ENG 1131 Syllabus

Writing Through Media
Summer A 2006

"Semiotic Domains and Personal Media Narratives"

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Instructor: Cathlena Martin
Email: cmartin@english.ufl.edu
Section: 0379
Office: Turlington 4409 or Image Lab on 4th Floor of Rolfs Hall
Office Hours: The period before class or by appointment
Mailbox: 4301 Turlington
Class Times: MTWR per 5 / MW per 6-7
Class Room: Rolfs 105
Class Website: http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/cmartin
Class Wiki: http://writingthrumedia06.pbwiki.com
(password: media)
Class Blog: http://writingthrumedia06.blogspot.com
Class Gradebook: http://www.engrade.com/login.cgi
Class Listserve: sa06-0379@clas.ufl.edu

Course Overview:
ENG1131 extends the typical "writing about literature" course to include entertainment and popular culture media including cinema, television, music, video games, pop literature, comics, magazines, and zines. We will develop and employ strategies for reading both image and text within these forms, particularly focusing on the remediation of print into film and video games. We will not only analyze and interpret media works, but also use media driven forms for exploring the production of meaning and collaborative writing. You will not only be writing about media, but you will be writing through media.

This particular section of ENG1131 will focus on children and youth's culture and literature within media. We will specifically be looking at narratives, both fictional and autobiographical personal narratives in media. Our theoretical stance and learning initiative will focus on semiotic domains in media. Our class texts and media will incorporate print, film and video games. We will also be looking at different media (the plural of medium NOT the news media) such as blogs, webpages, digital libraries, online diaries, etc.

Course Objectives:
1. To learn and practice applying strategies for writing through various forms of media.
2. To practice adapting writing to specific public online audiences.
3. To learn analytical techniques for reviewing image based media.
4. To recognize and analyze personal narratives in media.
5. To learn techniques for improving stylistic clarity, concision, cohesion, and coherence.
6. To share ideas, philosophies, and writing strategies related to new media and writing and develop individual and collaborative writing processes appropriate for technical documents.
7. To incorporate technology into collaborative writing and form a community of writers with your peers in which you provide one another with extensive written and oral feedback.
8. To critique and revise your own documents to insure that they fulfill their purposes.
9. To recognize and analyze semiotic domains.

Required reading is available at Goerings Bookstore.
Clairday, Robynn. Confessions of a Boyfriend Stealer: A Blog. Delacorte Books, 2005.

Gee, James Paul. What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Gloeckner, Phoebe. The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures. Frog Ltd, 2002.

Other readings will be posted on-line on the schedule or the class wiki as either as a link or in PDF. You will find a link from the course's schedule web page that opens another window in Adobe Acrobat or leads you to a different website. You are responsible for reading and printing out the material so as to have it in-class when we discuss it. Readings may include selections from authors such as: Henry Jenkins, Lev Manovich, Jay David Bolter, Richard Grusin, Roland Barthes, W.J.T. Mitchell, Mark J.P. Wolf, Bernard Perron, Ken McAllister, and Chris Crawford.

You may be renting or buying various video games, movies, and books specific to your individual group project. If you do not have a console (Xbox, PS2, GameCube), handheld video gaming system (GameBoy, PSP, DS), or a computer that has an adequate video card and want to play video games for the class, then you may rent time at our local gaming arcade, Gamer's Asylum.

Class Policies and Requirements

Writing Help: You are expected to be familiar and fluent with the conventions of standard written English. Those needing extra help with such conventions should also purchase a writing handbook and be prepared to visit the Writing Center, as well as sign up for writing conferences with me.

Attendance: This class is developed around group work and collaborative writing. Absences not only affect you, but they affect your group members. Therefore, to learn professionalism and team work, and because class attendance is critical to your understanding of class material, you are allowed only three absences over the course of the semester. After three absences, your final grade average will be dropped a letter grade for every day missed. The first three absences will alter your Professionalism, Participation, and Attendance grade.

According to the Student Catalog: "Students are responsible for satisfying all academic objectives as defined by the instructor. Absences count from the first class meeting. The university recognizes the right of the individual professor to make attendance mandatory. After due warning, professors can prohibit further attendance and subsequently assign a failing grade for excessive absences." If you have excessive absences, whether excused or unexcused, you will fail the class.

You are responsible for contacting a group member or me to find out what material you missed and any work that was assigned. If work is due in class on the day of the absence, the work is due in my mailbox before class. Tardies (arriving late in class or departing class early) are not acceptable because they are disruptive, and, beyond any excused tardies, class participation grade and overall grade will be affected (3 tardies = 1 absence).

If you participate in a university-sponsored event (music, theater, field trip, or athletics), you must provide me with documentation from an appropriate authority.

Class Participation: In addition to attending class, you are also expected to contribute class discussions, group work, and participate in workshop sessions with your peers. Learning is not a solitary process, but one that necessarily involves others and I thus consider class participation a very important part of achieving this class’s goals.

Quizzes: I reserve the right to give quizzes at any point in the semester.

Networked Writing Environment Classroom Rules:
The NWE prohibits food and drink in the networked classrooms.
The NWE system does not permit downloading of music, games, or other non-academic files.
For security reasons, the NWE may block your future access to the system if you forget to log out before leaving the classroom, and you’ll find that regaining your access requires annoyingly bureaucratic complications for both you and your instructor. So please, always remember to LOG OUT of the NWE before leaving class.

University and Departmental Policies

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the unacknowledged borrowing of someone else’s work and is a serious offense with serious consequences. Plagiarism will result in a failing grade on the paper in question and can possibly result in a failure for the course. Please consult the University of Florida’s Honor Code for a thorough description (www.dso.ufl.edu/stg/code_of_conduct.html). Academic honesty requires that all work presented in this class be the student’s own work. Evidence of collusion (working with another student or tutor) or plagiarism (use of another’s ideas, data and statement without acknowledgment and/or extensive use of another’s ideas, data and statements with only minimal acknowledgment) will lead to the procedures set up by the University for academic dishonesty in the Honor Court. There is a clear distinction between learning new ideas and presenting them as facts or as answers, and presenting them as one’s own idea. Unless the work assigned is specifically designed to be completed in groups, all work must be individual.

Essentially, plagiarism means to present the ideas and/or words of someone else as one’s own. You commit plagiarism if you use (without credit):
-Any part of another person’s essay, speech, or ideas
-Any part of an article in a magazine, journal, newspaper; any part of a book,
encyclopedia, CD-ROM, online WWW page, etc.
-Any idea from another person or writer, even if you express that idea in your
own words.
-Any image from a print or online source.

UF Computer and Software Requirement: The following is the official UF policy on the student computer requirement: Access to and on-going use of a computer will be required for all students to complete their degree programs successfully. Effective with the Summer B 1998 term, the University of Florida expects each student entering the junior year, as well as each student new to the university, to acquire computer hardware and software appropriate to his or her degree program. Competency in the basic use of a computer is a requirement for graduation. Class assignments may require use of a computer, academic advising and registration can be done by computer, and official university correspondence is often sent via e-mail. While the university offers limited access to computers through its computer labs, most students will be expected to purchase or lease a computer that is capable of dial-up or network connection to the Internet, graphical access to the World Wide Web, and productivity functions such as word processing and spreadsheet calculation. Refer to the UF Computer and Software Requirement page for any questions (http://www.circa.ufl.edu/computers/) as well as the CLAS computer policy (http://www.clas.ufl.edu/clasnet/student-computers/).

Classroom Dynamics: Because class participation relies heavily on individuals feeling comfortable expressing their opinions, you must always show respect for the diversity of opinions expressed in this class. You must also demonstrate respect for gender, racial, class, and ethnic differences among your colleagues and instructor.

Harassment: Every student in this class is expected to participate in a responsible and mature manner that enhances education. Any conduct that disrupts the learning process may lead to disciplinary action.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation.

Challenging a Grade: Any complaints about separate assignments should be addressed to me and not to the English Department. If you have any complaints on the final grade, you may see me or email me. If you find that you still have complaints after our meeting, you may express your complaints on a form in the English Department Office (4012 Turlington). The form and accompanying course material will be given to Sid Dobrin for further action. A review committee may decide to raise, lower, or keep the originally assigned grade. This decision is final. The material submitted will remain on file in the English Department Office. To file this complaint, you will need copies of all of your graded assignments.


Once you have set up your online gradebook account, which we will do in class, you can access your grades through the online gradebook. Please keep a running total of your grades for yourself in case I miscalculate or there is a technical difficulty with the gradebook.
Your final grade will be calculated in the following manner:

Professionalism, Participation & Attendance 10%
Blog 15%
Reflection Journal/Reading Notes 15%
Media Reviews 20%
Semiotic Domain Papers 20%
Semiotic Domain Group Project 20%

Grading Scale:
Grading scale for your final course grade:
A: 90-100
B+: 87-89
B: 80-86
C+: 77-79
C: 70-76
D: 60-69
E: 0-59

The University of Florida does not use “minus” grades. So you can’t receive a B- as your final grade for this course. However, other class work may receive minuses to allow for a more precise evaluation of the quality of your work. Rounding up for final grades is not an absolute.

Rubric: Here is the brief, general rubric for grades I assign to your papers (you should use the statements to determine how you might work toward a higher grade):

You did what the assignment asked for at a high quality level, and your work shows originality and creativity. Work in this range shows all the qualities listed below for a B, but it also demonstrates that you took extra steps to be original or creative in developing content, solving a problem, or developing a style. Since careful editing and proofreading are essential in writing, papers in the A range must be free of typos and grammatical or mechanical errors (papers with more than one or two errors cannot receive an A).

You did what the assignment asked of you at a high quality level. Work in this range needs revision; however it is complete in content, is organized well, and shows special attention to style.

You did what the assignment asked of you. Work in this range needs significant revision, but it is complete in content and the organization is logical. The style is straightforward but unremarkable.

You did what the assignment asked of you at a poor quality level. Work in this range needs significant revision. The content is often incomplete and the organization is hard to discern. Attention to style is often nonexistent or chaotic.

An E is usually reserved for people who don’t do the work or don’t come
to class. However, if your work is shoddy and shows little understanding of the needs of the assignment, you will receive a failing grade.