Assignments

Code of Conduct (10%)

As a class, we will author a code of conduct for our course. In How to Respond to Code of Conduct Reports, Aurora and Gardiner say that a Code of Conduct should contain the following (in roughly this order):

  • Optionally, a short statement describing the goal of the code of conduct
  • A list of unacceptable behaviors
  • A description of where the code of conduct applies
  • A list of potential consequences for violating the code of conduct
  • Detailed, specific, simple instructions for reporting a code of conduct violation
  • A list of the people who will handle the code of conduct report
  • A promise that anyone directly involved in a report will recuse themselves
  • Optionally, contact information for emergency services
  • Optionally, links to related documents

Using this as a roadmap as well as anything else we've learned from Aurora and Gardiner's text, we will be collaboratively writing a write a code of conduct for our "Writing New Media" class. This code should be thought of as a document that "protects members of our community from harm."

The CoC will be authored collaboratively in Google Docs, and all students will receive full credit for the assignment upon completion of this assignment.

Hypothesis Annotations (15%)

For our readings, you will be required to use a tool called Hypothesis to highlight significant passages and to record observations about those passages. The goal here is to read together, to try to make sense of what we are reading in a collective way. If there is an assigned reading for the week, annotations are due by 5:00pm on Tuesday.This provides me with an opportunity to review your annotations before our class meeting.

Each annotation assignment is worth 2% of your grade, and these assignments are graded on a credit/no-credit basis. Hypothesis allows you to annotate certain passages and to record "page notes" (notes that apply to the entire reading). You may also find that you want to reply to another student's annotations. While I do not require any specific number of annotations or notes, I will be looking to see that you have put forth a good-faith effort to complete the assignment.

There are many ways to approach this method of collective annotation. Here's a guide developed by Dr. Nathaniel Rivers at St. Louis University, which presents some "do's" and "don'ts" of collaborative annotation. Annotations to our readings might do a number of things, including asking questions, pointing to another related source, connecting a reading to other readings in the class, or any other approach that you think might be useful to you and your classmates.

There's only one strict rule when it comes to these annotations: You can't say "I agree" or "I disagree". This may seem counter intuitive, but the goal of our readings isn't to agree or disagree with the author or even with one another. The goal is to ask questions, to figure out why the author is making certain arguments, and to consider what is most important about the argument we're reading.

As I look at your annotations and consider whether or not they deserve credit, I will be asking the following questions:

  • Does your annotation demonstrate that you have read the entire assigned reading?
  • Does your annotation demonstrate that you are considering what was posted previously and engaging in a conversation with the rest of the group?
  • Does your annotation provide evidence that you've thought carefully about the reading and its relationship to our class discussions?
  • Does your annotation demonstrate that you have put forth a good faith effort at completing the assignment?

Mastodon Posts (15%)

In this class, we will be using an open source social networking platform called Mastodon to share observations with one another. My hope is that you can use this space to discuss course readings or to share things that you find outside of class that are relevant to our discussions. Mastodon allows us to have a conversation amongst the members of our class conversation, but we are also able to follow users who are in other Mastodon communities.

Each week, I'll ask you complete at least five Mastodon "engagements." This means posting your own content, or interacting with a classmate. You may also "boost" someone else's post, but this won't count as an "engagement."

Twice during the semester, you will also complete a piece of writing (Mastodon reports) that offers you space to reflect on your Mastodon posts. The more active you are on Mastodon and the more seriously you take these posts, the easier it will be to write those reflections.

When determining whether or not you get credit for your Mastodon posts, I will be asking

  • Does your post demonstrate that you are thinking carefully about our readings and discussions?
  • Does your post demonstrate that you are considering what was posted previously by others in class and engaging in a conversation with the rest of the group?
  • Does your post provide evidence that you've tried to make connections between class discussions and readings and things you've encountered outside of class?
  • Does your post demonstrate that you have put forth a good faith effort at completing the assignment?

Mastodon Reports (10%)

Twice during the semester, you will submit a report that summarizes and reflects on what you have been posting to Mastodon. This is an opportunity to look for patterns in your posts and to explain how you've been using Mastodon to help you understand the course content and connect that content to our discussions as well as your projects. Your first report is due October 18 and your second is due December 9. Each report is worth 5% of your grade.

Mastodon reports are a maximum of 500 words and are uploaded to Canvas as a Word documents. Remember that 500 words is not much! So, you'll want to make the best use of this limited amount of space. Reports should identify patterns in your posts, discuss how you've interacted with other students in the class on Mastodon, and explain how your posts connect with your other work in the course (hypothesis annotations, live discussions, papers, projects, etc.). The goal here is to reflect on how you've used Mastodon and how it's helped you navigate the course. The more attention you pay to posting on Mastodon, the easier these papers will be to write. You should cite specific posts from Mastodon in this report (no works cited page needed), and this might mean directly quoting yourself.

When responding to and grading Mastodon reports, I will be asking

  • Does the report demonstrate careful attention to finding patterns in your Mastodon posts?
  • Have you reflected on your interactions with other students on Mastodon and how those interactions demonstrate an attempt to engage with the course material?
  • Does the report show connections between your posts and your other work in the course?
  • Have you observed the 500 word limit?

Twine Project (25%)

During the first portion of the semester, the readings focus on how communities manage themselves and how we think about "small networks." You will be using Twine to build a story or game that addresses some issue related to this topic.

Some people think of Twine as a way of making games, and others consider Twine projects more like stories. Others think of them as a mix between the two. What you make with Twine is up to you, as long as you take advantage of the capabilities of the platform. Most importantly, you're task is to use Twine in a way that gives readers/players choices and making clear that those choices matter, and you will create a scenario that somehow sheds light on or questions our readings and discussions to this point in the course.

Altogether, the project is worth 25% of your grade, and it is broken down into four different components:

1) A one-minute "pitch" delivered to the rest of the class (5%)
During class on October 21, everyone will deliver a one-minute pitch to the rest of the class. This is an informal presentation - no slides, just you talking. However, the #1 rule is that you cannot go longer than one minute. So, you'll have to plan this out carefully, making sure that you tell us as much as you can about the project in that one minute.

2) Version 1 of your project (5%)
Version 1 of your project is due October 27 at 5:00pm. You will upload the HTML version of your game to Canvas. This doesn't have to be the complete project, but it should be a playable version of the project. That means that someone else should be able to navigate through it, read/watch/listen to content, and get a general sense for what the project is about.

3) Peer review of another student's Twine Project (5%)
We will have two peer review sessions during which you will get feedback from a partner. During the second of these sessions, you will complete a written response to your partner's game and upload that response to Canvas. This feedback should be as detailed as possible, and it must go beyond things like "This is great!" Giving detailed feedback will help your partner make the project better, and it will also help you work through your own project since it will get you thinking critically about what works well and what doesn't work well in Twine.

4) Version 2 of your project (10%)
Version 2 of your project due November 8, 5:00pm. This version of the project should demonstrate that you've revised and changed the game during the peer review process, and it should be free of bugs, typos, or other errors.

When responding to the different parts of the Twine project, I will be asking

  • Does your pitch concisely present your idea for the project, and did it observe the time limit?
  • Does version 1 represent a playable version of the game, even if it might have some gaps, bugs or errors? Is it possible for a player to see where the project is headed, even if it isn't yet complete? Does the project address some topic we have addressed in class?
  • Does your written feedback to a peer represent careful attention, providing detailed feedback about ways to make the project better?
  • Does version 2 represent a significant revision, incorporating feedback from peers, and is it free of bugs, typos, and other errors?

Digital Writing in Johnson Park (25%)

Johnson Park and the Cooper Branch Library (now housing the Digital Studies Center) have been contested spaces for many years, sitting in between the City of Camden and Rutgers University. Recently, the university and the city have had to come to terms with racist imagery in a mosaic that sits on the front of the Library building.

As we think about Johnson Park, we can be inspired by some of the work we've discussed in class that has opened up a national conversation about racism, monuments, public art, and public space. Think about the Lee statue in Richmond or the various street murals that have emerged in cities across the country. How might we take the lessons of those projects and apply them to this space in Camden? Specifically, we are concerned with how digital writing might be used to help raise important questions and provoke conversations about Johnson Park and the Cooper Branch Library building and about power, racisms, and monuments more broadly.

In this assignment, you will consider how digital writing might help us to rethink this space and place. Your task is to plan a digital writing project that takes place in the space of the park and building. Using any technology you might imagine (audio, video, projection, drones, physical computing devices, just to name a few), your job is to describe that project. We won't have time to enact your projects, but it's possible that the Digital Studies Center could help you realize some of these projects in the future.

This project is worth 25% of your grade, and it's broken down into three different components:

1) Project Proposal (5%)
Your project proposal is a 500-word document that describes, in as much detail as possible, a digital writing project that takes place in Johnson Park. The proposal should be clear about the technologies you would plan to use, when you would imagine it taking place (Is this a long term installation? Why? Does it take place at a specific time? Why?), how it would work, and what message you would hope to convey with this digital writing project. The proposal is due November 25 at 5:00pm.

2) Project Description Document (15%)
Your project description is a maximum of 1500 words, and it should is describe, in as much detail as possible what your project would look, sound, and feel like (the document may also incorporate any other media that might help us understand how the project works). The key for this project is that you incorporate digital writing in some way, and the final project description should be as detailed as possible in terms of describing the project and what it would hope to accomplish. Who is the audience for this project, and what is the argument the project would try to make? The final project description document is due December 8 at 5:00pm

3) 2-minute presentation (5%)
On our last day of class (December 9, 9:30am), each student will deliver a 2-minute presentation about their project. This is an informal presentation, and it is an opportunity to share your work with the other students in the class. All presentations must observe the 2-minute time limit.

When responding to the different parts of the final project, I will be asking

  • Does your proposal provide a detailed description of your project, and did it observe the word limit? Have you made clear what technologies would be used and what you hope to achieve with the project?
  • Does the final project description document explain the technical details of your proposed project, and does it provide a rationale for what you hope the project accomplishes?
  • Does your mini-presentation effectively explain to your peers the details of the project, its aims and goals, and does it observe the time limit?