Writing 3001: Intermediate Digital Authoring

Fall 2021
3.0 credits
Thursday, 11:30am-2:30pm
Remote format


This course provides the theoretical foundation for students in the digital writing concentration to become community-engaged professionals in the capstone WRIT 4001, Digital Authoring Practicum. We will do this by focusing on “interfaces,” or the various meeting points between readers, writers, screens, software, and hardware that mediate and create our digital writing experiences. We will use this theory and practice to develop an understanding of what it means to be a professional digital writer, who is always working at the intersections of screens, software, and hardware.

Course Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Understand rhetorical strategies and design techniques for promoting your writing across digital platforms
  • Explore a range of digital writing and publishing platforms
  • Adapt composing processes for a variety of technologies and modalities
  • Analyze and discuss copyright and circulation issues affecting writers in a digital world
  • Execute effective digital authoring projects

Because I believe that learning happens by doing, you’ll see that our assignments and their marks are weighted heavily toward lower-stakes assignments and not towards high-stakes projects. You’ll earn points each week for trying new things (even when it doesn’t work out!) and be assessed for the attempt and your reflection on that work.

Reading Quizzes (20%)
Course Text: Emerson, Lori. Reading Writing Interfaces: From the Digital to the Bookbound. University of Minnesota Press, 2014.

All other readings available through York U libraries.

Class Participation (20%)

Writing Experiments (30%)
Each week, you’ll tackle an experiment in writing. I’ll be challenging you to try new tools, new mediums, and take risks to see what you can say and do with computers. Sometimes it will go well; sometimes it will flop. That’s okay! The goal of these assignments is to get you trying something new as a writer and reflecting on what it means to write for and with digital media. You should aim to spend about 3 hours per week working on and reflecting on this experiment.

Final Project (30%)
This final project is a revision, expansion, and reimagining of one of your writing experiments. It is an opportunity to build on something that grabbed your interest and produce a polished, final digital writing project that you would like to have in your professional portfolio.

Student Work

Leah Ciani, “Letter to a Friend”

“How many digitally composed writing pieces have hidden information; things
embedded into the medium itself for those proactive enough or knowledgeable enough to find them?”

Brandon Y., “Emily Dickinson Remix”

“Combine a fascicle with a Twine game. Change the medium. Change the outcome.”

Katrin I.

“It takes understanding of an interface to work with its quirks and barriers. Working with an interface to produce something that pushes boundaries is incredibly important as a professional writer.”


Because the lotus is a flower that floats on water, I decided to make a second multilayered lotus beneath reflecting the first to symbolize digital interfaces as being similar to the lotus flower that abides upon a complex underwater ecosystem.”

Header image: Unsplash
All student work included with permission

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