Summary-Analysis Papers

Due Dates

February 3
February 17

S-A papers due prior to the beginning of class, submitted to your Dropbox folders.

As we read Hayles' Electronic Literature, we will be learning new theoretical concepts that help us make sense of works of electronic literature. In an attempt to apply those concepts, we will write three short Summary Analysis (S-A) papers.

Paper Assignments

Paper 1 (2/3)
Define Hayles' concept of "intermediation," and use it to conduct an analysis of Stuart Moulthrop's Reagan Library.

Paper 2 (2/17)
Hayles says that electronic literature "revalues computational practice." Summarize what she means by this phrase and use this idea to analyze Emily Short's Glass

Keep the following things in mind as you write your S-A papers:

The summary section can be no longer than 250 words in the three short papers. Fairly and adequately summarizing a theoretical concept is a difficult task, especially when space is limited. The summary section of S-A papers should very concisely and carefully provide a summary of Hayles' theoretical concept. Please note that you are providing a summary of a particular concept and not the entire chapter. Because your summaries are limited to 250 words, you won't be able to mention every single point the author makes. Your job is to decide what's important and to provide a reader with a clear, readable, fair summary of the concept. While you may decide to provide direct quotations of the author, you will need to focus on summarizing the author's argument in your own words.

The analysis section can be no longer than 500 words in the three short papers. In the analysis sections of these papers, you will focus on applying the theoretical concept described in the summary section. You will use the concept you've summarized to explain how a piece of electronic literature works, and you will explain how one of Hayles' concepts allows us to make sense of this piece of literature. Just as Hayles does throughout the book, you will provide a close reading of a piece of literature (we will study examples in class).

Grade Criteria

While I will not be grading your papers, I will be providing feedback. Here is what I will be looking for:

* Is your paper formatted correctly (double-spaced, observes the word limit, name in upper-left-hand corner)?

* Does your summary fairly and concisely summarize Hayles' theoretical concept?

* Have you used your own words to summarize the concept?

* Does your analysis use Hayles' theoretical concept to explain and interpret the assigned work of electronic literature?

* Have you devoted the appropriate amount of space to the two sections of the paper? Remember that the word counts I provide are just guides (not strict word limits), but also remember that both summary and analysis have to be adequately addressed in the paper.

* Is your paper written effectively and coherently with very few grammatical errors?

* Was the paper turned in on time? (Reminder: I do not accept late work.)

Interactive Fiction Project

Due Dates:

March 3
Project 1.0 (due by the end of class)

March 10
Project 2.0; Paper, first draft (both saved to Dropbox prior to class)

March 12 (noon)
Final Project and Paper Due (both saved to Dropbox prior to class)

We've read about the history of Interactive Fiction (IF) and have played with/read some works of IF. Using Twine, you will work with one other person to design your own work of IF. Your project should be inspired by a previous work of IF and should also incorporate some of the ideas from Nick Montfort's Twisty Little Passages. Your goal is to create a meaningful and relatively complex experience for the interactor.

In addition to designing this piece of interactive fiction, each pair of students will write a paper describing and explaining what you've created. Your paper will be no more than 1000 words (four pages double-spaced) and will do the following:

  • Explain the inspiration for your project. Remember that you should be drawing on both Montfort's text and on the games we've been playing to develop ideas for your work of IF.
  • Explain your project in the terms laid out by Montfort in Twisty Little Passages. You may choose to describe your game in terms of the basic components of IF (laid out in Chapter 1), or in terms of Montfort's discussion of riddles, or you might compare your game to one of the examples of IF he discusses in the text.
  • Explain how you incorporated feedback that you received during the testing phase. Your classmates will play the various versions of your game, and you will incorporate the feedback you receive during these "user tests." Your paper should explain what changes you made and how you addressed this feedback.

Grade Criteria
When responding to these projects, Eric and I will be asking:

  • Does your project show evidence that you have understood and made use Montfort's discussion of IF in Twisty Little Passages?
  • Does your project take advantage of the Twine system? Does it provide a meaningful and relatively complex experience for the interactor?
  • Does your paper explain the inspiration for your project, and does it draw on the works of IF that we've discussed and played?
  • Does your paper explain how your piece of IF works, and how you've incorporated feedback?
  • Was your project submitted on time? (I do not accept late work.)
  • Does your paper observe the word limit?
  • Does your paper have minimal grammatical and/or structural problems?

Comics Project

Our final project will be to create a comic in collaboration with a class at the University of Utah. We will model our process on the one that Marcos Martin and Brian K. Vaughan use in the creation of The Private Eye, and our class will focus on artwork while the Utah class focuses on writing. However, these roles will inevitably bleed into one another.

This project will mean collaboration amongst all members of our class and with members of the Utah class, and this means that individual roles will be determined as we go depending on each person's interests. If you are interested in drawing, you will have an opportunity to contribute to that portion of the project. If you'd rather focus on page layout, then you can do that. At times, people will likely move between roles and subgroups.

Given the fluid structure of this collaboration, you will have two primary sets of tasks during the course of the project:

1) Get involved! This can take many forms, but your job is to find a place where you can contribute to the project.

2) Document your contributions. In order to discuss this project during your final LRO, you'll need evidence to analyze and evaluate. This means that you'll want to document your participation by saving copies of drafts, planning documents, sketches, meeting notes, or any other artifacts that emerge out of the collaboration.

You'll be receiving feedback on this project from me and your peers throughout this project, and you'll receive feedback on the final results as well. However, as with everything in this class, you won't be getting a letter grade on any individual portion of the project or on the final product. This is why it's imperative that you document your various processes and products - such documentation will be important during the composition of your final LRO.