Monthly Archives: August 2012

Comparing McSweeney’s “Internet-Age Writing Syllabus” & “College Writing Assignments with Real-World Applications”

As a young person, I’m used to the generalizations of my age group being exploited for entertaining purposes. I read McSweeney’s “Internet-Age Writing Syllabus” and “College Writing Assignments with Real-World Applications” and experienced the blush of shame that occurs when the (possibly) negative traits of your own generation are mocked. The humor in “Syllabus” is achieved through a satirical view of how Generation Y has experienced literature. It’s a spoof of a syllabus, outlining a class for a bleak but possible future: “Writing for Nonreaders in the Postprint Era”. The “College Writing Assignments” relied on the humor found than in the shared human experience . The article makes the point that in the “real world” the most difficult and challenging or likely things you’ll have to put into writing aren’t 20-page research papers.

Of course mostly every assumption made about my age bracket proved true: I read these articles in between checking my Twitter feed and clicking through Facebook notifications; I too have “over-shared” on social media accounts. In the  “Syllabus” the hypothetical students study topics such as “Reading is stoopid” and are required to read Perez Hilton’s Twitter feed. But they also focus on subjects that aren’t so silly, like using blogging as a writing tool, or questioning the Kindle’s role in the way that people read literature.  These articles convey a message, that traditional college literature or writing courses are less and less relevant to today’s students, particularly in regards to the internet. Contemporary writing/research classes should be applicable to the experiences that students have already had with the internet and other media platforms.   Most current and future college students belong to “The Millennials”. They were born in raised during the largest and fastest technological boom the world has ever seen.  As time passes and current media evolves and transforms and creates new standards, the instruction in the field must  undergo a metamorphosis as well. We’ve already grown up on Tumblr and Facebook and Twitter, why not teach us how to use these tools in a professionally conscious and applicable way?



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