wrt fall 2014 syllabus

Course Information

Course Numbers: WA 01301, Section 2, 40225; WA 01301, Section 3, 40227
Section 2 Course Hours: T/H 12:30 – 1:45 pm
Section 2 Course Location: Education (James) Hall 2113
Section 3 Course Hours: T/H 3:30 – 4:45 pm
Section 3 Course Location: Robinson Hall 312
Office Location: Education Hall 3075
Office Hours: W 12 – 3 and by appointment
Printable Syllabus: wolff-wrt-syllabus-f14 (.pdf) (web version is most recent version)
Required Texts | 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.

Hall, S. (2012). This means this, this means that: A user’s guide to semiotics. 2nd Edition. London: Lawrence King.

Windows users will be required to purchase or download video editing software. See below.

In an effort to reduce textbook costs, multiple readings that will be available for free online on the Readings page.

You will also need access to:

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Access to a scanner (these are available in most Rowan computer labs)
  • 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
  • film or digital camera
  • USB flash drive with no less than 8GB of memory (to to use as backup and transfer digital photos and movie files from home to school and back again)
  • Other materials as needed

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

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Academic Technology Statement

I will never mark down or refuse to accept a project because of trouble using academic technology. The software and applications we use are a means to complete the work, not the work itself. The software is often new and sometimes still has bugs. I am aware of this and am aware that problems can happen. If you run into trouble, let me know as soon as possible so I can help you work through it. There is no reason to sit for hours getting more and more frustrated. Send me an email with as detailed a description of your problem as possible and we’ll figure out what is going on.

If you are having trouble getting a project completed on time (for whatever reason) please let me know about your delays as soon as possible. It is better to complete an assignment late then to not complete it at all, and I am more than happy to work with you so you can compete the best project you can.

For Windows Users

All versions of Windows since XP have come with a version of a basic video editing software, Movie Maker. 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
  • Windows 8 is too confusing for me to figure out what it has and what can be installed

Though we are going to be doing basic-to-moderately-complex video editing in this class, none of the versions of Movie Maker are sophisticated enough to handle what we are doing. Students in the past have experienced the following dramatic, maddening, time consuming, and sometimes utterly devastating problems:

  • All versions of Windows Movie Maker are known to crash often and without warning resulting in having to start the project over from scratch.
  • Windows Movie Maker gives odd and often mysterious errors that can result in you having to recreate your movie from scratch.

These are not one-off errors. These have happens to multiple students each time I’ve taught video editing. Students who have Windows-based computers are required to purchase a low-cost alternative that is less than the cost of most class textbooks. Three possible options are:

If you opt for one of the pay versions, I suggest contacting the Pinnacle or Movie Edit folks to see if they have education discounts available for students. Find their contact information on their web sites.

Mac users: iMovie versions 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 W 12 – 3 and by appointment.

Occasionally office hours will be conducted online via email, Twitter, and/or Google Hangout. Watch Twitter for announcements.

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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. 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”). (See this article on contacting a professor when going to be absent.) 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 (#wrtf14) to all course related tweets.

I’ll get back to your tweets and emails as soon as possible—usually within half a day. With two small children at home, during the week I’m offline 5:00pm – 9:00pm and after 10:00pm and during the weekend I’ll be online sporadically, so don’t expect an immediate response during those times. 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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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.

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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, which meets twice a week, the maximum number of permissible absences is 6. 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 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 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-)

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.

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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 gain greater familiarity the theories and practices relating to the use of multiple modes in the construction of texts.

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.

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:

  • Remix Analysis and Reflection: 15%
  • Video Mashup and Reflection: 30%
  • Photo Essay and Reflection: 25%
  • Social Media: 20%
  • In-class participation: 10%

Grades will be determined on the following point scale:

  • A+: 97 – 100pts
  • A: 93 – 96
  • A-: 90 – 92
  • B+: 87 – 89
  • B: 83 – 86
  • B-: 80 – 82
  • C+: 77 – 79
  • C: 73- 76
  • C-: 70 – 72
  • D+: 67 – 69
  • D: 63 – 66
  • D-: 60 – 62
  • F: 59 and below

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 in the B-range 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.

Detailed criteria will be provided for each assignment. Missing assignments will receive a 0. Late major assignments will receive a 1/2 letter grade deduction for every class period it is late. All major assignments (including rough drafts) must be completed to pass the course.

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