Offbeat | Best classes at Pitt for the techy, social creative

Offbeat is a biweekly blog offering new and meaningful takes on all things media.

By Jillian Rowan, Staff Writer

As an (almost) rising senior, I’ve had my fair share of classes — both good and bad. Here are some of my recommendations as I pursue a degree in media and professional communications on the digital media track.

  • ENGCMP 0520: Integrating Writing and Design

“Integrating Writing and Design” has probably been my favorite class at Pitt.

Designed to explore the relationship between design and writing, this class will challenge you to consider how these elements can work together in the media realm.

Through lectures, discussions and studio sessions, I learned how to use Adobe InDesign and Photoshop to create single and multi-page works in my interests, like social media and content branding. Now, I have a massive collection of several pieces of designed writing creations to pick from.

My final project was a 30-page how-to guide on building a solid social identity with Instagram. This class truly is what you make of it — the more you put in, the more you get out of it.

  • ENGCMP 0610: Composing Digital Media

I’m currently enrolled in “Composing Digital Media,” and though it’s not entirely what I expected, it has been a pleasant surprise!

Designed to help students understand the rhetorical, poetic and political implications of various writing platforms, this class will guide you in composing media objects. It’s centered on using and manipulating various web-authoring languages, text, sound, images and videos — we even talk about ChatGPT!

There’s also a focus on analyzing and revising your own digital media compositions from past works, which has helped me hone my skills and bolster my portfolio.

We’re currently exploring the intricacies of accessibility in digital media and how to create and deliver information to various audiences, including those with disabilities. If this course is something that interests you, I highly recommend it.

  • ENGCMP 1112: Professional Uses of Social Media 

This class is fantastic. I’m really impressed that Pitt offers a social-media-based class!

In this course, we explore social media within the context of a professional setting. It’s not stuffy or dull — we find creative ways to bring modernized media into the working world. We really learn to approach social media and its various platforms from a more critical lens — exploring how specific posts maximize or subvert our communicative purposes and how we can draw our audiences in.

One of my favorite things about this course is the creative freedom we’re granted. We each have an Instagram account associated with the class where we post our weekly assignments. It’s so refreshing to have a time capsule of our work on a visual stage — a much-needed reprieve from Canvas!