More than ever before, students need intelligent, compassionate conversational partners, because conversations—some of which are truly interactive and dialogic, and others that are didactic and one-sided—are happening all around them, all the time. Teaching our students to craft digital arguments is, again, more than a skill for college or career. It is a skill for life. Building off the synergies of Kristen’s work with argument (Turner 2005) and Troy’s work with digital writing, we will deconstruct both professional and student arguments to delve into exactly how digital writing is different from print writing. Moreover, we will argue that teaching the mode of argument in both print and digital media is not an either/or choice. Instead, this is what many would call a “both/and,” mainly because we know that crafting an argument through words is a necessary and complementary thinking process as students learn how to do the same in digital form.
As we move through the book, we will highlight how to teach these skills of digital argument so that students like Natalie can more adeptly consume the arguments they encounter and effectively produce their own arguments in the conversation that the Internet invites. Chapters 3 through 6 begin deconstructing the elements of argument in a variety of media, including blogs (Chapter 3), infographics (Chapter 4), videos (Chapter 5), and social media (Chapter 6). Each chapter will use the framework of declarative and procedural knowledge to break down the moves that digital writers make across these various forms of media. Chapter 7 will dig into assessment. Before we get to these ideas, though, Chapter 2 provides more background on the components of argument based in text, and how to connect those components to their digital equivalents.