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LA&PS Digital Composition Prize Winners

Combining web-awareness, creativity and impactful research, these LA&PS Digital Composition Prize entries exemplify the potential of academic work produced through various digital formats. Browse through our previous recipients and learn about their projects below.

The Faculty of LA&PS would like to thank the 2022 Judges for their help: Professor Beth Caravella (WRIT), Professor Natalie Coulter (COMCULT), Professor Brandee Easter (WRIT), Professor Andrea McKenzie (WRIT), Andre McLean (York University Web Designer) and Professor Carolyn Steele (HUMA).

Fall/Winter 2021-22

First Year

Winner: Robert MacIsaac

Project Title: Nintendo and Xbox Representation Comparison
Course: WRIT 1003 6.0: Professional Writing: An Introduction
Course Director: Andrea McKenzie

  • This video features a critical analysis of the Nintendo Switch and Xbox “Series X” ad campaigns, exploring the media of both companies and how they appeal to different consumer demographics.
  • The author of the piece narrated their script over a series of timed visuals that illustrated both system gameplay (so we can see what they are talking about) and various examples of how the companies market to diverse audiences.
  • The submission is originally scripted and contains considerable university-level research.

Judges Feedback:

  • “Well researched and presented in a way that fits the video medium.”
  • “Shows an excellent job of using visuals not only for engagement but also as evidence.”
  • “Demonstrates a good fit between genre, audience, mode, and content.”

Honorable Mention: Jessica Lappin

Project Title: Critical Race Theory Protests
Course: WRIT 1004 3.0: Research for Professional Writers
Course Director: Stevie Bell

  • In their course capstone project, the student drew from their previous research to compose an informative website detailing the history, context, and core issues of a specific protest event.
  • The submission explored a 2021 Loudon County (Virginia) School Board meeting that turned into a protest over the teaching of Critical Race Theory.
  • The student combined video, social media, background research and infographics with a long-form essay and photos to explore the protest.

Judges' Feedback:

  • “This is an impressive research project, with excellent context and sourcing.”
  • “Uses various forms of media to create an engaging tone and pace.”
  • “Communicates the urgency of engaging with this topic, particularly through compelling, personal, and emotional visual media.”

Second Year

Winner: Deea Deb

Project Title: The Rage of Remix
Course: WRIT 2004: Writing in Digital Cultures
Course Director: Rich Shivener

  • Students were asked to “compose a digital argument” using Adobe Spark software, and make their case with a combination of media, including embedded YouTube videos, linked sound clips, images, and text.
  • This media was organized in a professional way, with beginning, ending, and argument, and used a large number of university-level sources.
  • Composed of different sections, this submission offers a clear and convincing examination of limits of Fair use, effectively combining multiple media formats to make the case.

Judges' Feedback:

  • “Uses the affordances of web writing to present a complex topic in understandable and engaging sections.”
  • “Audio and visual elements provide multiple routes through the content.”
  • “Uses media that is varied and relevant.”

The judges chose not to select an honorable mention for the second-year category.


Winner: Kirandeep Bhanot

Project Title: Chastity, Sexuality, and Death: Representations of Women in Nineteenth Century Gothic Literature
Course: EN 3560 6.0: The English Romantics
Course Director: Natalie Neill

  • Student designed a small website to separate contents of her research with relevant quotes, images, and written pieces that look like essay fragments.
  • Homepage allows users to quickly navigate to “essay” sections.
  • Site feels interactive and engaging.

Judges' Feedback:

  • “Solid online presentation of an interesting topic. This website offers an informative breakdown of the subject matter with a nice mix of digital components. Great selection of images to illustrate the rich theoretical work captured in text.”
  • “It’s easy to imagine how a person unfamiliar with this subject matter could visit this website and come away with a newfound interest in gothic novels.”
  • “Great academic research separated into digestible sections. The image selection works very well in tandem with the student’s comprehensive summaries. I enjoyed browsing through the website – as each research topic had its own look and feel.”

Honourable Mention: Stefan Blacha

Project Title: This Essay is Out of Order
Course: WRIT 3001 3.0: Intermediate Digital Authoring
Course Director: Rich Shivener

  • Intriguing video explanation of challenges with creative blocks with painting and writing
  • Student describes unique habits in breaking through friction and various hurdles preventing them from completing work.
  • Video is accompanied with a full 100% accurate transcript, as outlined by the assignment details.
  • Transcript also included detailed audio and visual cues that correspond with where they take place in the script.

Judges' Feedback:

  • “A very detail-oriented submission. The student did a great job in fine tuning this video with small audio clips and split-second visuals that enhance the story being told through the corresponding voiceover. Short and sweet, but also very compelling.”
  • “This video does an exceptional job capturing the difficulty of creative blocks. The student’s approach to this subject is relatable and entertaining. The editing is very polished and merits a rewatch.”
  • “There are several small elements that combine to make this an excellent submission. Clean audio, great scriptwriting, interesting visual cues, and more.”

Honourable Mention: Sameer Amir

Project Title: Creative Piece
Course: GWST 3510 6.0: Women and Work: Production and Reproduction
Course Director: Tania DasGupta

  • This recording is a song that attempts to capture the challenges of the student’s single mother balancing work and home life while coping with unfair treatment, low wages, etc.
  • Lyrics loosely offer glimpses of a mother working hard to make ends meet and provide for her family, regardless of the issues she faces in her career.
  • The song progresses to reveal the mother eventually quitting her job and taking a stand to advocate for women and raise awareness of the inequalities at play.
  • Very touching, personal, and heartfelt.
  • Monologue at the end reveals that the student’s stepfather applied for the same job that the mother quit and was offered more money, benefits, vacation pay, better treatment etc. – hitting home the overall point of the song.

Judges' Feedback:

  • “In a mere two or three minutes, this songwriter and singer captures us, captures his mother’s struggles to maintain home and job, and delineates the gender discrimination she faces. The voice is enchanting and makes us keep listening, the guitar accompaniment blends in beautifully, and the lyrics work with the melody. The closing, where the singer breaks off and gives us flat evidence, contrasts with the rest and brings the problem home.”
  • “It takes much skill, creativity and talent to write a song that compels us to listen, and this student has done that beautifully. Sometimes (and often), less is indeed more.”

Listen to Sameer's Project:


Winner: Jessica Da Silva

Project Title: Environment from A to Z(ine)
Course: HUMA 4207 6.0: Doing Culture: Narratives of Cultural Production
Course Director: Carolyn Steele

  • Excellent website layout that features a variety of visual cues, easy navigation, interesting image selection, text movement, anchor links, buttons, easy-to-read content, and functional internal + external links
  • Calls to action are clear and easy to identify.
  • Embedded Instagram posts work in tandem with author bios to add a friendly social aspect.
  • Branding is clear and intentional in all aspects including the Instagram posts, zoom backgrounds used during workshops, YouTube profile icon, etc. – all of this adds up to what feels like a very detailed initiative.

Judges' Feedback:

  • “Both students went the extra mile in crafting this project. It’s easy to tell how much time and effort went into this – from designing branded content and organizing virtual events, to offering an excellent user experience online. Very impressive work.”
  • “Functionality, personality, and academic research all come together to form a website that quickly informs visitors on a worthwhile initiative. The students excelled in utilizing a variety of digital tools.”
  • “An incredible prize entry all around. It’s clear that the students involved have a firm grasp of digital content creation from multiple angles.”

Honourable Mention: Daminee Salahuddin

Project Title: Chronicles of a Digital Author
Course: WRIT 4001 6.0: Digital Authoring Practicum
Course Director: Rich Shivener

  • Remarkable video documenting the student’s journey through the professional writing program.
  • Voice audio is clear, and the pairing with a soft backing track prevents awkward silences
  • Great mix of stock and York-specific visuals, as well as time lapse clips and sped up computer screen recordings.
  • Student also demonstrated skills with coding, learning to edit podcasts, and editing images through programs such as Photoshop and Canva.

Judges' Feedback:

  • “This student’s evolution as a digital creator is thoroughly detailed in this video, and she does an incredible job capturing her most memorable learning experiences with several forms of digital content creation. Well done!”
  • “Exemplary work. This video does an amazing job showcasing the student’s growth and versatility in creating and editing throughout her time in the program.”
  • “This project doesn’t simply check all of the boxes outlined in the assignment criteria – it leaves an impression too. Great writing and editing that perfectly captures different phases of the student’s journey in the realm of digital composition.”

Past Winners

First Year

Winner: Deea Deb
Project Title: Are You Afraid of Academic Writing?
Course: WRIT 1703 | Writing Process: Invention, Originality, Ethics

Second Year

Winner: Royce Luu
Project Title: The Unacknowledged Truth: Ways to Address Indigenous Rights in Canada
Course: WRIT 2004 | Writing in Digital Cultures

Honourable Mention: Jessica Lappin
Project Title: Hey, New York Times, Why Don’t You Take ‘Action’ on Performative Activism?
Course: WRIT 2004 | Writing in Digital Cultures

Third Year

Co-Winner: Sophie Morgan
Project Title: On Cyberwriting
Course: WRIT 3001 | Intermediate Digital Authoring

Co-Winner: Erika Schestak
Project Title: Bang Energy
Course: COMN 3701 | Advertising, Culture and Society

Fourth Year

Winner: Sarah Jafari
Project Title: 'You Can’t Hold a Man Down': Nat Turner and the History of Black Resistance
Course: EN 4561 | Romantic Revolt