ENG 5992: New Media and the Futures of Writing

Professor: Jim Brown
Class Meeting Place: 335 State Hall
Class Time: T 6-9pm
Office: 5057 Woodward Avenue, 10-410.2
Office Hours: T/Th 3pm-5pm (or by appointment)
Email: jimbrown [at] wayne [dot] edu

Required Texts
These texts are available at Marwil Bookstore and online:

I will provide copies of (or links to) these texts:

  • Bogost, Ian. “The Rhetoric of Video Games" inThe Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning. Edited by Katie Salen.
  • Chun, Wendy. "Did Somebody Say New Media?" in New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader
  • Manovich, Lev. "New Media from Borges to HTML," in The New Media Reader
  • Mateas, M. 2005. Procedural Literacy: Educating the New Media Practitioner. On The Horizon. Special Issue. Future of Games, Simulations and Interactive Media in Learning Contexts, v13, n2 2005.
  • Murray, Janet. Hamlet on the Holodeck (excerpt).
  • --- "Inventing the Medium," in The New Media Reader

Permits and Prerequisites, General Education Credits:
Advance approval is required from Royanne Smith, the English Department Academic Advisor. Email her at Then, follow her instructions for procedure and forms.

ENG 5992 is typically the course in which English majors complete the General Education Writing Intensive (WI) Requirement with co-registration in 5993. Open only to undergraduate English majors; taken in the last year of course work; requires 12 credits in English above the 1000-level.

ENG 5993 co-registration for WI requirement. Also satisfies Computer Proficiency Level 2 requirement with web-based and new media assignments, training in information technologies, use of online tools, and ongoing evaluation of the impact of new technologies.

This course also meets with the ENG 4991 Honors Seminar.

Course Goals

  • To develop theories and practices for emerging digital environments
  • To develop a working knowledge of various theories in the fields of New Media Studies and Rhetorical Theory
  • To collaborate with classmates on various new media projects and paper assignments
  • To develop a sustainable writing process

Course Work and Grades
We will complete a number of writing assignments and new media projects. The grade breakdown is as follows:

10% 2 short response papers (500 words each)
25% 1 Procedural authorship project (Game + 1000 word paper)
25% 5 Short Ancient+Modern Papers: (750 words each)
25% Expansion of one Ancient+Modern paper (Mashup + 1500 word paper)
15% In-class participation (discussion, new media lab work)

Attendance and Lateness
The English Department requires every student to attend at least one of the first two class sessions in order to maintain his or her place in the class. If you do not attend either of these sessions, you may be asked to drop the class. If this happens, you will be responsible for dropping the class.

Success in this class will require regular attendance. I will take attendance at each class meeting. 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 5 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.

Late Assignments
Due dates for assignments are posted on the course schedule. I do not accept late work.

Intellectual Property
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 Wayne State's Academic Integrity policy, please see the Dean of Students website.

Technology Policy
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 Wayne State email address. They must include a title explaining the email, a salutation (for example, "Dear Jim"), a clear explanation of your reason for emailing, and a signature.

Cell Phones
Please silence and put away cell phones during class.

Writing Center
The Writing Center (2nd floor, UGL) provides individual tutoring consultations free of charge for students at Wayne State University. Undergraduate students in General Education courses, including composition courses, receive priority for tutoring appointments. The Writing Center serves as a resource for writers, providing tutoring sessions on the range of activities in the writing process – considering the audience, analyzing the assignment or genre, brainstorming, researching, writing drafts, revising, editing, and preparing documentation. The Writing Center is not an editing or proofreading service; rather, students are guided as they engage collaboratively in the process of academic writing, from developing an idea to editing for grammar and mechanics. To make an appointment, consult the Writing Center website:

To submit material for online tutoring, consult the Writing Center HOOT website (Hypertext One-on-One Tutoring):

Student Disabilities Services
If you feel that you may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability, please feel free to contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. Additionally, the Student Disabilities Services Office coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. The Office is located in 1600 David Adamany Undergraduate Library, phone: 313-577-1851/577-3365 (TTY).

WSU Resources for Students

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