Course number: ENGL 303 7D1
Course name: Multimedia Writing
Term and year: Spring 2014
Instructor: John Jones, Assistant Professor
Email: john dot jones at-sign mail dot wvu dot edu
Google Plus: John Jones
Office: 231 Colson Hall
Office hours: Tue., 10-noon in 231 Colson Hall [make an appointment]
Virtual office hours: Tue., 10-noon and Fri., noon-1 via Google Plus hangouts [make an appointment]
“I have been a person of the book, but I am becoming a person of the screen. It is not an easy transition.” – Kevin Kelly
Screens have colonized our imaginations. Everywhere we go we are confronted by them—computer screens, mobile screens, television screens—and, increasingly, these screens have become the places where we write, read, and generally experience multiple forms of media.
In ENGL 303: Multimedia Writing, students will examine the rhetorical possibilities of digital media, using that media to understand the effects of the ongoing transition from print to screen on writing practices. They will not only learn how to compose screen texts in multiple media, they will also interrogate our society’s transition from people of the book to people of the screen.
As with Kelly, students may discover that this transition has not been an easy one. While this will be a writing course, not a technology course—students of all levels of technological expertise are encouraged to enroll—in this course students will be expected to use a number of different technologies as they learn how to write for different media. Students should be open to learning new technologies and plan to spend a generous portion of their time in the course experimenting with and eventually mastering the technological tools necessary for multimedia writing.
Students who successfully complete the course will have:
- mastered multimodal, electronic writing, including the composition, design, and organization of digital texts and remixes with audio-visual elements;
- produced texts that display an awareness of the needs of the rhetorical situation and a particular audience;
- understood and be able to relate the best practices for the fair use of media that is copyrighted, Creative Commons licensed, or in the public domain;
- mastered the research and source citation methods appropriate for multiple media.
In line with the goals of the WVU BA Program in English, these objectives will enable students who successfully complete the course to
- interpret texts within diverse literary, cultural, and historical contexts;
- demonstrate a general knowledge of the social and structural aspects of the English language; and
- demonstrate a range of contextually effective writing strategies.
- Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, and Harry Lewis. Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness after the Digital Explosion. ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Addison-Wesley, 2008. (Only purchase this book if you want to own a physical copy. It can be downloaded for free at the link above.)
- George Plumley. WordPress 24-Hour Trainer. 2nd ed. Wiley, 2011. ISBN: 1118066901.
- Douglas Rushkoff. Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age. OR Books, 2010. ISBN: 978-1-935928-15-7
Any additional course readings will be made available on the course schedule.
Required digital resources
- Regular access to a computer and the Internet (if you are in Morgantown, on-campus computer access is provided by the Office of Information Technology, the Center for Literary Computing, and the WVU libraries) as well as access to the following technologies:
- a computer with a microphone and webcam,
- a means of recording video (if you are in Morgantown, you can check out video recording equipment from Multimedia Services at the WVU Library), and
- software for converting video formats (like Handbrake for Mac or Windows) and for editing video (like iMovie for Mac or Windows Movie Maker for Windows).
- A MIX email account which is checked daily.
- An account on this site.
- A Google Plus account and access to Google Drive.
- A WordPress.com account.
- A means of keeping track of your course files, using a cloud backup service like SpiderOak or Dropbox that can automatically archive your work.