wec fall 2009 syllabus

Course Information

Course Numbers: MAWR 01555, Section 1, 42685
Course Hours: W 6:30 – 9:00pm
Course Location: Education Hall 2094
Office Hours: T 1:00 – 4:00pm, and by appointment
Printable Syllabus: wec-syllabus-f09 (.pdf)
Required Texts | Discussion Leader | Office Hours | Contacting Each Other | Students with Disabilities | Attendance and Late Work | Course Strands | Grading

Required Texts

Brooke, C. (2009). Lingua fracta: Toward a rhetoric of new media. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Hayles, N.K. (2008). Electronic literature: New horizons for the literary. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Available free online at http://bit.ly/5OU5A. (Please do not print the text; we will discuss what it was like reading it on the computer.)
Kress, G. (2003). Literacy in the new media age. New York: Routledge.
Rettberg, J.W. (2008). Blogging. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Vaidhyanathan, S. (2003). Copyrights and copywrongs: The rise of intellectual property and how it threatens creativity. New York: NYU Press.
Selber, S. (2004). Multiliteracies for the digital age. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.
Tryon, C. (2009). Reinventing cinema: Movies in the age of media convergence. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Wasik, B. (2009). And then there’s this: How stories live and die in viral culture. New York, NY: Viking Adult.

Web 2.0 packet of online readings.
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Discussion Leader

Starting in the second week of the course, each week will have a discussion leader that introduces and leads a discussion of the text(s) that were assigned. The leader will make a 10 – 15 opening statement about the text, which will take the form of an oral review of the text. The statement must contain at least the following: an overview of the goals of the text, an over of the main points/arguments made by the author, a discussion of the theories the author uses to contextualize the arguments made in the text, some ideas about how those ideas relate to literacy, and a discussion of some of the places in the text that were particularly challenging. Accompanying the presentation will be a handout that lists key terms and ideas the author introduces, as well as their definitions as understood by the presenter. These materials will help ground the discussion.

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 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 reviews of the text on our blog (and then announcing the posts on Twitter) our ideas will be open will be open to discussion by a larger readership, as well, so be sure that your reviews are grounded in the text and not in your own life.
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Office HoursOffice 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. My office hours are T 1:00 – 4:00 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. 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. You cannot pass this class if you miss 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-)

This rate of deduction continues until reaching the maximum, after which you 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:

Students will develop their understanding of how literacy is evolving in the new media age, as well as their ability to discuss literacy from multiple perspectives.

Students will gain greater familiarity the theories and practices relating to written and visual constructions of ideas.

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.

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

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:

  • Collaborative Essay—30%
  • Semester-long Blog—20%
  • Twittering and Twitter Rhetorical Analysis—20%
  • Final Paper—20%
  • Discussion Lead (2 @ 5% each)—10%

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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