New Rhetoric and New Media

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This course is designed to develop our understanding of the relationship between language, persuasion, and technological changes. We will focus on the ability to analyze language use and discourse, and changes in discourse in digital communication contexts. A main emphasis of the course is to show how classical models of rhetoric (originally designed to guide the composition and evaluate the effectiveness of ancient oratorical and literary works) still provide an excellent framework for understanding modern media and improving information-age communication skills. Texts we will examine include user generated taxonomies, file sharing sites, social networking sites, blogs and microblogs, wikis, websites, virtual worlds, and open source software. We also "look under the hood" to explore how software coding and programming are powerful forms of cultural discourse.