WRIT 3012: Writing, Making, and Thinking with Code

(Previously titled: Programming for Professional Writers)

3.0 credits, Winter 2023

What does it mean to think of coding as writing? What do writers need to know about code? And what might writers be uniquely skilled at in coding contexts?  We’re going to explore these questions together through a combination of reading, writing, and coding. By the end, you’ll have working knowledge of JavaScript, more confidence in digital writing, and theoretical knowledge about the intersections of writing, coding, and literacy. No programming experience needed.

Course Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Understand the breadth of the writing act by considering the variety and depth of rhetorical activity possible in code and its surrounding discourses
  • Understand the roles of audience, form, style, purpose, and voice in code
  • Work independently and collaboratively on writing about, with, and in code to be prepared for professional writing opportunities in digital contexts
  • Reflect on their own writing and coding processes to develop flexible and robust digital writing practices

Required Texts

Assignments & Assessment

Reading Quizzes: 20%
p5.js Sketches: 20%
Reflections: 20%
Participation: 20%
Final Project: 20%


Sample Assignment

Sketch: Screensaver Remix

What does it mean to reauthor code?

  • Building on someone else’s screensaver draft from last week or another p5.js reference guide example, make a “screensaver” animation. Your project should be animated or move in some way as well as include at least one conditional statement, one variable, one relational operator, and one mouse interaction.
  • Beginning with a piece of “pseudocode” as a prewriting activity, write out in text what you think you’ll need the program to do. Then, use this as a guide to remixing one (or several!) of your colleague’s drafts into something new.

Reflection Prompts

  • What is the title of your piece, and what was your goal? Whose project did you choose to work with and why?
  • What changes did you make to the original? At what point did you feel like the piece became your own and not the previous author’s?
  • What is a connection you see between this project/your experience and the reading on Critical Code Studies?