Dr. Dean Taciuch
George Mason University

Spring 2017

English 377: 001

Course Syllabus

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/ENGH 396 or permission of instructor.


All of the course materials are online; we have no textbook.
The readings are listed in the course schedule; in addition, we will read and review selections from several online collections:

Electronic Poetry Center
Electronic Literature Collection (volumes 1-3)
Red Noise Gallery
Interactive Fiction Archive
Internet Archive
As well as a selection of Online journals


We will make use of several tools and resources as well:

Text Generators from SourceForge
Public Domain material from the Internet Archive
KompoZer (HTML 5 editor)
GMU Web Development resources
Dr T's Web Development resources
Telescopic Text tool
Twine, an Interactive Fiction tool
Sigil and Calibre (ebook editors and organizers)
Information and Licensing tools from Creative Commons

Methods of Instruction

After a brief introduction and Overview of digital creative writing and some of its antecedents, the course will cover three aspects of digital creative writing:

Digital writing differs from traditional writing in each of these areas:

Production & Composition
Presentation & Interaction
Distribution & Attribution






One-way activity

Free (speech/beer)


Brick &  Mortar


The final section, Collaboration, will examine digital tools for collaborative work.

Each section of the course has associated Readings, Tools, and Writings. The Readings include digital texts, the Tools include specific resources for that section, and the Writings include short writing exercises, such as reviews, tutorials, drafts and peer critiques.

Each section ends with a Project which should demonstrate some of techniques discussed in that section. The final project for the course will be a collaborative digital project.


Production and Composition: 25%
Writing Assignments [10%]
Review of one work from EPC or UbuWeb
Review of one work from ELC
Peer Critique
"How to Read" Guide

Major Assignment [15%]
Production & Composition Project
: This Project should demonstrate your implementation of digital production and composition techniques, such as text generators or digital transformations.


Presentation & Interaction (25%)
Writing Assignments [10%]
E-text analysis (from Internet Archive)
HTML/ XML exercises
Peer Critique
"How to Read" Guide

Major Assignment [15%]
Presentation & Interaction Project
: This Project should demonstrate your implementation of digital presentation and interaction techniques, such as multiple paths, reader interaction, and visual or animated elements.


Distribution & Attribution (25%)
Writing Assignments [10%]
Know Your Rights exercise
Online Journal review
Peer Critique
"How to Read" Guide

Major Assignment [15%]
Distribution & Attribution Project: This Project should demonstrate your implementation of digital distribution and attribution techniques, such as online publication, copyright-alternative licensing, and proper attribution of source material.

Portfolio (25%)
Writing Assignments [10%]
Portfolio Statement
Project Demos
Peer Critiques
"How to Read" Guide

Major Assignment [15%]
Final Portfolio
: The Final Portfolio should highlight your best work from the class. You may include any work from the first three Projects, updated work, or new work. The material should be published online using any license you deem appropriate (including standard copyright). Any outiside sources used should be properly attributed.

Projects may be poetry, prose, or something else, but should be primarily text-based.

All Drafts and Projects should include a description and a technical ("How to Read") Guide.


Course Policies

Grading: The four sections of the course are worth 25% each. The grades for each section will be divided up between the writing exercises and the major project. All of the assignments must be completed to receive a grade for the section.

Late Assignments: Late assignments will lose 5% per day unless you make prior arrangements with me. The peer critiques will lose 10% per day.

Revision Policy: Most of the writing assignments can be revised, except for the peer critiques, which are time-sensitive. The assignments must be revised within two weeks (preferably within the same section of the course).

The major projects for each section can be revised, but the revisions must be submitted before the in class demos on April 8 and 10.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the ethical failure to properly credit one's source material. This course, like all courses at GMU, will follow the provisions of the GMU Honor Code. Since this course will also utilize techniques of reappropriation and re-use, we will address issues of proper attribution of source material.

As in satire and parody, always "punch up," never "punch down."
That is, reappropriate / remix / borrow ideas and texts from better-known artists (or from peers, if in a close-knit community), not from lesser-known (or unknown) artists. Reach up for your sources; don't reach down.

Attendance: Although attendance is not graded, regular attendance and participation are requirements for citizenship in academic and creative communities.

Students with disabilities: If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 703-993-2474. All academic accommodations must be arranged through the ODS.

GMU Nondiscrimination Policy: George Mason University is committed to providing equal opportunity and an educational and work environment free from any discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, or age. GMU shall adhere to all applicable state and federal equal opportunity/affirmative action statutes and regulations.

GMU Email: Students must activate their Mason email account and check it regularly. For privacy reasons, all class-related emails will be sent only to students' official GMU email addresses.

Important Dates

First day of classes Monday Jan 23
Last day to add classes
Last day to drop with no tuition penalty
Monday Jan 30
Last day to drop with a 33% tuition penalty Monday Feb 13
Final Drop Deadline (67% tuition penalty) Friday Feb 24
Selective Withdrawal Period (undergraduate students only) Monday Feb 27 – Friday March 24
Spring Break Mon. March 13 – Sun. March 19
Incomplete work from Fall 2012 due to instructor Friday March 31
Last day of classes Saturday May 6
Reading Day Monday May 8 – Tuesday May 9
Exam Period Wed. May 10 – Wed. May 17

Course Schedule




Creative Commons License
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