vrmc spring 2012 syllabus

Course Information

Course Numbers: MAWR 01559, Section 1, 21027
Course Hours: T 6:45 – 9:15 pm
Course Location: Education Hall 2010
Office Location: Education Hall 3075
Office Hours: W 11 – 2, and by appointment
Contact me by email: wolffw [at] rowan [dot] edu
Contact me via Twitter: @billwolff
Printable Syllabus: core2-syllabus-s12.pdf (note: the web site contains the most up-to-date information)
Required Texts | Office Hours | Contacting Each Other | Students with Disabilities | Attendance and Late Work | Course Strands | Grading

Required Texts and Materials

I recommend you buy the texts from your favorite online retailer, as you will receive a significant discount that is not available in the bookstore. If there are e-versions of the books, feel free to buy them as long as you can annotate well.

Hall, S. (2007). This means that: A user’s guide to semiotics. London: Lawrence King.

Kirshner, M. MacKinnan, J.B., Shoebridge, P., & Simons, M. (2008). I live here. New York: Pantheon Books.

McCloud, S. (1994). Understanding comics: The invisible art. New York: HarperPerennial.

Morris, E. (2011). Believing is seeing (observations of the mysteries of photography). New Yor: Penguin.

Trachtenberg, A. (1980). Classic essays on Photography. New Haven, CT: Leete’s Island Books.

In an effort to reduce textbook costs, multiple readings that will be available for free online on the Readings page (password protected).

You will also need access to:

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Access to a scanner (these are available in all Rowan computer labs)
  • Microsoft Word or any of many online alternatives (see http://j.mp/4LnxAW; I do not accept Word Perfect files)
  • Rowan email address
  • film or digital camera
  • USB flash drive with no less than 8GB of memory (to to use as backup and transfer digital photos and movie files from home to school and back again)
  • Other materials as needed

Office Hours

Office hours are designed for you, giving you a more private environment in which we may talk about your work, your performance in class, etc. If you are unable to see me during my office hours, do not hesitate to make an appointment to see me at a different time. We will have at least one required conference during the second half of the semester. This semester my office hours are W 11 – 2 and by appointment.

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Contacting Each Other

There will be times during the semester when I will need to contact the class and you will need to contact me. I will contact you via your Rowan email account, so please be sure that you are checking it regularly and/or forwarding it to the email service you use most regularly. If you do not know your Rowan email address, you can find it on the Email page of the Rowan web site. I am in my office only during office hours and the brief times before and after class. As a result, calling me in my office will not get you a response.

I strongly suggest you contact me via Twitter (@billwolff) and/or email, both of which I tend to check often throughout the day. Email, however, tends to be seen as an informal medium. This, however, should not always be the case. All emails that I send to you will have a meaningful subject line and a proper salutation (“Hi Class,” or “Hi Jane,” etc.). The first sentence will notify you of the purpose of the email, and then will get to the heart of the matter. It will end with a formal closing (“Thanks, BW”). I expect the same from any email you send. Twitter is less formal, so feel free to just tweet me questions. Please add the course hashtag (#core2s12) to all course related tweets.

I’ll get back to your tweets and emails as soon as possible—usually within a day. If I don’t get back within a day, it may be that I did not see your tweet or email for one reason or another, such as an email going in my spam folder. Send me a polite reminder and/or ask me in class if I got it, and I’ll get back immediately.

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Students with Disabilities

Your academic success is important. If you have a documented disability that may have an impact upon your work in this class, please contact me. Students must provide documentation of their disability to the Academic Success Center in order to receive official University services and accommodations. The Academic Success Center can be reached at 856.256.4234. The Center is located on the 3rd Floor of Savitz Hall. The staff is available to answer questions regarding accommodations or assist you in your pursuit of accommodations. We look forward to working with you to meet your learning goals.

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Attendance

You are expected to attend class every day. You cannot pass this class if you miss more than 25% of the scheduled meeting times, including excused and unexcused absences. For our section, which meets once a week, the maximum number of permissible absences is 3. If you exceed the maximum absence limit—whether excused or unexcused—you will be referred to the Dean of Students for the possibility of a hardship withdrawal from the class. Note: it is your responsibility to know how many absences you have. If, at the end of the semester, I enter your grades and you are over the limit, the hardship withdrawal courtesy will not be extended to you.

Excused Absences
You will be permitted to make up missed work for excused absences only (note below that excused absences are still absences; the main difference is that you get to make up missed work). These include:

  • religious observances
  • official University activities
  • illness
  • death of a family member or loved one
  • inclement weather

You must provide verifiable documentation. Consult with your instructor for what is considered acceptable.

In the case of religious observances or official University activities, you must inform your instructor in advance of your absence for it to be excused.

In the case of illness, death of a family member or loved one, or inclement weather, you must inform your instructor as soon as possible after the fact.

If the events described above lead to your exceeding the maximum absence limit, you will be referred to the Dean of Students for a hardship withdrawal from the class.

Excused and Unexcused absences will be treated using the following scale:

1 or fewer no penalty
2 absences -2/3 final grade (a B would become a C+)
3 absences -1 1/3 final grade (a B would become a C-)

Lateness is equal to .5 absences. You are late if you arrive in class after the sign-up sheet has made it around the room.

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Course Strands

In this course all work will be dedicated to students developing their skills in the following Course Strands:

Multimodality
Students will gain greater familiarity the theories and practices relating to the use of multiple modes in the construction of texts.

Rhetoric
Students will gain greater familiarity the theories and practices relating to visual constructions of meaning.

Critical Reading, Thinking, and Writing
Students will develop their ability to read judiciously, think about, filter information about, and write about texts in a variety of genres and media.

Technology
Students will learn about and will use contemporary communication technologies in a variety of settings.

Collaboration
Students will develop their ability to work collaboratively in a variety of in- and out-of-class activities and settings.

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Grading

Final grades will be calculated in the following way:

  • Mapping: 15%
  • Photographing: 20%
  • Remixing/Mashing: 30%
  • Blogging: 20%
  • Tweeting: 10%
  • Contribution to In-class Class Discussions: 5%

Grades will be determined on the following point scale:

  • A+: 100pts
  • A: 96
  • A-: 92
  • B+: 89
  • B: 86
  • B-: 82
  • C+: 79
  • C: 76
  • C-: 72
  • D+: 69
  • D: 66
  • D-: 62
  • F: 59

Detailed criteria will be provided for each assignment. Missing assignments will receive a 0. All major assignments must be completed to pass the course. For every 3 late non-major assignments, your final grade will be lowered by one full letter grade. It is better to complete an assignment late then to not complete it at all.

Final grades correspond to the Graduate Handbook (A-C) for graduate students. All work is expected to be the student’s own. Any plagiarism—intended or not—will result in a failing grade for the course.

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