Eng 626: Topics in Digital/Social Media Studies

Digital/Social Media Studies introduces students to theories, critical concepts and methods relating to social media. It offers a critical examination of the history, operation, ramifications, functions, use and embeddedness of social media in all spheres of life. It is a critical reflection on social media, focuses on understanding their uses, and enables students to develop effective social media communication strategies. Course topics range from visual and media literacy in education, to participatory culture and social media, to practices of multimedia design.


RWDMS courses provide you with many opportunities to show your skills as a reader, thinker, and writer. In this course, your work will include the following components:
  • Critical reading and analysis of disciplinary texts
  • Discussion boards: deepening understanding of readings by exchanging ideas with peers
  • 5 short theory-based papers (3-5 pages)
  • Project: Design emphasis with a theoretical base. (This includes a proposal, a peer review, and a cover letter that explains the theoretical principles used in the final project)

Time to Learn

All courses in the program encourage you to learn specific skills in the areas of theory and knowledge, analysis and critical thinking, and research and application. When you complete your coursework, consider especially how you were able to achieve the following learning outcomes:
Theory and Knowledge
You will be introduced to the theoretical foundations of participatory culture and social media studies by participating in and advancing current knowledge in the field.
  • Evaluate similarities and differences in the uses of language, the connections between organization and structure used in specific time periods, the connections between style and delivery, and the connections between persuasion and argumentation used in specific time periods.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the contributions of rhetoric to literacy studies, digital studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and race studies.
  • Research, evaluate, and apply rhetorical principles from classical to modern times for academic, professional and public discourse.
You will demonstrate an understanding of research methodologies and writing skills applicable to English studies, including academic writing, workplace writing, and information development.
  • Evaluate and reflect critically on methodological practices and concepts used in research designs in rhetoric, writing, and digital media studies.
  • Use research data to formulate or evaluate new research questions, using reason and persuasion in a logical argument.
  • Demonstrate competent, ethical, and responsible use of information in academic and workplace writing.
Analysis and Critical Thinking
You will critically analyze how cultural artifacts (written, digital, visual, and spoken texts) are used to shape identity in diverse local, national, historical, and global communities.
  • Research, evaluate, and apply knowledge of significant issues related to global learning, diversity, and sustainable educational and environmental practices.
  • Write critical analyses exploring key texts and key concepts about historical and current rhetorical terms and concepts.
  • Research, evaluate, and apply rhetorical principles from classical to modern times to ethnically and linguistically diverse populations.
  • Tailor your academic and professional work to a specific audience and focus your writing on a specific purpose.
You will synthesize and evaluate research, scholarship, and methodologies and create advanced-level projects that question current norms and dominant cultural assumptions.
  • Design text and digital projects that show the ethical use of language in diverse academic, public, and professional communities.
  • Understand how cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, and economic factors influence communication practices in text and digital environments.
  • Research, evaluate, and apply rhetorical principles to question current norms and dominant cultural assumptions expressed in text and digital media.
  • Design and present text and media that addresses experiential learning.
  • Design and present projects that show a clear understanding of purpose, audience, and cultural, social, historical, and political contexts.
You will demonstrate an understanding of participatory culture and social media studies theories and practices by carrying out course-related and client-related projects directed at conceptualizing, understanding,andreformulating current theories in the larger field of rhetoric and writing studies.
  • Articulate a theoretical framework for the project (including a literature review to assess the theoretical and methodological contributions previously made to this area).
  • Use a research design appropriate to the audience and purpose of your project, showing understanding of rhetorical approaches to multimedia design.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the project and its implications to the field of rhetoric, writing, and digital media through peer and self-evaluation.
  • Apply appropriate writing and design standards and literacy skills to succeed in academic, civic, and personal life.
You will participate in local, national, and global communities of academic and workplace writers by participating in professional development activities, and by creating and updating online profiles.
  • Develop your project management skills.
  • Apply appropriate communication and presentation standards to succeed in academic, civic, and personal life.


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