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 - 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 160.002 - DIY Cultures

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. You will also get to know your class colleagues through in-class group activities and peer review workshops, you will meet with me regularly for individual meetings about your work and ideas, and you will explore the campus and Ann Arbor community through field trips.

Writing 160.003 - Translation and Adaptation

What happens when texts, stories, or ideas traverse languages or time? When they reach new audiences? When they appear in new genres or media? Most importantly, what can translation and adaptation teach us about communicating for different purposes and contexts, including but not limited to academic ones? We will explore these questions (and more!) by critically examining a range of cultural products – some selected by me, others contributed by you. Meanwhile, you will be invited to write across or combine varied languages, media, and modes in your own compositions. Throughout, we will strive to remix our ideas about writing in order to challenge assumptions about language and literacy, especially at the university, through an intersectional, anti-racist lens.

All New ULWR Course!

Writing 405: Contemporary Topics and Multidisciplinary Writing
Everything Matters: How to Integrate Everything We Know and Write Into Our Climate Emergency

This Upper Level Writing Class (ULWC) focuses on how writing works in and across disciplines when a complex issue demands an integrated response - in this case, the issue is global heating. Students will create writing portfolios that draw on their own majors and those of their peers to represent a holistic understanding of this vital issue and communicate it to general readers. Students will work individually and in teams to learn how climate change requires the attention of multiple disciplines, and will produce written analyses and digital presentations.

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 Rhetoric of Infographics

A well-designed infographic can capture a reader’s attention and effectively convey its message by conveying complex information using good design and rhetorical choices. As the popularity of infographics grows, so does the need to critically analyze how data is being visualized and what kinds of rhetorical strategies are being used. In this course, we will examine how a range of infographics tell visual stories from a rhetorical perspective. You will learn how to break down complex information, thoughtfully combine different modes (texts, numbers, images) with informational honesty, consider elements of good design and rhetorical persuasion, and use relevant technological tools. You will also have several opportunities to apply this knowledge to your own infographic compositions.

Writing 200.002 - The Art of the Photo Essay

In this course, you will experiment with different ways of making meaning and telling stories with photographic images. Technically, this course will introduce you to elements of visual composition, as well as basic editing software. Narratively, you will learn how to craft complex stories using both images alone as well as combinations of image and text. Throughout the course you will keep a website that visually documents the evolution of your projects as well as your development as a photographer. You will also write regular reflections on your photographic journey as you work your way toward assembling a portfolio of four thematically and formally distinct photo essays.

Writing 200.003 - Art of the Video Essay

This course is an inquiry into the video essay as a form. We will explore the interplay within text, image and sound as we investigate how to evoke a feeling and to build a narrative through image. We will examine and analyze the many styles of video essays from the lyrical to the analytical — including work by Claudia Rankine and Tony Zhou. You will have the opportunity to make a series of experiments in this genre. The course will culminate with a final individual video essay project of your own design.

Writing 200.004 - Sports Media and the Opposite of Hot Takes

It feels like whenever sports are brought up today, there’s always a “hot take”—the attention-seeking opinion that causes a stir. Often, unfair comparisons are made about players or teams all for the sake of getting ideas out in the universe as soon as possible. What if we took the time to tell a nuanced and researched sports story or work of art? In this course, we’ll be focused on long-term projects and narratives written by innovative sportswriters. We’ll watch short films and videos made by Jon Bois and Katie Nolan, read hilarious columns by Shea Serrano, discover features from Bryant Gumbel, and do class activities like creating our own sports—ever heard of professional stone skipping? 

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

Writing 201.001 - Collecting Stories

Do you love stories, especially getting other folks to tell theirs? This one-credit digital media course will introduce you to conducting field research interviews in order to collect valuable stories. We will examine the art of interviewing as we explore how to define a narrative arc for a person’s story. Ultimately, we’ll be working to find and shape those stories that best represent the person doing the telling. We’ll think about how voice, inflection, pacing, and soundscapes can contribute to meaning.Using Story Corps and other forms of ethnographic story collection as models, we will share drafts and conduct peer review of our rough cuts. Students will have the opportunity to contribute to an on-going campus story archive.

Writing 201.002 - Zines

Do you like making things? Are your ideas waiting for a way to be expressed? You may be ready to make some zines. Our making-centered course will include a glimpse into zine history so far and why zines can matter to individuals, communities and movements. We will explore zines from DIY culture, punk, and Riot Grrrl, including photo zines by Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot, comic zines, and perzines. We will build our own zines in a series of experiments: writing, drawing (stick figures welcome!) and doodling, collage and design. Our class will focus on process and experimenting, with lots of feedback and revision, as we self-publish our own zines.

Writing 201.003 - The Rhetoric of Instagram: A Workshop for Content Creators

Aristotle defined rhetoric as the faculty of observing, in any given case, the available means of persuasion. In this course you will experiment with different ways of making meaning on Instagram by identifying and interrogating all of Instagram’s available means of persuasion—of which the visual image or video is only a part. We’ll accomplish this by composing a range of rhetorically-situated, course-inspired IG content, including posts, reels, and stories, which we will workshop every week. While the workshop process is aimed at improving your technical skills and vision, you will also draw inspiration from seeing how others in class are handling the assignment. From this corpus of weekly content, you will select several posts or videos to refine, revise and submit at the end of the semester as part of a final IG portfolio.

Writing 201.004 - Digital Archiving as Ritual

How do we bring intention, respect, curiosity and creativity to the practice of collection? How do we represent others and the materials they’ve created to a new audience? How do we curate multiple artifacts and narratives so that together they become a SEAMLESS archive mindful of its sum and its parts? How do we bring mindfulness to digital tools and scholarship? What does ritual mean to you and how can ritual be enacted through archiving? In this course you will create a digital archive with artifacts of your choosing. Through a framework of ritual, we will encounter texts, tools, and archives to prepare you for the skillful, ethical, rhetorical, personal, and communal practice of digital archiving.

Writing 201.005 - 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. 

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)