New! "Living the Low-Wage Life" class hypertexts now beginning to appear (first drafts!) on the Equality Monitor weblog

English 2 Winter 2006  6-9 pm  (begins at 6 pm in O’Connor 109; finishes in Arts and Sciences 128, the journalism lab)  223 St. Jos. Hall, 551-7088
office hours: W and Th 5-6  pm and by appt.

The written world has been sweepingly transformed by electronic media, especially the world-wide web. New forms of writing (weblogs, text messaging, discussion lists, email) have emerged in little more than a decade, and nonetheless are the major form of written activity for tens of millions of literate people. There are new forms of commercial, professional, and academic writing suitable for internet accessibility, from the irritating (pop-up advertising), the captivating (games and interactive simulations), to multi-media web journals and searchable archives.  Older forms of writing, such as poetry, diaries, personal letters, and genealogical records are all now available in new ways.  In this class, we’ll explore some of the possibilities for academic writing that emerge from the near-universal electronic mediation of the writing process.

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10

Weeks 5-10 Digital subcultures and countercultures * Intellectual property, originality and copyleft * “knowledge workers” and the “knowledge economy” * social-impact gaming * Academic hypertext essay #2 (“Rebel Poets”).

Things You’ll Need:
Access to the Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 html authoring tool, and a good image-management program such as Macromedia Fireworks  (part of the Dreamweaver suite, which is currently supported by the university). The Dreamweaver suite is available at a substantial education discount through the university bookstore. It is installed on a number of computers on labs across campus, but you cannot count on access to them (because of class usage, variable attendant schedules, etc).  Because I’m mindful of the expense of the program, I’ve arranged that all of the course reading will be available to you online.

A flash “thumb,” “stick,” or “keychain” drive to store your work in progress.

Coursework & Grading
There are four main projects for the class: a personal web site, weblog participation, and two hypertext essays. Except for the weblog, you’ll prepare multiple versions of these projects in response to feedback from me, from teaching assistants, technology trainers, other students and, possibly, from viewers of your projects online. There will also be a variety of participation projects and informal writing (such as playing “social impact” games and discussing the experience), which are also required.


At the end of the semester, you’ll prepare a hypertext letter linking to your web-published class work and discussing what you’ve learned. You’ll also send me an email proposing a final grade, based on assessment criteria we’ll develop over the course of the term. I'm always available to talk if you have questions about your grade and will always take time to help you figure out how to do as well as possible.  As long as your participation remains satisfactory, extra credit is usually available.  

My approach to grading is holistic: I prefer to take all of the assignments together, including participation, and consider the context of your personal goals for the class, your growth as a writer and, especially, your self-assessment. There are many good things about this approach: most people feel that it’s fair and they appreciate that it’s individualized, and they usually appreciate that I take their opinions seriously.  Most people also feel that it helps to keep the focus on the writing process.  On the negative side, we sometimes prefer what feels like the clarity, simplicity, and familiarity of a universal grading rubric that focuses on the results of your efforts:  (“A C paper fulfills the assignment, but lacks sophistication,” etc). 

My way of handling that is to ask you to develop a set of goals for yourself this quarter, and to describe the way those goals connect to the sort of grading possibilities you envision for yourself.  You’ll share those goals and ideas with others and with me, and those exchanges may motivate you to revise your goals. Eventually that statement will be part of your portfolio: your concluding letter will reflect on the work you’ve done and on your goals.   While I retain full responsibility for assessing your final grade, I take your assessments and grade proposals seriously. In the past I have agreed—within the range of a full letter grade---with the vast majority of student self-assessments. In many classes, though not all, it has been more common for me to raise the grade students proposed for themselves than to lower it. In most cases where there appears the possibility of a substantially different assessment, or in cases where you feel that you haven’t been meeting your goals for a variety of reasons, you can request (or I may suggest) extra credit activities.

Outcomes, attendance, academic integrity, and disability accomodation.  The English department has produced a statement of intended learning outcomes for English 1 and 2, which I’ve provided for you on a separate sheet. In general, these goals reflect national norms for classes of this kind, as summarized in the CWPA statement that you’ll find on the reverse side of the departmental statement.  Because of the participatory and hands-on nature of the learning you'll do in this class, I suggest that you miss no more than 1 3-hour class, and arrive late no more than twice. Unexcused attendence problems beyond these guidelines will be reflected by a reduction in your final grade (usually 1/2 to 1 1/2 letter grades); attendance issues affecting 30% of scheduled classes will usually result in a failing grade. SCU maintains a detailed policy on academic integrity that applies to this course and which you may consult in the University Bulletin or on the Provost's web site: academicpoliciesprocedures.cfm   Students who experience a circumstance or condition that may affect their ability to complete assignments or otherwise satisfy course criteria are encouraged to meet with me to identify, discuss, and document any feasible instructional modifications or accommodations. You may contact the Disabilities Resource Center in 214 Benson (extension 4111, TTY ext 5445). Any other issues? Please email or drop by the office to talk about it.

Week 1: Introduction
What is the internet made of? Who “composes” the artifacts that are internet “places” and internet “culture”? How is the composition of internet culture different from the composition of television, radio, or mass-market book culture? Is “publishing” your music, poetry, memoirs, or political views on the internet different from other kinds of publicity? What do we mean by an internet “public”?  In what ways do we people “read” or “view” internet culture differently from other forms of reading and viewing?

In the lab:  Introduction to Dreamweaver by Gloria Hofer.

Creation of  a personal home page, at least one activities/interests page, and a schoolwork page, linked together.

Key thought: “self” presentation: the self as a member of groups; participation, community, and activities as guides for personal website design.

Homework: Download Dreamweaver 30-Day Trial; purchase license
Search the web for good personal home pages
Create your own personal web site, including a description of sites that influenced your own design decisions.
Dreamweaver tutorial and help pages:
Contact Jose and Gloria for assistance (,

Week 2:
Discussion of hypertext poetics and document design issues

In the lab:  Presentation of personal web sites, peer response
Dreamweaver tutorial by Gloria Hofer, continued
Visit weblogs: introduce idea of weblog genres: confessional, political, compiler, multi-author, etc.

Visit weblogs TBA
Weblog articles  TBA
Revision of personal websites

Week 3
Discussion of weblogs, class weblog requirement, and criteria for good posts
Presentation of personal websites and last in-class tutorials with Gloria Hofer
Discussion of hypertext essay #1(“Living the Low-Wage Life”)
Discussion of peer response (see worksheets from UW and Portland State)

Some useful links for week 3:

Doing more with weblogs (anonymous political reporting, the video blog, eg):

Resource Centeror Cyberculture Studies
Digital Storytelling Project
More innovative digital storytelling (links thanks to H. Rheingold): (click on examples)

Hypertext poetics (and web design)
The Web Style Guide

Academic use of the web
The Lost Museum

Reading habits:
Ziming Liu, "Reading Behavior in the Digital Environment"

Weeks 4-10 Digital subcultures and countercultures * Intellectual property, originality and copyleft * “knowledge workers” and the “knowledge economy” * social-impact gaming * Academic hypertext essay #2 (“Rebel Poets”).

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