Digital Authorship
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Digital Authorship

Welcome to Digital Authorship

Spring, 2022

By Renee Hobbs

This course introduces major theories of digital authorship as a pedagogical approach to digital literacy and includes a range of hands-on dynamic learning experiences that integrate digital media, technologies, and best practice strategies for teaching composition and authorship in a Web 2.0 world.

I’m so happy that you are interested in learning more about the graduate course I am offering in the Spring of 2022. This semester, we examine the practice of authoring multimedia texts as a form of learning. Today, even very young children discover the power of digital authorship by developing their creative expression skills and reaching audiences with their drawings, stories, photos, videos, and songs. Children often make videos as a form of informal play, at home, in the neighborhood, and on the playground. Teens and young adults may discover that their own personal, social, and emerging professional identity depends on how they represent their own lives through practices of curation and creation. During the pandemic, educators deepened their appreciation for the power of creating media as part of the process of teaching and learning online.

After all, to be literate today, one needs to be both a skilled reader and a competent writer, able to use a variety of technology tools (the Internet, word processing, graphic design software, digital camera, editing) in different social contexts (including for work, leisure and citizenship activities). You need the ability to access, analyze and compose messages using symbol systems (language, image, music, sound) across different modes (informational, narrative and persuasive) and genres (music videos, flyers, gifs, email, web pages, etc). And because literacy is a form of social action, it involves actively navigating a set of power relationships as a member of a discourse community (as a family member, a music fan, part of a team, etc).

In this course, we’ll examine multimedia authorship through a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including media literacy, media arts, youth media, writing and rhetoric, media studies and education. As an expanded conceptualization of literacy, digital literacy depends on re-imagining the role of a host of related concepts: texts, voice, agency, expression, representation, process and product, and the role of the creative artist in a Web 2.0 world.

But even as the variety of free or inexpensive digital tools continue to proliferate, nothing about the process of creating digital media is easy — like all creative processes, the practice of authorship requires intellectual curiosity, courage, confidence, tenacity and openness to risk-taking and experimentation. And although scholars may proclaim the empowerment that results from creative expression, there are also some risks and challenges involved in digital authorship. In this class, you will get a chance to take on the identity position of a digital author to explore the practice of digital literacy.

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