ENGLISH 705: COMPUTERS AND COMPOSITION (C&R)
Monday, 2:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Dr. Darin Payne
Office hours: TBA and by appt.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students in composition and rhetoric to key issues, central questions, and developing literacy and pedagogy practices in the emerging subdiscipline of computers and composition. The course will explore broad-based concerns about rhetoric, culture, and digital technologies in dialectic with more specific concerns about literacy education. The course will be guided by these questions: In what ways are the primary concerns of composition and rhetoric being addressed, elided, or reconfigured by digital technologies? (Such primary concerns revolve around the theoretical and practical implications of communication as persuasion, as identification, as civic duty, as social action, and as ethical responsibility.) How is public discourse in a digital world defined and assessed? In what ways do we compose our students as subjects when we teach them discursive practices within digital formations? How do technological structures shape (and get shaped by) the roles of teachers, students, classrooms, and institutions?
The course will involve students in theory-building and application as well as practice and reflection. Students will develop theoretical frameworks for interrogating technology and its role in teaching writing; as they move through such course material and toward a focused research project, they will explore the rhetorical nature of digital environments currently being adopted by composition workers, such as popular Web 2.0 sites that include commercial and private blogs (eg: Wordpress, Tumblr, and Blogger), social news sites (eg: Huffpost, Daily Caller, and Civil Beat), Wiki sites (eg: Wikipedia and Wikidot), and social networking portals (eg: Twitter and Facebook). Students will also explore, at an introductory level, common software applications being utilized in the teaching of contemporary public discourse, including web-design (eg: Dreamweaver), image manipulation (eg: Photoshop), podcasting (eg: Audacity); and video production (eg: Windows Movie Maker, Apple’s i-movie, and YouTube). The course will thus provide a structure within which students can think both theoretically and pragmatically about their roles as rhetoricians and teachers of writing in the digital age.
Most in-class time will be devoted to discussions and/or collaborative workshops involving new media technologies. The discussions will sometimes be face-to-face and sometimes virtual. Students will have common readings about which they will post weekly online responses (25%). Each student (perhaps on his/her own, or perhaps in pairs for a shared grade) will also research and present to the class a specific software application, demonstrating and critiquing the ways in which that application facilitates, hinders, or reconfigures the work of composition and rhetoric (25%). As the course progresses, students will rely on such shared knowledge-making to stake out and begin developing major individual research projects (50%). Each student’s major project—which will take the form of either a traditional seminar paper or a new media composition—will attempt to explore one way in which composition studies is being shaped by digital technology.
No prior experience in teaching writing with technology is necessary; however, a basic understanding in and experience with word-processing, web-browsing, and e-mail is expected.
**(Please do NOT purchase in advance, as this list may change.)
A digital course pack drawing heavily from the following two journals:
Computers and Composition: An International Journal
Kairos: A Journal for Teachers of Writing in Webbed Environments
Banks, Adam J. Race, Rhetoric, and Technology: Searching for Higher Ground. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2006.
Niedzviecki, Hal. The Peep Diaries: How We're Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors. City Lights, 2009.
Selber, Stewart A. Multiliteracies for a Digital Age. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2004.
Wysocki, Anne Frances, Johndan Johnson-Eilola, Cynthia L. Selfe, and Geoffrey Sirc. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition. Logan: Utah State UP, 2004.
Reading Responses (25/100 points)
On a regular basis, you will be required to write a short, semi-formal essay that you will post to our online forum (which might be Laulima, but it also might be a blogsite). The RR's
will be about 500 words each, and they will be written in response
to a question about a reading or discussion. For more details,
see RR Guidelines.
Technology Presentation (25/100 points)
You will research and present to the class a specific software application, demonstrating and critiquing the ways in which that application facilitates, hinders, or reconfigures the work of composition and rhetoric. In planning/selecting the possible presentations, we will collectively decide upon which applications are most valuable to us as a group, what our particular facilities permit, and what we are most interested in learning for our own knowledge as teachers, scholars, and/or administrative workers.
Major Research Project (50/100) This final
project will be in the form of either a seminar paper, inching toward journal submission, or it will be a new media project, also inching toward publication and/or pragmatic use. Primarily it will serve as a scholarly inquiry into technology and writing, something that can either be a traditional academic argument (such as would be published in Computers and Composition), or it can be a less traditional new media composition, one that would nonetheless engage a scholarly question and contribute to the kinds of scholarly discussions typical of the Computers and Writing community.
Attendance: Because this is a seminar, and because you will
be responsible for teaching each other most of the time, regular
attendance is critical to this course. If you miss more than
three class sessions, your final grade for the course will be reduced
by one full letter grade per class session over three that you miss.
For example, if you miss five class sessions this semester, and
your final grade is a B, it will be bumped down two levels, to a
D. Importantly, there is no distinction between "excused"
and "unexcused" absences—they are all absences, and they all count
the same way. In the event that you do miss a class session, you
are responsible for making up any in-class work. You are also responsible
for finding out about any homework assignments and completing them
on time. Do not expect to be
able to hand in something late or not do an assignment because you
were absent on the day it was assigned or due.
Grading: To complete this course successfully, you must
attend class, complete all major assignments on time, prepare
for class, and participate in class activities and discussions.
You cannot receive a passing grade unless you have submitted all
major assignments. Late Reading Response essays will happily be
accepted, but you will lose 5 points for each one late or not
submitted. Major projects will be accepted if they are late; you
will be penalized, however, a grade reduction of one full letter
grade per week or portion thereof that each is late. Finally,
you must keep copies of all your projects. If you do not keep
a copy and your project gets lost or misplaced, you will have to rewrite
it. An additional "finally": grades of "incomplete"
are becoming very difficult to have approved by the office of
Student Affairs. Simply "needing more time" is no longer
sufficient: if you request an Incomplete in this course, you will
need to have completed the majority of the work and be missing
a small but important assignment, and your inability to finish
within the semester will need to be the result of an official,
documented reason, such as illness or family emergency, etc.
Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism. Hiring ghost writers,
submitting papers written by others, and using textual materials
as if they were yours are all contrary to University regulations
as published in the 2004-2005 UHM catalog (p. 574-575). Copies
of a departmental statement on plagiarism and documentation of
sources are available in Kuykendall 402. Additionally, all UH
students are responsible for upholding the codes of academic integrity
available through the Office of the Dean of Students. If you engage
in academic dishonesty or plagiarism, the consequences can be
severe: depending on the nature of the offense(s), the results
can range anwhere from receiving a grade of zero on an assignment
to failing the class to being expelled from the university.
Provisions for Disabilities. If you feel you need reasonable
accomodations because of the impact of a disability, please 1)
contact the KOKUA Program (V/T) at 956-7511 or 956-7612 in room
013 of the QLCSS; 2) speak with me privately to discuss your specific
needs. I will be happy to work with you and the KOKUA Program
to meet your access needs related to your documented disability.
Breakdown of Grades:
The following is a tentative list of all graded assignments and
their point values. The total points for the course are 100.
The following are course-total grade point conversions:
- A+ 97-100
- A 93-96.
- A- 90-92
- B+ 87-89
- B 83-86
- B- 80-82
- C+ 77-79
- C 73-76
- C- 70-72
- D+ 67-69
- D 60-66
- E 0-59
Please know that I grade initially according to the letter
categories; I then translate your letter grade into a corresponding
number. The numbering is simply so that you (and I) can
add up, at any time, exactly where you stand in the course (as
opposed to trying to figure out, say, what an A-, a B+, and a
C means to your final grade). For example, if your work
on a 25-point assignment is evaluated as a B+, you may receive
a 22 (the B range for such an assignment is 20-22.5). I
say all this so that you understand that I do not have
some quantification-driven rubric in which I take off single points
for particular errors or some other such scheme. If at any
time you have a question about why you received the grade you
did, please come see me.