WRD 104: Composition & Rhetoric II (SQ 2013)

Course Description

This course follows and builds on WRD 103 in the first year writing sequence at DePaul. It emphasizes argumentation and the development of evidence through research. Our work over the quarter will focus on a theme: the potentials and perils of being “networked,” or connected to other people and to massive quantities of information via the Internet and digital technologies. Through two assignment sequences, each of which leads up to a long paper and a reflective portfolio, we will learn the discourse around this topic and explore an interest of yours within the subject area. Because this is a writing course, we will be reflective about all that we do, with an aim to learn writing, reading, and research habits that will translate to other courses and projects.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, you should be better prepared to

  • Read and evaluate the writing of others with accuracy, understanding, and insight.
  • Conduct research effectively, such that you may use research to understand an ongoing scholarly or professional conversation, to learn the existing subject matter discourse, and to pose an appropriate research question or argumentative stance within this discourse.
  • Develop and support convincing arguments from research.
  • Incorporate and cite sources properly, through effective summarizing and paraphrasing and proper documentation.
  • Write with greater stylistic control and sophistication.


Carr, N.G. (2010). The juggler’s brain. In The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains (pp. 116-143). New York: W.W. Norton.

De Souza e Silva, A. & Frith, J. (2012). Excerpt from Mobile interfaces in public spaces: locational privacy, control, and urban sociability. New York: Routledge.

Dretzin, R. (Director). (2010). Digital nation [film]. Frontline. Available: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/view/

Gee, J. P. (2005). Good video games and good learning. Phi Kappa Phi Forum 85(2), 33-37.

Gladwell, M. (2010). Small change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted. New Yorker. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/04/101004fa_fact_gladwell

Jenkins, H. (2006). Why Heather can write. In Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide (pp. 169-185). New York: NYU Press.

Keen, A. (2007). Introduction and The great seduction (pp. 1-34). In The Cult of the amateur: How blogs, MySpace, YouTube, and the rest of today’s user-generated media are destroying our economy, our culture, and our values. New York: Doubleday.

Dworsky, D. & Kohler, V. (Directors) (2011). PressPausePlay [film]. Stockholm: House of Radon. Available: http://vimeo.com/34608191

Rainie, L. & Wellman, B. (2012). The new social operating system of networked individualism. In Networked: The new social operating system (pp. 3-20). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Simun, M. (2009). My music, my world: Using the MP3 player to shape experience in London. New Media and Society 11(6), 924-941.

Shirky, C. (2010). Cognitive surplus: Creativity and generosity in a connected age. New York: The Penguin Press.

Small, G. W., Moody, T. D., Siddarth, P., & Bookheimer, S. Y. (2009). Your brain on Google: Patterns of cerebral activation during Internet searching. American Journal of Geriatric Psych, 17(2), 116-126.

Turkle, S. (2011). Selections from Introduction; Growing up tethered; & The nostalgia of the young. In Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other (pp. 13-19; 171-186; 256-277). New York: Basic Books.


  1. Project 1 – Entering a Scholarly Conversation: sequence of reading and writing assignments that culminates in a 1500-1700 word academic paper, which takes a stance on the potentials and perils of being networked.
  2. Project 2 – Extending a Scholarly Conversation: sequence of reading, writing, and research assignments that culminates in a 2000-2500 word paper, which either 1) explores the benefits (social, personal, educational) offered to participants in an online community of your choice; 2) explores the potential of social networks to spur meaningful social or political change; or, 3) explores the range of ways that a small sample of people uses their mobile phones to mediate public space and negotiate their identity.