College of Arts and Letters2021-2022

Department of English

English - Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies, Master of Arts

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The Rhetoric, Writing and Digital Media Studies program provides a curriculum that prepares students to excel as writers, scholars, and teachers. The program emphasizes the importance of critical reading, reflection, writing, digital media, and spoken language to cultivate knowledgeable citizens who understand and appreciate their civic, professional, and personal responsibilities in local and global communities. We specialize in preparing students for intercultural and interdisciplinary communication practices in digital and traditional work settings to further global engagement, diversity, and social participation. Students gain advanced skills in rhetorical theory and persuasive argumentation, social media literacy, multimedia writing, and design, professional and public discourse conventions, and teaching literacy and writing through theory-based application projects. They acquire the necessary tools to participate in local and global communities, and they establish a foundation of diverse writing practices for academic and workplace settings.

Student Learning Outcomes 

Theory and Knowledge:
Examine and evaluate the major theories in rhetoric, writing, and digital media studies by participating in and advancing current knowledge and practices in the field.

  • Evaluate and reflect critically on rhetorical terms and concepts used by rhetoricians from classical to modern times.
  • Evaluate similarities and differences in the uses of language, the connections between organization and structure used in specific time periods, the connections between style and delivery, and the connections between persuasion and argumentation used in specific time periods.
  • Understand how language practices during specific time periods were and are used to communicate about the diversity of human experience.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the contributions of rhetoric to workplace studies, literacy studies, narrative studies, digital studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and race studies.
  • Research, evaluate, and apply rhetorical principles from classical to modern times for academic, professional and public discourse

Demonstrate an advanced understanding of research methodologies and writing skills applicable to English studies, including academic writing, workplace writing, and information development.

  • Evaluate and reflect critically on methodological practices and concepts used in research designs in rhetoric, writing, and digital media studies.
  • Understand research as a recursive process.
  • Use research data to formulate or evaluate new research questions, using reason and persuasion in a logical argument.
  • Summarize and evaluate a body of research, including primary and secondary sources.
  • Demonstrate competent, ethical, and responsible use of information in academic and workplace writing.

Analysis and Critical Thinking:
Critically analyze how cultural artifacts (written, digital, visual, and spoken texts) shape identities and ideologies in diverse local, national, historical, and global communities.

  • Research, evaluate, and apply knowledge of significant issues related to global learning, diversity, and sustainable educational and environmental practices.
  • Write critical analyses exploring key texts and key concepts about historical and current rhetorical terms and concepts.
  • Research, evaluate, and apply historical knowledge of rhetorical terms and concepts to show how contemporary language use is influenced by cultural knowledge.
  • Research, evaluate, and apply rhetorical principles from classical to modern times to ethnically and linguistically diverse populations.
  • Tailor your academic and professional work to a specific audience and focus your writing on a specific purpose.

Apply theoretical and practical knowledge to projects that synthesize and evaluate appropriate research, scholarship, and methodologies in rhetoric, writing, and digital studies

  • Design text and digital projects that show the ethical use of language in diverse academic, public, and professional communities.
  • Understand how cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, and economic factors influence communication practices in text and digital environments.
  • Research, evaluate, and apply rhetorical principles to question current norms and dominant cultural assumptions expressed in text and digital media.
  • Design and present text and media that addresses experiential learning
  • Design and present projects that show a clear understanding of purpose, audience, and cultural, social, historical, and political contexts.

Research and Application:
Apply rhetorical, pedagogical, narrative, new media, and workplace theories and practices by carrying out advanced course-related and client-related projects directed at conceptualizing, researching, understanding, and reformulating current theories in the field of rhetoric and writing studies through appropriate professional activities (conferences, presentations, publications, social action, grants, internships, practicum experiences, extended research projects, fieldwork, and other activities).

  • Articulate a theoretical framework for the project (including a literature review to assess the theoretical and methodological contributions previously made to this area).
  • Identify and define appropriate methods of data collection and apply appropriate research methods.
  • Use a research design appropriate to the audience and purpose of your project, showing understanding of rhetorical approaches to multimedia design.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the project and its implications to the field of rhetoric, writing, and digital media.
  • Analyze, interpret and explain your findings and your project in an extensive project write-up.
  • Present your original research to professional and non-professional audiences, articulating sustained, coherent explanations of your work.
  • Apply appropriate writing and design standards and literacy skills to succeed in academic, civic, and personal life.

Actively participate in local, national, and global communities of academic and workplace writers by participating in professional development activities, and by creating and updating online profiles.

  • Identify your career and learning goals and develop a personal career development plan based on your strengths and goals (Introduction to Rhetoric and Writing Studies).
  • Effectively represent your experience, skills and competencies through written (resume, cover letter, social media, application materials) and verbal (interview skills, presentation skills, etc.) communication (Analysis courses, research projects course).
  • Develop your project management skills (especially Workplace Writing and research projects).
  • Establish, maintain, and grow your professional network (start in intro to Rhetoric and WS, continue in Analysis courses, and in research projects course).
  • Increase your experience and marketability, as well as your level of knowledge about career opportunities, through internships or projects (internships and research project course).
  •  Apply appropriate communication and presentation standards to succeed in academic, civic, and personal life.
  • Establish an online professional presence by designing, adding on a regular basis, and updating a digital portfolio.

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