wecf13 syllabus

Course Information

  • Course Numbers: MAWR 01555 1; 43645
  • Course Location: James Hall 2104
  • Course Hours: TH 6:30 – 9:00pm
  • Office Location: Education Hall 3075
  • Office Hours: TH 3:00 – 4:30 or by appointment
  • Contact: wolffw@rowan.edu, @billwolff
  • Office Phone: use email or Twitter
  • Course Web Site: https://williamwolff.orgcourses/wec-fall–2013/

Required Texts and Materials

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 (due to being on 75% paternity leave my time on campus is limited this semester). My office hours are Thursday, 3:00 – 4:30 and by appointment, in James Hall 3075.

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 a response.

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 (#wecf13) to all course related tweets to ensure I see it.

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.

Universal Learning

I am committed to the principle of universal learning. This means that our classroom, our virtual spaces, our practices, and our interactions be as inclusive as possible. Mutual respect, civility, and the ability to listen and observe others carefully are crucial to universal learning.

Any student with particular learning needs should contact the Academic Success Center 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. Then you and I can work out the details of any accommodations needed for this course.


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 BW 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, please inform BW 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-)

A student who has 4 or more absences will receive an F for the course. 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.


Grades in this course are determined on the basis of a Learning Record, which accompanies a portfolio of work presented both at the midterm and at end of term. These portfolios present a selection of your work, both formal and informal, plus ongoing observations about your learning, plus an analysis of your work development across six dimensions of learning: confidence and independence, knowledge and understanding, skills and strategies, use of prior and emerging experience, reflectiveness, and creativity, originality, imagination . This development centers on the major strands of work for the course:

Writing in and for Digital Spaces: Students will become familiar with various practices associated with writing in digital spaces and will apply them effectively and affectively as needed. They will also become proficient using the composing language, Markdown.

Participatory Culture: Students will become familiar with various theories about participatory culture. They will learn how to conduct, organize, and analyze the results of a research study of a particular participatory community.

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.

A note on in-class discussions: Contribution to in-class discussion is expected at the graduate level. That is, I expect all students in all class meetings to contribute thoughtful insights into the texts and the ideas discussed in class. No grade will be assigned for in-class participation; however, if your participation is lacking, it could result in a minor reduction in your final grade.

A note about grades: grades in the A-range are those that show the student working at levels significantly higher than what is expected. Grades at the B-level are those that show the student working at levels at or just above what is expected. Grades at the C-level and below are those that show the student working at levels below what is expected.

Final grades correspond to the Graduate Handbook (A-C) for graduate students. All work is expected to be the student’s own and include attribution to outside work according to assignment guidelines and citation standards. Any plagiarism will be handled in accordance with the guidelines in the Student Handbook.

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