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New Media Communication

Employ new writing tools, such as blogs, online forums, and wikis, to reach broad public audiences.  So much material is shared and reused on the Internet that it's tempting not to worry much about copyright infringement or about your public, digital footprint. Even so, to avoid unnecessary and potentially serious trouble, check out Digital Ethics (Netiquette)Negotiating Virtual Spaces: Public WritingCopyright and Writing.

Literacy practices are undergoing major transformations. Thanks to new writing spaces, today's college students are redefining reading, research, collaboration, writing, and publishing practices. In addition to altering writing processes, new writing spaces are stretching the boundaries of academic writing, creating new genres and new conventions for structuring texts.

In the late 1930s, the novelist and screenwriter Dalton Trumbo read an article about the Prince of Wales paying a visit to a hospital in Canada for veterans of the first World War and meeting a soldier who had lost all of his limbs and senses from an explosion. From that inspiration Trumbo wrote his most famous novel, Johnny Got His Gun, about a soldier who wakes up in a hospital to find his arms and legs amputated and that he is blind, deaf and mute. It was published in 1939 to great success and in 1971 was adapted into a film that has since become a classic. But the adaptations didn’t stop there: it was also turned into a play in 1981, and the version you are probably most familiar with was the inspiration for Metallica’s 1989 song “One,” with scenes from the 1971 movie appearing in the music video.

Another type of remediation occurs when you translate text into either a single image or a series of images (a video or slideshow). These two types of remediations fundamentally involve the same process—translating text into visuals.

There are no strict guidelines by which this translation must be done. However, there are some large-scale suggestions or methods by which you can attempt to symbolically capture in visuals the messages and main ideas promoted in your original text. Moreover, the creation of a visual remediation—much in the same manner as the creation of a text remediation—involves an understanding of rhetorical stance and rhetorical strategies.

Instead of remediating a print text into a visual or audio text, you may choose to use a different genre within the print medium. For example, if your original text is a poem, you might want to remediate that poem into song lyrics, a children's book, a letter, or another print genre. Before you construct your text-to-text remediation, consider the following:

Capturing Content

Before you can create any type of effective or meaningful remediation, you should develop a good understanding of your original text.

Along with sound and witty advice about how to write well in the workplace, the Third Edition of Business Writing: What Works, What Won’t busts a few myths about social media . . .

MYTH: Social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) have contributed to the erosion of writing skills today—in schools and in the workplace.

Mark Zuckerberg claimed in a 2010 interview that we all only have “one identity” (as cited in Mainwaring, 2010). But as we have witnessed social networking sites (SNSs) set up shop across vastly different communities for vastly different purposes, it has become clear that Zuckerberg cannot be right. While there may be similarities found in an individual’s Facebook, LinkedIn, and Ravelry profiles, the differing target audiences, interfaces, and SNS purposes make it easy for an individual to create and express a plurality of social identities.

M. C. Morgan's wiki is at https://biro.erhetoric.org

The Simplest Writing Space

Wikis were designed with simplicity in mind: The writing space is minimal—a text field. The controls are pedestrian—Edit and Save. The formatting is fundamental—Type to enter text, hit return twice to create paragraphs. Use equal signs or hash signs for headings, slashes for emphasis, enclose links in double-brackets, or just paste in urls. The tools are basic—Create and link new pages by using WikiWords.

Netiquette, a hybrid word combining “network” and “etiquette,” essentially refers to the social code of the Internet.

As such, netiquette -- how we communicate, treat others, portray ourselves, and protect ourselves online -- is a question of ethics. Ethics, or moral philosophy, refers generally to how groups and individuals determine moral courses of action. Because ethics refers to the way groups and individuals relate to, treat, and resolve issues with each other, digital ethics then encompasses how users and participants in online environments interact with each other and the technologies and platforms used to engage.

Taking Control: Managing Your Online Identity for the Job Search


In 2008, while working as a career counselor, a student came into my office to discuss her difficulty securing an internship prior to graduation. On paper, she was a phenomenal candidate—3.8 GPA, active in student government, successful athlete, and in possession of solid letters of recommendation from her instructors, coaches, and past employers. Despite her many strengths, she had interviewed with seven prospective employers throughout her junior year but was unable to secure the internship that was required by her academic program.

College students are often required to use e-mail to communicate with instructors, staff, advisors, and peers. As their studies advance, students may also use e-mail to contact professionals in their field for service-learning or job opportunities. College is the beginning of students’ professional lives, and e-mail messages can reflect positively or negatively on their professional image.

E-mail Accounts

Most colleges provide students with a college e-mail account—use it! Here’s why:

How might you more effectively integrate multimedia components into your assignment?

“Let rhetoric be an ability, in each case, to see the available means of persuasion.”
– Aristotle, 
Rhetoric (1.2.1)

With great resources comes great responsibility.

Composition does not merely refer to the writing of words on a paper or in a word processing document but also includes the holistic act of using all forms of media (images, videos, sounds, and texts) in a variety of different mediums (paper, blogs, websites, YouTube, podcasts, etc.).

If you’re like most people, when you hear the word wiki, you automatically think of Wikipedia. Almost anyone who uses the Internet has used Wikipedia from time to time to learn more about any of the millions of topics it covers in its four million pages. Indeed, it might seem harder not to use Wikipedia than to use it since its pages tend to come up first, or at least in the top five, of most Google searches, and most surveys of the world’s most popular websites put Wikipedia in the top ten. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine what the internet would be like today without wikis!

LinkedIn is a social networking site (SNS) used for making valuable career connections and finding that critical first job. As a student, it’s important to have a LinkedIn profile that highlights the expertise you bring to a potential employer. Your degree, the courses you took, major projects completed, and your college jobs and affiliations all combine to create a picture of who you are and what you can do.

However, LinkedIn can be a bit disconcerting. Its pages show professionals with lists of jobs and accomplishments that can be intimidating. Almost no one with a LinkedIn profile page is a person the average student can relate to. The whole LinkedIn thing, students tell me, is off-putting to anyone who’s still in college.

What is blogging? How is blogging "academic"? Most importantly, why is my teacher asking me to blog?

It’s likely that some, if not all, of these questions come to mind as your first-year composition professor introduces blogging as a form of academic writing. Yes, blogging can be academic. But how? More importantly, how is blogging a way of connecting lofty, intellectual topics with “real world” arguments?

On the most general level, blogs provide spaces for productive conversations about the relationship between writing and audience. What does this mean? 

Some instructors assign weekly or biweekly discussion board posts or other regular informal writing assignments, and oftentimes they require you to respond to your peers’ writing. Responding to your classmates can be an awkward or uncomfortable task because  you might not want to offend them or say something silly.

As a result of this pervasive discomfort, students often just respond to a post in one of the following ways:

Scientific posters are a common type of genre created by researchers in science and engineering-related fields to communicate information about a study usually to other experts.

As a student, you may be assigned a scientific poster in a technical communication or science writing course or in a class that focuses on writing in your discipline.

At some point in your academic or professional life, you’ll have to stand in front of people and give a talk about a subject, and quite often, you’ll be asked to prepare visual materials to accompany your talk. You might prepare handouts, but odds are, you’ll be asked to prepare materials that you can project on a video screen.

The classic version of these projected materials is the overhead transparency, a thin sheet of clear plastic that you can run through a laser printer or write on with special markers; this medium is slowly disappearing, but it’s still around.

The use and spread of infographics has gained viral traction in the professional realm. The term “infographic” is a combination of the two words “information” and “graphic.” The infographic caters to fast-pace, “bottom-line” types of audiences by distilling complex information into a single image. Although infographics can be used in a variety of settings, they fare particularly well in the professional environment during business meetings, training sessions, and sales pitches. In fact, infographics have even become a popular means for job seekers to present their resumes. The beauty of an infographic, in contrast to a traditional alpha-numeric genre, is its ability to quickly make a lasting impression on audiences by appealing to their visual aesthetic.

Use visuals to develop and organize your ideas. Understand and explore the value of diagramming and mapping strategies.

Visuals present a powerful and thought-provoking way to develop and organize ideas. Some neuroscientists "estimate that we get up to 80 percent of our information by visual means" (Horn 21). Images convey meaning just as words do. In fact, images are saturated with meanings that sometimes hit us at a subconscious level; images motivate us to act or feel strong emotion.

Regardless whether you are an engineer or a writer, a professional or a student, a business person or a scientist, you will be expected to communicate effectively with your supervisors, colleagues, clients, and the public. For most, that communication includes at least an occasional formal presentation.

Formal presentations in the workplace usually take one of three forms:

  1. Informational
  2. Persuasive
  3. Instructional

The Power Of PowerPoint

You’ve gathered your material, organized your outline, and now you are ready to put together a presentation that will pack a punch.  PowerPoint is a powerful tool in the hands of a wise designer. Once you understand a few basics, you, too, can put together a PowerPoint presentation that will be effective rhetorically.