Winter 2018 CAT 125 Courses

CAT 125 and CAT 125R are upper-division writing and communication courses 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: The Art of the Pitch: Storytelling, Improvisation, and Prototyping for Creativity and Innovation

Instructor: Ash Smith

CAT 125 Smith

“Entrepreneurship is the most extreme use of story.” -Robert McKee

“Those who tell the stories, rule the world.” -Plato and the Hopi Native American tribe

This course in public rhetoric and practical communication uses storytelling and design as a rhetorical strategy and gives students the opportunity to author their own relevant materials. We will examine how storytelling is used by start-up companies, crowdfunded projects, grant writers, entrepreneurs, activists, artists, songwriters, filmmakers, and the general public. We will think about the stories told by our performance of multiple selves and identities within social networks, on- and offline. We will look at a range of storytelling from those with corporate agendas to the more experimental, ethnographic, or activist projects and consider the audiences of each. We will engage in techniques from design thinking as an approach to spur creativity and even partake in our own incubator think tank experiment in order to become better at collaborative and interdisciplinary innovation. We will study techniques from improvisation in order to become better on the fly. By the end of the course you will have a toolbox of strategies as well as have created a portfolio of writing, prototypes, and digital media projects that you will be able to use towards your own goals as you continue past your undergraduate degree.


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).