Live from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, this is Writing Across Media! I’m your host, Melissa Larabee:
I like singing while I cook, watching entire series of television in one sitting, and teaching this class.
Traditional education—particularly at the university level—tends to privilege written text as the medium of rational, credible discourse. Yet every day, a huge proportion of the arguments we are exposed to come at us from other media—television, radio, magazines, even the songs we hear at the grocery store and the graffiti we pass on the street.
Being able to read—not just see or hear but read—and write these media is a critical skill and is, so I believe, part of being a fully literate member of our society. Now as never before we have the opportunity to be creators as well as consumers, and this class is meant to give you the skills, strategies, and ways of looking to do so effectively. In this class, we will critically examine a number of media (printed text, sound, photography, comics, film, and more!), seeking to understand not just their affordances but also their implicit conventions and how those conventions shape our perception of both the media and the information presented therein.
Throughout the semester we will compose texts in a variety of media, striving for what composition scholar Jody Shipka calls “sound engineering” and what I sometimes call “aptness”—perfect rhetorical marriage between medium and message. This practical exploration will be bolstered by extensive reading in multimodal composition theory, and each project will be accompanied by a traditional textual rationale.