Public Rhetoric and Practical Communication Online

Joe Bigham

CAT 125R Bigham

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).

Summer 2017