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Writing director of UCIís Humanities Core Course
Developing digital-age authors
Elizabeth Losh challenges students to become active, critical users of social media (11.24.2008)
The Internet and social media are redefining how people write and present themselves, and Elizabeth Losh believes mastering the genres and conventions of new media writing and crafting an online persona are critical to her students’ success.
Losh, writing director of UC Irvine’s longstanding Humanities Core Course, teaches an upper-division, undergraduate writing course on digital rhetoric. The class helps students become better-engaged creators and more-analytical users of the types of social media that are transforming modern communication.
I want students to be conscious of the variation between conventions governing print and those governing online communication so they can take part in critical conversations about those differences.”
Losh, who earned two master’s degrees and a doctorate from UCI, first taught the digital rhetoric class in 2007.
Class topics span the digital media spectrum, from blogs and social network profiles to online video and virtual worlds. Want some background on the course? Look no further than a YouTube video Losh created to describe the seminar.
Class assignments include maintaining a personal blog, creating a YouTube video essay based on a detailed script and shot list, and helping build a class Wiki that covers course topics and themes. A handful of previous students continue to write regularly for the blogs they created while taking the class.
Losh also encourages students to engage with the course materialon a class blog where they share experiences and perspectives. Current posts detail students’ experience in Second Life and include an ethical discussion of whether having a virtual world extramarital affair counts as cheating.
In one post titled “Writing with Technology,” a student shared an insight on the course:
“This class is a great example of how we are actually applying the things we learn in class to the real world. With the help of various tools we use in class, we are able to do things that I would never have thought possible in a regular writing class. The projection screens, wireless devices, YouTube, blogging, and other new technology offer ways of learning that I hope will be applied to all classes in the future.”
— Jason Mednick, University Communications
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Elizabeth Losh. Photo by Daniel A. Anderson.
Larger image of Losh
Watch Digital Rhetoric YouTube video
UCI Campus Writing Coordinator
Humanities Core Course
Elizabeth Losh's faculty page
Digital Rhetoric course
Writing with Technology blog post