Dr. Dean Taciuch
George Mason University

Spring 2009

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English 344:001
Course Syllabus

Course Description

In this course we will explore creative and critical nonfiction writing in various digital formats, including hypertext, multimedia, and hypermedia (a mixture of hypertext and multimedia). The genres we can explore include fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and critical writing.

The class will combine lecture/discussion, studio, and workshop components. All of the required readings are either online or on e-reserve; these readings will provide some background and starting points for the class discussions. The studio component will be both in and out of class: if you want to learn how to use software such as Flash or Photoshop, I expect you to attend a STAR Lab workshop. The STAR Labs have a much better range of software available than our classroom does. In class, we have access to word processing, html editing, and image editing software. No specific software is required for the course: use and expand upon what you know. The workshop component of the course will consist of sessions in which you will review and critique each others' work.

Course Objectives

The goals of the course are both theoretical and practical. We will seek to understand how digital technology alters traditional ideas of genre and writing; we will also create examples of such writing. By the end of the class, each student should have a "portfolio" of digital writing demonstrating their understanding of these new media.



Kairos 12.3 Manifesto Issue
Espen Arseth Cybertext (sample chapter)
Tim O'Reilly "Piracy is Progressive Taxation . . ."
Lawrence Lessig Free Culture
Chris Funkhouser Review of Electronic Literature Collection Vol. 1


Electronic Literature Collection Vol. 1


Internet Archive
Creative Commons




Critiques: 10%
Manifesto/Artistic Statement: 10%
Exercises: 10%
Remix Project: 20%
Group Project: 20%
Final Project: 25%
Participation (in class and online): 5%

All assignments will be submitted online by posting to your own blog (we will set these up in the first class meeting)

Course Policies

Grading: Most of your work will receive a letter grade. All of the work will be submitted online, and will be graded based on the quality of the writing as well as the presentation.

Late Assignments: Unless you make prior arrangements with me, late assignments will lose one letter grade per day. The lost grades cannot be made up by revision.

Revisions: All of the assignments (except for the Final project) may be revised and resubmitted for a higher grade. While a higher grade is not guaranteed, you will never lose points by revising.

All revisions must be submitted by April 24

Plagiarism: We will discuss the use and re-use of online materials quite extensively in this class. I consider the unacknowledged use of source materials to be plagiarism. Improper citations must be corrected, but improper citations alone will not get you sent to the Honor Committee.

Attendance: I will not take attendance, but it is not possible to do well in this course without regular attendance. In class assignments make up part of your grade. Class discussions of the texts are necessary for the various projects and exercises. Topics will develop from the class discussions.