In this course, students closely exam a number of different digital divides: Their root causes, broad implications and differing responses. The class works to construct a vocabulary and a conceptual framework through which we can discuss the way the Internet and computer use is divided among places, people, participation and production dynamics. Informative, critical and influential articles introduce students to a variety of controversies within the larger topic, positions within those controversies, and stakeholders who hold those positions. We follow the origins of the term digital divide through its historical development, beginning with geographical, economic and political examples of technological inequality on both a micro and macro (local and global) level. With a basic background established, we then trace the term as it has been used to describe consumerist dynamics on the Internet, gaps in how new media literacy is (not) taught, and demographic divisions that have developed within Web 2.0.
A course in literary argumentation that situates rhetoric as an art of civic discourse, specifically regarding consumer culture and a critique of contemporary capitalism. It is designed to enhance students’ ability to analyze the various positions held in any public debate and to advocate their own position effectively. Work in this course will help students advance the critical writing and reading skills they will need to succeed in courses for their respective major and university degree. Specifically, students learn how to identify, evaluate, construct, and organize effective arguments; to read critically; to advocate a specific position responsibly; to conduct library and web-based research and document sources; to produce a clean, efficient style and adapt it to various rhetorical situations; and to edit and proofread their own and others’ prose.