wrt fall 2011 daily homework

About Homework Assignments

The assignments that are listed on this page are to be completed before class starts the day they are due. The latest assignment will be placed at the top to reduce scrolling.

For Thursday, December 1

I’d like you to come to class knowing the answer to these questions:

  • What does ISBN stand for and what is an ISBN number?
  • Why is having an ISBN number on a book important?
  • How does one obtain an ISBN?
  • How much does an ISBN number cost?
  • How does one obtain an ISBN bar code?
  • How much does a bar code cost?
  • What is a Library of Congress Control number?
  • Why is a Library of Congress control number needed?
  • How does one obtain a Library of Congress control number?
  • How does someone typically get their book into a book store?

These will take a bit of Googling, but they shouldn’t be too difficult to find.

For Thursday, November 10

I’d like you to watch “How to Sequence and Design Your Next Book Like a Pro: An Insider’s Guide” (59:26) in which “Mat Thorne, pro photographer and design whiz, shares his secrets for great book design. Mat was the Art Director at the prestigious Maine Media Workshops and has designed books for some notable figures in contemporary photography. In this webinar, he walks you through book design and layout essentials and touches upon tips and tricks to help you with every aspect of bookmaking, from workflow to typography to final layout.”

Also, read Chapter 2, “TEXT,” in Ellen Lupton’s thinking with type.

For Tuesday, October 18

I’d like you to watch “How to Layout and Design Your Next Book Like a Pro” (69:13) in which pro photographer and book designer Mat Thorne presents an introduction to book design principals. This webinar covers an overview of typography, essentials of cover design, and laying out front & back matter. Mat also shares examples and offers inspiration from published photography books.

This will get you started thinking about layout and design.

In class on Tuesday Joe Carlough, Rowan Writing Arts alum, and founder of Displaced Snail Publications will be joining us for the first two presentations. Check out his web site and Etsy store and see the kind of cool stuff he has been doing.

For Thursday, October 13

Please read Chapter 1, “LETTER,” in Ellen Lupton’s Thinking with Type (pages 10 – 83). It is a quick but detailed read. You do not need to memorize the fonts or the names of the different parts of letter forms, but it is good to know about them for the work we are going to do. The key to is to get an idea what the incredible diversity of the fonts, their various histories, and the implications of their use.

Also, please read, “I’m Comic Sans, Asshole, ” by Mike Lacher.

In BookSmart, I’d like you to start working with fonts a bit on facing pages.

On a left page, I’d like you to use the pangram, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” 10 times down the page, skipping a line for each one. Use a different font for each line, but make sure you are using the same font size (no less than 14pt). Flush the sentences to the right.

On the facing page, flush to the left, I’d like you write the name of the font, and in that font face list some characteristics, impressions, and adjectives that describe the font. Is the font, for example, professional? Or whimsical? Or neoclassical? Or playful? And so on.

Go the Preview, take screen shot of your pages, post that to the course Tumbr blog, and in your post discuss some thoughts about what you are finding about fonts and impressions about fonts. This post will satisfy one of your 3 weekly posts.

The quick brown fox font screenshot

For Tuesday, October 11

This weekend I’d like you to start to get familiar with Blurb’s free BookSmart software. Please complete the following:

1. Watch the Getting Started with Blurb intro video.

2. Download and install BookSmart on your computer.

3. Watch the step by step guide to creating your first book.

4. Open BookSmart, choose a layout, and then create 2 pages, both of which have a mix of image and text. These can be any image and text that you can find. This is just for experimentation so have fun playing with the pages and the software.

5. When complete, go to File –> Export –> Export Book Project.

Blurb Export

Then bring the exported file to class with you on Tuesday. We’re going to try to import them to the BookSmart on campus.

Have a great weekend!

For Thursday, October 6

Please read:

Then watch the 87 minute documentary called RIP: A Remix Manifesto. You can download a copy of the movie to your computer for free or you can watch the whole movie online at Hulu:

For Tuesday, October 4

Please read Siva Vaidhyanathan’s “Copyright and American culture: Ideas, expressions, and democracy”(see the Readings page)  and watch the following videos:

“Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativity”

Steal this Film, which “takes account of the prominent players in the Swedish piracy (copyright infringement) culture: The Pirate Bay, Piratbyrån (Piracy Bureau), and The Pirate Party.” This is an important video about the current state and future of copyright laws. Watch it via the link above; the embed wasn’t working when I posted the assignment.

“A Shared Culture”

Check out the Creative Commons web site.

Post to Tumblr as discussed in the Tumblr assignment.

For Thursday, September 22

The first two texts are going to contextualize ebooks within the larger cultural discussion of how ebooks are causing us to reconsider our definition of a book. They second, in particular, considers how being located in a digital space transforms the possibilities for what the book can be and act as. The third text introduces us very quickly to the rapidly growing and increasingly valid online non-traditional book publishing industry.

Hillesund, T. (2001). Will ebooks change the world? First Monday.

Esposito, J.J. (2003). The processed book. First Monday.

Bradley, J., Fulton, B., Helm, M., and Pittner, K.A. (2011). Non-traditional book publishing. First Monday.

Please post your response to the course Tumblr blog as outlined in the Tumblr assignment.

For Tuesday, September 20

This set of texts is going to introduce us to medieval manuscripts and the invention of the printing press. Please read and take in the texts in the order presented below:

  • St. Gallen’s Bible (760 – 780 AD): This is a fully interactive version of the bible, available to us as a result of very high resolution scanning. The link will bring you to the front cover (note the clasp). Click on Facsimile and then use the navigation buttons to see the inner pages.
  • From Pen to Printing Press: Ten Centuries of Islamic Book Arts: This link brings to the online interactive version of an exhibit at the Indiana University Art Museum. Read the the About page and explore each of these sections of the online exhibit: Writing Implements and Materials, Manuscripts, Miniature Manuscripts and Scrolls, and Early Printed Books.
  • The Machine that Made Us: This “is a [one hour] documentary in which Stephen Fry examines the story behind the first media entrepreneur, printing press inventor Johann Gutenberg, to find out why he did it and how, a story which involves both historical inquiry and hands-on craft and technology.” Watch all three parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
  • The Gutenberg Bible at the Ransom Center: Much like with St. Gallen’s Bible, this site presents a high resolution scanned version of the text. There is also quite a bit of additional material. Spend time looking at the pages (under Digital Gutenberg Images) and read through: The Book before Gutenberg, Johann Gutenberg, The Printing of the Bible, The Spread of Printing, The Appearance of the Bible, Anatomy of a Page.

Post a response to the course Tumblr blog that answers: What do the medieval manuscripts tell us about writing today? Point to one or two specific manuscripts in your response. You response can be as long as you think it needs to be and should include images.

Update 9/18/2011: Due to the limited amount of time we’ll have in class on Tuesday, and based on our discussion of the 10 organizations you narrowed-down to, I have selected the 5 organizations we’ll be raising money for:

Come to class ready to list your top 3 preferences.

For Thursday, September 15

I’d like you to start brainstorming the kinds of charities that you might like to create a book to support. The charities can be local, regional, statewide, national, or international. The charities can work on raising money for just about group, animal, or political, or social cause, as long as the group is not exclusionary (that is, it cannot exclude people based on race, religion, or sexual orientation) or hate-based. The organization must also be non-profit.

You might already know of some organizations that you’d like to support. Or, you may know of some causes that you’d like to help raise money to support. Or, you may have identified something that or a group of people who needs money and are looking for an organization that can help get the money to them (think of the Texas wildfire victims as the people in need and the Red Cross as an organization who will help get money to them).

Often, Needs of the Moment are the ones that will help galvanize attention and money (such as with the BP Oil Spill). There are so many Needs of the Moment that need help, whether it is the famine in horn of Africa or stopping slaughter or dolphins in Japan or food banks that are seeing a drastic rise in clients as a result of the recession. So, don’t just think about the charities themselves; think about who or what is in need of help. Then, you can go and find a nonprofit from there.

To help you find organizations, start with the following sites and then broaden your reach by searching far and wide online:

After spending quite a bit of time searching, I’d like you to tumbl 3 charities/nonprofits/causes/needs that you’d like to compose a book for and/or think that others would buy a book to support. Create 1 Tumbl posts for each charity/nonprofits/causes/need, adding a brief summary of what the charity does (or what the need is), a link back to the charity (or info about the need), a video or image found on the charity site (or, showcasing the need), and a sentence or two discussing why you have selected that particular charity or need and what the book theme might be. Post these by class time, as we will be discussing them in class quite extensively.

For Tuesday, September 13

The texts and videos you’ll read and watch this weekend will introduce you to Chinese printing, the invention of paper, ancient Egyptian scrolls, and Plato’s thoughts on writing as presented in Phaedrus:

Inventions from Ancient China ~ Printing Technique

Carter Goodrich, “The Invention of Paper’ from The Invention of Printing in China and its Spread Westward (found on the password protected Readings page)

Papyrus from NOVA

Watch the full episode. See more NOVA scienceNOW.

Plato on Writing from Phaedrus

I’d like you to think about the word “technology” and phrase “a technology” as you read and watch these texts. In contemporary society when one hears the word “technology” it is often assumed to be associated with computing and/or electronic devices and systems. Please post a response to the course Tumble blog (equal to 2/3rds page, single space, Times New Roman 12):

How (or are) the writing tools used in the texts you read and watch technologies? If so, how do these ancient technologies help us understand and redefine our understanding of what technology can mean or be in contemporary society?

For Thursday, September 8

Download, print, read, and bring to class the course syllabus (.pdf) read Computer Classroom Etiquette.

Download and install the Firefox browser (if you already have it, make sure it is the most recent version). Doanload and install Blurb’s Booksmart software. Join the Tumblr blog by going to the link in the email I sent to your Rowan email address this morning.

Read Ben Ehrenreich’s 2011 essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books, “The Death of the Book” and post a response to the text to the course Tumblr blog. In your response:

I’d like you to attempt to answer these questions that Ehrenreich brings up: “But what could it mean for the book to die? Which sort of book?  And what variety of death?” Use Ehrenreich’s essay and your own experience to discuss these questions in great detail. Do not mere state whether you liked the article or not, or whether you love your Kindle or Nook or iPad or don’t have one. Think about the implications of the phrase “the death of the book,” the role that books play in our society, and what would mean (educationally, socially, politically, rhetorically, metaphorically, and so on) if books would “die.” (You might even start with the premise that suggest that books are “alive.”) In the end, I’d like you to speculate as to the future of book as an object.

Your post should be equal to 2/3rds of a page, single space, Times New Roman font size 12. It should be posted by class time. You may include pictures if you would like.

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