Professor: Jim Brown
Teaching Assistant: Eric Alexander
Class Meeting Place: 2191E Helen C. White
Class Time: Wednesday, 6:00-8:30pm
Jim's Office: 6187E Helen C. White
Jim's Office Hours: Monday 12:30-2:30pm, Wednesday 4:00-6:00pm [Make an Appointment]
Jim's Email: brownjr [at] wisc [dot] edu
Eric's Office: 7184 Helen C. White
Eric's Office Hours: [Make an Appointment]
Eric's Email: ealexand [at] cs [dot] wisc [dot] edu
Course Website: http://courses.jamesjbrownjr.net/550_spring2012
Texts available for purchase at University Book Store:
- Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students, Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee
- Y: The Last Man, Unmanned
- Y: The Last Man, Cycles
- Braid (videogame)
Texts Available for Download:
- Persuasive Games, Ian Bogost (excerpts)
- Making Comics and Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud (excerpts)
- ComicLife Software
Our work in this course will address four main objectives:
- Rhetorical Theory: Read and analyze classical and contemporary rhetorical theories.
- Rhetorical Practice: Use rhetorical theory to create digital objects.
- Writing and Design Process: Develop sustainable writing and design processes when creating traditional writing assignments and digital projects.
- Collaboration: Effectively collaborate with your peers by sharing ideas and efficiently managing tasks.
In this class, the following work will be evaluated:
- Attendance and Participation
- Comic Tracings
- Group Comics Project [graduate students complete this project individually]
- Graduate Students only: Individual presentation on a chapter of
Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students
- Group Videogame Project
Grades in this class will be determined by the Learning Record Online (LRO). The LRO will require you to observe your own learning and construct an argument for your grade based on evidence that you accumulate throughout the semester. You will record weekly observations and you will synthesize your work into an argument for your grade. You will construct this argument twice - once at the midterm and once at the end of the course. We will be discussing the LR) at length during the first week of class. See below for more details.
Success in this class will require regular attendance. I will take attendance at each class meeting, and your Learning Record will include a discussion of attendance. You are required to attend class daily, arrive on time, do assigned reading and writing, and participate in all in-class work. Please save absences for when you are sick or have a personal emergency. If you find that an unavoidable problem prevents you from attending class or from arriving on time, please discuss the problem with me.
If you are more than 10 minutes late for class, you will be considered absent. If there is something keeping you from getting to class on time (i.e., you have a long trek across campus right before our class), please let me know during the first week of class.
Computers and Cell Phones
Please feel free to use your computer or mobile phone during class, provided that your use of it is related to what we are working on in class. Please silence mobile phones during class.
Grades in this course will be determined by use of the Learning Record, a system which requires students to compile a portfolio of work at the midterm and at the end of the semester. These portfolios present a selection of your work, both formal and informal, plus ongoing observations about your learning, plus an analysis of your work in terms of the five dimensions of learning and the goals for this course. You will evaluate your work in terms of the grade criteria posted on the LRO site, and you will provide a grade estimate at the midterm and final.
The dimensions of learning have been developed by teachers and researchers, and they represent what learners experience in any learning situation:
1) Confidence and independence
2) Knowledge and understanding
3) Skills and strategies
4) Use of prior and emerging experience
In addition to analyzing your work in terms of these dimensions of learning, your argument will also consider the specific goals for this course. These goals are also listed above under "Course Objectives," and for the purposes of the Learning Record they are called the Course Strands:
1) Rhetorical Theory
2) Rhetorical Practice
3) Writing and Design Process
The LRO website provides detailed descriptions of the Course Strands and the Dimensions of Learning.
Your work in class (and in other classes during this semester) along with the observations you record throughout the semester will help you build an argument in terms of the dimensions of learning and the course strands. We will discuss the LRO in detail at the beginning of the semester, and we will have various conversations about compiling the LRO as the semester progresses.
Due dates for assignments are posted on the course schedule. While I will not be grading your assignments, I will be providing comments and feedback. I will not provide feedback on late assignments. Also, late assignments will be factored into your argument in the LR (see the grade criteria for more details).
Much of what we'll be working on this semester involves the appropriation of existing texts. This is no different than any other type of writing - all writing involves appropriation. The key will be to make new meaning with the texts that you appropriate. Copying and pasting existing texts without attribution does not make new meaning. Some of your work will make use of different materials (text, video, audio, image), and you will have to be mindful of intellectual property issues as you create texts for this class. If you have questions about the University of Wisconsin's Academic Misconduct policy, please see the Student Assistance and Judicial Affairs website.
We will use technology frequently in this class. Although I am assuming that you have some basic knowledge of computers, such as how to use a keyboard and mouse, and how to use the Web and check e-mail, most things will be explained in class. If you don’t understand what we are doing, please ask for help. If you are familiar with the technology we are using please lend a helping hand to your classmates.
Course Website and Email
You should check your email daily. Class announcements and assignments may be distributed through email. The course website will also have important information about assignments and policies. Pay close attention to the course calendar as we move through the semester. I reserve the right to move things around if necessary.
Emails to me must come from your wisc.edu email address. They must include a title explaining the email, a salutation (for example, "Dear Jim"), a clear explanation of what the email is about, and a signature.