Spring 2018 CAT 125 Courses

CAT 125 is an upper-division writing and communication course offered every quarter, in which students focus on translating skills developed in lower-division writing courses into writing after college and public rhetoric. CAT 125 is a traditional in-person course. CAT 125R is its distance learning counterpart, held entirely online. In these courses, students learn to:

  • Develop increased experience and proficiency in public presentation, documentation, and curation.
  • Direct written, spoken, or digital compositions to multiple audiences.
  • Examine their own authority as writers and understand how different genres and citation conventions are appropriate for establishing credibility in different contexts.

CAT 125A: Gritty Gumption

Instructor: Jennifer Pantoja

CAT 125 Pantoja

In this public rhetoric and practical communication course we will explore the intersection between perseverance and productivity. Grit is a non-cognitive skill that typically is not taught in the classroom, but is a key component in building a growth mindset and achieving long-term goal completion. According to the scientist Angela Duckworth, “Grit is sticking with your future day in, day out and not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years.” Grit is not about talent or luck, but instead coincides with your ambitions. Gumption is the tangible and practical counterpart to grit. Gumption is resourcefulness and ingenuity, such as digital portfolio-making and public speaking. You are transitioning soon from your undergraduate years to graduate school or the workforce. How do you plan to present yourself to the world? What does an ideal week look like for you? Why is it beneficial to tailor cover letters specific to each application? How does an online portfolio convey your story? In this course, you will deliver a pitch performance, create your own network platform, and critically reflect on course topics related to the intersection of perseverance and productivity.


CAT 125B: Demonstrating Expertise Through Digital Media

Instructor: Joe Bigham

CAT 125 Bigham

This course in public rhetoric and practical communication examines the use of digital media as a demonstration of expertise, and gives students opportunities to create their own expertise-related materials. Challenging the notion of expertise as a body of knowledge, we will consider expertise as a type of performance. This performance may be inscribed into a recorded form, such as a blog text or a YouTube video. It may also be performed for a live audience, as in a presentation. We will examine expertise demonstrations, how media affect the performance of expertise, and how individuals have created media-specific identities. Students will reflect on their own expertise, and learn how to efficiently demonstrate their authority through digital media.


CAT 125R: Public Rhetoric and Practical Communication Online

Instructor: Alex Sartor

CAT 125R Sartor

This course in public rhetoric and practical communication in digital environments covers a wide range of potential genres, media, and audiences. We will study everything from Facebook profiles to video sharing-sites as rhetorical spaces for public persuasion, commemoration, and comment. Students will do most of their graded writing to prepare for communication to public audiences beyond their undergraduate careers, which will include a personal statement, oral presentation with timed slides, online video essay, and undergraduate research portfolio demonstrating expertise.

Because we want our students to pursue unique experiential opportunities off-campus, including internships and study abroad, Sixth College is offering the first fully online course approved by the UCSD senate, which satisfies the upper-division writing requirement also fulfilled by CAT 125. CAT 125R has been developed with funds from the Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ILTI) by a team of distinguished rhetoric and composition research faculty. The ILTI CAT 125R course is modeled on a highly successful course created by the Culture, Art, and Technology program for face-to-face teaching. CAT 125R is unique in using instructional learning technologies to invite students to think critically about how those technologies are changing (and challenging) the ways people communicate with one another.  Additionally, the course provides practical skill and strategies for writing and communicating in diverse digital environments and with digital tools, such as shared documents and social media platforms. It is uniquely suited for online instruction, given the compelling connection between form and content when teaching students how to better establish their credibility, authority, and expertise in digital environments. Students will continue to do popular CAT 125 assignments to develop their communication skills orally, digitally, and in print, for success in genres such as the personal statement or the demo speech. The use of multimedia resources also creates an opportunity to showcase the work of renowned UC researchers. Working with the Qualcomm Center, the open access readings for the course are supplemented with short videos featuring UC faculty who are internationally-known experts in a variety of relevant fields topics such as social networks (James Fowler), big data (Christine Borgman), user-centered design (Don Norman and Scott Klemmer), online communities (Mimi Ito), privacy (Paul Dourish), interdisciplinary research (Geof Bowker), and online identity (Tom Boellstorff).