Dr. Dean Taciuch
George Mason University

Fall 2010

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English 344:001
Course Syllabus

Course Description

Catalog Description
Combined workshop and studio course in technological and aesthetic issues of reading and writing hypermedia texts with emphasis on poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, mixed genre, drama, or performance. Explores how genre meets hypertext and hypermedia in original creative work. Includes techniques in authoring interactive hypermedia projects using digital media tools.

ENGL 396, or permission of instructor.

In this course we will explore creative writing in various digital formats, mostly web-based.The genres we can explore include fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.

We will begin with some history of digital (or electronic) literature, and then some examples from the Electronic Literature Collection (included as a CD with your textbook, and also available online).

The class will combine lecture/discussion, studio, and workshop components. The lecture/discussion portion will take much of the class time early in the semester, but once you begin working on your own projects, the workshop component will dominate. The workshop component of the course will consist of sessions in which you will review and critique each others' work. 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, you may 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.

All of the course assignments will be submitted electronically, either via BlackBoard (for the critiques) or on your own websites. If you do not already have a website, we will set up student websites on the Mason server during the first week of class.

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.


Hayles, N. Katherine. Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary. Univ of Notre Dame Press. 2008. Paper.
ISBN-10: 0268030855 ISBN-13: 978-0268030858

Tim O'Reilly "Piracy is Progressive Taxation . . ."
Lawrence Lessig Free Culture
Electronic Literature Collection Vol. 1
GMU's Center for History and New Media


Web Development at GMU
ITU Sitemap (software links)
Account Activation
STAR multimedia computer lab
Dr T's Web Dev Site (a bit out of date in places)

GNU Image Manipulation Program

Internet Archive
Creative Commons


Digital Translation: 10%
Exercises: 10%
Remix Project: 20%
Group Project: 20%
Final Project: 25%
Discussions / Critiques (in class and online): 15%

All assignments will be submitted online by posting to BlackBaord (discussions / critiques) or to your course website (we will set these up in the first week of class)

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 November 23rd.

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. Class discussions of the texts are necessary for the various projects and exercises. Topics will develop from the class discussions. And you will work on many of the projects in class.

Important dates

First day of classes; last day to submit Domicile Reclassification Application; Payment Due Date August 30
Labor Day, university closed September 6
Last day to drop with no tuition penalty September 14
Last day to add classes—all individualized section forms due September 14
Last day to drop with a 33% tuition penalty September 21
Last day to drop with a 67% tuition penalty October 1
Last day to drop October 1
Midterm progress reporting period (100-200 level classes)—grades available via Patriot Web September 27 - October 22
Selective Withdrawal Period (undergraduate students only) October 4 - October 29
Columbus Day recess (Monday classes/labs meet Tuesday. Tuesday classes do not meet this week) October 11
Incomplete work from spring/summer 2010 due to instructor October 29
Incomplete grade changes from spring/summer 2010 due to registrar November 5
Thanksgiving recess November 24-28
Last day of classes December 11
Reading Days December 13
Exam Period
(beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 14)
December 14 - December 21
Degree Conferral Date January 15, 2011