Welcome to Media Literacy in the Writing Classroom! This space is dedicated to observations, lesson plans and pedagogy related to the analysis, evaluation and creation of digital media in writing and composition courses. The curriculum on this site integrates blogging, social media sharing and multimodal projects with the study and practice of academic discourse. The following definition, from the Center for Media Literacy, grounds the philosophy behind this site:

Media Literacy is a 21st century approach to education. It provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy. 

The lesson plans on this blog were initially designed for Northern Arizona University’s English 105 course, but all of the modules are capable of functioning independently of that curriculum and independently of each other. The content is arranged with three options for writing instructors interested in increasing media literacy in their classrooms. Option 1 is the most complex, and the lesson plans on the blog are presented with this option as the main focus, and Options 2 and 3 allow for increasing media literacy in the classroom without the use of a student blog.

Option 1: Create a student blog as the place for students to publish their multimodal projects, practice writing to a different audience (outside the confines of academic discourse), informally share ideas (and link their ideas!) on popular social media sites and reflect on the major differences between the discourse communities, modes and genres they engage with in each module.

Option 2: Instead of creating a student blog, have students look at a variety of other discourse communities on the internet, create multimodal projects in conjunction with their academic papers and discuss what other genres and discourses within the theme of each module (and academic paper) look like. LESSON PLANS TAILORED FOR THIS OPTION CAN BE FOUND UNDER THE HEADING “Multimodal Projects.”

Option 3: End each academic paper with a lesson plan on discourse communities, but omit the student blog and multimodal projects. LESSON PLANS TAILORED FOR THIS OPTION CAN BE FOUND UNDER THE HEADING “Activities on Discourse and Genre.”

Or, better yet, peruse this blog and create your own option!

I am an advocate of reflective teaching practices, and I will regularly update the posts and lesson plans with improvements, observations and new ideas. I hope that you will join me in this effort! If you try a lesson plan from this site, please leave a comment describing how it played out for you and your classroom. Let the community on this blog know what worked and what didn’t work! Also, please don’t hesitate to ask questions or share your lesson plans on media literacy.

In case you need a little more motivation to add assignments related to media literacy in your classroom: 65% of my students claimed at the midterm that their technology skills had improved because of English 105. That’s 30% more than in the three standard sections of English 105 that I surveyed. To read more about the survey please Click Here.

These are the results from the three sections of English 105 that use the blog and create multimodal projects for each module.

(click on the graph to enlarge)


All the best,

Chase Edwards

English 105 Instructor

Northern Arizona University






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