Course Description

A course in the rhetorical theory and applied practice of digital writing. Topics include word-processor alternatives, social media for professional development, multimedia writing, and collaboration & project management. Emphasis on digital forms of communication that include a strong visual design and media component. Projects and platforms explored in class and used in class projects will be considered for their support of accessibility, inclusion, and user safety (e.g., protections from cyberbullying).

Course Goals

Students successfully completing this course will:

  • Understand ancient and contemporary problems and ways of knowing in rhetoric and the humanities
  • Develop familiarity with diverse, sophisticated approaches to communicating ideas and connecting with others digitally
  • Appreciate the role of ethics in informing both curiosity and experimentation within digital writing, and the digital humanities more broadly
  • Evaluate different digital writing forms and platforms for accessibility, inclusion, and user safety (e.g., protections from cyberbullying)
  • Apply course concepts and adjust/extend course projects to fit your own academic and professional interests

Books and Technologies

Required Books

My policy for assigning books: they are all required in the edition indicated; the total retail pricetag for the entire course should be less than $100 (this one is $80 on the high end, assuming you opt for the electronic editions); and each book should be worthy of a place on your bookshelf or electronic device of choice long after the class has ended. My aim is to help you build your professional library, while also being sensitive to your bank account.

  • Lupton, E., ed. Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming, $25, 978-1568989792
  • Lupton, E., ed. Thinking with Type 2nd ed., $25, 978-1568989693
  • Eyman, D. Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, Practice, $30, 978-0472052684. Available as an open access title.

Required Materials and Technologies

  • A blank, bound paper sketchbook of 100 pages or more
  • An email account that you check regularly
  • A mobile phone or tablet that has a web browser and the ability to install apps
  • A browser- or cloud-based bookmarking scheme to aid your information management
  • A Basecamp account (invite will arrive via email); Basecamp, not Blackboard, will be where we coordinate our work and communication in- and outside of class.
  • A Markdown-based writing app (e.g., Byword or iAWriter on iOS)
  • As many social accounts as you can stand to register, from Twitter to Reddit
  • A Dropbox account
  • A GitHub account
  • A Spotify account

Forbidden Technology

  • Any traditional word processor (Word, Pages, Google Docs) and the files they output (e.g., RTF, .docx, etc. etc.)

Grading Policy

  • Project 1: 20pts
  • Project 2: 20pts
  • Project 3: 20pts
  • Project 4: 10pts
  • Participation: 30pts
  • TOTAL: 100pts

A = 90+ pts; B = 80-89pts; C = 70-79pts; D = 60-69pts; E =< 59 pts

Grading Criteria

  • A - Student has turned in all required components of a project, the work is exceptional in quality, and reflects the student’s dedication to adjusting the project to his or her own interests.
  • B - Student has turned in all required components of a project, and the work is exceptional for undergraduate work.
  • C - Student has turned in all required components of a project and submitted work that is acceptable as undergraduate level.
  • D - Student has turned in all required components of a project, but the work is below undergraduate level.
  • E - Student has not turned in all required components of a project.

Assignment Submission

All major projects for this course will be submitted via email to the instructor, at karl.stolley@gmail.com. Emails should not include email attachments, but rather Dropbox share links or public URLs. Examples will be demonstrated in class.

Late Work

I do not accept late work. All work must be submitted before the date and time specified in each project description. Weekly work is due before the start of the first class meeting each week.


Your active participation in class and in online discussions and chats, particularly the weeks that we meet electronically, is required both for your own success in the class, and for the success of the class as a whole. I do not give reading quizzes, but I assign a lot of reading. And I expect you to be prepared to discuss that reading.

Course Technology Policy

Technology is an essential part of learning and day-to-day living. It is therefore essential to this class. You are just as responsible for learning to command various technologies as for any other course content. Difficulty with technology is not an acceptable excuse for being unprepared for class or late with assignments.

If you are having trouble with technology or any other material covered in this course, it is your professional responsibility to do research beyond the resources and guidance provided in class and find supplemental materials that work for you. I also encourage all students to meet with me during my office hours or at another arranged time. I prefer that you contact me via Basecamp Ping, email, or GChat well in advance of assignment and project deadlines.

Note that coming to class with broken or malfunctioning work is far better than showing up with nothing but an excuse like “I just didn’t get it.” For most of the semester, it is expected that you’ll show up with broken work. When you’re learning, effort is more important than perfection. Just be sure to put in the effort early, and not the night before a project is due.

Also, I have asked you to sign up for GitHub and other social accounts for this class. Note that GitHub accounts are public, as are most social-type accounts. To protect your privacy you are certainly allowed to use a pseudonym/alias for GitHub and any other account. At the same time, you might want to think about the high value of establishing GitHub and other accounts under your own name or professional alias. Public accounts where you conduct yourself professionally might well be an asset to your online presence, improving the search results that future schools or employers turn up when they look for you on Google and elsewhere.

Academic Integrity

As with any course at IIT, you are expected to uphold the Code of Academic Honesty as described in the IIT Student Handbook). All work for this course must be your own original effort, including print and digital page design and computer code. Summarizations and quotations of text, as well as any use of open-source code libraries and images not of your own making, should be clearly cited as legally and ethically warranted and rhetorically appropriate. Access, storage, dissemination, and other use of data from third-party sources must conform to the source’s terms of service, licensing, and other relevant legal and ethical restrictions.

If you are at all uncertain as to whether you are submitting work that in whole or in part may violate the Code of Academic Honesty, please contact me immediately and before the work is due. The consequences of academic dishonesty are severe. Any student who violates the Code of Academic Honesty will be subject to expulsion from this course with a failing grade, and I will report the student to the Chair of the Department of Humanities, who may take additional disciplinary action, including reporting violations to the relevant offices of Undergraduate or Graduate Academic Affairs.

Special Needs Statement

I place a very high value on developing courses that are welcoming and accessible to all students. I will make additional reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. In order to receive accommodations, students must obtain a letter of accommodation from the Center for Disability Resources. The Center for Disability Resources is located in IIT Tower, 3424 S. State Street - 1C3-2 (on the first floor). Contact the Center by telephone at 312-567-5744, by TDD at 312-567-5135, or via email at disabilities@iit.edu

Students who have any difficulty (either permanent or temporary) that might affect their ability to perform in class should contact me privately, either in person or electronically, at the start of the semester or as a documented difficulty arises. Methods, materials, or deadlines will be adapted as necessary to ensure equitable participation for all students.