Syllabus

GOALS

  • to develop your reading and composing skills in multiple media
  • to experience multimodal composition as a process that includes analysis, invention, drafting, and revision across modes, media, and genres of texts
  • to use and interrogate traditional writing processes when composing in multiple media
  • to reflect on your processes as readers and writers as you read, write about, and discuss the texts of the course: published work, peers’ writing, and your own
  • to become more practiced at using multimodal composition as a means of investigation, scholarship, and play
  • to understand that multimodal composition is both rhetorical and creative, and thus can be useful in many disciplines
  • to investigate the impact of digital technologies on reading and producing multimedia texts
  • to have fun and learn by wowing ourselves and each other

REQUIRED TEXTS

  • all readings are linked to this website unless otherwise stated in class

REQUIRED TECHNOLOGIES

  • comfortable stereo headphones with a 5-foot cable and a 1/8-inch input jack. You are required to bring headphones to class with you every day.
  • a DVD-R w/cover for your final project & offline portfolio components

OPTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES

  • USB headphones with a built-in mic. (Priced at $15-100)
  • your own domain and hosted server space (I recommend Dreamhost.com, which is about $120 a year, domain included.)
  • an external hard drive (at least 250 gigs. Priced at $75-100)
  • a digital video camera (I recommend the Flip Video Ultras, not Minos, available on amazon for about $120. If you decide to buy another kind for use in this class, please ask me about specifications, filetypes, and other recommendations I have).

I will provide some audio and video equipment. If you lose, break, or have this equipment stolen while it’s under your care, you are responsible for purchasing like equipment before I turn in your grade.


SPECIAL NEEDS & ACCOMMODATIONS

Any student needing to arrange a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability should contact Disability Concerns at 350 Fell Hall, 438-5853 (voice), 438-8620 (TTY).

WHAT I EXPECT and VALUE
You are here because you want to be in this class. So am I. I embrace the English studies model of this department but also value how all aspects of your undergraduate or graduate education come together to form your learning and life experiences. Together we gladly learn and teach!

I have several expectations for you while in this class. You should:

  • come to every class,
  • make time to read everything assigned and to understand it (with my and the class’s help),
  • be open to voice related topics of interest to you,
  • complete your assignments on time and with creativity and care,
  • provide thoughtful discussion in and out of class,
  • conduct yourself in ways suitable to your class colleagues and myself, and
  • do excellent work, because there are too many average students out there trying to get jobs for you to bother with anything less than excellence.

I value

  • thought-out (or at least informed) questions rather than off-the-cuff opinions, although you will have a place to do both in this class,
  • your bringing connections to light between classroom discussions and your prior experiences and other classes,
  • risk and creativity and multidisciplinarity and self-learning and helpfulness, and
  • aha moments, which can turn into great discussions, projects, or (later) honors theses, internships, memorable moments, projects external to your classes, or even jobs.

Overall, I expect you to push yourselves to learn, a process which can take many forms.

From me, you should expect:

  • an interest in your scholarly work in this class and its connections to other classes you are taking;
  • an enthusiasm for teaching about multimodal composition, which includes theory, practice, history, technological literacies, multiple ways of knowing, and having fun;
  • a personalized approach to teaching;
  • an ability to go with the flow and to create learning scenarios that may sometimes seem quirky (what I call a Happenings pedagogy); and
  • a desire to help you connect with multimodal composition in a way that suits you. (Know that I try to read minds, but may occasionally I will need some clues from you!)

MAJOR ASSIGNMENTS

  • Reading responses (blog posts)
  • 60-second video on multimodality
  • Project Proposal
  • Pitch Proposal
  • Collaborative scholarly project
  • Portfolio w/reflection

GRADES

  • class participation: 50%
  • final portfolio: 50%

If you have questions AT ANY TIME about your grade potential, please make an appointment with me. If I believe that you are on a trajectory toward a C, D, or F, I will let you know. If you’re participating in the basics of the class, then you’re probably passing and should only be concerned with your individual goals for earning a B or A, described in more detail below. Just showing up and turning in your work does NOT constitute A-level work in this class.

class participation
As my grading rubric shows, I take class participation very seriously. All of these items are especially important, I’ve found over the years, for students who have borderline grades. Participation includes

  • attendance: You are required to attend every class session unless the schedule specifically indicates that class is canceled that day. There are no such things as excused vs. unexcused absences—if you’re not here, I don’t much care why. If your absence is caused by a funeral or similar extenuating circumstances, I will take that into consideration when I tabulate final participation grades. If you miss more than one class, consider your participation grade in jeopardy. If you miss a workshop, you’ll be doubly in jeopardy. Also, attendance at out-of-class conferences with me is considered the same as class time when class has been canceled to accommodate conference time. (When conferences are in addition to class time, I just get pissy if you miss your appointment, and usually I won’t have time to make it up with you.)
  • timeliness: If you show up late or leave early or disappear for 15 minutes in the middle of class, it will affect your participation. Timeliness also refers to the time-sensitive nature of completing assignments, such as blog posts, and turning in equipment on time. Late work is completely unacceptable, and I will not give you feedback on it. If you do not have a major assignment ready in time for our workshop days, it is *your* responsibility to get feedback from your classmates outside of class upon (or before) your return. If you return borrowed equipment late, consider your participation grade in jeopardy. If you fail to return borrowed equipment at all (like, you lose it or break it beyond repair), you are responsible for replacing the equipment in kind and I will hold your final grade submission until it has been replaced.
  • readiness: Readiness is different from timeliness in that it relates specifically to being prepared by the start-time of the class period (and any outside-of-class work that we negotiate to do). All homework must be completed BEFORE class starts. For instance, printing of assignments or uploading of files after the class period has begun will result in a delay of class, which will negatively impact your participation. This bullet also refers to workshop participation and group work participation in that if you do not have a draft ready on workshop day, you are unprepared to provide feedback to your workshop peers, or you are unwilling/unable to perform the responsibilities of your group work, your participation grade will suffer.
  • thoughtfulness: Thoughtfulness translates to critical awareness and participation in all manners of class activities. This may include activities such as having useful, productive questions or discussion items based on homework (readings, assignments, or peer-review work), collegial work completed with your group mates, or thoughtful work demonstrated in the major assignments themselves. In addition (a note for those of you who like to talk a lot), thoughtfulness means that if you constantly need to share in class, but your sharing is largely off-topic, disruptive, or unhelpful, your participation may be more distracting than helpful. I will probably talk to you about this before your participation grade suffers.

portfolio
The portfolio grading system means that I won’t be assigning grades until you turn in the final assignments in the portfolio during exam class. You will receive feedback to your work in the form of in-class discussions, conference meetings, and blog comments. When I and your peers offer critiques of your draft projects, we assume that you will implement those revision suggestions into your drafts. When you don’t, you should have a very good reason in relation to the purpose of the text for not doing so. Otherwise, when I am reviewing your final portfolio, I should be able to see your progress on the text from the time it was workshopped as well as from informal, in-class feedback or conferences with me. I hope that this portfolio system will allow you the freedom and flexibility to take risks in your assignments while also providing time for you to re-envision and revise those drafts into more usable, sophisticated, and polished texts by the end of the term.

EXTRAS

tips for earning an A
The grade of A is reserved for excellent work. Excellent work does not equate with showing up every day, participating once in a while, and turning in completed drafts on time or turning the final portfolio in with the revision basics done. Those are the average requirements of any class setting, and average equates to a C in the real world. Here are some ways to earn an A:

  • Produce excellent assignments. What constitutes excellence?  Doing more than simply completing the terms of the assignment. An excellent assignment is sophisticated,  engaging, and insightful. It is technically polished and free of any kind of errors (and, thus, often requires multiple drafts, as workshops allow). It shows evidence of a substantive, thoughtful engagement with the course materials and assignment objectives. It is, above all, interesting, designed to draw the reader into full engagement with its content.
  • Participate excellently in class. Excellence in class participation means not simply speaking frequently, but contributing in an active and generous way to the work of the class as a whole by asking questions, offering interpretations, politely challenging your colleagues, graciously accepting challenges in return, and being a productive group member.
  • Be an excellent citizen-scholar. Specifically, be able to demonstrate to me (through discussions, group work, assignment drafts, and your final portfolio) that you (a) understand and can reflect on the content of this class and show progress toward that knowledge in your final portfolio; (b) reason logically, critically, creatively, independently and consensually, and are able to address issues in a broad context; (c) recognize different ways of thinking, creating, expressing, and communicating through a variety of media; (d) understand diversity in value systems and cultures in an interdependent world; and (e) develop a capacity for self-assessment and lifelong learning.

actions that will positively affect my evaluation of you as an excellent student

  • having a collegial attitude
  • waiting for me to get settled when I walk into class by holding all questions until I am ready
  • bringing your materials to class every day
  • asking for help well in advance of a deadline
  • accepting responsibility for late or incomplete assignments
  • asking your classmates for missed content if you are absent
  • being attentive in class so that I avoid needless repetition
  • providing me assignments on time and in the medium I ask
  • asking your classmates for help during open-lab sessions, then…
  • …if stumped, raising your hand, calling me, and waiting patiently for help
  • using email, office hours, or some other agreed-upon conferencing medium for private or involved questions
  • accepting that I respond to emails as quickly as I can, but never after 5pm and usually not on weekends
  • understanding that strategic (and sometimes maximum) effort results in excellent work

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