Juniors and seniors blogging, tweeting and commenting for college credit

A screenshot of the McDaniel Getaways Tumblr.
December 04, 2012

The 18 juniors and seniors enrolled this semester in “New Media Writing” blogged, tweeted and commented their way through the course taught by Paul Muhlhauser, assistant professor of English.

In order to analyze the differences in writing for digital environments, each student was required to become an expert on a topic, or “nichepertise” according to Muhlhauser, either at McDaniel or in the Westminster area, ranging from films and music to junk food and even McDaniel bathrooms.

Then, the students searched, posted and commented about their topic of choice utilizing a variety of digital media tools, such as Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest and Scoop.It.

Senior Christie Debelius of Hampstead, Md., said she picked ice cream as her topic because “I wanted to do something fun and unique, and something I wouldn't normally have a chance to do a project on.”

A screenshot of the @TerrorIceCream Twitter account.

“The cool thing about writing for digital media is that it’s very democratic,” Debilius said. “Anybody can become an expert on anything. It’s really easy to get your voice out there.”

Another student in the class, senior Shawn Beaumont of Ellicott City, Md., who wrote about McDaniel Getaways, outdoor destinations about an hour or less from campus, said, “I have learned a great deal about writing for different digital media tools. I now know the importance behind establishing a coherent online identity, which will help me as I hope to pursue a career in journalism.”

“Dr. Muhlhauser has made quite the impact on me, taught me many things and initiated a passion for design and digital storytelling,” Beaumont said.

Sampling of students and their nichepertises:

Senior Shawn Beaumont of Ellicott City, Md.

Senior Christie Debelius of Hampstead, Md.

Senior Liz Kavitsky of Lumberton, N.J.

Senior Charles Mullin of Safety Harbor, Fla.

Junior Amber Slater of Westminster, Md.

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