Course Syllabus

Writing 205: Multiliteracies in Action

 Summer 2012

                                                Class Number: 70637

                                                Instructor:             Santosh Khadka

                                                Office:             HB Crouse Hall 007

                                                Phone:                        (315) 443-1002




This new composition includes rhetoric and is about literacy. New composition includes the literacy of print: it adds on to it and brings the notions of practice and activity and circulation and media and screen and networking to our conceptions of process. (Kathleen Blake Yancey, 2004)


 Globalization provides a contextual necessity for us to become multiliterate. (Geoff Bull and Michele Anstey)


Catalog Description:

WRT 205 focuses on the rhetorical strategies, practices, and conventions of critical academic researched writing.


Course Description:

Writing 205 is a course about critical research and writing in an expanded sense. Research, in general, refers to the collection of topic-related information from Internet sites and school libraries. But research, in a broader sense, involves a complex and multi-layered process of identifying the appropriate sources (primary, secondary and tertiary etc.) of information and data, critically evaluating their credibility and relevance, and tactfully gathering information pertinent to carefully designed research question/s. Research, therefore, requires a sophisticated design, a critical decision-making power, and a higher level of academic, rhetorical and interactive capability. Research also requires a number of literacy skills. A researcher needs to have old and new media literacies, visual and digital literacies, and critical and information literacies to successfully execute a research study. This course purports to teach research in the latter sense.

The course also purports to teach students an expanded notion of writing. Writing today refers not just to composition on paper with a pen but also to compositions done on computer screens, on online forums such as blogs and wikis, on computer programs such as Power Point and iMovie, and on web 2.0 interfaces such as blog, wiki, Twitter and Facebook. Similarly, writing today is done by using a variety of resources—visual, audio, graphic, alphabetic, and digital. And, more importantly, writing these days is done in a wide variety of contexts—academic, professional, cross-cultural, and cross-disciplinary.

To be precise, research and writing today are done in multiple media, multiple modes, multiple languages, multiple language varieties, and multiple contexts. In that sense, writing and research are plural processes and practices. Therefore, academic and alphabetic writings are important but not the singular or only kind of writings people do in this digitized and globalized world.

In order to teach expanded notion of research and writing practices, this course explores the topic of ‘multiliteracies’ in relation to its close allies such as globalization, new media, World Englishes, rhetoric, and intercultural communication throughout the semester. Course materials include texts of various kinds: from book chapters, articles (journal, newspaper), blog posts and websites to videos, documentaries, images and songs. The course is divided into four units:

Unit one: 3 weeks (Visual, Critical and Media Literacies)

Unit two: 5 weeks (Academic/Essayistic Literacy)

Unit three: 3 weeks (Remediation, Cross-cultural/Intercultural Literacy, Global-local dynamics in Research and Writing)

Unit four: 2 Weeks (Digital, Cyber, Multimodal Literacies and Media Convergence)


Major Assignments

 Unit 1:

A.  2-3 page of rhetorical analysis of a digital artifact (a music video, digital advertisement, documentary or movie clip/s) (100 Points).

Due on June 11, 2012

The text for analysis should be carefully chosen, and should not be necessarily related to the course inquiry. It should, however, be rich in alphabetic, audio, visual, graphic or spatial resources, or, in other words, it should be good enough for analysis. I encourage you to borrow critical and rhetorical tools from course materials such as Arthur Berger’s book Media Analysis Techniques, Jack Selzer and Lester Faigley’s Good Reasons, and the documentary Miss Representation. The first few chapters of Berger’s book (e.g.” Semiotic Analysis”, “Marxist Analysis”, and “Psychoanalytic Analysis”), and Chapter 5 &6 of Good Reasons are particularly pertinent. You can employ one or all of those approaches or use other productive concepts or insights such as rhetorical appeals (ethos, logos, pathos), stereotypes, status quo, gender or racial discrimination and/or normalcy. I would suggest you to keep notes of the critical/rhetorical concepts or ideas you come across as you read the texts or watch the videos. Structurally, your analysis should have at least two parts. The first part should describe the text/artifact in specific detail. The description should be vivid and minute to the point of replicating the artifact in words. The second part is the key to the assignment: analysis of the artifact. You might want to pick on symbol, sound, shape, color, images or any property of the text and begin the analysis from there. You don’t have to say that it is semiotic, Marxist or feminist analysis but just do the analysis. Once you are done with the analysis part, you also should make an overall argument about the text: Is the ad reinforcing the status quo? Or does the movie clip objectify the women’s bodies? Or something else? What?


B. In a page-long reflection paper (50 Points), you explain your choice of the particular artifact for analysis, your choice of one set of analytical tools over another and also recount your analysis process. Why did you begin where you began? How did you come to your argument?


C. Alphabetic and Digital Literacy Narratives: 800 words (100 Points)


Due on May 28, 2012


Literacy narrative is composing a story about reading and composing in print and/or digital media.


Step 1: Alphabetic Literacy


Compose your literacy narrative in alphabets—using letters and words. Consider the following questions as you compose:

When and how did you learn to read or compose texts on papers and (or) screens? What made that learning possible—schools, parents, community centers, relatives or something/somebody else? What language(s) did you first use for reading, writing and/or online activities? Is English your first language? When and how did you learn to speak, read and write in English? What about computers and the Internet? When and where did you first encounter them? What did you begin with? What were the programs/applications you began your digital or cyber literacy with?


Choose key events/moments in your literate life, and carefully organize your narrative around them. You might want to consider these questions as you compose: Where did you stand in relation to alphabetic literacy or digital literacy and where are you now? If you speak more than one language, you can write your story in the first language and then in the second language and reflect on the difference in the story itself because of the language. You can also talk about literacy in the first language and the second language and the degree of proficiency in each of them. You can also shed light on the cultural or linguistic differences and literate practices or talk about digital divide and literacy learning (for example, English as the default language in computers or access to the Internet or computer programs and digital literacy etc.) if that speaks to your situation. 


Step 2: Digital Literacy Narrative


Video or audio record the narrative. Camera on your computer or your phone should be fine.


Step 3: Upload the recorded narrative to a computer.


Step 4: Submit me both the narratives via email or other mediums,


Unit 2:
A. 8-10 pages of argument essay on course inquiry (200 Points)—multiliteracies (and its allies described in the course syllabus) (
July 9th, 2012). More specifically, in this unit, you will investigate an issue or a question about multiliteracies in relation to other attendant issues like globalization, information and communication technologies, World Englishes, or intercultural communication in some length and depth. You are required to use primary and secondary, scholarly and popular, and print and digital (online) sources. You are also expected to treat your research participants and sources ethically. When you research and develop your argument, you do a number of things simultaneously: extend a conversation, historicize, make a new claim, complicate an existing claim or established fact, find a gap in the studies done and propose a solution or offer an alternative perspective.


Source Requirements

1.     Primary research data (gathered through interviews, field visit, questionnaires, survey or observation)

2.     3-4 scholarly sources (books, journal articles, book chapters)

3.     2-3 relevant still images

4.     2-3 popular sources (videos, blogs, songs, cartoons, documentaries, websites, magazine articles or recorded TV or radio programs/talk shows)


The sources should be carefully chosen. I will provide you with some guidelines/criteria (such as relevance, currency, authority, credibility etc.) to evaluate both the online and print sources. I want you to follow them strictly as you decide on the sources for this assignment.


Nitty Gritty

Your final 8-10 pages essay is due on July 9th, 2012. Your essay should be carefully edited, it should include accurate and consistent MLA citation, and it should reflect your perspective, your voice, your active, engaged presence.


B. Reflection Paper (50 points): 2 pages of reflective writing on research methods and writing process. Must focus on the rhetorical choice of sources and methods and even the issue for the research project.


C. Portfolio: (50 Points)


Unit 3

A. Remediation of Unit 2 Essay and Presentation (100 Points) Due on July 30, 2012 (Web site preferred; Power Point not allowed).


Remediation is the incorporation or representation of one medium into another. In their book Remediation: Understanding New Media, J. David Bolter and Richard A. Grusin argue that digital media are characterized by remediation because they constantly remediate their predecessors such as television, radio, and print journalism (old media). Remediation, however, is not just adaptation. New media might present old in entirely new ways without any clue to the old.

In this unit, you will remediate your unit 2 essay in a new medium. I encourage you to remediate it in a well-designed web site. I want you to learn and experience how medium shapes the content and presentation style.

            You will also keep in mind your pair’s feedbacks. Through this practice, I want you to see how the consideration of audience makes a difference in the design of the site, choice of the content as well as other stylistic elements.


B. Connected with the remediation project, you will produce a 3-page long blog post (100 Points) on the course site about the rhetorical situation and composition style, audience factor and source and language variety choice, audience and document or web design, and media and composition patterns or forms. You must consider how the media shape the messages/contents or more explicitly, you must talk about what changed or did not during remediation of the essay, and why. In other words, in your blog post you must engage the dynamics of media and message, content and forms, audience and rhetorical choices. You should also explain your project’s targeted audience, context and the purpose.


Unit 4

A. Documentary Film Project (100 Points) Due on August 15, 2012—In this unit, you will 4 to 6 minutes of documentary film. You will choose a movement or event that you find relevant and current and also connect to some aspect of course theme. Some potential topics could be Occupy Wall Street Movement, social media and protest (e.g. in Middle East and Africa), gaming and politics, gaming and learning, whole food movement, various civil rights movements (including LGBT issues), indigenous land rights issues. You might want to emulate the documentaries on Steve Jobs and Occupy Wall Street Movement. Your documentary should incorporate a good amount and variety of sources—primary sources gathered from interviews and onsite visit and research; alphabetic texts (books, articles, newspaper editorials etc.), audios, videos, still images, among others- and be organically composed. It should also demonstrate your knowledge or learning of a number of techniques such as handling video camera, still camera, incorporating voice over into the film or editing skills. The juxtaposition of different texts and narrative voice and their organic unity will be the key evaluation criteria for your project. Your project should also reflect your understanding of audience, textual cohesion, and ethical treatment of sources etc.


B. 2 pages of reflection paper (50 Points) Due on August 15, 2012. In this paper, you must reflect on each and every choice/decision made during the whole process of documentary production. You might, for instance, talk about the collection or selection of source materials, decision of English variety to be used, narrative voice or other critical dimensions of the process of collaborative research and composition.



Other Assignments:


Blogging (100 Points)


You will blog on your profile page and respond to others’ posts on designated dates. The calendar will refer you as Group 1 and Group 2 as it gives you the week and the title of the text to blog on or to respond to. The blog should be posted in your profile page by Wednesday midnight Eastern Standard time, US and the blogs should be responded to by Friday, Eastern Standard Time, US. SO, remember what group you are in. Here is the list:



Ryan Olson

Brian Glynn

Sarah Parkins

Keegan Slattery

Robin Pepper

Bria Jones

Joseph Jackson

Matt Rosanio

Dylan Pinto

Abby Goldberg



Matthew Arrigoni

Danielle Bae

Marley Ciferri

Joseph McGregor

Rishard Anderson

Leah Santiago

David Burdette

Andrew Hong

Joseph McGregor


WRT 205 Learning Objectives:


As writers, readers, and researchers, students will:

1.     investigate a topic of inquiry and engage the complexities (social, political, ideological, economic, historical) of and current debates about that topic.

2.     learn multiple research strategies, including primary research, and deepen their knowledge of library resources to identify sources appropriate to their research.

3.     read and evaluate sources rhetorically, considering authors' positions in relation to audiences, recognizing points of connection and difference among texts, and establishing a critical dialogue with others' ideas.

4.     understand the role of genres, styles, and technologies in communicating with particular audiences and for specific purposes.

5.     critically examine how digital media shape all stages of the research and writing process--invention, composing, revision, delivery--and consider how the effects of digital media vary according to audience, genre, context, and purpose.

6.     engage in informal writing as part of their composing processes and produce at least two to three sustained, finished texts that respond to specific rhetorical situations.

7.     practice and produce analysis, argument, synthesis, and summary as central components of researched writing.

8.     practice the strategies of incorporating the research of others into their own texts in a variety of ways (including summary, paraphrase, quotation) and provide textual evidence of where, how, and why sources are being used.

9.     produce texts that demonstrate a nuanced understanding of and an ethical relationship with source texts and research participants.

10.  develop revision strategies that reflect an understanding of audience and rhetorical situation.

11.  edit for organization, prose style, and technical control as they produce finished texts






940-1000 Points

900-939 Points




880-899 Points

840-879 Points

800-839 Points




780-799 Points

740-779 Points

700-739 Points


600-699 Points


599 and below Points


Course Materials (Will be made available via Blackboard)


1. Richard Miller (2008) Video on Multimodal Composition—New Humanities:


2. Howard Gardner’s (2008) The Washington Post article:

“The End of Literacy? Don't Stop Reading”  (


3. Documentary: Miss Representation, 2011


4. A Vision of Student Today:


5. Chapter Selection from Henry Jenkins’ Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York: New York University Press


6. Multimedia and Multiliteracies in the composition classroom:



15. Kachru, Yamuna. “Speaking and Writing in World Englishes”


16. Bhatt, Rakesh M (2001). “World Englishes”.

17. Selections from Arthur Asa Berger’s Media Analysis Techniques  

18. Epic 2014 (YouTube Video)


19. a. BBC Documentary on Steve Jobs Steve Jobs: Billion Dollar Hippy


      b. Occupy Wall Street Documentary by KnowTheTruthTV



20. Selections from Lester Faigley and Jack Selzer’s Good Reasons.

21. Victoria Department of Education’s web page and Video Series: 1. Considering Multiliteracies and 2. Exploring Multiliteracies



Late Work: Written assignments are due by the time specified for online submission. Major assignments (i.e. not blog posts or weekly assignments) are reduced by one letter grade per business day.  All major assignments must be completed in order to pass the course. That said, nobody wants you to do well more than I do.



Technology: Obviously, we will be using computers as a means of communication as well as a means of production.


All texts produced must be cross platform compatible. You are responsible for knowing how to save files in formats that anyone can read. In most cases, saving text files in Microsoft Word format (.doc or .docx), for instance, is safe; I do not accept Microsoft Works, Word Perfect, Apple Pages, or Microsoft Publisher files. Specific guidelines will apply to each assignment, but you should assume that all submissions of work will happen in digital formats. Much of class business will be conducted via email. We will use your SU email address; if you choose to use some other account, it is your responsibility to either (a) also check your SU account or (b) take care of forwarding your SU mail to that other account. You will be expected to check your e-mail daily and to respond promptly.


In addition to the computer use that I assign, you will be responsible for using the technology in whatever ways will make your work more efficient and appropriate for the audience.


The Writing Center: Experienced consultants at the Writing Center (101 HB Crouse Hall, on the Quad) are available to work one-on-one with you at any stage of your writing process and with any kind of writing you’re creating. Whether you need help understanding an assignment, brainstorming ideas, revising subsequent drafts, or developing editing strategies, face-to-face and online chat appointments are available for 25- or 50-minute sessions throughout the semester. Appointments can be reserved up to six days in advance via their online scheduling program, WCOnline. In addition, drop-in appointments are welcome Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and brief concerns, questions, or drafts (max of 5 pages) can be emailed to consultants via their eWC service. For more information on hours, location, and services, please visit This is a free resource to all students and recommended for all writing assigned in this class.

Special Needs and Accommodations:  Students who need special consideration because of any sort of documented disability should let me know right away. The information you share with me will remain confidential. You should also contact the Office of Disability Services for information and/or assistance. Their site is here:


Fair Use: Continued enrollment in this course will constitute permission for the instructor to use materials written for this course as samples in other classes or in research. Work will be presented anonymously in all situations.  Staying in the class beyond the add/drop period indicates to me that you have agreed to all of the above published principles and policies.


Religious Observances Policy Statement

Syracuse University recognizes the diverse faith traditions represented among its campus community and supports the rights of faculty, staff, and students to observe according to these traditions.


All University offices are asked to be sensitive to the needs of faculty, staff, and students who are observing a religious holiday when scheduling meetings and events.

Deans, department chairs, and program directors are asked to make every effort to avoid scheduling meetings or events at times that would exclude faculty who are observing a religious holiday from participation.


Supervisors are asked to be supportive of staff members who request vacation or personal time to observe a religious holiday and to make every effort to avoid scheduling meetings or events at times that would exclude such staff members from participation.


Students are asked to consider that it is more difficult to arrange appropriate accommodations in some kinds of courses - for example, those that have certain kinds of laboratories or a significant experiential learning component - so students should consider their need for accommodation for religious observances as they plan their schedule each semester. Students should recall that not every course is offered every academic year and that the catalog indicates how frequently each course is offered.

Faculty are asked to make appropriate accommodation for students' observance needs by providing an opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirement that is missed because of an absence due to a religious observance, provided the instructor has been notified no later than the end of the second week of classes. No fees will be charged to the student for the costs incurred by the University for such make-up work. If a faculty member is unwilling or unable to make an appropriate accommodation, the student should consult his or her academic dean.


Syracuse University recognizes that the faith traditions observed by our diverse community include more holidays than can be captured adequately in a list. In addition, some observances vary by tradition and by country and are defined by the lunar calendar. However, to assist in identifying religious observance days, Hendricks Chapel has compiled a list of religious holidays that reflect a large proportion of the University community and that may or may not fall on University work and class days. The chapel also recommends consulting the more comprehensive Interfaith Calendar.