This Digication site contains projects by students in WRD103 — Rhetoric & Composition I. Students spent ten weeks reading, analyzing, and discussing the New York Times. We learned that no two people read a newspaper in the same way: many students prefer reading the New York Times in hard-copy print format, while others argue that various digital applications and formats are more amenable t0 their own reading and literacy practices.
One unanticipated outcome of the project is learning about the extent to which reading is a social practice. We take for granted that writing is a social and civic activity, but many of us had not considered the effects of reading as a private, individual act made public, collective, and collaborative in some contexts, such as ours.
The New York Times also provides us with timely examples of both composing and reading multimodally, with integrated text, graphics, sound, and video.
This is what reading and writing early in the 21st century looks like.
Project context: DePaul University's definition of literacy: “We are helping students become more literate. By literacy, we do not mean merely learning to read and write academic discourse, but also learning ways of reading, writing, thinking, speaking, listening, persuading, informing, acting, and knowing within the contexts of university discourse(s) and the multiple discourses in the world beyond the university.”
For this project, students were encouraged to frame and to respond to our shared question — should students read the New York Times in print or in digital formats? — however they wanted, but we had a few contexts and resources in common:
- Literacy and reading: why do people read? (Rosenblatt)
- Differences between reading in print and reading on a screen (also see Cull and the NYT)
- The serendipity issue
- The annotation issue
- The socio-economic argument for long-form narrative
- Is there a potential third side to the print vs. digital proposition?
- Finally, the New York Times just announced a complete redesign of NYTimes.com (3/12/2013) — too late for us to review and to discuss. The redesign description uses interesting rhetorical terms such as "context," "navigation," "interactive," "story elements," "responsive designs," and "data visualization." Too late for WRD103, maybe, but we can pick it up in WD104.
N.B.: some student project pages are still in revision-and-editing mode