Course Overview

ENGL 3120 builds on the competencies developed in English 1101 and 1102. In this course, you will learn the processes, problems, and technologies associated with designing accessible and usable digital content for publication online. Increasingly, digital writing and publishing are encompassed within the scope of what many employers call “content management,” and we will therefore begin with an investigation of what it means to approach content management as a rhetorical act. Readings and projects will emphasize both theory and practice. For example, you will not only learn how to use HTML5 and CSS to create a basic webpage, you will also learn why we use these technologies. We will consider how factors such as race, socio-economic status, gender, and disability affect our engagement with and experience of online spaces, and learn strategies for designing online spaces that are welcoming, useful, and inclusive.

Over the course of the semester, you will work individually to design and build a personal website for yourself and compose blog posts in response to class readings and discussion prompts. In addition to this individual work, a substantial part of your grade will derive from your work on a collaborative design concept competition. This project is collaborative because content management in most workplace contexts is collaborative, and you therefore need experience working as part of a team. While the individual projects will focus on creating original content, the collaborative project will combine content creation with reuse, revision, adaptation, and remix of existing content, namely, content created by students in previous semesters for my ENGL3090 class and the Phoenix Project digital archive, atlantaartifacts.net.

This class is reading and writing intensive. Failure to complete readings or projects early on will make completing later projects that apply and build upon knowledge and skills emphasized in what you missed more difficult. It’s especially important, therefore, to keep up with the work in this course.

Many studies about the relationship between learning and reflection indicate that long-term learning takes place during reflection about the work rather than simply in doing the work itself. Thus, following each of your projects, you’ll submit a reflection that will require you to analyze and explain your learning and composition process.

Many thanks to R.E. Burnett, Elizabeth Davis, Ashley Holmes, and  Cydney Alexis, whose syllabi and course design have been reused and remixed in the syllabus and design of this course.

What will we be doing?

 

 

 

 

This course has the following required major projects:

  • Blog (individual, 5 posts) | 50-200 points each | 250-1000 points
  • Code Academy “Make A Website” Tutorial (individual) | 250 points
  • Lynda.com “WordPress Essential Training” Tutorial (individual)| 250 points
  • Personal Website (individual)| 200-500 points
  • Personal Website Revision (individual) | 200-500 points
  • Personal Website Design Rationale and Reflection (individual)| 200-500 points
  • Design Competition (collaborative) | 400-1000 points + 100 point bonus per member for winning team
  • Design Competion Rational and Reflection (individual) | 400-1000 points

You will earn points for each major project. You must complete all of the major projects in order to pass the class. Failure to complete a major project will result in an automatic grade of “D.”

In addition, you will also earn points for class preparation and participation (400-??? points). In general, this course is designed to reward the quality and quantity of work you do. The more you put into the course, the more you will get out of it–with regard to both your learning and your grade.

Blog (5 posts) | 50-200 points each | 250-1000 points total

I’ve divided you up into two groups. In the prompt for each week, I will identify which group will be posting that week. You will post as individuals, but your group assignment will determine whether you are posting in response to the prompt in any given week.

Throughout the semester you will maintain individual commentary and reflections about the course readings and class discussions with our class as audience. In the weeks when you are in the posting group, you will create a post in response to the prompt for that week. In the weeks when you are not in the posting group, your responsibility is to read the posts contributed by your peers in order to bring their ideas into class discussion. Your blog is for our class and interested readers; you can also make it available to the public.

Blog posts will be due by 11:59 pm on Friday in the week you are assigned to post. The general schedule for each group will be as follows:

Group 1

  • Blog Post 1: Website Rhetorical Analysis | January 26, 11:59 pm
  • Blog Post 3: Using Color | February 9, 11:59 pm
  • Blog Post 5: Navigation and Menus | March 9, 11:59 pm
  • Blog Post 7: Attributing Sources and Ethical Reuse | March 30, 11:59 pm
  • Blog Post 9: Integrating Social Media | April 13, 11:59 pm

Group 2

  • Blog Post 2: Website Rhetorical Analysis | February 2, 11:59 pm
  • Blog Post 4: Design Fiction |February 16, 11:59 pm
  • Blog Post 6: Chunking Text/Grouping Elements | March 23, 11:59 pm
  • Blog Post 8: Web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 | April 6, 11:59 pm
  • Blog Post 10: Copyright and Fair Use | April 20, 11:59 pm
Project Purpose and Goals

The blog posts are intended to introduce resources related to concepts and issues about which content managers should be knowledgeable. They are also designed to get you thinking more deeply about many of the questions and issues raised in the primary course readings. Finally, the blog posts should provoke and supplement our in class discussions about content management as a rhetorical process.

You improve as an author through reading and writing. By posting regularly to your blog, you integrate reading into the fabric of your studies and routine.

Guidelines

The conventions of academic blogging are described in Dan Cohen’s post about the “blessay” :

1) Mid-length: more ambitious than a blog post, less comprehensive than an academic article. Written to the length that is necessary, but no more. If we need to put a number on it, generally 1,000-3,000 words.

2) Informed by academic knowledge and analysis, but doesn’t rub your nose in it.

3) Uses the apparatus of the web more than the apparatus of the journal, e.g., links rather than footnotes. Where helpful, uses supplementary evidence from images, audio, and video—elements that are often missing or flattened in print.

4) Expresses expertise but also curiosity. Conclusive but also suggestive.

5) Written for both specialists and an intelligent general audience. Avoids academic jargon—not to be populist, but rather out of a feeling that avoiding jargon is part of writing well.

6) Wants to be Instapapered and Read Later.

7) Eschews simplistic formulations superficially borrowed from academic fields like history (no “The Puritans were like Wikipedians”).

In this case, your posts will generally be around 500-1000 words. You’re aiming for at least three to seven paragraphs of focused, cogent writing that raises thought-provoking questions about the prompt topic and the reading associated with it and then attempts to answer those questions. Other than that, follow Cohen’s advice about conventions, tone, purpose, and genre.

Evaluation Categories and Criteria

Below is the detailed rubric I will follow when evaluating this project. Use this rubric to guide you as you complete your blog posts, and to help you understand the score you receive for each blog post on the comparative evaluation rubric in your feedback document on Google drive.

In order to receive minimum possible points, a project must meet all five criteria outlined in the “Competent, Credible, Complete” section of the rubric. Generally, speaking, this means your post must be a good faith effort to respond to the prompt and follow the project guidelines.

Competent, Credible, Complete (50 points)

Complete? 10 points The post was submitted on time; it is at least 250 words long; and it is categorized appropriately.
Rhetorically Aware? 20 points The post engages with questions or issues raised in the prompt; it offers substantive discussion of important points, questions, terms, or problems in  the primary course reading and the supplemental text(s) discussed in the prompt; and it attempts to bring the primary course reading and the supplemental text(s) into conversation
Credible? 20 points It is apparent from the post that the student has read and considered both the primary course reading and the supplemental text(s).

Skillful, Persuasive (60-150 points)

Evidence? 20 points The post is at least 500 words and offers relevant evidence from the primary course reading, the supplemental text(s), and the student author’s own experience and research in support of commentary, interpretation, and explanation.
Organization? 20 points The post attempts or succeeds in raising and answering at least one substantive question relevant to or raised in both the primary course reading and the supplemental text(s).
Modes? 20 points The post makes use of multimodal evidence and uses links, images, and other multimodal content to connect resources or create more effective summary, interpretation, and explanation of the primary course reading and the supplemental text(s).
Text Conventions? 20 points While some errors in spelling, grammar, and usage may be present, they do not significantly detract from the student author’s credibility.
Revision? 20 points Drafts/reflection show evidence of revision to improve clarity and rhetorical appeal.

Distinctive (150-200 points)

Mature? 15 points The post is at least 750 words, and student author uses the primary course reading and supplemental text to draw out claims, explanations, evidence, and counter-arguments regarding debated or complicated terms, theories, and questions important to both pieces; the post acknowledges multiple points of view, or demonstrates awareness of multiple stakeholders affected by the policies or issues under discussion in the primary course reading and supplemental text(s).
Persuasive or Original? 15 points Post offers a particularly cohesive and persuasive interpretation, explanation,  and summary of both the primary text and supplemental reading(s), drawing on particularly relevant and credible evidence from both pieces.
Creative/Well-designed? 10 points Author makes creative use of multiple modes; or layout and design are aesthetically pleasing, rhetorically effective, and well-executed.
Polished? 10 points Project drafts/reflection provide evidence of multiple revisions to improve clarity and rhetorical appeal, and text is virtually free of grammar/punctuation/usage errors.

Tutorials (individual) | 250 points each | 500 points total

These two projects involve completing two tutorials that cover the technologies with which you will be working most frequently over the course of the semester:

You can create a free account at codeacademy.com, and GSU students have free access to Lynda.com here: http://bit.ly/lyndaatgsu.

While completing each tutorial, you will document your work with screen shots, and then when you’re done, you’ll write up a reflection about what you did and learned.

The tutorials will be due as follows:

Project Purpose and Goals

Completing these tutorials will provide you with a basic working knowledge of HTML5 and CSS, the two technologies that are the fundamental building blocks of all digital content online, and WordPress, a flexible, customizable, and ubiquitous content management system that you can use to design sophisticated, responsive, and accessible websites.

Guidelines

As you work, document completion of each unit of the tutorial with a screenshot that provides evidence you accomplished a task in WordPress, on your personal website, or in the Code Academy code editor. When you have completed a tutorial, write up a blog post about your experience that integrates the screen shots with a narrative about what was easy and what was difficult, what you enjoyed and what you didn’t, and what you learned and how you applied or will apply it. You’ll submit this blog post for credit.

Personal or Professional Website (individual) | 200-500 points

Personal or Professional Website Revision (individual) | 200-500 points

Design Rationale and Reflection (individual) | 200-500 points

This individual project will provide an opportunity to create a professional or personal digital presence for yourself. You will begin designing your website on the first day of class using the GSU Domain of One’s Own hosting service at create.gsu.edu.

In addition to providing a space where you can begin building your individual digital identity, you will use your website to post your blog entries, your project reflections with links to your project deliverables, and you can even use your website as cloud storage to host PDF, Word, and other files that you create during this course.

By the end of the course, the site may also serve as a portfolio, documenting your experience and providing examples of your work.

Your personal or professional website and the design rationale and reflection will be due in the following stages, on the following dates:

  • Draft: Friday, February 9, 11:59 pm
  • Final Website: Friday, February 23, 11:59 pm
  • Revised Final Website: Friday, April 13, 11:59 pm
  • Design Rationale and Reflection: Friday, April 20, 11:59 pm
Project Purpose and Goals

This project is intended to help you either create or polish a website that can be used outside the context of this course. Your individual website design should accomplish the following goals:

  • Create a distinctive digital identity for yourself that begins to establish your ethos as an online content creator and manager;
  • Demonstrate through examples of multimodal communication and written reflection an awareness of rhetorical terms and concepts, and an emerging ability to apply these terms and concepts in your own digital writing and publishing process;
  • Demonstrate the technological competencies you learned in the two tutorial projects;
  • Attempt to offer a well-organized, well-designed, and engaging user experience.

Guidelines

The audiences for your website will simultaneously be me, your peers in this class, and any other outside audiences that you may be interested in reaching through your work in the course.

At a minimum, your website should include a home or landing page, an “about” page, and a blog page where your blog posts are aggregated. You will compose a design rationale and reflection that discusses the choices you made in creating your website and the reasons for those choices, but the design rationale and reflection doesn’t have to be integrated into or made public on the website itself.

In addition to these required elements, you may also want to include examples of and reflections upon your work in other classes or non-academic workplace settings, links to or a portfolio of your creative work, etc., etc. This is your space, and as long as it fulfills the intended purpose for this class, you can customize it so that it becomes an effective representation of you and your work.

Resources

In your reflection, you will respond to the following (challenging) prompt:

Rather than thinking about this prompt as a series of questions that you answer in order, approach your reflections as an essay intended to explain the choices you made over the course of the project, how your intentions evolved, and what you learned from engaging with this project, along with the readings and class discussions.

What is the identity that you are attempting to present with your website? To put it another way, what ethos are you trying to convey with your website design? Is this a personal website, or a professional website, or maybe it’s both? What did you learn about yourself as an author/creator/content manager as you completed this project?

A corollary question to consider is, What did you learn about how linguistic, spatial, and visual modes work together in a digital environment? How does the function of linguistic content change or evolve in multimodal contexts?

In addition to responding to these questions, your reflection should give me some insight into your research and composition process. I want to hear about anything that helps me to understand the work you put into your website–your writing process for the linguistic content, your selection and revision process for the visual content, decisions you had to make about spatial relationships as you tweaked your page layouts, the “angle” you took on the project, etc. I like to hear about strengths of your project and also weaknesses, as well as what you would change if you had more time.

Above all, have fun! I value creativity, thoughtfulness, professionalism, and analytical rigor. I evaluate your projects accordingly. I do not have an “ideal” project in mind; instead, I like to be taught something meaningful and surprised.

Evaluation Categories and Criteria

Below is the detailed rubric I will follow when evaluating this project. Use this rubric to guide you as you complete your website and the design rationale and reflection, and to help you understand the score you receive for these projects on the comparative evaluation rubric in your feedback document on Google drive.

In order to receive minimum possible points, a project must be “Good” or “Superior” on all of the criteria outlined in the “Competent, Credible, Complete” section. Generally, speaking, this means your submitted draft must be a good faith effort to respond to the prompt and follow the project guidelines.

For higher points, the draft must must be “Good” or “Superior” on all of the criteria outlined in the “Competent, Credible, Complete” section and one or more of the criteria outlined in the “Skillful/Persuasive” section. The “Skillful/Persuasive” criteria focus on use of evidence, organization, conventions, and integration of rhetorical modes.

To receive highest points, the draft must must be “Good” or “Superior” on all of the criteria in “Competent, Credible, Complete” and “Skillful/Persuasive” and one or more of the criteria described in the “Distinctive” section. The “Distinctive” criteria focus on maturity of rhetorical awareness, persuasiveness and originality of argument, creative use of rhetorical modes, and polish in presentation and design.

Competent, Credible, Complete (100-200 points)

Complete? The website revision and design rationale and reflection essay were submitted on time, in accordance with project instructions.
Rhetorically Aware? The website revision is navigable and contains all of the elements identified in the project description. The design rationale and reflection essay responds to all of the questions presented in the reflection prompt.
Credible? The website revision and the design rationale and reflection essay together demonstrate the author’s emerging awareness of the concepts and processes in which a rhetorical approach to content management is grounded, and the tools and technologies used in digital writing and publishing (e.g., HTML/CSS, WordPress, multimodality, accessibility, usability, ethos, audience, etc.).

Skillful, Persuasive (200-350 points)

Evidence? The design rationale and reflection essay offers specific evidence–drawn from the website revision, the author’s process, course readings, and class discussions–in support of its claims about what decisions the author made and why. The website revision as a whole demonstrates the author’s knowledge and competent application of core concepts, skills, and technologies.
Organization? The website menus, hyperlinks, and narrative cues effectively guide users of the website as they navigate its content. For example, there are no unintentional orphan pages, and readers can easily navigate from page to page using a logical menu structure. The design rationale and reflection essay has a beginning, middle, and end, and flows according to a logical organizational plan (e.g., beginning to end of process, successes v. failures, consideration of element of ethos to implementation of that element in the design, consideration of each mode in its application, etc.).
Modes? The website revision competently integrates multiple modes. The design rationale and reflection essay addresses the author’s choices about image, layout, and navigation, as well as textual content.
Text Conventions? The website revision or design rationale and reflection essay may contain occasional errors in spelling, grammar, and usage, but these do not detract significantly from the student author’s credibility.
Revision? Drafts/reflection show evidence of revision to improve clarity and rhetorical appeal.

Distinctive (350-500 points)

Mature? The website revision presents a particularly cohesive ethos and user experience. The design rationale and reflection essay demonstrates awareness and consideration of multiple alternative design choices, or a careful consideration of audience, accessibility, and usability.
Persuasive or Original? The website revision presents a particularly credible ethos, offers a uniquely engaging user experience, or creates a seamless integration of multiple modes and media. The design rationale and reflection essay offers substantial evidence in support of claims about what choices the author made and why. The sources of all content are clearly attributed and described in accordance with disciplinary or platform conventions.
Creative/Well-designed? Together the website and essay demonstrate a high-level of mastery regarding core concepts, processes, and tools, and professional attention to detail.
Polished? The website and essay are free of stylistic, grammatical, and formatting errors.

Website Design Competition (collaborative) | 400-1000 points | 100 point bonus for each member of the winning design team

Website Design Competition Rationale and Reflection | 400-1000 points

For this project, you will work in teams to propose a new website design for atlantaartifacts.net. Each team’s proposal will include the following elements:

  • A style guide that specifies elements such as colors, fonts, images, backgrounds, etc.
  • A design fiction that narrates the use cases for which the website will be designed and the intended ideal user experience
  • An exhibit template or sitemap

In addition to submitting these deliverables, each team will present its design and the rationale for it to the rest of the class and a panel of experts who will vote on which design to use in the final website design/build project.

The website design proposals will be due in the following stages:

  • Draft design fiction, March 2 at 11:59 pm
  • Revised design fiction and draft style guide, March 23 at 11:59 pm
  • Draft exhibit templates or sitemaps, April 5, by class time
  • Design pitch presentations, April 10 and 12 during class
  • Revised design fiction, style guide, and templates, April 20 at 11:59 pm
  • Design Rationale and Reflection, April 27 at 11:59 pm
Project Purpose and Goals

This project is designed to give you, to the extent possible within a classroom setting, the experience of helping a real client solve a real content management problem. You will also gain experience working with and managing a collaborative composition process. Your client will be the Phoenix Project, an interdisciplinary digital scholarship project focused on digitizing and cataloging an extensive historical archaeology collection housed here at GSU. Your task in this project is to come up with a design concept, style guide, and templates for a more effective and engaging website to display the digitized historical objects, and information about them and the Phoenix Project as a whole.

Guidelines

Your design proposal projects will comprise the following deliverables. All but the final reflection and evaluation essay will be produced collaboratively:

  • COLLABORATIVE | Design fiction: A design fiction is a story or narrative about the intended audience and the most common use case scenarios for your website design. Creating a design fiction requires you to imagine who your intended audience (e.g., the users of your website) is, and for what purposes and in what circumstances (context) they will be accessing and using your website. Your design fiction may include images, sound, and video, as well as text.
  • COLLABORATIVE | Style guide: A style guide is a document that identifies the major features of a document or composition (or a whole set of documents and compositions) and establishes conventions and rules to follow in creating that document or composition. Style guides can be very detailed or less so, they can also integrate other style guides by reference, such as when a journal or press style guide requires authors and editors to conform to Chicago or MLA citation and document formatting rules.
  • COLLABORATIVE | Omeka template: You will be building the final website in WordPress, but because this is a research project, information about and digital representations of the artifacts in the Phoenix Collection need to be stored in a form that is standardized and archival and potentially usable in other digital scholarship projects, in addition to the website we will be building in this class. As part of your design proposal, you will create a standard Omeka template that specifies what files and metadata (you’ll learn more about this as the project approaches) are to be included for each item in the Phoenix Collection’s digital catalog.
  • COLLABORATIVE | Exhibit template: The final website will feature exhibits designed around individual Phoenix Collection objects, or groups of objects (the decision will be part of your design proposal). Your exhibits may include all of the elements currently featured in the exhibits on atlantaartifacts.com, or only some of them, and also new elements that your team thinks would be useful for your intended audience and their purposes. At a minimum, an exhibit template will specify which elements should be included in an exhibit, the layout and design of exhibit pages, and the navigational features that will allow users to browse within and among exhibits.
  • COLLABORATIVE | Design pitch presentation: Each team will pitch its design to the rest of the class and a panel of interested stakeholders (such as students who have contributed content, researchers involved in the Phoenix Project, and GSU archivists). These presentations should *not* be process narratives. The pitch presentations should be persuasive arguments about who the audience for the website is or should be, how that audience will be using the website and how the proposed design will capture their attention and promote their engagement.
  • INDIVIDUAL | Reflection and evaluation essay: You will need to maintain an individual work log during this project. This work log will be the basis for your post-project reflection (and linked file in your reflection blog post) and evaluation of yourself and your team. Your reflection and evaluation essay should respond to the reflection prompt, tailoring your response to include details about the specific rhetorical situation (purpose, audience, context) and your deliverables.
In your reflection, you will respond to the following (challenging) prompt:

This reflection is intended to be a confidential communication between you (the student) and me (the instructor) about your work and experience during the design competition project. You will also be providing your assessment of your teammates’ work. DO NOT complete this reflection as a public post on your blog. Your reflection should be submitted as a confidential communication, using a password-protected post on your blog (with the link and password submitted via Gradian), a Google doc shared with me, or a Word or PDF file emailed to me. Your first and last name, and “Design Comptetion Project Reflection” should appear in the subject line of your email to me or the title of your post or document. You must submit a reflection to avoid receiving an incomplete on the project.

Reflection is important in this course, your learning, and your communication process:

  1. A mark of a professional is the ability to accurately judge how long a project takes to complete. Maintaining a work log, and reflecting on your process over the course of a project lets you assess whether your predictions about the time and efforts needed are accurate and to examine your work patterns. For collaborative projects, the work log and reflection let you determine if the work load has been equitably shared.

  2. Many studies about the relationship between learning and reflection indicate that long-term learning takes place during reflection about the work rather than simply in doing the work itself. Thus, following this project, you’ll submit a reflection essay that will include excerpts from your work log and include the entire work log as an appendix.

As you complete your reflection essay for this project, make sure that your memo includes information that responds to the following questions:

  1. How would you describe the rhetorical situation for this project (purpose, audience, context, author), and how did the rhetorical context influence your decisions about the content and design of the deliverables for this project?
  2. Which of the readings from our course proved to be most useful in your work on this project? How did you apply the information you learned from these readings in your design, drafting, or revision process for the project deliverables?
  3. Discuss how at least two of the deliverables evolved from one draft to the next in response to in-class workshops, conferences, client presentations, or conversations about the readings.
  4. How would you rate the overall performance and contributions of each of team member, including yourself, on this project (fair, good, excellent, needs improvement, etc.)? And why?

You may adapt the format of your reflection essay to present your responses clearly, completely, and concisely. For example, you might use a table to rate yourself and your teammates on specific aspects of work. Similarly, you might use a table to identify information learned from the reading, or the blog posts and how it applied to work on particular artifacts for this project.

Evaluation Categories and Criteria

Below is the detailed rubric I will follow when evaluating this project. Use this rubric to guide you as you complete your reading responses, and to help you understand the score you receive for each reading response on the comparative evaluation rubric in your feedback document on Google drive.

In order to receive minimum possible points, a project must be “Good” or “Superior” on all of the criteria outlined in the “Competent, Credible, Complete” section. Generally, speaking, this means your submitted draft must be a good faith effort to respond to the prompt and follow the project guidelines.

For higher points, the draft must must be “Good” or “Superior” on all of the criteria outlined in the “Competent, Credible, Complete” section and one or more of the criteria outlined in the “Skillful/Persuasive” section. The “Skillful/Persuasive” criteria focus on use of evidence, organization, conventions, and integration of rhetorical modes.

To receive highest points, the draft must must be “Good” or “Superior” on all of the criteria in “Competent, Credible, Complete” and “Skillful/Persuasive” and one or more of the criteria described in the “Distinctive” section. The “Distinctive” criteria focus on maturity of rhetorical awareness, persuasiveness and originality of argument, creative use of rhetorical modes, and polish in presentation and design.

Competent, Credible, Complete (200-500 points)

Complete? Design fiction, style guide, and draft template were submitted on time in accordance with project guidelines. Presentation was complete and provided an overview of the design concept.
Rhetorically Aware? Together the design fiction, style guide, draft template and presentation offer a complete design concept for a new Phoenix Project site. The design concept demonstrates a clearly articulated audience, purpose, and context. The design rationale and reflection essay responds to all of the questions presented in the reflection prompt.
Credible? The design proposal and the design rationale and reflection essay together an emerging awareness of the concepts and processes in which a rhetorical approach to content management is grounded, and the tools and technologies used in digital writing and publishing (e.g., HTML/CSS, WordPress, multimodality, accessibility, usability, ethos, audience, etc.).

Skillful, Persuasive (500-800 points)

Evidence? Design fiction, style guide, template, and presentation–together with draft and final reflections and work logs–demonstrate design choices are grounded in careful research, and they demonstrate knowledge and competent application of core concepts, skills, and technologies. The design rationale and reflection essay offers specific evidence–drawn from the design proposal, the author’s process, course readings, and class discussions–in support of its claims about what decisions the authors made and why.
Organization? Design fiction, style guide, template, and presentation are individually well-organized as stand-alone documents. The design rationale and reflection essay has a beginning, middle, and end, and flows according to a logical organizational plan (e.g., beginning to end of process, successes v. failures, consideration of element of ethos to implementation of that element in the design, consideration of each mode in its application, etc.).
Modes? Within individual design components (design fiction, style guide, template, and presentation), modes are competently integrated. The design rationale and reflection essay addresses the team’s choices about image, layout, and navigation, as well as textual content.
Text Conventions? Individual design components (design fiction, style guide, template, and presentation) or design rationale and reflection essay may contain occasional errors in spelling, grammar, and usage, but these do not detract significantly from the document’s overall credibility.
Revision? Drafts/reflection show evidence of revision to improve clarity and rhetorical appeal.

Distinctive (800-1000 points)

Mature? Design fiction, style guide, template, and presentation–together with draft and final reflections and work logs–demonstrate design choices are grounded in particularly thorough and well-documented research, and they demonstrate mastery of core concepts, skills, and technologies. The design rationale and reflection essay demonstrates awareness and consideration of multiple alternative design choices, or a careful consideration of audience, accessibility, and usability.
Persuasive or Original? The final design concept promises a particularly engaging or immersive user experience. The design rationale and reflection essay offers substantial evidence in support of claims about what choices the team made and why, and in support of self and peer evaluations. The sources of all content are clearly attributed and described in accordance with disciplinary or platform conventions.
Creative/Well-designed? In the final submission, design fiction, style guide, template, and presentation are well-organized into a cohesive and coherent design package. Together the design proposal and essay demonstrate a high-level of mastery regarding core concepts, processes, and tools, and professional attention to detail.
Polished? In the final submission, design fiction, template, style guide and presentation are free of stylistic, grammatical, and formatting errors. The essay is also free of sylistic, grammatical, and formatting errors.

Participation | 400-??? Points

Check your points in Gradian, and review feedback on Gradian and in your doc on Google Drive.

~Ask not what you can do to earn credit for this course; ask what you will do to earn as many points as you possibly can.

This course is designed to give you as many choices as possible for achieving the progress, learning, and final grade you feel is possible and desirable given your current situation (in terms of time, attention, and motivation) and the learning outcomes for the course.

Some students enter this class with a great deal of experience in academic research and writing, multimodal rhetoric, composition studies, and working with digital media. These students might be able to achieve relatively high quality work without investing too much time in acquiring the background disciplinary and technical knowledge needed to complete the course projects. This course is designed to reward high quality work with high grades.

Other students, however, may enter this class without much experience with concepts related to rhetoric and composition, academic research, and composing with digital media. The quality of the work they produce might not achieve the highest standards, even at the end of the semester, and even though they make substantial progress and acquire knowledge and skills that will be useful when the course is over. It’s not possible to become an expert in digital writing and publishing in one semester. This course is designed to encourage students to do as much work as they feel they need to or can do in order to see progress. The course is designed to reward quality and purposeful extra work with extra points so that high grades can be achieved by everyone.

Each week, you will earn points for required class preparation. You can earn general participation points by keeping up with class preparation. Class preparation work will also ensure you stay on track with reading and the required projects, and that everyone is prepared for class discussions, workshops, and peer review. Further, at any time during the course of the semester, you are invited to complete and submit work for extra participation points.

While participation is ongoing, you can earn rewards by accruing points early, and some opportunities for earning extra points expire when the major project with which they are associated expire.

Expiration Dates

While points will be awarded for class attendance and participation, study groups, group conferences, office hours meetings, and other forms of participation throughout the semester, opportunities for earning points associated with major projects will expire according to the following schedule:

  • Blog posts, 11:59 pm on the Monday after the post is due
  • Code Academy “Make a Website Tutorial,” January 26
  • Lynda.com “WordPress Essential Training,” February 9
  • Personal or Professional Website, April 13
  • Personal or Professional Website Design Rationale and Reflection, April 20
  • Design Competition Package, April 20
  • Design Competition Rationale and Reflection, April 27

Late work can be submitted for completion credit, but you will not be able to earn points for submissions made after these deadlines.

If you complete and earn the minimum points for all of the major projects, complete all of the class prep, and attend every class, you will earn at least 2500 points and a grade of “C.” If you complete all of the major projects and accrue at least 4550 points you will automatically receive a “B.” Once you complete all of the major projects and class prep, and accrue 5050 points, you will automatically receive an A in the course!!!

Your points will be recorded on Gradian and your feedback will be recorded in a Google doc, which will be shared with you and available for you to view at any time.

I will give you ideas each week about extra credit opportunities that might be useful to you that week. You can also choose ideas from this list, which comprises ideas for extra work you may complete at any time during the course of the semester and submit for points:

  • Compose a blog post in response to an activity in Writer/Designer
  • Visit the Writing Studio to work on specific writing or research skills and write a reflection post about the experience
  • Complete a Lynda.com tutorial about a relevant technology
  • Contribute to the SOS archive
  • Contribute to the Tech Tutorial archive
  • Contribute to the Class Notes archive
  • Contribute to the Glossary archive
  • Compose blog posts relating other course work or interests to the issues we discuss in class
  • Come in for an office hour visit or make an appointment to work on something specific with your instructor
  • Set up a study group and write a post contributing your notes from the session
  • Complete extra blog posts
  • Revise major projects in response to instructor feedback
  • Suggest something….

Each submission will receive anywhere from 10 points to 100 or more, depending on the quality of the work. (I reserve the right to assign more points for impressively substantial, quality entries).

Remember to submit a link via Gradian for all work you for which you want me to provide points and feedback.

There is no limit to the number of extra points you can earn. The work must involve the course concepts in some demonstrable way.

**Be sure to let me know when you have completed points-potential work that doesn’t automatically get counted. Generally, you will do this by writing up your work as a blog post and submitting the link to your post via the submission form. This gives me opportunity to discuss the work with you and give you general feedback you can take to your work as a whole.

Submitting your work . . .

You will use Gradian to submit pretty much everything for which you’d like to earn points–study group reflections, major project drafts, class notes posted to your blogs, etc. I will keep track of when you come to see me during office hours for individual or group conferences. For everything else, however, you will need to submit a link to evidence of your work on your own site or elsewhere on the web.

If you ever have questions about what kind of evidence you need to provide to document your participation and how to submit it, stop by during office hours or ask the question before or after class. You’ll earn points for the office hours visit, asking the question, and for finding a way to make the information available to the rest of your classmates.

Image credit “Shoes” by Beverley Goodwin on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bevgoodwin/12114063533.

Weekly Overview

This is an overview of the readings and deliverables for the week of:

Image credit “coins” by Jeff Belmonte on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffbelmonte/403289348.

Course Calendar

Click on the entry for a particular date for more details.

Syllabus

General

ENGL 3120: Digital Writing and Publishing

Fall 2017 │T/Th 2:30-3:45 pm │ Urban Life 302C

Instructor: Dr. Robin Wharton

  • Office: 25 Park Place #2432
  • Office Hours: W 12-3 pm and by appointment; I am able to meet during office hours or by appointment via Skype or Google Hangout if that works better than an in-person conference
  • Contact: rwharton3{at}gsu{the dot goes here}edu

All work must be submitted by the scheduled due date and in accordance with project guidelines. As a general rule, work that does not meet formatting and submission guidelines outlined in the project description will be returned for revision and resubmission.

I reserve the right to change the policies, schedule, and syllabus at any time during the semester.

Learning Outcomes

This course follows the guidelines established by the English department for courses in the rhetoric and composition track. It involves the study and practice of writing and publishing in digital contexts through the use of new media, web 2.0, and mobile technologies. Students will learn foundational concepts of new media theory and will explore critical questions about the ways in which technologies impact how we write, publish, and interact with others. Course projects prompt students to analyze the rhetorical complexities of digital writing and publishing and to apply their knowledge of new media theory to specific contexts. The course readings, discussions, experiences, and assignments will provide students with the tools to do the following:

  • Analyze social, political, cultural, and historical aspects of digital writing and publishing.
  • Develop a rhetorical sense of audience, purpose, context, and genre for a range of digital writing and publishing situations.
  • Develop skills to write and publish using a range of technologies, such as wikis, blogs, social networking sites, and/or websites.
  • Apply principles of style and design within digital writing and publishing contexts.
  • Work individually and collaboratively to conduct research and to compose multimodal projects.

Attendance

Come to class. Every class is important. If you miss class you will miss something essential, and you should make an appointment or drop by during office hours to catch up. You will lose 50 points for unexcused absences. Arriving to class late may result in a deduction of 25-50 points.

In this course, students are expected to adhere to the Georgia State University student code of conduct. This includes the university attendance policy. Excused absences are limited to university-sponsored events where you are representing GSU in an official capacity, religious holidays, and legal obligations such as jury duty or military service days. Absences for all other reasons will result in a points deduction as outlined above. In the event of extended illness or family emergency, I will consider requests for individual exemption from the general attendance policy on a case by case basis.

Overview of Projects and Grade Calculation

Over the course of the semester, you will be completing a series of projects, each of them building towards and contributing to a multimodal object analysis. Failure to complete projects early on will make completing later projects that reuse or remix work from previous projects more difficult. It’s especially important, therefore, to keep up with the work in this course.

Each project includes multiple parts, including drafts, peer review, and reflection. See the project descriptions, above, for details about the process, deliverables, and deadlines associated with each project.

This course has seven required projects:

  • Blog (individual, 5 posts) | 50-200 points each | 250-1000 points
  • Code Academy “Make A Website” Tutorial (individual) | 250 points
  • Lynda.com “WordPress Essential Training” Tutorial (individual)| 250 points
  • Personal Website (individual)| 200-500 points
  • Personal Website Revision (individual)| 200-500 points
  • Personal Website Design Rationale and Reflection (individual)| 200-500 points
  • Design Competition (collaborative) | 400-1000 points + 100 point bonus per member for winning team
  • Design Competion Rational and Reflection (individual) | 400-1000 points

You will earn points for each required project. In addition, you will also earn points for class preparation and participation (400-??? points). At the end of the course, if you have completed all of the required projects (blog, tutorials, individual website and design rationale/reflection essay, design competition and design competition rationale and reflection), your letter grade will be assigned based on the points you’ve earned. In order to pass the course, you must complete all four of the major projects. FAILURE TO COMPLETE ANY OF THE MAJOR PROJECTS WILL RESULT IN AN AUTOMATIC GRADE OF “D” or lower MEANING THAT YOU WILL HAVE TO RE-TAKE THE CLASS. In general, this course is designed to reward the quality and quantity of work you do. The more you put into the course, the more you will get out of it–with regard to both your learning and your grade.

If you complete and earn the minimum points for all of the major projects, complete all of the class prep, and attend every class, you will earn at least 2500 points and a grade of “C.” If you complete all of the major projects and accrue at least 3875 points you will automatically receive a “B.” Once you complete all of the major projects and class prep, and accrue 5050 points, you will automatically receive an A in the course!!!

Your points will be recorded on Gradian, and personalized feedback will be recorded in a Google doc which will be shared with you and accessible via Gradian for you to view at any time.

Overview of major project deadlines (subject to change, check course calendar and weekly overview, above, for up-to-date information):

  • Group 1 Blog Posts | 11:59 pm on Jan. 26, Feb. 9, March 9, March 30, and April 13
  • Group 2 Blog Posts | 11:59 pm on Feb. 2, Feb. 16, March 23, April 6, and April 20
  • Code Academy “Make A Website” Tutorial (individual) | 11:59 pm on Jan. 19
  • Lynda.com “WordPress Essential Training” Tutorial (individual)| 11:59 pm on Feb. 2
  • Personal Website (individual)| Draft: 11:59 pm on Feb. 9, Final: 11:59 pm on Feb. 23
  • Personal Website Revision (individual)| 11:59 pm on April 13
  • Personal Website Design Rationale and Reflection (individual)| 11:59 pm on April 20
  • Design Competition (collaborative) |
    • Draft design fiction, March 2 at 11:59 pm
    • Revised design fiction and draft style guide, March 23 at 11:59 pm
    • Draft exhibit templates or sitemaps, April 5, by class time
    • Design pitch presentations, April 10 and 12 during class
    • Revised design fiction, style guide, and templates, April 20 at 11:59 pm
  • Design Competition Rationale and Reflection (individual) | 11:59 pm on April 27

Class Schedule

See the Course Calendar, above, for reading and assignment/project due dates.

Academic Honesty / Plagiarism

The Department of English expects all students to adhere to the university’s Code of Student Conduct, especially as it pertains to plagiarism, cheating, multiple submissions, and academic honesty. Please refer to the Policy on Academic Honesty (Section 409 of the Faculty Handbook). Penalty for violation of this policy will result in a zero for the assignment, possible failure of the course, and, in some cases, suspension or expulsion. Georgia State University defines plagiarism as “ . . . any paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another person without acknowledgment, including the submitting of another student’s work as one’s own . . . [It] frequently involves a failure to acknowledge in the text . . . the quotation of paragraphs, sentences, or even phrases written by someone else.” At GSU, “the student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources . . . and the consequences of violating this responsibility.” (For the university’s policies, see in the student catalog, “Academic Honesty,” http://www2.gsu.edu/~catalogs/2010-2011/undergraduate/1300/1380_academic_honesty.htm)

Accommodations for Students With Disabilities

Georgia State University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students who wish to request accommodation for a disability may do so by registering with the Office of Disability Services. Students may only be accommodated upon issuance by the Office of Disability Services of a signed Accommodation Plan and are responsible for providing a copy of that plan to instructors of all classes in which accommodations are sought. According to the ADA (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:s3406enr.txt.pdf): ‘‘SEC. 3. DEFINITION OF DISABILITY. ‘‘As used in this Act: ‘‘(1) DISABILITY.—The term ‘disability’ means, with respect to an individual— ‘‘(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual…major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. ‘‘(B) MAJOR BODILY FUNCTIONS.—For purposes of paragraph (1), a major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

Learning Technology

If you have them, you may bring laptops or mobile computing devices to class for use in in-class activities. Students should use these devices responsibly for class-related work. If they become a distraction for you, me, or other students in the class, I will ask you to put them away. Occasionally I will will request a device-free learning environment for a discussion or learning activity, and students are expected to honor such requests.

Language conventions

This course presumes that because you were exempt from or passed English 1101 and then passed English 1102, you have a basic knowledge of standard American English, including but not limited to variations in sentence structure, subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, parallel structure, dangling modifiers, grammatical expletives, possessives and plurals, punctuation, capitalization, word choice, and various other grammatical and mechanical problems. If you are someone for whom this knowledge and practice are a struggle, this course gives you time to improve. If you do not, your grades will be affected. You have resources available at GSU to help you improve your knowledge. In the Writing Studio (http://www.writingstudio.gsu.edu/) you can work one-on-one, in private, with a tutor to improve. Writing Studio tutors can also help you to help you refine already strong competence, moving from good to excellent. The Purdue OWL (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/) has resources to assist you with identifying and correcting common grammar, punctuation, and usage errors, and to help you with formatting citations and bibliographies.

Receiving a grade of “incomplete”

In order to receive an incomplete, a student must inform the instructor, either in person or in writing, of his/her inability (non-academic reasons) to complete the requirements of the course. Incompletes will be assigned at the instructor’s discretion (if you have specific criteria for assigning incompletes, put them here)and the terms for removal of the “I” are dictated by the instructor. A grade of incomplete will only be considered for students who are a) passing the course with a C or better, b) present a legitimate, non-academic reason to the instructor, and c) have only one major assignment left to finish.

Student Evaluation of Instructor

Your constructive assessment of this course plays an indispensable role in shaping education at Georgia State. Upon completing the course, please take time to fill out the online course evaluation.

For English Majors

The English department at GSU requires an exit portfolio of all students graduating with a degree in English. Ideally, students should work on this every semester, selecting 1-2 papers from each course and revising them, with direction from faculty members. The portfolio includes revised work and a reflective essay about what you’ve learned. Each concentration (literature, creative writing, rhetoric/composition, and secondary education) within the major may have specific items to place in the portfolio, so be sure to check booklet located next to door of the front office of the English Department. Senior Portfolio due dates are published in the booklets or you may contact an advisor or Dr. Dobranski, Director of Undergraduate Studies. See the English office for additional information.

Texts and Resources

In all of my classes, I make every effort to keep text and materials costs under $75. Unless otherwise noted below, I expect students will have access to all required texts and resources from the first day of class.

Students should not expect to “get by” without reading assigned texts. Unlike some lecture classes, where the lecture is a review of assigned reading, this is a seminar course in which the assigned reading is preparation for a discussion or application of the information and ideas presented in the text. To put it another way, by completing assigned readings before class, we establish a basic shared knowledge base upon which we can build thoughtful conversations and productive work sessions.

It’s OK if the reading sometimes raises more questions than it answers; I expect that to happen often, in fact. Make a note of your questions. Let them circulate in your thoughts in the hours before class, and then bring them up in your blog posts and our class discussions.

Required Reading

Required readings will be posted to the class website or to Google Drive

Recommended Reference

Arola, Kristin L., Jennifer Sheppard, Cheryl E. Ball. Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2014) — http://bit.ly/1tbI2aI

Required Materials and Resources

  • Access to a laptop or desktop computer for daily use.
  • Access to email on a daily basis.
  • A user account on Gradian.
  • Google account (You may use an existing account, or you may create an account just for use in this course).
  • Access to computer software and programs used for digital composition and editing (I am always able to recommend free or very low-cost open source alternatives to more expensive proprietary software such as Microsoft Office, InDesign, Photoshop, etc.)
  • A site on create.gsu.edu.
  • Funds for printing or binding class materials (posters, infographics, formal reports, etc.).

Recommended Materials and Resources

Image credit “labor day” by Ginny on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ginnerobot/2820269648.

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