Research in the Rhetoric of New Media: Project

I have a semester project that involves reading research in the rhetoric of new media. The conception of the project, what I expected to be doing and looking at, is defined below.

New media can be defined as technologies of telecommunications and computing. The technologies defined as new media are those which allow for interactivity, individualization, and/or asynchronicity; these technologies permit composition and communication in new forms.

Artifacts that are defined as new media include digital presentations, digital storytelling, online videos, compositions written in digital form, websites, databases, avatars, online gaming, animations and creations that range across formats. Some of these artifacts are more familiar than others.

New media includes social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. It includes generally composition-focused works such as Wikipedia and blogs. Computer applications which are considered new media would include any which allow face-to-face discourse at a distance, interactive educational software, and online database services. New media also includes ebooks.

Older or traditional media are not necessarily being supplanted, but instead are being complemented. For example, paper books still exist and will undoubtedly continue to exist; ebooks, however, are offering the immediacy of download, the ability to see what other people are highlighting or taking notes over, and a theoretically faster rate of production and advancement.

A strong foundation in the theoretical and practical aspects of new media is important. This is particularly true when the focus is on the rhetoric of new media. As we move forward creating new media and using it within the classroom, a strong theoretical grounding will foster an environment that is healthy and productive.

In addition, an awareness of the present state of scholarship in the area of the rhetoric of new media will encourage cutting edge research, both in the scholarship of teaching and in theoretical applications.

Since I have been working on digital rhetoric for the last three years, creating and assigning digital stories in my freshman classes, creating an iBook for both the early British literature survey and the Old English Readings course, I feel that a stronger background in digital rhetoric would make me a better professor and benefit my students by informing me of the best practices in the field as well as the present state of research.

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