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WITDA Student Essay Awards

Statement of Purpose:

The WITDA Student Essay Award is a new award honoring student writing at the Foundation level. The award seeks to celebrate students who master techniques central to Writing in the Digital Age, as well as their lives beyond the classroom as writers and designers.

Eligibility / Selection Criteria:

Open to all students currently enrolled and passing WITDA with a grade of C- or better.


  • The call for papers will take place once each semester, after the WITDA read.
  • Each WITDA faculty member may nominate one Hit Essay per each course in which they are listed as Faculty of Record per semester
    (i.e.: If you teach one course, you may nominate one essay. If you teach two courses, you may nominate two essays, one from each course, total).

Selection Process: 

The selection of the three final prize-winning essays will be made by WITDA faculty at the end of the semester, after the WITDA read has taken place.

Award Criteria: 

Award-winning essays will possess all of the following characteristics:

  • Control of Syntax / Mechanics: Writing that includes sophisticated use of language, virtually error-free spelling, grammar and sentence mechanics, and has a strong sense of authorial “voice.” The paper will also include a clearly articulated thesis statement.
  • Information Literacy: Data and research that include a variety of facts, figures, and data that successfully support the authors’ argument. The author will also smoothly integrate high-quality sources into their argument at the sentence level.
  • Content Development and Organization: A topic that is addressed in a manner that is complex, nuanced, and acknowledges multiple perspectives on the issue.
  • Design/Visual Literacy: Expert deployment of visual rhetoric to appeal to the unique characteristics of online audiences
  • Critical Thinking: Carefully calibrated use of the four elements of rhetoric (Kairos, Ethos, Logos, Pathos).
  • Context and Purpose for Communication: An argument centering upon a topic that has recently risen to national/international prominence (i.e.: within the past 12 months or less).


  • First Place: The first place Hit Essay will be published to the Otis/LAS website. Additionally, the author of the winning essay will have their photograph and an interview published to the LAS/Otis College website.
  • Second Place: The author of the second place essay will have their photograph and essay published to the LAS/Otis College website.
  • Third Place: The author of the third place essay will have their photograph and essay published to the LAS/Otis College website.