Essays on Medium

Digital Writing

For your final assignment for this course, I’d like you to revise one of your two final essays in ways that make thoughtful use of the affordances of writing in a digital space. An affordance is something that a particular medium allows you to do easily or well. The affordances of digital writing include

  • incorporating images into your writing;
  • linking directly to other online texts;
  • quoting audio or video clips in your essay; and
  • adding audio or video clips that you have produced to your essay.

Your task is to use some of these affordances to revise and re-present your second essay on

I will be especially impressed if the changes or additions you make lead to some new writing. If you insert an image into your essay, don’t let it just sit there—comment on it, analyze it. If you link to other texts, tell us what it is you want us to notice about them. If you use audio or video, be thoughtful in editing the clip; go right to the moment in the song or film that you want to focus our attention on.

Be creative. Take some risks. If you try something and it doesn’t work—no worries, your grade won’t be affected. Simply for doing this assignment, you will receive 10 extra points. But if you rethink or develop your essay as you post it to Medium, you will receive 20 extra points.

To post your work to Medium, you will need to set up a free account on the site. I will walk you through the actual mechanics of posting in class—it’s straightforward and easy—and we’ll also look at some examples of what other writers have done on the site. I’ve also posted a brief set of hints on Formatting on Medium. I hope that, like me, you’ll find Medium an elegant and appealing platform for writing.

Post your essay on Medium by 4:00 pm on on Monday , 12/05.. Please email me the link to your essay, and bring your laptop with you to class. If you feel you have significantly revised or developed your piece, please outline what you have done in the body of your email.  I will review your note to see if I agree that you  have earned an extra 10 points.

We will use much of our class on Tuesday, 12/06 to view your digital essays in a kind of electronic “arcade” .

Moving Forward on Your Second Essay


A full draft of your second essay (e2d3) is due on Monday, 11/07, by 4:00 pm. This draft should bring together the materials you’ve created for e2d1 and e2d2. But you should also write a new introduction to your essay (topic, project, map) and a new conclusion. My hunch is that you will also want to spend some time making sure the connections between the various ¶s and sections of your essay are clear.

Your draft must

  • Be at least 2,000 words long;
  • Make a meaningful connection to Spelman’s Repair;
  • Have a good title;
  • Include a list of references.

Please follow the guidelines for formatting your document we discussed in class on Tuesday, 10/11. Title your document “lastname e2d3” and email it to your GTA and me.

Plans (p3) and Conferences

As before, you will want to make the best use you can of the ten minutes we have to discuss your piece. Please bring a printout of your e2d3 with you. If you have worked more on your essay since Monday, that’s great. Bring the version that shows the latest work you’ve done. Please highlight or otherwise mark passages that you plan to

  • Add
  • Cut
  • Move
  • Rework

Write any questions you may have for me in the margins of your piece. Bring a pen to your conference and be ready to jot down some notes on your essay.

Finally, on a separate sheet of paper, please block out a map of your essay as it currently stands, using a format similar to the one we worked with in class today.


Your annotations and map will count as p3. You will not receive credit if you do not bring them to your conference.

The final, graded version of your essay (e2d4) is due on Wednesday, 11/16. We will work on editing and polishing these pieces in class on Tuesday, 11/15. Good luck!


Planning your second essay (p2)

A plan for your second essay is due on Monday, 10/17. This plan does not need to be a polished essay, but it should show careful thought and work.

Identify the project of repair you want to write about. Be specific. For example, don’t just say you want to write about calls for reparations on college campuses. Tell us you want to study the demands for reparations at, say, Brown or Amherst or Georgetown or UDel (after the “noose” incident). Or, don’t just say that you want to write about how speech therapists  help people. Identify a particular problem some people have with speaking and how therapists address that problem.

And then tell us how you are going to research this particular repair project. What will you read, or watch, or listen to? Who will you talk to? When will you do this?

I encourage you to draw on your own experience in writing this essay. But you cannot draw only on your experiences. You must do either some field research (interviews, observations) and/or some archival research (books, articles, videos, etc.).  I would thus be surprised and concerned if you submitted a plan that did not include a list of references.

So your plan needs to include these two elements:

  1. A precise statement of the project of repair you want to write on;
  2. The text you will either read, watch, or listen to, and/or the people you will interview or observe, in order to learn more about that project. I will expect citations, URLs, and/or names and dates of interviews.

A 1,000-word description of your project of repair is due on Monday, 10/24, so you will need to plan to do the reading/interviewing/observing listed in part #2 during next week.  So I encourage you to get to work!


  1. Mon, 10/17, 4:00 pm: Post your plan to your group’s shared Google Drive folder. (I will invite you  to this folder on Friday. Title your document <lastname p2.docx>.
  2. Tues, 10/18, class: Bring a print copy of your plan to class. Also bring a folder of the materials you will be working with. These materials may be digital or on paper, but you should have read, watched, or listened to them already. If you are planning to conduct interviews or observations as part of the research for your essay, you should have them completed or scheduled at this point.
  3. Mon, 10/24, 4:00 pm: Post e2d1, a thick description of the project of repair you are writing about, to your group Google Drive folder. Title this document <lastname e2d1.docx>.