Writing in Digital Environments

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Multimodality: Old vs New Media

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  1. Tech Presentation: Group #5 Pinterest
  2. Intro to Multimodality—Affordances
  3. Discussion of Kress’s “Gains and losses: New forms of texts, knowledge, and learning
  4. Freebies!
  5. Long-Form Project Assignment

Kress’s claims about old media and new media

Representation and communication are motivated by the social; its effects are outcomes of the economic and the political. To think or act otherwise is to follow phantoms. (Kress, p. 6)

According to Gunther Kress, old media privilege print media and linguistic modes of communication while new media privilege screen media and images. He also claims that words have a fixed order in which we interpret them while images can be “read” in any order the view chooses. Likewise, a book has a fixed entry point while a new media object like a website has multiple entry points. The big take away from his article is that he defines new media as a shift in the economic and political conditions that shape communication. That is, because the Internet allows anyone to be an author and opens up the modes available, creators can no longer rely on the fact that they are an author/creator to secure their authority and force users to accept their texts as is. Users now expect texts to meet their expectations in regards to modes and mediums. His points (p. 11) can be summarized as follows:

Old Media

  • mode = linguistic
  • medium = print/the book
  • fixed, temporal order
  • author determines entry point into the text
  • author-centered, reader adapts to the text
  • narrative
  • elite
  • use of mode governed by established conventions that have been naturalized (author is central)

New Media

  • mode = image
  • medium = screen
  • open, spacial arrangement
  • reading path designed by the reader/visitor
  • user-centered, designer adapts to the needs of the user
  • display
  • popular
  • use of mode governed by “aptness” for message and audience (critique and design are central)

Do his descriptions seem accurate given your experiences as consumers and creators of both old and new media? Let’s look at some examples to see if his claims hold up. Spend time with the hard-copy version of the New York Times and the NBC News website as if you were a well-educated person (just kidding, you are a well-educated person!) interested in that section of the news. After looking for information in both places (the handout and the website), go back to the above lists. Do you think each text conforms to Kress’s description?

Now look at three possible new media examples:

Digital Breadcrumbs: Case Studies of Online Research

While Chopping Red Peppers

Reddit (Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook are better examples but you need an account)

Do they follow all of Kress’s  new media criteria? Why or why not? What do our answers tell us about how the Internet is shaping our communication practices?

Freely licensed videos, images, and sounds

Here are links to three places where you can find freely licensed media to use in your blogs and final project for our class. I have also added these links to the Course Resources section in the right sidebar.

Wikimedia Commons
This site also contains freely available sounds and videos.

Creative Commons Search
There are songs and video available here too.

Getty Images
This is a huge photo archive, and in the past to use their images you had to pay a licensing fee, but now you can embed their photos in your site for free as long as you include attribution. Read the article on The Verge for more details. This is huge, y’all.

Seriously, do what you love!


I posted this John Lennon quote on the first day of class, but as we enter the midterm season, I think it bears repeating. It is easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out over grades and course requirements and lose site of the most important question you can ask yourself as a student:

Are you learning something that is of importance to you and your life?

And I know many of you are approaching graduation and worried about finding a job on top of keeping up with your classes, so I’m offering you some career advice from creative career coach Michelle Ward. I have worked with her and trust in her wisdom.

Who cares if [a job] is In Demand if it’s nothing that lights you up inside?
—Michelle Ward

Yes, you have to pay the bills, but don’t lock yourself into a career you hate. Remember, if the job you get at graduation does not tap into your passions, it is a means goal and not an end goal. Use it as a stepping stone to what you really want to do and keep aiming for that.


Read: Ball & Rice, Rice + Ball Productions: Reading Multimodal Texts (the plug-in is not working so just read the commentary by Rice).
Research Journal entry 2 due in Canvas


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Course Information

CO302.002, Writing In Online Environments
Fall 2016

when and where
T/TR @ 9:30-10:45am
Eddy 4

Jeremy Proctor
Eddy 311
jeremy.proctor@colostate.edu or proctorj@rams.colostate.edu

office hours
1:00 to 2:15 TR
by appointment

Most English Department faculty no longer have office phones. This means that the only way to reach me outside of class is to physically come to office hours or to email. During the work week I check email several times a day between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Under normal circumstances I respond to email within 24 hours. If you email after 5:00 pm on a Friday (i.e., on the weekend) you might not receive a reply until Monday morning.

Blogs I Follow

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