wrt fall 2010 syllabus

Course Information

Course Numbers: WA 01301, Section 2, 41422 & WA 01301, Section 3, 41423
Course Hours: Section 2: MW 10:50am-12:05pm; Section 3: TH 3:15pm-4:30pm
Course Location: Education Hall 2113
Office Location: Education Hall 3075
Office Hours: T/TH 1:00pm – 2:30pm, and by appointment
Printable Syllabus: wolff-wrt-syllabus-f10 (.pdf) (office hours and header updated 9/9/10)
Required Texts | Windows Users | Office Hours | Contacting Each Other | Students with Disabilities | Attendance and Late Work | Course Strands | Grading

Required Texts and Materials

All texts are available at the Rowan Bookstore or at your preferred online store.

Perks, R., & Thomson, A. (2006). The oral history reader (2nd Ed). New York: Routledge.

If you have a laptop, I encourage you to bring it to class.

For Windows Users

Updated 9/1/10 4:50pm: All versions of Windows since XP have come with a version of a basic video editing software, Movie Maker, which is more than enough for what we are going to be doing in class. Here is a breakdown of the versions:

  • XP comes with Windows Movie Maker 2.1
  • Vista comes with Windows Movie Maker 2.6
  • Windows 7 comes with Windows Live Movie Maker
  • It is possible to install Windows Movie Maker 2.6 on a Windows 7 machine (and I recommend you do so)

Versions 2.1 and 2.6 are virtually identical in all ways except one: they are not compatible. That is, if you start a movie project on Vista you will not be able to edit it on a computer with XP. Neither is compatible with Windows Live Movie Maker, which has significantly fewer features than 2.1 and 2.6. This is important because of what is installed on Ed Hall computers:

  • The PCs in our classroom have Windows XP and as a result Movie Maker 2.1.
  • The PCs in the Ed Hall open lab have Windows 7 and as a result Windows Live Movie Maker.
  • Windows Movie Maker 2.6 has also been installed on Ed Hall open lab computers.
  • (I’m not sure about the PCs in other parts of the campus.)

This is all to say: if you own a PC desktop with Vista: do not expect to be able to edit movie projects on class computers (whether you will be able to edit them on open lab PCs is still up in the air). If you own a PC laptop, bring it to class with you so you can work on your movie and not have to worry about versions.

While having Windows Movie Maker is quite nice because it is free, there are important things for you to take into consideration and be aware of:

  • All versions of Windows Movie Maker are known to crash often and without warning (students have had trouble with this)
  • Windows Movie Maker gives odd and often mysterious errors that can result in you having to recreate your movie from scratch (students have had problems with this)
  • The incompatibility from version to version can be a pain if you are trying to work on a project both at home and at school.

If you find that it is crashing or freezing, then I strongly suggest that you purchase an excellent, robust, and cheap video editor. Two options are (in order or quality)

Though the software is quite similar to Movie Maker (though more robust), I am not familiar with either Pinnacle Studio or Movie Edit Pro and as a result will only be able to offer limited help if you have trouble.

Mac users: iMovie HD, ’08, and ’09 have their own special quirks and glitches, but overall they are much more robust and stable than Windows Movie Maker.

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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. Office hours this semester are T/TH 1:00 – 2:30.

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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. 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 an immediate response. If you do not know your Rowan email address, you can find it on the Email page of the Rowan web site.

I strongly suggest you contact me via Twitter (@billwolff) and/or email, both of which I tend to check all day long. 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 (#wrtf10) 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 and Late Work

You are expected to attend class every day. You cannot pass this class if you miss more than the maximum number of permissible absences, including excused and unexcused absences.For our section of Writing, Research, and Technology, which meets twice a week, the maximum number of permissible absences is 6.

Excused Absences
You will be permitted to make up missed work for excused absences only. 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
Excused and Unexcused absences will be treated using the following scale:

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

If a students has 7 or more unexcused absences s/he will receive an F for the course.

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Course Strands

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

Video Composition
Students will develop their ability to look compose complex, multimodal video compositions that mash up video footage, still images, primary and secondary sources, and sound.

Students will expand their research skills by engaging in primary and secondary research in and outside the library. Students will also learn oral history research methodologies.

Critical Thinking, Writing, and Reading
Students will develop their ability to analyze the texts they read and then filter that information in terms of the theories and other texts being read.

Students will learn how to use various online tools and technology-related skills which can help them develop their abilities in the other course objectives.

Students will develop the ability to work collaboratively in activities that range from online discussion postings to peer reviews to in-class discussion.

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Final grades will be calculated in the following way:

  • Unit I: The One Video and Reflections—15%
  • Unit II: Remix Videos and Reflections—30%
  • Unit III: Oral History Video Composition and Reflections—50%
  • Class Participation and Video Responses—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 (including rough drafts) 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.

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