ia syllabus spring 2009

course information

Course Numbers: MAWR 01564, Section 1, 22727
Course Hours: M 7:00 – 9:15pm
Course Location: Education Hall 2099
Office Hours: M, TH 2:30 – 4:00pm, and by appointment
Printable Syllabus: ia-syllabus-s09 (.pdf)
Required Texts | Discussion Leader | Web 2.0 Review List | 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.

Bowker, G, & Star, S.L. (2000). Sorting things out: Classification and its consequences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Brown, J.S. & Duguid, P. (2002). The Social Life of Information. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Kress, G., & van Leeuwen, T. (1996). Reading images: The grammar of visual design (2nd ed). London: Routledge.

Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (2003). Metaphors we live by. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Lessig, L. (2005). Free culture: The nature and future of creativity. New York, NY: Penguin.

Lupton, E. (2004). Thinking with type: A critical guide for designers, writers, editors, & students. New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press

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

Nardi, B.A. & O’Day, V.L. (2000). Information Ecologies: Using Technology with Heart. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Reynolds, G. (2008). Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery. Berkeley, CA: New Riders. (recommended, though will be invaluable)

Tufte, E. (2006). Beautiful evidence. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.

Turchi, P. (2004). Maps of the imagination: The writer as cartographer. San Antonio, TX: Trinity University Press.

  • Various photocopies and online readings.
  • Computer with Internet access
  • Microsoft Word or any of many online alternatives (papers must be turned in in .doc or .rtf; no other formats will be accepted)
  • Rowan email address
  • Other materials as needed

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Discussion Leader

Starting in the second week of the course, each week with have a primary and a secondary discussion leader. That is, each week two students will be responsible for leading the discussion, but only the lead is responsible for generating a series of five questions for the group to pursue prior to coming to class. We will use those five questions think about the material the evening before class begins (and respond to some of those questions before coming to class). Everyone participates in the discussion surrounding the five questions the leader has raised. I ask that you post your questions to the IOAC blog no later than 7:00pm the Sunday night before you present so everyone has a chance to read these questions and think about them and respond briefly to them before class. The questions should appear as a seamless extension of your weekly response to the text.

Some of you have participated in similar activities in other classes with mixed results. Let me explain that I ask for some decorum in our conversations. We come to this course with varying levels of expertise and various backgrounds academically. Let us respect all of those positions. No question is stupid if it is related to the readings and all responses should be valid ones. We are to use this element of the course to enrich our understanding of the material.

While there are no stupid questions, there are more effective questions to encourage richer discussions. Just as in your weekly responses, please refrain from questions and discussion that will elicit or center on whether or not you liked or disliked the text. It is true that some texts are more attractive than others. Ultimately, however, whether we like the text or not doesn’t matter and such tautological discussions become rather tiresome. What does matter is how it furthers the overall goals of the class, asks us to reconsider previous understandings and rethink the other texts we read, and so on. Because we will be posting the questions on the IAOC blog the questions will be open to discussion by their readership, as well, so ensure that the questions are broad enough to address that audience.

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Web 2.0 Application Review List

Each student will select a web 2.0 application from the following list (each application can only be used by one student) and will compose a multimodal review that will be posted on the IAOC blog. Specifics on the review (which will be due throughout the semester and will be accompanied by an in-class presentation) will follow, but I recommend signing up and beginning to interact with the site-and conducting some online research about the site-immediately. The more interaction you have with the application and the more you understand about its related applications the more meaningful and effective your review will be.

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.

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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 an immediate response. I strongly suggest you contact me via email, which I 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. Any email that does not will immediately be deleted and not responded to.

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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. Rowan University policy states that students cannot pass this class if s/he misses more than 25% of the scheduled meeting times, including excused and unexcused absences. For our section of Information Architecture, which meets once a week, the maximum number of permissible absences is 3.

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.

Unexcused Absences
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-)

If a students has 4 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:

Information Architecture: Students will develop their understanding of how information is structured, ordered, and classified, in a variety of texts, media, and modes.

Visual 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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Final grades will be calculated in the following way:

  • Information Ecology Project: 30%
  • Semester Long Blog: 20%
  • Web 2.0 Application Review: 20%
  • Twitter and Twitter App Review: 20%
  • Discussion Lead and Questions: 5%
  • In- and Out-of-Class Participation: 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.

Major Assignments will be assessed according to the following grading criteria:

A, A- Represents outstanding participation in all assignment-related activities; all assigned work completed, with very high quality in all work produced for the assignment. Work at this level demonstrates activity that goes significantly beyond the required course work in one or more Course Strand.

B+, B, B- Represents excellent participation in all assignment-related activities; all assigned work completed, with consistently high quality in assignment work. Work at this level demonstrates activity that goes beyond the required course work in one or more Course Strand.

C+, C, C- Represents good participation in all assignment-related activities; all assigned work completed, with generally good quality overall in assignment work.

D+, D, D- Represents uneven participation in all-assignment activities; some gaps in assigned work completed, with inconsistent quality in assignment work.

F Represents minimal participation in all-assignment activities; serious gaps in assigned work completed, or very low quality in assignment work.

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