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Infomatics 303: Writing Across Media
Spring 2011
Tuesday/Thursday 12:30-1:45;
On Tuesdays, we will meet in the Oregon Computer Lab, 901 West Oregon;
On Thursdays, we will meet in the Nevada Lab,1203 1/2 West Nevada


requirements and guidelines

submitting assignments
Projects, reading responses, and other written work are due at the beginning of class on the assigned due date. This work will often connect with class activities (and your participation grade) so it’s important that you meet all due dates.

reading and reading responses
Please plan on having each week’s reading done when you come to class. While reading, you are required to write at least three discussion questions related to the reading, to which your peers may respond. You will post these questions on your blog. These questions should be thoughtful and should demonstrate evidence of your careful reading of the text, but should also be open-ended, prompting a thoughtful answer from your peer respondents. At the beginning of each class for which reading has been assigned, you will be required to write a short response to one of the reading questions posted by another student in your blog discussion group.

Given that the title of this course is Writing Across Media, you will be expected to write extensively throughout the semester. This writing will take the form of online posts and discussions on your class blog, reflective writing for each major project, written responses to the reading, and analyses of multimedia artifacts.

As mentioned already, each student will be asked to create a blog using WordPress and post work, discussion questions, and other assignments there. Because users can post a variety of media content to blogs easily, they are the perfect format for the work that we will be doing in class. We will set up blogs together the second day of class.

Over the course of the semester, you will be asked to find examples of New Media from your daily environment and write a short (one page) analysis, to be posted to your blog, of each object you find. These analysis projects will be related to the major projects in the course. You may also be required to present your findings to the rest of the class occasionally during the semester.

in-class exercises and tutorials
Throughout the semester you will be working on various projects in the classroom. These will consist of interactive tutorial sessions on the composition tools we will be using as well as short individual and group assignments. You must be present in class on the day of each of these assignments in order to receive credit for it.

major projects
There are five major projects in this course, including the final project. All will involve composing in various media, and the due date for each is listed on the course calendar. Along with every major project, you will be required to write a reflective essay examining your compositional process and considering some of the related theory from the readings.

Since this course involves regular in-class tutorials, assignments, and workshops, regular attendance is required if you wish to be successful. If you miss a class, you are expected to stay current by checking the class website, contacting me, and/or speaking with one of your fellow students. Coming to class unprepared, unresponsive, or more than 20 minutes late will be considered an absence. If you miss more than three classes, you run the risk of failing the class.

Class participation is critical for success in this course. Class discussions will give you an opportunity to better understand the theories that will inform your work. They will also give everyone the opportunity to share his or her personal experience working on multimedia composition. Along with discussions, in-class exercises, demos, and workshops will help you learn to use the necessary technology and give you practice with writing and design. Class participation accounts for 20% of your grade (half of which comes directly from my absence/tardy rolls, and the other half of which comes from in-class assignments/active participation). In order to get full points for participation, you must complete all assigned reading before class, attend class regularly, complete all in-class assignments, and participate attentively in discussions and workshops. Online participation on the blogs is also required for success in this class. You will be expected to visit the course website and blog on a regular basis to check for news updates and to view assignment prompts. You will also need to post to your blog regularly and respond to discussion questions posted online.

Also remember to be courteous and discreet about non-class-related computing. Facebook, email, and instant messaging software make distraction incredibly easy in a computer-based class like this one.

The relative weight of each assignment is as follows. One of the reasons this breakdown is only an estimate is that the “participation” part of the grade can factor more or less in extraordinary cases. This is more likely to work for you than against you, but a student who misses an extraordinary number of class sessions or who is inconsiderate to me or to others will find that his or her overall grade is impacted negatively more than that 20% might entail.
Project 1 (mapping): 10%
Project 2 (photo): 10%
Project 3 (audio): 10%
Project 4 (video): 10%
Final project (multi-media): 20%
Blog entries: 20%
Participation/attendance: 20%

course materials
Since we will be composing in a variety of media over the course of the semester, you will have to
purchase supplies (paint, poster board, etc.). Required materials for specific assignments will be
explained in the assignment prompts; however, it is recommended that you invest in a USB jump
drive or some other portable storage device (8 to 16 gigabytes) for your class files.

modification of syllabus
I reserve the right to modify the syllabus at any time. You are responsible for staying current with the syllabus, even if you did not attend the class during which a modification was announced.
Modifications will not increase the workload, but may be made in order to better address the unique needs of the class. All modifications will be announced in class and documented on the course website.

writers workshop
If you need any help with you writing, the Writers Workshop (http://www.cws.illinois.edu/workshop/) is an excellent resource. Workshop consultants can help you learn how to improve your writing by offering assistance with planning, drafting, and revising. The resource is free, and I highly recommend it. You are also always welcome to utilize my office hours for help with assignments.

The University of Illinois has high standards of academic integrity set out in Article 1, Part 4 of the University Student Code. All written coursework is expected to be your own, with words and/or ideas from other sources fairly attributed. To use words and/or ideas from another source as if they were your own is plagiarism. Submitting your own work for more than one course without permission of both instructors can also constitute plagiarism. The University Student Code sets out possible consequences of plagiarism in coursework, ranging from failure on the assignment to suspension or dismissal from the University. The Code specifies that ignorance of these principles is not an excuse. All students in this class should familiarize themselves with the Code at http://www.admin.uiuc.edu/policy/code/ and with guidelines for fair use in the Modern Language Handbook [or another source].  If you have questions about fair use, please do not hesitate to consult me.

If you believe you have a disability for which you may need an academic accommodation (including special formats/assignments, auxiliary aides, non-traditional instructional formats, etc.), please inform me as soon as possible in private.

This course will operate under a spirit of nondiscrimination and equality. All participants in the course will abide by University policy and guidelines, including those governing discrimination, harassment, academic honesty, and computer lab usage. Language or actions that are deemed discriminatory or harassing will not be tolerated in class or online, and will result in the offender’s being either removed from the classroom for the day or banned from the discussion forum, with a participation grade of 0 for that day. Repeated offenses will be dealt with as per school policies.



Patrick W. Berry
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Office: English 338
Office Phone: 244-1391
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 2-3, or by appointment