A whirlwind first week…

Whew. We’ve now met three times (a regular weeks’ worth) and covered a remarkable amount of material and concepts. I’m writing now in hopes of alleviating some fears and clarifying some things, especially because classes like today’s can feel so hectic. This post is a recap of many things you already know, but I still recommend you read it over as a reminder.

In no particular order, then:

Finding and using the schedule

I hope you’ll use the main schedule as the place to alleviate any fears about what is expected of you. That’s where I always list as clearly as possible exactly what we’re going to do each day and exactly what’s due.

You might want to consider bookmarking that page (https://rhet351stedman.wordpress.com/schedule/) so it’s easy to find, without needing to get to it through Moodle, which adds four or five extra clicks.

Talking to me

I haven’t mentioned office hours much in class, but they’re exactly what they sound like: hours that I’m in my office. Which means you can drop by without an appointment to talk about anything at all or show me anything you’re working on.

If you can’t remember when my office hours are, they’re on the sidebar of this site and taped to my door (Scarborough 117). And you can always ask me to meet at another time!

If face-to-face talking doesn’t work with your schedule, I check email all the time. And as you know, I’m on Twitter a lot, so I can always answer questions there, too.

Online identity stuff

We rushed through the conversation about online identity today, but here’s the core take-away I want you to hold onto: how we shape the spaces where we communicate online will affect how our messages seem to our audiences. Another way to say that: our decisions about how we design our online writing are just as rhetorical as our word choices. It’s all part of the art of effective communication.

That means thinking strategically/rhetorically about the these things:

  • Twitter icons
  • Language about ourselves under our Twitter icons
  • Twitter backgrounds and cover images
  • WordPress themes
  • WordPress “about pages.” (If you’re not sure if you have an about page, go to your blog page and see if there’s an about link on your main menu. What does it say? Does it present you the way you want to be presented?)
  • WordPress titles and taglines. (Many WordPress sites will have a built-in tagline like “The best WordPress site ever.” Does yours have one? If so, do you like it? Change it from your Dashboard under Appearance > Customize > Site Title.)

“What should I have done with Twitter so far?”

Regarding Twitter, at this point (after class on Monday, August 26), you must:

  1. Have a Twitter account
  2. Have a Tweetdeck account (which we’ll use in class in future weeks)
  3. Have tweeted a question or comment about the syllabus using the hashtag #rhet351

If you haven’t done those yet, please do so. But today, we also talked about some recommendations:

  1. Adjust your Twitter image, “about me” text, background image, and cover image to fit your preferred online identity
  2. Follow all of the authors whose work we’ll read in class this semester, found on the first page of the pdf version of the syllabus.
  3. Follow any other Twitter accounts that publish on topics that seem relevant to the course topic or interesting to you. (Hint: to find accounts that tweet things related to class, try looking at who the @rhet351 account follows. Any of those accounts will lead you in the right direction.)

“How should I prepare for the first big essay assignment?”

Great question.

  1. Look for an article on Twitter that seems persuasive in some way. Remember, it can be about any topic at all, as long as you find it on Twitter.
  2. Save the link to any tweet that you think you might use, perhaps by emailing it to yourself, saving it in a document, or something else. (To make sure I don’t lose anything, I use Google Drive, Dropbox, Diigo, and Evernote. They’re all good at helping me stay organized with my professional and personal lives.)
  3. Familiarize yourself with the assignment sheet itself, which is a post in this blog (below). So if you’re looking for the assignment sheet later, you can scroll down until you find it, or you can look at the “Categories of Post” section in the sidebar and click the “Major Assignments” category to head straight to it.
  4. Be ready to discuss an article in class on Friday, with a printout of it in hand.

This is all a lot, I know, but I have high hopes that you can do it. If you push through these first couple of weeks with me, things will feel much more manageable in the coming weeks.



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