Department of English

Matthew Breece


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Courses


RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Viral Media

43820 • Fall 2021
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM PAR 6
Wr

When we think of something that has gone viral, we might think of the latest TikTok dance challenge, a funny meme, or a political hashtag. But there's actually much more to viral media than what we see in our social media feeds. Viral videos, memes, and hashtags circulate within and across social media platforms, enabling particular kinds of interactions and connections between users. These media create new genres as well as initiate, respond to, and extend significant events. In short, viral media shape our communication practices, our relations with others, and our understanding of our world.

 

This course will focus on three types of viral media: videos, memes, and hashtags. Students will investigate the following questions: What are the histories and precursors of these media? How do specific social media platforms enable and constrain different kinds of sharing and virality? And how do viral media genres initiate, respond to, and extend public events, social movements, and other cultural phenomena?

 

Throughout this course, students will engage critically with a variety of texts, research credible sources, and write and revise thoughtful and well-organized college-level papers. Additionally, students will become more proficient in the use of digital tools for textual analysis and production, using social media and web platforms to create multimodal compositions.

 

Note: No prior knowledge of digital media technologies is required for success in this course.

 

Assignments and Grading

Project 1: History of a Viral Medium Paper (20%)

Project 2: Comparative Platform Analysis Paper (20%)

Project 3: Genre/Event Analysis Webtext (20%)

Drafts & Peer Reviews (15%)

Short Writing Assignments, Research, & Discussion Boards (25%)

 

Texts

Nicotra, Jodie.  Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World.  Boston: Cengage Learning, Inc., 2019.

Additional course readings will be posted on Canvas.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Viral Media-Wb

42275 • Fall 2020
Internet; Asynchronous
Wr

When we think of something that has gone viral, we might think of the latest TikTok dance challenge, a funny meme, or a political hashtag. But there's actually much more to viral media than what we see in our social media feeds. Viral videos, memes, and hashtags circulate within and across social media platforms, enabling particular kinds of interactions and connections between users. These media create new genres as well as initiate, respond to, and extend significant events.  In short, viral media shape our communication practices, our relations with others, and our understanding of our world.

This course will focus on three types of viral media: videos, memes, and hashtags. Students will investigate the following questions: What are the histories and precursors of these media? How do specific social media platforms enable and constrain different kinds of sharing and virality? And how do viral media genres initiate, respond to, and extend public events, social movements, and other cultural phenomena?

Throughout this course, students will engage critically with a variety of texts, research credible sources, write and revise thoughtful and well-organized college-level papers, and practice the conventions of academic prose.  Additionally, students will become more proficient in the use of digital tools for textual analysis and production, using social media, audio recording, video, and web platforms to create multimodal compositions.

Note: No prior knowledge of digital media technologies is required for success in this course.

Texts:

  • Nicotra, Jodie.  Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World.  Boston: Cengage Learning, Inc., 2019.
  • Additional course readings will be posted on Canvas.

Assignments and Grading:

  • Paper 1: History of a Viral Medium (10%)

  • Paper 1 Revision: (10%)
  • Paper 2: Comparative Platform Analysis Paper (10%)

  • Screencast Remediation: Comparative Platform Screencast Video (10%)

  • Paper 3: Viral Event Paper (15%)

  • Webtext Remediation: Viral Event Webtext (10%)
  • Annotated Bibliography (10%)
  • Discussion Boards (10%)
  • Screencast Script (5%)
  • Artifact Paper (5%)
  • Production Workshops (5%)

RHE 312 • Writing In Digtl Environments

43675 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM FAC 7
Wr

In our current moment in the twenty-first century, the phrase “writing in digital environments” sounds like a redundancy.  There are few environments where writing might be considered non-digital.  Most of our daily writing takes the form of texts, emails, (re)tweets, and (re)posts.  And we read, listen, watch, and circulate compositions through an array of digital media.  The speed and ease with which we write and engage with texts has allowed us to disseminate useful information, make meaningful connections, and act in new creative ways.  Yet it has also prompted challenges with respect to credibility and accuracy.  In order to respond to these challenges, this course asks students to examine how the circulation of news stories (real and fake) in digital environments is rhetorically constructed and distributed across platforms and media.

In this course students will critically engage with a variety digital environments in which they are already familiar, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, among others. They will also become more proficient in the use of digital tools for textual analysis and production, creating multimodal (textual, visual, audio, and video) compositions and publishing them using WordPress. 

Note: No prior knowledge of digital media technologies is required for success in this course.

 

Course Materials 

  • Bullock, Richard, Michal Brody, and Francine Weinberg.  The Little Longhorn Handbook.
  • Gottfried, Jeffrey, and Elisa Shearer.  “News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016.”  Pew Research Center.  26 May 2016.
  • Jack, Caroline.  “Lexicon of Lies: Terms for Problematic Information.”  Datasociety.com.  9 Aug. 2017.
  • Kim, Eunsong.  “The Politics of Trending.”  modelviewculture.com.  19 Mar. 2015.
  • Schulten, Katherine and Amanda Christy Brown.  “Evaluating Sources in a ‘Post-Truth’ World: Ideas for Teaching and Learning About Fake News.”  Nytimes.com.  19 Jan. 2017.
  • Soll, Jacob.  “The Long and Brutal History of Fake News.”  Politico.com.  18 Dec. 2016.
  • Sundar, S. Shyam.  “Why Do We Fall for Fake News?”  theconversation.com.  7 Dec. 2016.

 

Assignments and Grading

  • Short Writings: Discussion Boards and Reading Responses (20%)
  • Unit 1: Mapping and Circulation of News Media Webtext (20%)
  • Unit 2: Rhetorical Analysis of Fake News Webtext (20%)
  • Unit 3: Information and Advocacy Video Project (20%)
  • Final: WordPress Revisions and Presentation (20%) 

RHE 309K • Rhet Of Internet Trolling

44025 • Fall 2016
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM FAC 9
Wr

The answer to the question whether internet trolls are harmful to our shared online communities is almost always a resounding “yes.”  Yet the question of how to deal with trolls without undermining our own values of self-expression, community engagement, and democratic participation remains open to debate.  Disagreement abounds about whether or not we should restrict speech in comment sections, whether anonymity or real names policies create safer online spaces, and whether hacker organizations like WikiLeaks and Anonymous promote or threaten democracy. 

In this course, students will explore how trolling rhetoric poses problems for substantive engagement within specific online communities; analyze how this rhetoric functions within particular venues and disrupts productive discourse; and advocate for solutions to these problems within particular venues and online communities.  Throughout this course, students will engage critically with a variety of texts, research credible sources, write and revise thoughtful and well-organized college-level papers, and practice the conventions of academic prose.

Assignments and Grading

  • 7 Short Writing Assignments – 25%
  • Argument Map Paper 1.1 – 10%
  • Argument Map Paper 1.2 – 10%
  • Rhetorical Analysis Paper 2.1 – 10%
  • Rhetorical Analysis Paper 2.2 – 15%
  • Policy Argument Paper 3.1 – 15%
  • Policy Argument Paper 3.2 – 15%

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, Graff and Birkenstein
  • The Little Longhorn Handbook, Bullock, Brody, and Weinberg
  • Additional readings available in Canvas.  These readings will introduce students to multiple viewpoints that address issues concerning limitations of speech on online forums, safety and anonymity, and the effects of hacking on democratic communities as well as rhetorical frameworks for analyzing online trolling in specific situations. 

RHE F309K • Rhet Of Internet Trolling

85395 • Summer 2016
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-11:30AM PAR 206
Wr

The answer to the question whether internet trolls are harmful to our shared online communities is almost always a resounding “yes.”  Yet the question of how to deal with trolls without undermining our own values of self-expression, community engagement, and democratic participation remains open to debate.  Disagreement abounds about whether or not we should restrict speech in comment sections, whether anonymity or real names policies create safer online spaces, and whether hacker organizations like WikiLeaks and Anonymous promote or threaten democracy. 

In this course, students will explore how trolling rhetoric poses problems for substantive engagement within specific online communities; analyze how this rhetoric functions within particular venues and disrupts productive discourse; and advocate for solutions to these problems within particular venues and online communities.  Throughout this course, students will engage critically with a variety of texts, research credible sources, write and revise thoughtful and well-organized college-level papers, and practice the conventions of academic prose.

 

Assignments and Grading

  • 7 Short Writing Assignments – 25%
  • Argument Map Paper 1.1 – 10%
  • Argument Map Paper 1.2 – 10%
  • Rhetorical Analysis Paper 2.1 – 10%
  • Rhetorical Analysis Paper 2.2 – 15%
  • Policy Argument Paper 3.1 – 15%
  • Policy Argument Paper 3.2 – 15%

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, Graff and Birkenstein
  • The Little Longhorn Handbook, Bullock, Brody, and Weinberg
  • Additional readings available in Canvas.  These readings will introduce students to multiple viewpoints that address issues concerning limitations of speech on online forums, safety and anonymity, and the effects of hacking on democratic communities as well as rhetorical frameworks for analyzing online trolling in specific situations. 

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