ENG 1131 Major Assignments

Writing Through Media
Fall 2005


ENG 1131 Syllabus

ENG 1131 Assignments

ENG 1131 Schedule

ENG 1131 Blog

ENG 1131 Wiki

ENG 1131 Gradebook

Major Assignments

All assignments must be completed and submitted at the beginning of the class period on the due date assigned and in the assigned format. Each assignment will have specific features; however, essay assignments must be typed in Times New Roman and double-spaced on white 8 1/2" x 11" paper with one-inch margins on all sides. Essays that do not fit the required format will automatically be considered late and be deducted one letter grade.

These assignments are due in class, at the beginning of class, on the dates indicated. Your assignment grade will be dropped by one full letter grade for every day it is late. Also, there will be additional assignments and materials not indicated on this sheet (all changes will be posted on our class schedule on my webpage), and both this schedule and individual assignments are subject to change AND WILL CHANGE on a weekly basis.

Additionally, all assignments will be uploaded to your group’s wiki (see below).

Some assignments are individual, while others are group based. If the group assignment is late, everyone in the group is penalized. However, it is not an absolute that everyone in the group receives the same grade. I will conduct both self and group peer evaluations as a means of monitoring the work load balance within the groups.

Since ENG 1131 is a 6000-word Gordon Rule class (per the Gordon Rule established by the Florida Legislature), you must meet the writing volume minimums in order to pass the course.


You will practice writing through an online Blog dedicated solely to this class. Each week will feature a choice of “Forum” topics on the Discussion Blog. You must post the equivalent of a 100 word minimum response EACH WEEK to your choice of the forums for the given week. You may earn up to 15 points per week. You can earn up to 10 points for your response to the Discussion Blog forums and 5 points for “replying” to classmates’ postings. You must post before the deadline each week—Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. ET. (Warning: Don’t wait until the last minute—Late postings DO NOT qualify for points!)

In general, your postings MUST be made within the assigned week, and will earn points based on their coherency, creativity, evidence of thoughtfulness, courteousness, pertinence to the topic, and absence of excessive BS. In other words, you’re encouraged to use Discussion Blog to write creatively, adventurously, experimentally--but you should demonstrate that you’ve given some thought to your response. No points will be given if your posting is woefully inadequate. (Mistakes in grammar or spelling will not be penalized here—unless they’re so intrusive they make your writing unreadable.)
Your “reply” to a classmate’s postings carries no minimum length requirement, but you will gain all 5 points only if your reply demonstrates depth of thought and courteousness.
Directions on how to post to the blog are detailed on the blog site in red. Please red these instructions before you begin posting.

IMPORTANT: You must respond to one forum each week (not counting replies to classmates) in order to satisfy Gordon Rule minimums and pass the course!

Research Presentation and Discussion
Children’s culture and media is a VERY broad field that can be addressed from multiple angles including media studies, education, sociology, psychology, ecology, economics, etc. To help incorporate diverse approaches, each student will research and find an article pertaining to children’s culture and media that interests them. For this 20 minute presentation/discussion, each person will present/lead in a discussion the research article, book chapter, or other scholarly source that s/he found and distributed to the class a week in advance. You will post either a link to the source or we can upload a PDF of the article on the class wiki. You will post the bibliographic information of your research article on the class wiki as well as talking points that you would like your class members to think about while they read the article. Your article should be posted a week before the day you present; your talking points should be posted the class period before you present. You will be responsible for not only conveying important information from your research, but also leading the class in a discussion about your article. Each presentation leader is free to use whatever means available for their discussion including visual aids and/or technological components.

For general media and technology journals, try Media, Culture & Society or Technology and Learning, Technology and Children, Technology and Culture, and Technology Teacher, which are all available online.

For journals focused more on children that occasionally have articles regarding media, try Children & Society, Child Study Journal, Childhood Education.

For books that could provide interesting chapters to discuss, try books such as:
-Calvert, Sandra L. Children's journeys through the information age. Boston : McGraw-Hill College, c1999.
-Kinder, Marsha. Ed. Kids' media culture. Durham, NC : Duke University Press, 1999.
-Roberts, Donald F. Kids and media in America. Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2004.
-Singer, Dorothy G.The Handbook of Children and Media. Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Sage Publications, c2001.
-Strasburger, Victor C. Children, adolescents, & the media. Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Sage Publications, c2002.

Also, look for articles, websites, or books by any of the following people: Henry Jenkins, Lev Manovich, Jay David Bolter, Richard Grusin, Roland Barthes, W.J.T. Mitchell, Marshall McLuhan, Mark J.P. Wolf, Bernard Perron, Ken McAllister, and Chris Crawford.

If you are intersted in video games as media for your presentation, check out the journal Game Studies.

For two media outlets here at UF, visit academic-gamers.org , to get a feel for the current pulse of games in academia, or ImageTexT, an interdisciplinary journal of comics studies.

Video Game Review
You will complete three game reviews of 500 words (2 pages double spaced) over the course of the semester. You will choose the particular games that you would like to review, but they must fist be approved by me. When you decide on which game you would like to review, edit the GameReviewWiki off the class wiki (password: enc1131) page to list your game. These three games will provide you with a basis for discussion in class and will also provide primary sources for your group Wiki project. I would strongly suggest reviewing a game that can be the basis for your comparison/contrast paper. One of the three reviews can be a review of a digital medium in preparation for your group wiki.

For the video game review assignment you will make an evaluative or arguable claim about a particular video game – this will help focus your review. You can choose to evaluate anything about the game that you want as long you choose a stance that might provoke some disagreement.

Write your evaluative argument in the form of an editorial for a “popular” medium, such as a magazine or newspaper. (You don't need to choose a particular one.) In other words, assume that you're writing for a general audience, and use an appropriate writing “voice.”

You'll need to establish the criteria on which you base your judgement. Do you base your judgement on aesthetic, practical, or moral criteria? Also, make sure that you make a realistic argument, and confine the scope of your argument. In other words, you'll find it easier to argue that Paper Mario is best in game in the Mario series than that it's best game in the world. If you argue that something is bad or unsuccessful, be sure to suggest something that fulfills your criteria better.

What's at stake in your topic? That is, is there any reason why your readers should care? In this regard, you may take into account the oppositional point of view. On what points or basis might people disagree with you? Feel free to address these points in your essay.
You should write no less than 2 pages (approx. 500 words), double-spaced, Times New Roman font (12 pt.), with 1” margins. Use MLA formatting guidelines.
Your work will be evaluated on argumentation (originality, depth of critical thought), organization, evidence, and grammar/mechanics.

Sample student game reviews: one and two
Excellent student example

Links to game reviews examples from the Gainesville Sun:
"'Star Wars' and Legos a Brilliant Match." April 21, 2005.
"Stretch, punch, throw flames or just do your own Thing." July 14, 2005.

Comparison/Contrast Paper

What is a comparison or a contrast? A comparison shows how two or more items are similar, and a contrast shows how they are different.

What is a compare/contrast essay? In this situation, the compare/contrast essay must consider both the similarities and the differences found in a piece of children’s literature that has been adapted for film and video games. This can be achieved through either a subject-by-subject comparison or a point-by-point comparison (see more details on these two outlines following sample storylines below).

The trick is to not argue the obvious. When two or more things are clearly different, your challenge is to find out how they are similar. When two or more things are clearly similar, your challenge is to find out how they are similar.

Assignment: Choose a work of children’s literature in two parts that you can compare and contrast. At least one text must be in video game format (console, handheld, or PC), but the other may be a print version or a film/TV version. It is preferable that the story has all three media for a richer comparison, but this can discussed. Detail the similarities and the differences in the two texts and then make an analytical statement as to why they retain what similarities they do and as to why they exhibit evident differences. This will form your synthesis portion of the essay. Work on creating a strong thesis to build the rest of your paper from. We want to particularly focus on what difference the media/medium makes to the story. Yes, the storylines are similar, but how do the different media they are presented in make them different? How is the story altered to fit in the medium of a video game? What choices are made within the remediation of the story? Or, if the video game came first, how does that affect the print media?

You should write no less than 5 pages (approx. 1,500 words), double-spaced, Times New Roman font (12 pt.), with 1” margins. Use MLA formatting guidelines.

You will need a works cited page! If you are not comfortable incorporating quotations into your text, then see this page for helpful quotation integration hints.
Also, if you need help formatting citation information for your works cited page into MLA format, feel free to use the Citation Machine.

Comparison/Contrast Overview Rubric:
An “A” paper presents a well-articulated critique of the argument and conveys meaning skillfully.
A typical paper in this category
• clearly identifies important features of both texts to compare/contrast and analyzes them insightfully
• develops relevant ideas, organizes them logically, and connects them with clear transitions
• effectively supports the main points of the critique
• demonstrates control of language, including appropriate word choice and sentence variety
• demonstrates facility with the conventions (i.e., grammar, usage, and mechanics) of standard written English but may have minor errors
• reflects creativity and establishes the author’s own voice
• integrates outside sources into paper and documents the required number of sources in correct MLA documentation
• completes the required page/word length

A “C” paper demonstrates some competence in its critique of the argument and in conveying meaning but is obviously flawed.
A typical paper in this category exhibits one or more of the following characteristics:
• does not identify or analyze most of the important compare/contrast features of the text, although some analysis of the two texts is present
• limits the paper to either a comparison or a contrasting of the text, but does not do both
• mainly analyzes irrelevant matters, or reasons poorly
• is limited in the logical development and organization of ideas
• offers support of little relevance and value for points of the critique
• lacks clarity in expressing ideas
• contains occasional major errors or frequent minor errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics that can interfere with meaning
• lacks the required outside sources or the integration of these sources into the paper
• displays incorrect usage of MLA format
• does not meet the required page/word length


Some suggestions that you may choose from, but are not limited to:

Print media came first then Film and Video Game Examples

Print Film Video Game
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Any version Any version
Ex. America McGee’s Alice
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Same title (either version) Same title
Peter Pan Any version Any version
Ex. Kingdom Hearts
The Cat in the Hat Same title Same title (PC interactive book)
Harry Potter (any) Any version Any version
Winnie the Pooh Any version Disney Animated Storybook Collection (PC)

Video Game or Television/Film came first then print examples

Video Game Film/TV Print

Rugrats (any version)
Any version Any version
Yu-Gi-Oh Same title Can include comics or manga
PowerPuff Girls PowerPuff Girls TV Can include comics or manga or picture books

Subject-by-Subject Comparison.
Here, you are essentially writing a separate essay about each subject, but you discuss the same points for both subjects. In doing so, you use the same basis of comparison to guide your selection of supporting points. The most important part of this comparison is the final synthesis section, bringing the two pieces together. Your essay will usually look like this:

* Introduction: Thesis
* Media story line #1
o point 1: men
o point 2: women
o point 3: children
* Media story line #2
o point 1: men
o point 2: women
o point 3: children
*Synthesis of the two media
*Comment/analysis on point 1 in both media
*Comment/analysis on point 2 in both media
*Comment/analysis on point 3 in both media
* Conclusion: Restates the thesis or reviews key points.

Point-by-Point Comparison (which usually is more effective for students).
Here, you first make a point about one subject and then follow it with a comparable point about the other. Your essay will usually look like this:

* Introduction: Thesis
* Treatment of women
o media #1
o media #2
o Synthesis
* Portrayal of men
o media #1
o media #2
o Synthesis
* Visuals
o media #1
o media #2
o Synthesis
* Conclusion


Group Wiki
All groups will be assigned a wiki from the following list:

Each group will be given a password to their group’s wiki. This is to be kept within the individual groups so that only the group can edit pages.

The final group wiki project will consist of smaller assignments that will accumulate over the semester and a larger research project on a topic of the groups choosing. The wiki will include the following areas about the group’s media topic:
1. Topic proposal
2. Overview of group’s media
3. History of group’s media (this should enlarge the audience's understanding of the topic, and address key questions and key players)
4. Review of media (arguments for and against)
5. Impact and importance of group’s media in relationship to children and children’s culture
6. Works Cited and Consulted
7. Self and group evaluation (turn in print copy only)

8. You will also keep a running journal on the wiki about how the medium of the wiki is helping/hindering your project. In what ways is the wiki being beneficial? In what specific ways do you as a group and as individuals use the wiki? How would this be a different experience if this project were not composed on a wiki? This journal should end with an overall review of the wiki as a medium for this project.

Possible Group Media topics could include:
1. Blogs
2. Digital libraries
3. Video games for children
4. Plug N Play gaming systems
5. ESRP Game Rating System
6. Educational gaming systems (Leapfrog)
7. Misc digital media (iPod, GPS)

Or, the group can focus on a particular aspect within media, but they will need to specify the media (see above). These could include:
1. digital media and gender
2. digital media and race
3. digital media and children as consumers
4. digital media and the environment
5. digital media and policy/politics

Your group will present your group media and wiki to the class during the last two weeks of class.

You will be graded on depth and analysis of research, organization, collaborative writing, teamwork, and fully discussing the topic chosen.

Sample media research papers: ipods and mature themes in video games. Always remember that these are sample student papers and that they are not perfect models.