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; some are on the Digital Reserves page, which requires your ISU ulid and password for access
  • subscription to the Set to Screen podcast (free)

REQUIRED TECHNOLOGIES

  • comfortable stereo headphones with 5-foot cable (if not longer) and a 1/8-inch input jack. I highly recommend ones with built-in microphones. (FYI: Mac users will need special adaptors for headsets with microphones. I can help you with this.) You are required to bring headphones to class with you every day.
  • several DVD-Rs with COVERS!! You’ll need at least two for the final project, plus additional for storage/back-up and other assignments, as needed. I recommend getting at least a 10-pack.
  • a Sharpie (permanent) marker or DVD labels to put on all DVD-based assignments.
  • a personal computer with Internet access, sound card, and the ability to download free software needed for class
  • a VPN client to map ISU network drives
  • access to a CD burner (some available on campus)
  • HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BUT OPTIONAL: an 8gig (or more) Flash drive or external hard drive with firewire or USB (depending on what kind of connection you have at home)

We will be using some specialized audio and video equipment that I will provide you as part of your class enrollment, at no extra charge. If you lose, break, or have this equipment stolen while it’s under your care, you are responsible for purchasing like equipment by semester’s end.


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 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,
  • 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, and memorable moments.

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.

GRADES

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

Because ISU doesn’t believe in +/- grades, the absence of which leads to grade inflation (and deflation), I have changed my grading scale to reflect what I require in this class:

A:  92–100%  (excellent)
B:  84–91%  (above-average)
C:  76–83%  (average)
D:  66–75%  (below average)
F:  >65%  (did not complete course requirements)

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 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 C, B, or A, described in more detail below.

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 thing 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. For every day of class you miss, your participation percentage (50%) will drop by 5%. (For those, like me, who suck at math that means that if you miss 2 classes, the highest participation percentage you can hope to earn is a 40%, which means the highest grade you can earn would be a B.) If you miss a workshop, it’s worth two absences (see explanation under timeliness and readiness.) Attendance at out-of-class conferences with me is considered the same as class time.
  • timeliness: If you show up late or leave early or disappear for 10 minutes in the middle of class, it will affect your participation grade, especially if you make a habit (more than once) out of it. This bullet also refers to the time-sensitive nature of completing assignments 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, I will deduct 5% from your participation grade. If you fail to return borrowed equipment at all (like, you lose it or break it beyond repair), you are responsible for replacing it and I will hold final grade submissions 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 grade. 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, you will receive a deduction of 5% every time (for any of these infractions) in your participation grade.
  • 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, you should be aware that your participation grade may be affected.

portfolio
The portfolio grading systems means that I won’t be assigning grades for works that are still in-progress, and since everything will be in-progress until you turn in the final assignments in the portfolio the last week of class, you may soon realize that you have no idea (letter-grade-wise) how you’re doing in this class. So here’s a tip that might help: When I and your peers offer critiques of your draft projects, we assume that you will assimilate those revision suggestions into your final draft. 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 grading 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.

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, nuanced, engaging, and insightful. It is technically polished and free of any kind of errors (and so often requires multiple drafts, as workshops allow). It shows evidence of a substantive, thoughtful engagement with the course materials and 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, and graciously accepting challenges in return.
  • 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 processes of acquiring knowledge and information and show progress toward those processes 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 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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