  • 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?
  • How did different minority communities (African American, Hispanic, American Indian) retain aurality in their cultures? Think of some concrete examples.
  • What set the grounds for the revival of aurality/multimodality in the early 21st century college composition classrooms? Scholarship? Technologies? Cultural Ecology?
  • What are some common audio assignments the article discusses? What others could be included in the list?

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

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

2. Read this piece on writing a movie review:

How to Write a Film Review

3. Finally, listen to this audio file as a sample of audio composition. Pay attention to the number of sound sources and think about the ways it would be different if it was in a video form:

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

Blog Post 2 Due

Week 3, February 9, Tuesday: (Synchronous Class)

Audio Movie Review Proposal due

Workshop on Sound editing.

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


Week 3, February 11, Thursday: (Asynchronous Class)

Data collection: Collect all the sources you need for your review–audio files, print sources, images etc.

Week 4, February 16, Tuesday: (Asynchronous Class)

Workshop on your Movie Review

Week 4, February 18, Thursday: (Synchronous Class)

Presentation of Audio Movie Review

Week 5, February 23, Tuesday: (Synchronous Class)

Presentation of Audio Movie Review

Audio Movie Reviews due

II. Composing with Video

Week 5, February 25, Thursday: (Asynchronous Class)

  1. Read documentary making assignment following the link above

2.. Watch a sample documentary film: Digital Nation

Digital Nation


Week 6, March 2, Tuesday: (Synchronous Class)

Workshop. Introduction to iMovie and Camtasia. We will use audio and video resources in the link below to practice video editing.

Download Video Composition Resources here

Week 6, March 4, Thursday: (Asynchronous Class)

Complete a Blog post on 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 9, Tuesday: (Synchronous Class)

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 7, March 11, Thursday:  (Asynchronous Class)

Data Collection: Identify and interview people. Find relevant video, audio, and image sources for the documentary.

Week 8

Spring Recess (March 15-21)

Week 9, March 23, Tuesday (Asynchronous class)

Write script for the documentary. Collect further data or Workshop on video production/editing

Week 9, March 25, Thursday (Asynchronous class)

Complete the rough cut of your documentary project. Video Screening begins from Thursday, April 1.

Week 10, March 30, Tuesday (Asynchronous Class)

Collaborate to edit the final cut (version) of your video. Final Cut is Due to Canvas on Thursday.

Week 10, April 1, Thursday (Synchronous Class)

Documentary Film Screening

Both your script and the film are due through Canvas link by 11:59PM today.

 III. Collaborative Authorship

Week 11, April 6, Tuesday: (Asynchronous class)

  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 8, Thursday: (Synchronous Class)

  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 13, Tuesday:  (Asynchronous class)

  1. Individually, read these chapters and complete a blog post:

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 at the bottom of Wikipedia Assignment description from the assignment link above and draft your proposal around them.

Week 12, April 15, Thursday: (Synchronous Class)

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

2. Start putting together the Wikipedia Article in Google docs.

Week 13, April  20, Tuesday: (Asynchronous Class)

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.

Week 13, April  22, Thursday: (Asynchronous class)

Complete your Wikipedia Article.

Week 14, April 27, Tuesday (Synchronous Class)

Wikipedia Article Presentation

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 today.

Part IV: Composing with Web and Portfolio Exhibit

Week 14, April 29, Thursday: (Asynchronous Class)

  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, May 4, Tuesday (Asynchronous Class)

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, May 6, Thursday: (Synchronous Class)

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

Week 16, May 11, Tuesday: (Asynchronous class)

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

Week 16, May 13, Thursday: (Synchronous Class)

Portfolio Exhibit in the class.

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.