We have successfully completed a great semester with an amazing group, brilliant and challenging ideas, and wonderful projects. I want to reiterate my gratitude and enthusiasm for all your work and persistence. I would also like to thank our special guests (Ann Grimaldi, Felicia Dean, and Brett Ingram) for devoting their time to share with us new ideas and projects. Everyone made this course a special experience! I hope you learned a lot. To those of you who are still pondering over some unanswered questions, I am recommending graduate school and more exciting future readings and/or courses in the direction we sketched out. Our course, as I mentioned several times throughout the semester, is just the entry point in an intricate and fascinating discussion about the rhetoric of the digital. Have a great end of the semester and don’t forget your websites: don’t let others say who you are online. Keep on building your portfolios and meet your viewers/readers where you want them to.


Composition in a new key

If you ever wondered what it means to compose when you cannot access all your senses, here is an admirable example of an artist who uses his sense of touch to paint, although he is blind. It is a fascinating experience to see the wonders of his hands and the composing process:

Meet John Bramblitt

Annotated Bibliography

The next step toward your final project is an annotated bibliography. For this short assignment, you will have to locate, summarize, and engage with sources that will help you further explore the topic you selected in the Topic Proposal. You’ll want to identify sources that give you concepts and ideas related to your topic rather than the digital environment of your choice (i.e. sources on the notion of digital identity rather than sources on Facebook). I also encourage you to pay attention to differences between the articles. No two articles make the same argument and, in your project, you should be able to articulate this conversation that may bring in opposing points or arguments that build nuances. Exploring a variety of angles into your topic will allow you to formulate your own ideas on the topic selected.

Your annotated bibliography will consist of at least three blog entries (one for each source) that present new sources (scholarly pieces) on the topic of your choice.

Format: in each entry, make sure you include: (a) the full citation or active link to the source; (b) a summary of the source (i.e., the main argument of the article, including most important subpoints); (c) specific quotes or ideas that are relevant to your topic (ideas or concepts that you find challenging, intriguing, and revealing).

Length: 500-700 words each

Note: These entries are separate from the five blog entries that you need to write throughout the semester.

Due: Friday, April 17

Score: 25 points

Possible journals: Currents in Electronic Literacy, Enculturation, Kairos, Harlot, Technoculture

Topic Proposal

In our last unit, you have the opportunity to choose and explore a topic related to multisensorial experiences in digital environments. You can choose a topic that we have already touched on in our previous units, or a new topic that you have identified in the readings of this unit or on your own. In this sense, you will write a topic proposal that will serve as the starting point for your research project.

A few guidelines towards a successful Unit IV:

  • choose a topic that you are genuinely interested in and would like to sustain for the rest of the semester;
  • choose a topic that you can explore in the context of a digital environment that you are familiar with or have access to;
  • choose a topic that will give you enough materials and ideas to work with.

As you draft the topic proposal, include the following sections:

  • introduce the topic that you will be writing about;
  • introduce the digital environment that will help you explore the topic;
  • explain why the topic and the digital environment of your choice are important and interesting to you and others: How do they relate to our class discussions? How might your project add/challenge some of the ideas and concepts discussed in our course readings?
  • write one or two research questions that you would like to investigate in relation to your topic;
  • provide some preliminary hypotheses on what you expect to find out with your research. To support your hypotheses, use your personal experience and/or knowledge of this topic.

Length: 500-750 words
Format: you can post a blog entry or hand me a hard copy of your proposal in class
Due: Monday, April 6

Learning from and with Objects

We are at the end of our unit on objects and, in case you wondered who else is fascinated with the power and history of objects, I found an interesting site that I wanted to share with you all. While not always in line with OOR, Object Lessons is a very interesting project that could give you some ideas for the final assignment. Take a moment and explore it!

Based on what you are doing in Unit III, you could even contribute your own essay to the collection. The challenge is yours!

Procedural Rhetoric (Friday’s class)

For our meeting on Friday, please read “Procedural Rhetoric,” the first chapter in Ian Bogost’s book, Persuasive Games. You can skim/skip the following sections: “Rhetoric”, “Rhetoric and Orality”, and “Visual Rhetoric”, but definitely feel free to read these as well if you have time. As a way to reflect on your understanding of the text, write a blog entry where you describe your avatar or other video game object that you have interacted with in the past. Explain how it relates to specific ideas in the text and share experiences from your playing practices. You can include a screenshot, an image, video, or link to the avatar. If you do not have any experience with these digital artifacts, think of other digital experiences that share the traits that Bogost refers to. His rhetoric, as we will see in class, is not just a rhetoric of video games, but a much more encompassing framework on all kinds of persuasive moves.