Description and Requirements
Course number/section: ENGL 303 / 001 & 002
Course name: Multimedia Writing
Term and year: Fall 2013
CRN: 83359 (001) / 86246 (002)
Location: G06 Colson Hall
Times: TT, 10:00-11:15 (001) / 1:00-2:15 (002)
Instructor: John Jones, Assistant Professor
Email: john dot jones at-sign mail dot wvu dot edu
Office: 231 Colson Hall
Office hours: T 11:30-12:30, W 10-11:30, or by appointment
Course description and requirements
“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
While writing with rich media has existed for decades online, with the introduction of electronic readers and tablet computers, that writing is increasingly redefining what we call the “book.” In this course, students will study multimedia writing, visual rhetoric, Web design, and the principles of copyright and fair use as they relate to electronic books. Using this information, they will learn the skills necessary to write, design, and publish an electronic book using a combination of open-source and student-created content, integrating text with multimedia elements such as images, audio, and video. We will briefly examine major ebook formats—those compatible with Apple’s iBooks, Amazon’s Kindle, and Barnes & Noble’s Nook—but the focus of the course will be on creating books in open formats that are accessible to readers of multiple devices. In short, students will not only learn how to compose and publish multimedia electronic texts, they will also interrogate our society’s transition from people of the book to people of the screen.
While the course content will focus heavily on the technical details of creating electronic books, including ebook formats, creating multimedia content, the ethical use of that content, and the rhetoric of visual design, students will bring their own knowledge to their projects by choosing the topics for the books that they will produce for the course.
Students who successfully complete the course will have:
- mastered multimodal, electronic writing, including the composition, design, and organization of interactive 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 publication of texts in the EPUB format, including coding interactive multimedia elements in HTML5 and CSS;
- mastered the technologies and best practices for collaborative writing and other group work; and
- 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.
- Castro, Elizabeth. EPUB Straight to the Point: Creating Ebooks for the Apple iPad and Other Ereaders. PeachPit Press, 2011. ISBN: 0321734688
- Garrish, Matt. What is EPUB3? O’Reilly, 2011.
- Garrish, Matt. Accessible EPUB 3: Best Practices for Creating Universally Usable Content O’Reilly, 2012.
- Gaylor, Brett. RIP!: A Remix Manifesto. 2009.
- Golombisky, Kim and Rebecca Hagen. White Space is Not Your Enemy: A Beginner’s Guide to Communicating Visually through Graphic, Web and Multimedia Design. 2nd ed. Taylor, 2013. ISBN: 9780240824147
- Kleinfeld, Sanders. HTML5 for Publishers. O’Reilly, 2011
- Lessig, Lawrence. Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. Penguin, 2008.
- Lupton, Ellen. Thinking with Type. 2nd ed. Princeton Architectural Press. 2010, ISBN: 1568989695
- MacDonald, Matthew. HTML5: The Missing Manual. O’Reilly. 2011, ISBN: 1449302394
Required digital resources
- Regular access to a computer and the Internet (on-campus computer access is provided by the Office of Information Technology, the Center for Literary Computing, and the WVU libraries);
- a MIX email account which is checked daily;
- a Twitter account;
- a Google Drive account;
- a means of keeping track of your course files, using
- Adobe InDesign (this software is available on the classroom computers as well as in labs linked to above);
- (PC only) Zip software like PeaZip or 7-zip;
- An advanced text editor like TextWrangler (Mac) or Notepad++ (PC); and
- eReader software that can display EPUB files. To test the compatibility of your book for multiple platforms, you should download the following applications:
- Tools for tracking your research, like Evernote for note-taking, Delicious for tracking Web sources, and Zotero or RefWorks for managing research and formatting citations and
- service for uploading and sharing media, like Scribd for documents, Vimeo or YouTube for videos, and Flickr or Picassa for photos.