Professor: Dr. Hannah Bellwoar

Office Location: 411 Founders

Office Hours: Mon/Weds 2:00-3:30PM, Tues 10:00AM-NOON



Course Description

How often do you stop to think about the medium in which you are communicating? How does a specific medium change the way you write? What does it mean to “read” an image? How does our use of technology shape the way we communicate? What theories inform our relationships with media?

The ability to communicate effectively in multiple types of media is a crucial part of literacy in our society. In WAM, we will explore the intersections between various media on the web: images, text, social media, etc. Through the course, we will develop an approach for understanding and composing multimedia products for the web while attempting to identify (and challenge) the implicit conventions of media. Along the way, we will consider the ways in which writing (as an object and as a practice) is shaped by these multimodal interactions from both theoretical and practical perspectives.

By integrating practical activities with broader theoretical issues, we will work on developing effective strategies for designing multimedia products that integrate text and image on the web. Class sessions will be a combination of in-class practice and discussion. Additionally, each student will receive an iPad with which to complete many of the class projects.


Learning Objectives

  • Write and communicate appropriately and effectively in different media
  • Understand and articulate how writing in each medium is different than the others
  • Use online writing to shape your identity/ethos in virtual spaces
  • Understand that technology is always changing and become a flexible and independent learner of technology
  • Demonstrate knowledge of contemporary theory relating to writing in different media
  • Demonstrate critical thinking about your own use of technology in a world where mobile technologies are increasingly ubiquitous


Course texts

boyd, danah. It’s Complicated: the social lives of networked teens. Available at the Juniata bookstore or for free on boyd’s website:

Additional readings for this course will be available on dropbox so you can access them on your iPad. You are required to bring the readings with you to class either on your iPad or printed out.

Course Policies

Professionalism Policy

Professionalism is an incredibly important skill to develop in order to be successful as a professional writer.  At a basic level, to sustain a job or position you have to show up, be on time and do the job.  But professionalism is more than that; according to Stenson it is “a set of internalized character strengths and values… real professional show these inner strengths and attitudes—sound judgment, know-how, business savvy, mature responsibility, problem-solving perseverance and ingenuity, along with what people call ‘class.’” Developing an attitude of professionalism is no small feat.

Oftentimes professionalism is not a requirement of school; you don’t necessarily show up to class in your professional clothes with a good night’s rest, prepared to engage with the day’s activity. However, you can begin to develop skills of professionalism that will be invaluable to you as you transition from school to work. As your professor, I want to help prepare you for the differences you will encounter as you make this transition. Practicing these skills of professionalism in this course and other courses you take will help you foster a professional identity, and ultimately help you get and keep a job, an outcome I’m confident most of you desire.

Professionalism according to Donna Weimer “goes beyond the minimum of participation to include how you participate when you show up. Professionalism reflects both attitudes and behaviors towards the class experience and assignments. It is not about ‘liking’ them but a discipline of mind to do your best with the least amount of complaint and with the best possible demeanor.”

Thus, in this course, your professionalism grade includes the following:

  • Participation in class activities and discussion—your voice and input should be heard

*NOTE: This is a writing class with an emphasis on workshop and discussion. Participation makes up 50% of your professionalism grade. If you do not participate regularly in class, you cannot earn higher than a C in professionalism.

  • Attendance—class time is not optional—show up (see attendance policy for more details)
  • Be on time for class, appointments and group work
  • Preparation for class [readings and assignments should be done, readings should be with you in class, laptops should with you on lab days]
  • Work should be done on time and turned in on time
  • Leadership in class activities should be everyone’s responsibility
  • Leadership in group activities should be everyone’s responsibility
  • Demeanor should reflect support for the class goals and activities
  • Communicating with the instructor and other students in the class should always be respectful especially when you disagree
  • Positive attitudes and behaviors toward the instructor, other class members, and the work are considered essential to learning so basic courtesies are expected, e.g., if you are going to miss a conference, group meeting, appointment call/email to cancel.
  • Communication with the instructor, other students in the class and others who are related to or working with your class should not be considered personal or casual—you are representing more than yourself.

Around the halfway point of the semester, you will write a letter to me evaluating your professionalism thus far. I will send you comments and a tentative grade, and you will have the rest of the semester to make changes in order to improve that grade.

Attendance Policy: Attendance in writing courses is necessary; much of how we learn to write professionally happens through our experiences with others (contrary to popular belief, most good writers do not work alone, and professional writing is highly collaborative).

The attendance policy is as follows: you can miss up to 3 classes unexcused (which means you do not contact me in advance) in this course with no effect to your grade. If you miss a 4th class, it must be an excused absence in order for there to be no effect to your grade. Absences will be excused if you contact me ahead of time and explain your legitimate reason for missing class (death in the family, job interview) or you have a medical emergency that you show documentation for after the fact (dean’s office or doctor’s note). For each unexcused class you miss (beyond the first 3), your course grade will drop 1/3 of a letter grade. Thus, absence can take your A- to a B+ fairly easily.

Late Work Policy: Assignments are due by class time on the day they are due. Unless you contact me ahead of time, they will be counted as late if you turn them in after class. NOTE: you cannot pass the course if you fail to turn in ALL of the assignments or projects.

Lab/iPad Policy: Because this class deals with writing in different media, sometimes the class period will be used for a technology demo or an in-class assignment using computers. Other class periods will be a lab period where you are free to work on the current project. Because your time in class is limited, use your time wisely. Surfing the web or checking email and facebook rather than participating in class on a regular basis will lower your professionalism grade and may result in an unexcused absence as well. Additionally, you will be receiving iPads to use for this class throughout the entire semester. You are required to bring your iPad with you to class each day. When you receive the iPad, you must sign the waiver.

Withdrawal Policy: Students may withdraw from the course following the midterm date; after the midterm date, students must request permission to withdraw to meet with me to discuss the reasons for withdrawing.

Academic Integrity: Issues of plagiarism and fair use are critical in a writing course like this one. All written coursework is expected to be your own, with words and/or ideas from other sources fairly attributed. To use words and/or ideas from another source as if they were your own constitutes plagiarism. You should be familiar with the Academic Integrity Policy in the Pathfinder online under the heading of Academic Honesty:

Learning or Physical Disabilities: If you require specific accommodations resulting from a documented learning or physical disability, please see Sarah May Clarkson or Beth Bleil in the Office of Academic Student Services to disclose your disability. I will happily make appropriate accommodations that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act after the OASS officially identifies your needs.

There will be several types of assignments in the course, each worth a percentage of your grade. Here is a grade breakdown:

Professionalism 20%

Reading Responses 10%

Blog Cover Image 10%

Semester of Social Media 15%

Podcast Episode 15%

Blog 30%

Blog: the blog will be a compilation of weekly posts on a theme of your choice (250-500 words), as well as separate pages for the projects you complete throughout the course.

Finally: I reserve the right to change the syllabus and/or course schedule when necessary. I will notify you as far in advance as possible.


One thought on “Syllabus

  1. Pingback: Introduction | Writing Across Media at Juniata Fall 2014

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