EMC 3060 Syllabus – Spring 2014

Subject to change.

Catalog Description

Writing for Digital Media concentrates on the theory and practice of interactive writing for new media channels. The course examines the fundamental principles of writing interactively for specific audiences, encourages students to explore content development and looks at the creation of meaning in digital media while also helping students cultivate skills in content development using the appropriate technologies for the different media.

Writing is the core.

Words, sentences, punctuation, grammar, spelling — it all counts. Without those you can’t communicate and you’ll struggle with this course and every other one. Pay attention to your writing and your words.

You will be writing and planning to write and writing. (Did I mention the writing?) You’ll be working with others to improve your writing. You’ll be discovering the role of writing and the writer in today’s buffet of media.

We’ll cover blogging, citizen journalism, how journalism is changing, working in-house at a business and libel and privacy in a 24/7, instant writing world. We’ll also consider how content is promoted across social media platforms and forms of content beyond the written word.

Course Text And Reading


Carroll, Brian. Writing for Digital Media. ISBN 978-0-415-99201-5. Routledge. (required)

Ordered for on campus bookstore. widely available for sale and rent as a hard or soft cover or e-book at online stores.

Book Website:

Contains text of all assignments and helpful links. http://www.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415992015

Supplemental text:

Lynch, Patrick J. and Horton, Sarah. Web Style Guide: Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-13737-8. (We will use the online edition.)

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ ASSIGNED MATERIAL BEFORE CLASS. We may or may not review the material in class.

Other Reading:

As assigned.


You’re required to subscribe (free) to at least one (or all) of the following websites. Read articles from them daily. We will talk about current events in every class.

Content and Social Media Marketing



Stuff to Make You Think!

The best way to keep up with blogs and websites is by using their RSS feed. You’ll need desktop or online software to read RSS feeds. I recommend Feedly, which can be used in your browser, smartphone (iPhones and Android,) or tablet (iPads and other tablets.)

There will be other online resources that I’ll assign and recommend during the semester.


Lynda.com – We have access to the entire Lynda.com library of tutorials. I may assign or recommend these during the semester.


You must have (or open) and maintain active accounts for the following services, as well as others as assigned:

Social Media Club

There is a new chapter of the Social Media Club on campus!

There will be at least three meetings of Social Media Club MTSU to attend this spring and you are expected to attend TWO for credit. And you should be an active member if you’re at all serious about this business. The mission of the club is “If you get it, share it.” And there will be lots of opportunities to do that all year round.

You will have at least three opportunities to attend a meeting of the Social Media Club Nashville during the semester.  See professor Todd O’Neill if you’re interested in attending a meeting and are in need of a ride.

Mechanics, Levers And Gears

We will be using SOME of the Desire2Learn system assignment turn in, grading, etc. The link is available off the main PipelineMT page. Bookmark it and visit it everyday.

WE WILL NOT USE THE D2L EMAIL SYSTEM. All email between you and me should be on our MTSU email accounts.

One bonus to D2L is the TurnItIn functionality. With this you will find ways to clean up your writing. That’s YOUR writing. TurnItIn also has a Plagiarism checker that I will use. (See the Academic Misconduct Policy section.)


You’ll be responsible for:

  • Attendance
  • Social Accounts
  • Social Media Club participation
  • Chapter and other Homework Assignments
  • Final Exam

Professional behavior is expected. That is your contract. In return you’ll be “paid” in accordance with fulfilling that contract. My side of the bargain is providing you with valuable work to do.

You may receive up to 1500 points this semester for the work that you do.

  • Attendance: 140
  • Social Accounts: 200
  • Social Media Club: 200
  • Assignments: 710
  • Final Exam: 250

This breaks down as follows:

  • 1500 – 1350 points: A
  • 1349 – 1200 points: B/+/-
  • 1199 – 1050 points: C/+/-
  • 1049 – 900 points: D/+/-
  • 899 – 0 points: F

Midterm grades

The University has instituted a new practice of reporting midterm grades. Your midterm grade is based upon a small fraction of the work that will determine your final grade. Your midterm grade should not be interpreted as a strong indication of what your final grade may be. Most of your final grade will be determined by how you perform in the second half of the semester.


We take attendance daily. Regular attendance, active participation in class discussions, and a demonstrated grasp of major concepts are essential for obtaining a good grade in this course.

You receive 10 points each week for attending all class meetings on time or with an excused absence. Points will be deducted each time a student is either late or unexcused:

  • 2 points deducted for arriving late
  • 5 points deducted for an unexcused absence

Excused absences require a doctor’s note or discussion with the instructor prior to absence.

  • 3 UNEXCUSED ABSENCES will lower your final grade by one letter.
  • 5 UNEXCUSED ABSENCES will result in failure of the class.

Academic Misconduct Policy


Plagiarism, cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited. Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are immediately responsible to the instructor of the class.  In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions, which may be imposed through the regular institutional procedures as a result of academic misconduct, the instructor has the authority to assign an F or a zero for the exercise or examination; or to assign an F in the course.  If the student believes he or she has been erroneously accused of academic misconduct, and if his or her final grade has been lowered as a result, the student may appeal the case through the appropriate institutional procedures.


  • Cheating on an assignment – Fail the Assignment
  • Plagiarism in any regard – Fail the Course.

Another professor passed along these guidelines from Mindy McAdams’ Website located at www.mindymcadams.com.

 “Do your own work. Be original. No copying. No fiction writing in this course. Never make things up. Never use other people’s words without quotation marks and the speaker’s (or writer’s) name attached. The proper use of citations of ALL material from other sources is required.

When you copy and paste from a Web page, you are committing plagiarism — unless you place the full block of text within quotation marks and provide a complete and correct attribution for the copied material.

A “rewrite” of another person’s text (or Web page) is plagiarism. You must either quote it, or else write entirely from your own mind, your own thoughts, your own words — without copying from something else. Any and all uses of another person’s words must be attributed.

The consequences are not negotiable. If you have any questions about what plagiarism is, or what academic dishonesty is, it is your responsibility to ask me — in advance of handing in any questionable work.

I take both academic honesty and journalistic credibility very seriously, and I expect all students in our college to do the same.

Copying a page or screen design is considered dishonest and sleazy. It is also more noticeable than you may realize — Web professionals will quickly recognize a page design that you copied and thought you had changed. The reflection on you is bad; in some cases, it would eliminate you from consideration for a job.”

Reasonable Accommodation For Students With Special Needs

If you have a disability that may require assistance or accommodation, or questions related to any accommodations for testing, note-takers, readers, etc., please speak with me as soon as possible. You also may contact the Office of Disabled Student Services (898-2783) with questions about such services.

Reporting Last Day Of Attendance

At mid-semester, the MTSU Records Office will distribute a list of students enrolled in this class. The instructor will record on the list the last date of attendance for students who have ceased attending but not officially dropped or withdrawn from the class. The attendance record is to comply with federal financial aid regulations for students receiving aid.

Lottery Scholarship Information

To retain Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship eligibility, you must earn a cumulative TELS GPA of 2.75 after 24 attempted hours and a cumulative TELS GPA of 3.0 thereafter.  A grade of C, D, F, or I in this class may negatively impact TELS eligibility.  Dropping a class after 14 days also may impact eligibility. If you withdraw from this class and it results in an enrollment status of less than full time, you may lose eligibility for your lottery scholarship. For additional scholarship rules please refer to your Lottery Statement of Understanding form, contact the MTSU financial aid office at 898-2830 or review lottery scholarship requirements on the web at http://www.mtsu.edu/scholarships/telsprogram_scholarships.php.

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