Walls of Words

Nicole Lobdell

Nicole Lobdell is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English in 19th-century British literature at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN.



Georgia Tech, English 1101: "Going Viral: Writing about Epidemic Disease in the 21st Century" (Summer 2015)

The recent Ebola outbreaks have shed light on how we write about disease and viral epidemics in a world of social media and a 24-hour news cycle. This course will look at several contemporary infectious diseases, including ebola, rabies, and tuberculosis, and examine how these diseases spread in physical and virtual forms. How have they shaped our understanding of global networks and global communications about disease? We will examine multiple sources of information including social media, newspapers, government websites, books, and films, and compare how information about disease is disseminated in developed versus developing countries. Projects will include a weekly video blog, an image analysis project, an in-class presentation, and an infographic, in addition to daily writing and/or reading quizzes. During the first week in July, we will have a guest speaker from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to talk with us about the role of communication at the CDC and in response to the Ebola outbreaks.


Students read selections of texts on diseases including rabies, tuberculosis, MDR tuberculosis, ebola, and flu, as well as texts on the history of immunity, herd immunity, and recent debates surrounding vaccination.

Students in "Going Viral" created infographics for one of their projects. Here are some examples of their work.