Multimodal Composition and Digital Publics

Dr. Robin Wharton

Office: 25 Park Place, #2434

Office Hours: M/W 3-4 pm, T/Th 11-noon, and by appointment

Course Overview

As our sense of self and understanding of personal identity has expanded to include our presence online, both the popular media and academic scholars have devoted increased attention to how technology shapes our cultural awareness of concepts such as privacy, personal and professional reputation, intellectual property, public speech, civility, and rhetorical ethics. At the same time, technology and new media have themselves influenced the processes and forms we use to write about and discuss such issues. In this course we are studying the role technology plays in shaping who we are as individuals and how we interact as a society, while also examining how technology is transforming the work of academic research and writing.

Over the course of the semester, in the primary source description, multimedia annotated bibliography, timeline, and multimodal primary source analysis and online exhibit, students will examine historical materials in which the history of AIDS in Atlanta is embodied. Working together, we will collaboratively build an online exhibit that begins to tell that history for a public audience. For the most part, all of the work in this class will be directed or related to the multimodal source analysis and online exhibit.

This course may not be like other English courses you have taken that focused on literature and literary analysis. While it will build on the writing proficiencies, reading skills, and critical thinking skills you have acquired in your previous English courses, this is a composition class, where you will learn the fundamentals of rhetoric, academic research methods, and multimodal composition. It incorporates work with primary and secondary sources in addition to persuasive and argumentative techniques. A passing grade is C. Projects will integrate a focus on academic writing with multimodal composition strategies designed to prepare students for working with and creating multimedia texts.

By the end of this course, students will be able to: Analyze, evaluate, document, and draw inferences from various sources; identify, select, and analyze appropriate research methods, research questions, and evidence for a specific rhetorical situation; use argumentative strategies and genres in order to engage various audiences; integrate others’ ideas with their own; use grammatical, stylistic, and mechanical formats and conventions appropriate for a variety of audiences; critique their own and others’ work in written and oral formats; produce well-reasoned, argumentative essays demonstrating rhetorical engagement; and reflect on what contributed to their writing process and evaluate their own work.

Image credit “Information Overload” by Paul Russel on Flickr:

Blog #12: Multimodal Composition

In Writer Designer, the authors maintain that, “To produce a successful text, writers must be able to consciously use different modes both alone and in combination with each other to communicate their ideas to others” (3). Drawing upon work by the New... read more

Weekly Overview

This is an overview of the readings and deliverables for the week of:

All reading should be completed by Monday morning of the week in which it is to be discussed. Process work drafts are due by class time on the day they are to be peer reviewed and workshopped. Peer reviews are to be completed by no later than midnight on the day of the peer review workshop.

Image credit “Slow Bubble Sort” by JD Hancock on Flickr:

Course Calendar

Click on the entry for a particular date for more details.

Project Descriptions

Project 1: Blog

Click here for help with WordPress.

I have posted a detailed document outlining the project and general guidelines for professional blogging to Dropbox. I’ve divided you up into three groups. In the prompt for each week, I will identify which group will be posting and which group will be commenting that week. You will post and comment as individuals, but your group assignment will determine whether you are posting or commenting in any given week.

Audience and deliverables: Throughout the semester you will maintain individual commentary and reflections about the course readings, our in-class discussions, and your own research with our class as audience. In the weeks when you are in the posting group, you will create a post in response to the prompt for that week. In the weeks when you are in the commenting group, you will offer substantive comments to at least two of the posts created by your peers. This blog is for our class and interested readers; it is also available to the public.

Project Details

Extra credit: The blog responses are the only way you can earn extra credit in this course. You can earn more credit by offering comments beyond the two that are required in those weeks when you’re in the commenting group, or by commenting on your peers’ posts–in addition to writing your own post–in those weeks when you are in the posting group.

Flexibility: Many, though not all, of the prompts ask you to create a post that directly relates to issues and best practices connected with the project on which you’re working. Some of your posts may be included in your portfolio as indicative of your thinking about course subject matter and your own composition processes.

12 post prompt categories and related reading: Each week, I will post the prompt to which you will be responding to our class blog. The prompt will include required and recommended reading to further your understanding of the prompt topic.

Unit 1: New Media Literacy

  • Post 1. Week 2 — Defining Literacy
  • Post 2. Week 3 — Using Social Media
  • Post 3. Week 4 — Being Online

Unit 2: Maintaining and Evaluating Ethos Online

  • Post 4. Week 5 — Defining Plagiarism
  • Post 5. Week 6 — Writing Ethically
  • Post 6. Week 7 — Ethical Reuse and Remix

Unit 3: Analyzing and Responding to the Rhetorical Situation

  •  Post 7. Week 8 — Writing Descriptively
  • Post 8. Week 11 — Choosing a Genre and Designing Your Project
  • Post 9. Week 12 — Finding Your Voice and Knowing Your Audience

Unit 4: Technology, Identity, and Agency

  • Post 10. Week 13 — Understanding Who Owns Your Data
  • Post 11. Week 14 — Interacting With Technology
  • Post 12. Week 15 — Composing Digitally

Project 2: Primary Source Description

Click here for the evaluation rubric.

Click here for documentation on using Omeka.

Click here for the list of primary sources

For this project, you will compose a brief essay (500-750 words) offering a description of your primary source, and create an item description–including structured metadata and digital surrogates–on Omeka. The Princeton University Library offers the following definition of a primary source:

A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. Some types of primary sources include:

  • ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS (excerpts or translations acceptable): Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records
  • CREATIVE WORKS: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art
  • RELICS OR ARTIFACTS: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings

You will submit your prose description via Google Drive as a Google Document, and your Omeka item description will be created on the project Omeka site.

Project Details

Included in your item description on Omeka, you will upload at least three (3) digital images. At least one (1) of those images must be a high-quality photograph or digital facsimile of your primary source. The remaining two (2) images can include additional photos/facsimiles of your source depicting relevant detail, or images of other objects or documents (such as advertisements, undamaged specimens, reconstructions, etc.) associated with your primary source.

Your prose description should provide information that would enable your audience to answer the following questions:

  • What is this source?
  • When was it created?
  • Who created it?
  • Where was it created?
  • Why was it created?
  • What are the relevant physical and rhetorical features of this source? (e.g., for a building–what materials was it constructed from, what were its original dimensions and capacity, what was significant about the design or process for constructing it at the time it was built, etc.? or for a document–how long is it, what does it say, is it a report of facts or opinion, who were the authors and what role did they play in the events of the time, etc.?)

Rather than thinking about this prompt as a series of questions that you answer in order, approach your description as an essay intended to summarize and report on the basic historical background of your source, to describe the source as a physical object, and to provide an overview of the specific historical moment or rhetorical context in which your source originated. Primary source description is the first step in creating a thorough and credible primary source analysis.

Project 3: Annotated Bibliography

Click here for the evaluation rubric.

Click here for documentation on using Zotero.

In this project, you will be conducting research into the historical and rhetorical context from which your primary source emerged. You will present the results of your research as an annotated bibliography, which you will create using Zotero, an open-source research management and citation tool. When complete, your multimedia annotated bibliography should contain annotations of 150-250 words each for at least 10 sources. At least 5 of your sources should be academic pieces by scholars reporting on their work relevant to understanding the historical and rhetorical context for your primary source. At least 5 of your sources should be drawn from popular news journalism or other media coverage relevant to your primary source. Finally, of your 10 sources, at least 3 of them must rely primarily on some form of visual, gestural, spatial, or aural content other than alphabetic text to convey meaning. So, for example, out of ten sources, if one is a video of one of the first national news segments reporting on the AIDS epidemic, another is a photograph of an AIDS quilt, and another is an infographic conveying numerical data through images and graphics, then you have met the “multimedia” requirement for this project.

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources. It provides a citation to each source in MLA format, and then for each citation, gives a brief annotation (150-200 words) that evaluates the source and identifies why it is relevant to your primary source. 

Project Details

As described on the University of Cornell Library website on “How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography,” “the purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.” In addition to MLA citations and annotations, your multimedia annotated bibliography will include links to your sources or to web references that identify where your sources can be located (e.g., in the library, on, on Netflix, etc.).

Ideally each annotation should briefly and concisely answer the following four questions about each source:

  1. What is this source about? When summarizing, keep in mind for whom the source was intended and why this source is relevant to your project.
  2. What information or evidence have you drawn from this source that helps you to understand better the historical and rhetorical context for your primary source or the general history of AIDS in Atlanta?
  3. Why did you choose this source? Your reasons might include one or more of the following: It is more comprehensive or detailed than other available sources. It specifically mentions or responds to your primary source. It is the only available source on the particular topic for which you are using it. The author seems to have views sympathetic to those of the author of your primary source, or he/she offers an alternative viewpoint from that provided in your primary source.
  4. Does this source have any flaws or weaknesses that you have had to take into consideration while using it? When answering this question, you should consider when and in what venue this source was published, and whether it shows the influence of bias or outdated/disfavored ideas, political views, research methods, etc.
  5. What is the relationship between this source and the other sources you’ve uncovered in your research? For example, does it offer an alternative viewpoint? Is the author in conversation with or does he/she draw upon the work of another author relevant to your project?


Project 4: Interactive Timeline

Click here for the evaluation rubric.

Click here for documentation on using Timeline JS.

For this project, you will continue your research into the historical and rhetorical context of your primary source, and you will present your research as an interactive timeline that documents, describes, narrates, and explains your primary source and its historical and rhetorical context. In creating the multimedia entries describing events on your timeline, you can use the images and other facsimiles you created for Project 2, some of the text from your annotations in Project 3, and you may also choose to create new images, and borrow (with attribution and citation) images created by others. In addition to text and images, your entries might also integrate video, hyperlinks, and sound recordings (again, provide attribution and citation when using or re-mixing pre-existing material).

Your timeline must comprise at least ten distinct entries, and each entry should make use of at least two modes. You can compose your entries however you wish, but your final timeline submission will be in the form of a Google spreadsheet, submitted on Google Drive, the template for which is available here. We’re using this template because it is compatible with the Timeline JS tool built by Knight Labs. You can access a complete tutorial on using Timeline JS to create interactive timelines on the project website. You will also create an Omeka exhibit page that includes an introduction to your timeline (200-250 word), and integrates the timeline display as described in Step 4 of the Timeline JS tutorial.

Project Details

When you are composing your timeline, I encourage you to be creative. You might build your timeline entries into one seamless narrative, or you might treat each entry as a mini expository essay. You might narrate your entries from the perspective of the author of your primary source(s), from the perspective of individuals who play significant roles in the historical and rhetorical context your timeline describes, alternate between these two perspectives, or take on the role of a neutral observer or historian. In addition to information you uncover in your research, you might also identify, describe, and explain how your primary source sheds light on evolving social, political, economic, and moral issues related to the history of AIDS in Atlanta.

Project 5: Multimodal Primary Source Analysis

Click here for the evaluation rubric.

Click here for documentation about using the Brackets text editor and Omeka.

For this project, you will compose a primary source analysis. In addition to a revised version of your primary source description, your primary source analysis will include an interpretation of your primary source that offers an argument about its credibility, its relevance as historical evidence, its relationship to other primary sources being studied by your peers, and ultimately, what we can learn from your source about the complex social, scientific, political, and cultural history of AIDS in Atlanta.

In your primary source analysis, you will draw upon all of the work you have done on the previous four projects. The interpretation you offer of your primary source will be an argument, grounded in evidence you’ve discovered in your research. You will compose your primary source analysis multimodally, using a text editor, and it will ultimately be integrated into the AIDS in Atlanta Omeka site. It will most likely, therefore, make use of images, video, sound, and careful layout and design in addition to text. Substantively, the primary source analysis should be equivalent to a 1500-2000 word essay, conveying a carefully researched and supported argument that takes into account multiple points of view.

Project Details and Reflection Prompt

While you will compose your primary source analysis individually, you should keep in mind that it will be part of a larger digital exhibit comprising the work of your peers as well. Consequently, the best primary source analyses will make connections among the different sources with which the class as a whole has been working this semester. You may even decide to link to or otherwise integrate some of the items/item descriptions created by your peers.

The completed primary source analysis will be submitted on Omeka. Your reflection will be submitted on Google Drive to your “Project 5: Primary Source Analysis” folder.

Project 6: Portfolio

Because this project is intended to help you either begin or polish a professional portfolio that can be used outside the context of this course, the portfolio you create will be a hybrid academic/professional portfolio that will accomplish the following goals:

  • Demonstrate through examples of multimodal exposition and written reflection a knowledge of relevant rhetorical terms and concepts and an ability to apply these terms and concepts in your own academic research and writing process;
  • Demonstrate individual intellectual growth, significant accomplishments, and important contributions in this course;
  • Demonstrate the technological competencies you have employed and developed over the course of the semester;
  • Offer a big-picture narrative of the course, its themes, its goals, and its final learning outcomes;
  • Offer a well-organized, well-designed, and engaging user experience

The audiences for the portfolio will simultaneously be me–as the evaluator of your progress and learning in the course this semester and of your revised artifacts, the intended audience(s) for the artifacts you are revising and including in the portfolio, and potential employers or other outside evaluators interested in learning about your qualifications and experience.

Project Details

Your portfolio will be hosted on, and you will create it using WordPress, which is the content management/blogging platform used to build this course site.

Required Deliverables: The portfolio should accomplish the pedagogical goal of engaging you in meta-cognitive reflection regarding your learning over the course of the semester. For that reason, you will select three project artifacts to reflect upon (you may include more than three, but you must have at least three). You must revise at least one of these artifacts, and the best portfolios often demonstrate substantial revision of all of the artifacts included. Each artifact selected for inclusion in the portfolio should be introduced by a short (150-250 words) process narrative that includes discussion of the following things:

  • the process for creating the original final draft,
  • what you learned through peer review, my evaluation, and class discussions, and
  • how you revised the artifact in response to feedback and using knowledge and skills gained over the course of the semester (for at least one, and possibly all three artifacts)

In your selection of artifacts for your portfolio, please follow these guidelines:

  • Each of the three artifacts must be from a different project. Thus, you cannot, for example, select two blog posts and another project artifact (multimodal annotated bibliography, primary source description, timeline, or primary source analysis) as your three portfolio artifacts.
  • For the artifact(s) you choose to revise, you should preserve your original final draft for reference and possibly even display it or link to it in your portfolio, in order to demonstrate what changes you made during your revision process between the original final draft(s) and your revised portfolio version(s).

You may include more than three artifacts in your portfolio, but you must choose at least three to reflect upon. Similarly, you may revise more than one of your portfolio artifacts, but you must revise at least one. You draw material for your process narratives from the reflections that you’ve written for Projects 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Further, the goals outlined above include demonstrating your intellectual growth, significant accomplishments, and important contributions in this course. To that end, the portfolio must include a cover letter or introductory reflective essay (500-750 words) that describes what you have learned and how you have improved your academic research and writing processes and rhetorical knowledge over the course of the semester, using the three artifacts and your revision(s) as supporting evidence.

Optional Deliverables: In class, after going over the project goals and required deliverables, we generated a list of contents that would be useful to include in a portfolio along with the required elements. These include, but are not limited to, a personal biography, a digital version of your resume, a list of courses you’ve taken. If you have questions about what, in addition to the required portfolio elements, you would like to include on your portfolio site, I am happy to discuss them with you.

Project duration:

  • Semester-long project
  • Final Portfolios due

Useful Resources:

  • “Creating a Successful Online Portfolio,” Sean Hodge, Smashing Magazine, March 4, 2008:
  • University of Washington Expository Writing Program ePortfolio example: “QLiu”: (note, while the organizational format and requirements for this portfolio are different from those in this course, the reflections, the student’s descriptions of how each piece evolved through the process, the discussion of the student’s own evolution as a writer over the course of the program, and the manner in which exhibits and reflections are linked into a seamless document provide useful examples of strategies that you may find helpful in putting together the portfolio for this course)
  • University of Miami, Ohio The Best of Portfolios 2012 and The Best of Portfolios 2013 (Here again, use these examples to get a better understanding of the portfolio and particularly the reflective essay as a composition genre, rather than as “go by” documents or forms that you are trying to replicate)

Image credit “Arduino-Controlled Typewriter” by Mario Klingemann on Flickr:



ENGL 1103H-Advanced English Composition: Multimodal Composition and Digital Publics

Fall 2015 │M/W 1:30-2:45 pm │ CLSO 507

Instructor: Dr. Robin Wharton

Office: 25 Park Place #2434

Office Hours: M/W 3-4 pm, T/Th 11-noon, and by appointment; I am able to meet during office hours or by appointment via Skype or Google Hangout if that works better than an in-person conference

Contact: rwharton3{at}gsu{the dot goes here}edu

All work must be submitted by the scheduled due date and in accordance with project guidelines. As a general rule, I do not accept late work, or work that does not meet formatting and submission guidelines outlined in the project description.

I reserve the right to change the policies, schedule, and syllabus at any time during the semester.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze, evaluate, document, and draw inferences from various sources.
  • Identify, select, and analyze appropriate research methods, research questions, and evidence for a specific rhetorical situation.
  • Use argumentative strategies and genres in order to engage various audiences.
  • Integrate others’ ideas with their own.
  • Use grammatical, stylistic, and mechanical formats and conventions appropriate for a variety of audiences.
  • Critique their own and others’ work in written and oral formats.
  • Produce well-reasoned, argumentative essays demonstrating rhetorical engagement.
  • Reflect on what contributed to their writing process and evaluate their own work.
  • Compose in and combine all five representational modes – linguistic, visual, aural, gestural, and spatial.
  • Articulate how multimodal compositions (either their own work, or work authored by others) respond to the rhetorical situations in which they are embedded, and in doing so, demonstrate an understanding of key concepts and vocabulary associated with each of the five representational modes (linguistic, visual, aural, gestural, and spatial).
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how technological affordances influence rhetorical situations in a variety of ways, and use technological affordances intentionally to craft more effective academic arguments.


In this course, students are expected to adhere to the Georgia State University student code of conduct. This includes the university attendance policy. Excused absences are limited to university-sponsored events where you are representing GSU in an official capacity, religious holidays, and legal obligations such as jury duty or military service days. Absences for all other reasons will be counted. You are permitted four absences without penalty. Missing more than four classes will result in a deduction of 5 points from your “Attendance, preparation, process work, and participation” point total for each additional absence. Missing seven or more classes will result in automatic failure of the course. In the event of extended illness or family emergency, I will consider requests for individual exemption from the six-absence limit on a case by case basis.

Overview of Projects and Grade Calculation

Over the course of the semester, you will be completing a series of projects, each of them building towards and contributing to a multimodal primary source analysis and your final portfolio. Failure to complete projects early on will make completing later projects that reuse or remix work from previous projects more difficult. It’s especially important, therefore, to keep up with the work in this course.

Each project includes multiple parts, including drafts, peer review, and reflection. See the Project Descriptions and Course Calendar for details about the process, deliverables, and deadlines associated with each project.

Your final grade will be calculated out of 100 points:

  • Project 1: Blog (Individual) | 15 points
    • Semester-long project
    • 12 Topics
    • 4 Posts (400-500 words each)
    • 8 Comments (150-250 words each)
  • Project 2: Primary Source Description | 5 points
    • Process work = 3 drafts + 3 peer review workshops
    • Final drafts due Friday, September 11 at midnight; reflections due Monday, September 14 at midnight
  • Project 3: Multimedia Annotated Bibliography | 10 points
    • Process work = 3 drafts + 3 peer review workshops
    • Final drafts and reflections due Monday, October 5 at midnight
  • Project 4: Timeline | 15 points
    • Process work = 2 drafts + 1 group conference + 1 peer review workshop
    • Final drafts and reflections due Monday, October 26 at midnight
  • Project 5: Multimodal Primary Source Analysis | 25 points
    • Process work = 3 drafts + 3 peer review workshops
    • Final drafts and reflections due Monday, November 16 at midnight
  • Project 6: Portfolio (in lieu of a final exam) | 15 points
    • Semester-long project
    • Final portfolios due Friday, December 11 at 9:00 am
  • Attendance, preparation, process work, and participation | 15 points

Class Schedule

See Course Calendar for reading and assignment/project due dates.

Participation and Office Hours Visits

Participation includes taking part in in-class discussions, completing assigned reading, process work, exercises, and other homework assignments, participating in group activities including peer review, and developing a professional relationship with me through office visits, email communication, and asking questions before, after, and during class.

Please take advantage of my office hours: they exist for your benefit. While I won’t do your work for you (e.g., I won’t proofread your documents), I will respond to your specific questions. In my experience, students who regularly use office hours tend to do well in the course. If you’re not able to come during my scheduled office hours, please contact me, and we’ll arrange another way to meet.

Academic Honesty / Plagiarism

The Department of English expects all students to adhere to the university’s Code of Student Conduct, especially as it pertains to plagiarism, cheating, multiple submissions, and academic honesty. Please refer to the Policy on Academic Honesty (Section 409 of the Faculty Handbook). Penalty for violation of this policy will result in a zero for the assignment, possible failure of the course, and, in some cases, suspension or expulsion. Georgia State University defines plagiarism as . . . “ . . . any paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another person without acknowledgment, including the submitting of another student’s work as one’s own . . . [It] frequently involves a failure to acknowledge in the text . . . the quotation of paragraphs, sentences, or even phrases written by someone else.” At GSU, “the student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources . . . and the consequences of violating this responsibility.” (For the university’s policies, see in the student catalog, “Academic Honesty,”

Accommodations for Students With Disabilities

Georgia State University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students who wish to request accommodation for a disability may do so by registering with the Office of Disability Services. Students may only be accommodated upon issuance by the Office of Disability Services of a signed Accommodation Plan and are responsible for providing a copy of that plan to instructors of all classes in which accommodations are sought. According to the ADA ( ‘‘SEC. 3. DEFINITION OF DISABILITY. ‘‘As used in this Act: ‘‘(1) DISABILITY.—The term ‘disability’ means, with respect to an individual— ‘‘(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual…major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. ‘‘(B) MAJOR BODILY FUNCTIONS.—For purposes of paragraph (1), a major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

Learning Technology

If you have them, you may bring laptops or mobile computing devices to class for use in in-class activities. Students should use these devices responsibly for class-related work. If they become a distraction for you, me, or other students in the class, I will ask you to put them away. Occasionally I will will request a device-free learning environment for a discussion or learning activity, and students are expected to honor such requests.

Language conventions

This course presumes that because you were exempt from or passed English 1101, you have a basic knowledge of standard American English, including but not limited to variations in sentence structure, subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, parallel structure, dangling modifiers, grammatical expletives, possessives and plurals, punctuation, capitalization, word choice, and various other grammatical and mechanical problems. If you are someone for whom this knowledge and practice are a struggle, this course gives you time to improve. If you do not, your grades will be severely affected. You have resources available at GSU to help you improve your knowledge. In the Writing Studio ( you can work one-on-one, in private, with a tutor to improve. Writing Studio tutors can also help you to help you refine already strong competence, moving from good to excellent. The Purdue OWL ( has resources to assist you with identifying and correcting common grammar, punctuation, and usage errors, and to help you with formatting citations and bibliographies.

Receiving a grade of “incomplete”

In order to receive an incomplete, a student must inform the instructor, either in person or in writing, of his/her inability (non-academic reasons) to complete the requirements of the course. Incompletes will be assigned at the instructor’s discretion (if you have specific criteria for assigning incompletes, put them here)and the terms for removal of the “I” are dictated by the instructor. A grade of incomplete will only be considered for students who are a) passing the course with a C or better, b) present a legitimate, non-academic reason to the instructor, and c) have only one major assignment left to finish.

Student Evaluation of Instructor

Your constructive assessment of this course plays an indispensable role in shaping education at Georgia State. Upon completing the course, please take time to fill out the online course evaluation.

Project and Assignment Submission

All final projects must be completed and received by their due dates in order to pass the course. All parts of a project (i.e., drafts and reflections), including ungraded parts, must be completed by their due dates in order to pass the project.

See individual project descriptions for how to turn in each deliverable.

All projects and deliverables must be turned in to me before the due date and time. I will not accept projects or assignments in my mailbox or over email unless noted in class or in the assignment or project description. If you know that you will be unable to turn in a project or deliverable on time, please contact me in advance of the date in question: we may be able to make arrangements for you to turn your project or deliverable in at another time. Because every major project will be completed in stages, over the course of three to four weeks, you should always have something to submit by the deadline, even if it’s a working rather than a final draft.

For English Majors

The English department at GSU requires an exit portfolio of all students graduating with a degree in English. Ideally, students should work on this every semester, selecting 1-2 papers from each course and revising them, with direction from faculty members. The portfolio includes revised work and a reflective essay about what you’ve learned. Each concentration (literature, creative writing, rhetoric/composition, and secondary education) within the major may have specific items to place in the portfolio, so be sure to check booklet located next to door of the front office of the English Department. Senior Portfolio due dates are published in the booklets or you may contact an advisor or Dr. Dobranski, Director of Undergraduate Studies. See the English office for additional information.

Image credit: “Pick out your magazine!” by Pulpolux !!! on Flickr.


Texts and Resources

In all of my classes, I make every effort to keep text and materials costs under $75. Unless otherwise noted below, I expect students will have access to all required texts and resources from the first day of class.

Students should not expect to “get by” without reading assigned texts. Unlike some lecture classes, where the lecture is a review of assigned reading, this is a seminar course in which the assigned reading is preparation for a discussion or application of the information and ideas presented in the text. To put it another way, by completing assigned readings before class, we establish a basic shared knowledge base upon which we can build thoughtful conversations and productive work sessions.

It’s OK if the reading sometimes raises more questions than it answers; I expect that to happen often, in fact. Make a note of your questions. Let them circulate in your thoughts in the hours before class, and then bring them up in your blog posts and our class discussions.

Required Reading

  • Arola, Kristin L., Jennifer Sheppard, Cheryl E. Ball. Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2014) —
  • Lunsford, Andrea et al. Everything’s an Argument. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013.
  • Additional readings posted to the class website or to the course folder on Google Drive

Recommended Reference

Gaillet, Lynée, Angela Hall-Godsey and Jennifer L. Vala. Guide to First-Year Writing. 3rd Edition. Southlake, Texas: Fountainhead P, 2014. Print.

Required Materials and Tools

  • Help documentation for most of the technology we’ll be using is available here.
  • Access to a laptop or desktop computer for daily use.
  • Access to email on a daily basis.
  • Google account (You may use an existing account, or you may create an account just for use in this course).
  • GitHub account (You may use an existing account, or you may create an account just for use in this course).
  • A Zotero account (You may use an existing account, or you may create an account just for use in this course).
  • Access to computer software and programs used for digital composition and editing (I am always able to recommend free or very low-cost open source alternatives to more expensive proprietary software such as Microsoft Office, InDesign, Photoshop, etc.)

On Campus Learning and Tech Support

Image credit: “prism” by Kjartan Michalsen on Flickr.