English 1002 — First Year Composition, Computer Assisted

Dr. Kim De Vries
Office: L-195N
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 1-1:45 and by appt.
kdevries at csustan dot edu
Phone: 209.667.3775

Important Notices about furlough and H1N1 Flu


For the past 10 years the CSU system has suffered chronic under-funding.  This year, because of the state economic crisis, the budget cuts are draconian, $584 million, the worst ever in decades.  The CSU administration is attempting to manage these cuts by dramatically increasing student fees and by furloughing almost all University employees, including faculty, staff, and administrators.   A furlough means mandatory un-paid days off for employees; there are 18 of these this year for faculty.

For students this means that on some days the campus will be closed.  The library will have shorter hours and many campus support services will be decreased or eliminated. It will, for example, be more difficult to get signatures to meet deadlines. Some classes you need may have been cut from the class schedule or are full.

The days when I’m forced to cancel class because of the furloughs are marked on your syllabus below.  These days off are not holidays; they are a very concrete example of how budget cuts have consequences.

H1N1 Flu

If you develop symptoms of H1N1 influenza (swine flu), which are: fever and cough or sore throat, along with fatigue and feeling ill, DO NOT come to class. Contact me by email or phone and I will excuse you and make arrangements for you to complete assignments. The H1N1 flu is very contagious; however, it is almost always associated with significant fever (over 100.5 Fahrenheit), so if you don’t have a fever and feel up to it, you may come to class. I encourage everyone to get the vaccine, which is just coming out. Make sure it’s the vaccine that covers H1N1 flu. If you do get the flu, once your fever has been gone for 24 hours, you should no longer be contagious, and may attend class. Also, wash your hands!

Focus on Technology and New Media

What does it mean to be “literate” and how has this changed as a consequence of the introduction of new communication technologies? What social skills and cultural competencies do young people need to acquire if they are going to be able to fully participate in the digital future? (Jenkins, Confessions of an Aca-Fan, 8/17/09)

Technology and “new media”have changed how we communicate, how we compose, and what it means to be literate. In this course we explore how new technologies and the texts we create with them impact various aspects of our social life and creative activities. Further, we consider in how new media has altered the way academic work and research are being conducted.

Purpose and Goals

Students in this course will:

  • develop critical analytical skills while becoming familiar with a variety of digital media;
  • become familiar with media theories and concepts from diverse fields;
  • create concise descriptive, persuasive, and analytical texts;
  • present their work to an audience, and engage in thoughtful discussions both online and in class.

Since it is difficult for students who are not actively engaged in media creation to properly understand the meaning of “new media”, students are also required to complete hands-on projects for the course.

Required Work

  1. Participation: For each class session, the student should make one thoughtful contribution to the class blog, describing their response to the readings or other assignments, and offering some topics or questions we should explore during the class. This process is designed to jump start the conversation before class so students should make an effort to read their classmate’s contributions. Keep in mind that contributions here also allow me to assess your mastery over the course content so try to anchor your comments closely to the course material. You need not, however, reference all of the material for that week but should focus your discussion on salient points of interest.
  2. Online reading journal/blog: You will maintain an ongoing  blog in which you reflect upon the skills, knowledge, and tools you are seeking and getting out of this course and reflect upon how the subjects covered in the texts relate to the circumstances of your own life online and offline. The key word is reflection; this is about thinking about the subject matter, not simply demonstrating that you did the reading or writing. Your blog is open to others to read and comment on, but is primarily a conversation with yourself about what the subject might have to do with the world you actually live in.
  3. New Media/Technology Narrative: Media culture -print, screen, digital- plays a critical role in our lives as we make sense of ourselves and the world around us. For this assignment, you are asked to think critically about the role of media in your own life and environment. Select several “artifacts” that express your own taste and experience of the media. These “media artifacts” can reflect your relationship with any of the dominant media within American society or another society (i.e. print, film, television, radio, music, theater, comic books, cyberspace, etc.) The artifact(s) that you choose should have particular meaning for you. Some examples of possible choices include favorite phones, media players, texts, CDs, ads, photographs or posters, DVDs, video games, websites, etc.Create four pages (2000 words) on the meaning of this object(s) in your life and , if possible, bring the artifact(s) with you to class, or somehow show it to us. Be prepared to speak for a few minutes about the cultural significance of the media artifacts. Your goal should be to share with us something meaningful about your participation in popular culture. This will be posted in your blog. You will develop this piece into the remix that incorporates a variety of media, analyzes your own evolving relationship to contemporary media culture and how it may shape/have shaped your identity.  *Adapted from Andrea Walsh, MIT Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies
  4. Final Project: For this project you will focus on some idea we have discussed in class and/or that you have written about in your blog and create a text or multimedia work to explore that idea further.  Your aim is to express your current thinking and the thinking of others on that idea and communicate this to an audience in a way that engages their interest and ideally provokes further thinking.  If this is a text, aim for about 5 pages max, single spaced, or about 2500 words.  If you are making a video or audio piece, probably 10 minutes, max.  If it’s some combination, we can talk about it!  The first step will be a proposal that explains the idea you want to explore and how you want to explore it.

Course materials

We will not be using a standard textbook this term. Instead, we will be reading a variety of articles from academic journals, excerpts from books, and selected writings and media pieces from web sites. All readings and media are available online.


Week 1:

9/15– Introduction to class. What is new media? Read and discuss several definitions in class– Logan, Manovich.  Discussion Groups formed.

9/17– Set up blog and begin posting both text and images. First post with your own ideas about new media. Second post listing all the ways you interact with tech and new media. Once you have completed the list, choose one or two aspects of your interaction, and write in more detail about that.  Link out to websites and/or images (or figure out how to insert images) that illustrate your explanation.

Week 2

9/22– What is the Internet for? One possible answer: “The Internet is For Porn” — warning, some explicit language. Third Post: What do you think? What is the Internet for? What should it be for, and why? Remember to link to examples and say how they fit into your claims about the Internet’s use. You are making an argument, so the following guide may help you in thinking about how to organize your ideas: Argument Structure — Three Models.  In class we will do a group exercise with these arguments.

9/24– New Media, Technology, and Literacy. What does it mean to be literate these days? Give some examples of what you think it means to be literate, and explain why you think so. Then take a look at this wiki page, written by A teacher, Will Rich, about what he thinks literacy means now.  What do you think about his ideas?

Week 3

9/29 Evaluating Sources: How do you know what to believe? Things to consider when evaluating print sources; Things to consider when evaluating web sources. Find two web sites/sources you think are useful, relevant, interesting, and credible.  Post about how they meet the evaluation criteria and why you like them.

10/1 Games We Play: “The Country as an MMO”, “Why Games Matter,” by Raph Koster. “Do You Wanna Date My Avatar?Games and Education, by Barton Pursel. Many scholars and game designers agree that games teach us things, even unintentionally.  Further, online games are becoming an important medium for socializing. Based on the material here and your own experiences playing games, what do you think?  Refer to specific ideas, quotes, lines of song to support your view.

Week 4

10/6 Impact on Communication: The Guild — Wake Up Call, Facebook Breakup,   How has the way we communicate changed with the introduction of new technologies? When did you first start using email, or instant messaging, or texting on a cell phone?  How did your communication practices change? For which people do you use which kind of communication channels? Why?  Further, we can hear from people we never would have encountered. For example, people in Afganistan.

10/8 Personal use of Technology narrative due. Workshop in class.

Week 5

10/13  Columbus day, no classes Start reading Little Brother.

10/15 Furlough Day

Week 6

10/20 The Information Society: Surveillance Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow. Small group conferences.

10/22  Using online tools for research, writing, and composing in other media. Focus on how to make podcasts and vodcasts. Small group conferences.  How-to video for podcasts.

Week 7

10/27 Furlough Day. Revision of Narrative due.

10/29 Remix and Mashup Culture: Remix and Remixability, by Lev Manovich (Oct. 2005); “Buffy/Twilight remix,” “Let’s Do Something Girlie,” Location Portrait Due.

Week 8

11/3 Creating and Using New Media: “Remixing the Matrix: An Interview with Paul D. Miller, aka DJSpooky.” Remixes at DJ Spooky’s web site — scroll to the bottom of the page to find them.

11/5 Furlough Day and project proposal due.

Week 9

11/10 Hacktivism: “The Yes Men” movie, available here.We will watch some in class and discuss it. “Tactical Media” on Wikipedia. P/Vodcast due.

11/12 Finishing touches on podcasts; we’ll start looking at them.  Discussion of the Yes Men, of the remixes, and of the final project. project proposals developed in class.

  • What is my claim/question?
  • How will I present it?
  • Create outline or story board

Week 10

11/17 Work on Remixes and Projects

11/19 Personal Use of Technology remix due. Workshop final presentations/papers in process

Week 11

11/24 Furlough Day

11/26   Thanksgiving

Week 12 Workshop final Papers/Projects

12/1 Bring what you need to work on your project; I’ll check in with each of you and answer questions, offer feedback, etc.

12/3 Today you’ll share with peers and continue working.

Week 13

12/8 Final Projects/Papers due. Because of treacherous road conditions, I will not be meeting my 9:40 class (section 9), nor my 2:30 class (section 7), if the roads don’t open in time.  Please sort yourselves into groups of 3 or 4 and look at each of your projects.  Arrange so that each of you gets feedback from at least one person in the group, as a comment on your Final project post.  Then, choose one of the projects to present in class as a group.  That is, each peer group will present one of the projects to the whole class on Thursday.

While giving feedback and choosing a project to present, consider the question or issue the author explores:

  • What makes it important?
  • How are background information and research data given, so that viewers or readers can really understand the argument and conclusions?
  • How did the authors choose to use other media to support their explanations and arguments?
  • Do you understand how all the information fits together?
  • Does the conclusion seem to follow logically from the rest of the project?

12/10 Selected final projects presented.  What is New Media? redux.  Evaluations.

* FLOSS = Free/Libre Open Source Software

65 comments for “English 1002 — First Year Composition, Computer Assisted

  1. jackelyne ramos
    October 1, 2009 at 9:19 am
  2. jg18
    October 4, 2009 at 2:56 pm
  3. October 5, 2009 at 10:22 am

    I want to inprove my typing skills becuase I feel that that is where one of my weaknesses lies. I also want to know how to be able how to use a computer more efficiently. For example, I want to be able to fix my computer when it gets a virus or how to use it as an academic tool in order to write essays or do other work. I also want to be able to talk more knowledgably about certain topics like world news, politics, and art. My writing and vocabulary skills are very low and I feel ignorant compared to my peers. Also, I want to improve my foreign language skills because I feel that is the most important use of literacy becuase not everyone speaks or understands English.

  4. gmaldonado2
    October 5, 2009 at 10:46 am
  5. Jackelyne Ramos
    October 7, 2009 at 11:34 pm
  6. jcontreras6
    October 8, 2009 at 2:15 pm
  7. jg18
    October 26, 2009 at 7:00 pm
  8. October 27, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Personal Use of Narrative Revision.

  9. October 27, 2009 at 10:48 pm


    ^^ Personal use of technology Narrative Revision link.

  10. Becky Garcia
    October 29, 2009 at 1:48 pm

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