New, exciting topics that satisfy the FYWR

Writing 160: Multimodal Composition

This small seminar emphasizes individualized instruction and gives students practice communicating in a variety of social situations and media, as well as opportunities to explore their own interests and ambitions as writers. Students will improve their ability to understand various modalities and compose in a variety of media. (4-credit)

Writing 160.001 - When Science is Propaganda

In this section of WRITING 160, we'll take a look at examples of scientific propaganda pushed by companies who needed alternative facts to continue marketing bad products. Much of this class will be drawn from the book Merchants of Doubt by historians Erik Conway and Naomi Oreskes, which discusses the manufactured controversy around cigarettes and cancer, pesticides and cancer, and other episodes of health data getting in the way of big industry. Part of what made these ill-intentioned efforts successful was their complete communications strategy; propagandists entered our homes through newspaper, television, and radio, and knocked on the doors of all of our senses.

Writing 160.002 - Picture Resistance

Writing 160.003 - Little Big World of Zines

Our course will focus on the role zines can play in individual expression and political resistance and revolution, both in the collective and by the individual.  Zines are noncommercial publications, and usually unconventional too. Zine-makers tend to value hands-on making (DIY culture), social justice and the underground vs the mainstream. We will deconstruct and analyze zines and then experiment with making our own, using photographs, personal narratives, creative nonfiction, interviewing, drawing, text, collages and design.

Writing 160.004 - Small Wonders 

This is a making-centered class where we will explore the “bug world” as a framework from which you will respond to and create multimodal compositions. We will investigate these small wonders as both embodied material beings and as rich symbolic figures, in an abundance of different mediums and modes, like memes, TikToks, webcomics, zines, and more! We will approach composition from the persona of a curious tinkerer as we approach different kinds of texts and try our hands at composing our own.

Writing 160.005 - Deconstructing Travel 

In an increasingly globalized and digital world, physical travel is becoming less necessary for commerce, education, and communication. Is there still value in travel despite issues of sustainability and harm done  to destination communities? Students in this section of Writing 160 will develop their college writing skills by exploring the definition of travel, the benefits and negative impacts of travel on the world, the inequities  inherent in travel, and the ways travelers seek to mitigate those impacts. They will also inquire whether travel can be undertaken responsibly in the modern age. 

Writing 160.006 - DIY Culture and Discourse 

What do Detroit activists, riot grrls, anarchist gardeners, and "outlaw" bicyclists (among other groups) have in common? These are communities that often exercise do-it-yourself (DIY) values, like sustainability, community, self-expression, critiquing consumer culture, and fighting oppression. Another critical part of DIY culture is creating multimodal compositions, including music, performance art, experimental film, fashion, and zines. In this course, you will analyze and compose a zine, research and write about a DIY topic of your choosing, and create a multimodal project (e.g., comic, video, audio essay, etc.) presenting your research findings.

Writing 160.007 - Artful Politics 

All New ULWR Course!

Writing 400: Advanced Rhetoric & Research
Fans, Games, and Bots: Whose Story IS It, Anyway?

TLDR: Dig deep into a rabbit hole of internet culture and digital technologies, and make something weird and wonderful with what you find. 

The digital world is transforming the way we make and enjoy stories. Stories that "count"– whether as canon, lore, truth, or art–proliferate online, along with the communities who spawn them. Video and augmented reality games invite players to become characters and authors, and sophisticated A.I. tools like ChatGPT and DallE-2 perform astonishing and uncanny masquerades of human creativity and invention. What do any of these profound narrative disruptions and opportunities mean for how we understand, make, and enjoy stories? (3-credit)

Sweetland's Greatest Hits

Writing 200: Writing with Digital & Social Media

And now for something completely different! Our Writing 200 (3-credit) and Writing 201 (1-credit) courses are among the most popular Sweetland courses with topics that include photo essay, podcasting, technical writing, and rhetorical analysis of social media platforms, infographics, blogging.

Writing 200.001 - The Art of Podcasting

Do you love listening to podcasts? Are you curious about creating audio experiences and experimenting with voice and sound? This three-credit digital media course introduces students to the genre of podcasting by working together to create a season of “Michigan Voices” with a focus on collecting stories within our local communities.

Writing 200.002 - Social Media Evolutions

This course traces the history of social media through a user-based perspective to learn and analyze the ways specific platforms have grown and evolved. It also considers the social and cultural dynamics that underpin these social media technologies. The primary goal of this course is to promote the critical thinking, media literacy, and mindfulness skills to effectively use and navigate social media spaces in purposeful, human ways. Projects include a social media log, an analysis of a recent social media platform change, and a disruption proposal for our end-of-the-term class conference.

Writing 201: Writing with Digital & Social Media Mini-courses

Writing 201.001 - The Rhetoric of Reddit

We will explore how online identity is formed on reddit, and how different stakeholders participate in subreddit discourse, from admins to mods to contributors to lurkers. We will visit consistently popular subreddits, like r/AskReddit, r/IAmA, and r/aww, alongside subreddits defined by your own self-interests. We will question how networks of power and privilege affect reddit’s design. This course will provide a framework for you to more deeply consider how you build your identity as an online conversant, as well as understand reddit’s role as a politically influential aspect of social media.

Writing 201.002 Yik Yak and Affect

In Yik Yak and Affect we focus on how posts on Yik Yak participate in a rhetorical and social discourse, and we attempt to apply affect theory to a social app. In other words, we delve into Yik Yak to discover, describe, and define affects that arise as we use the app. The course explores new practices in multimodal and digital writing, with a special attention to the many social situations when subjects and objects participate in meaning making.

Writing 201.003 - The Rhetoric of Maps

Any map is a calculated rhetorical construct based upon an understanding of what is legible to its user. If maps are representation, then they are always created from a position of culture, bias, and values. We will consider how power is enacted in mapping, with an emphasis on digital maps. We will dabble in ArcGIS Story Maps and OpenStreet Map, but we will also visit archival scarcities in the Clements Library and the Clark Map Library. Course expectations include weekly reading and responses and a research-based final digital map composition and accompanying presentation. Class time will be a mix of discussion, maker labs, and lectures.

Writing 201.004 - Writing the ChatGPT

Through course readings and discussions, we’ll consider how ChatGPT might shape notions of authenticity, authorship, citation, editing, and plagiarism. Throughout the class, students will experiment writing with ChatGPT in all stages of the writing process. As a final project, students will submit a portfolio that critically reflects on their experiences writing with ChatGPT.

Writing 201.004 - Instagram Poetry 

For International and Multilingual Students

In Writing 229 Editing & Style for International and Multilingual Students, students explore the rhetorical effectiveness of stylistic elements commonly found in American academic and professional writing. In each class, students will work individually on editing exercises and collaboratively in stylistic discussions. Students will have a chance to bring their own essays and editing questions to workshops with their classmates and the instructor. Additionally, students will identify and practice styles of writing in different contexts, such as writing in science, business, and psychology.  (1-credit)

Transitional Writing Courses

Transfer undergraduates and other upper-division undergraduates who feel they may need additional support in upper-level writing can enroll in Writing 350: Excelling in Upper-Level Writing. This course can be taken at the same time as a ULWR course. Operating in a workshop and discussion format, it provides an opportunity to identify writing strengths and issues, set personal goals, and practice writing in a collaborative environment. The course uses the writing that students produce in other classes as the basis for workshops. (1-credit)

Students who have yet to fulfill the First-Year Writing Requirement who want to improve their ability to express ideas and arguments in writing can enroll Writing 100: The Practice of Writing. This course emphasizes an intensive one-on-one approach to teaching writing, including frequent student-teacher conferences. It addresses key features of college writing including: analysis in addition to summary; revision for focus and clarity; development and generation of ideas; and style built on a solid grasp of conventions of grammar and punctuation. Students gain confidence for writing assignments typical of college classes. (3-credit)

Writing 120: College Writing for International & Multilingual Students is designed to prepare international and multilingual students for their first-year writing courses. It will guide students in typical university writing practices, including an emphasis on developing well-researched, properly cited papers. Students will develop written fluency and improve their command of grammatical, textual, rhetorical, and multimodal conventions common in a variety of academic disciplines. (3-credit)