Submittal Email assignment

Instructions: When you turn in your final project to me, you need to write a submittal email to the editor of the journal you’d like to send your webtext to. A  submittal email includes the following information:

  • Salutation to the editor (make sure you get the editor’s name/s right!)
  • Indication of what you’re doing (submitting a webtext)
  • title of your webtext & short description
  • URL or *exact* DropBox location of the webtext
  • Any known issues/concerns about the webtext in its current form (usually things that you want editorial feedback on and/or known technical glitches that don’t interfere with the working of the piece but that you’re still working on and plan to fix) so that the editor will know to take those into consideration when reviewing the submission.
  • A thank you for taking the time to review/respond to the piece.
  • Valediction (Sincerely, Best, etc.)

Turn-In Instructions: This should be a GROUP document, uploaded by ONE of you, to the DropBox location called /submittal-emails/. There is a sample submittal email in that location now.

Due Date: This submittal email is due no later than the end of the exam period for our class (5:10pm, Tuesday, December 13).

Getting to your ilstu webspace

Here are instructions for accessing the web space of your personal directory at your ilstu account.

to do this in 408 classroom:

to do this from a Windows machine elsewhere:

to do this from any machine anywhere (a little more complicated imo):

What the heck is my personal datastore?

Research Assignment

Based on your project idea, each person in your group needs to find 2 pieces of research (at least one scholarly, one popular; but can also be two scholarly; they can all be linear or multimodal, doesn’t matter). Annotate both of those pieces for your groupmates. The annotation should:

  • be a written summary of the research
  • describe how the research relates to your proposed project
  • point out any important points you can use in your project
  • point out any important points you think the article misses that your project will fill
  • include an appropriate multimodal representation of the research, which you might be able to use as part of your webtext

Post what your two articles are here, as Comments on this blog post. Include here the research item’s title, its publication venue, a link if that’s available, and enough info (1-2 sentences) as to why you think this piece is a good fit for your project. The point isn’t to pick ANY two pieces of research; it’s to choose at least two pieces that will be of significant use to your project. Each person can post their two, or the group can post collectively.

You need to post your choices by Friday of this week. Your annotations are due in class next Wednesday.

Glossary Terms & Disciplinary Conversations

Glossary Terms

  • new media
  • databases
  • website
  • search engine
  • pedagogy
  • praxis
  • webtext

Disciplinary Conversations

  • popular trends/memes found on the Internet [parody]
  • teaching “new” technologies
  • multimodal processes (enacting & discussing)
  • visual rhetoric of family
  • English-only discourses/multimodality and multilingualism
  • technological literacy practices/values
  • cultural retrospective/memorial of current events (Sept. 11)
  • impact of visuals in (literary) texts [analysis]
  • ???

Scavenger Hunt

Do this assignment AFTER you’ve done the readings for next week.

Find 2 online pieces of digital media that make you say “wow”– that might be wow in a good way (as in, “wow, that’s the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen!”) or in a bad way (as in, “wow, that’s total crap!”) or some combination. Both pieces shouldn’t be from the “bad wow” category  — mix it up a little, so you can have a variety of texts to consider.

Also, the examples you choose should vary in media and modes of communication in some way. iow, they shouldn’t all be animations, nor all web-comics, nor machinima, nor lolcats, nor webtexts, etc. This is to prevent you from getting stuck into one way of visualizing how a project might proceed.

Your examples may or may not have anything to do with writing studies. My main goal with this exercise is to have you explore different ways of presenting information/ideas/creativity using digital media and to ask you to think about WHY the pieces you choose make you say wow.

Read the pieces with the three sets of multimodal criteria in mind (posted in your homework Readings for next week; the 1-3 pagers)

Once you’ve read these pieces, you should Comment on this post and

  1. provide the citation of both pieces (as much as you think we need to figure out what it is and where to find it) and link to them
  2. describe the pieces (in 5-10 sentences/a paragraph each) telling us WHY the pieces make you say wow. Use as many terms/concepts from the multimodal reading criteria (from the homework readings) as seems necessary/useful. The point is to be explicit about how the piece is working and why you chose it as an example, using those criteria as a possible framework for that discussion/description.
  3. Finally, include any questions/concepts/terms that you wish had been included in the sets of criteria (e.g., terms YOU would have used, or did use, to describe the wowfulness of the pieces you chose but that weren’t listed in the provided criteria) and why these terms might be important to consider including when evaluating other pieces of digital media. iow, what’s missing?

These posts are due by noon, Wednesday, Sept. 21. Let me know if you have questions!


Journal Submission Review

Using the list of online journals provided in the right sidebar of this blog, find and read as much information as you can on these journal’s websites about their submission and editorial processes. Part of discovering this information will give you clues about what kinds of texts and what topics these journals are interested in, which will give you insight to the journals’ readership (e.g., audiences). Make notes for yourself (to discuss in class next week) that helps you remember what the mission/vision of each journal is, how they are different (or similar) to each other, what kinds of topics and formats each publishes, and any other details you think might be relevant to helping us discuss the journals as possible venues for the webtexts you’ll produce in this class. If you want, you can post a Comment with your succinct notes in response to this blog post, but it’s not required. Just be ready to discuss each of the journals in class next week.

Also, while you’re on the journals’ pages, skim some of the example texts to get a feel for whether the journal’s submission requirements live up to the texts they publish. (e.g., is what they’re asking for what they get/publish? Where can you see yourself within any of these journals? What genres, what content, are you most interested in? — you’re starting to get ideas for proposing your own project!)

Next week, we’ll look closely at a few webtexts in class.

Explaining multimodality

In the Comments, place a link to your online text. If it’s not accessible online, upload it to the course dropbox, which you should have just gotten an email about in your ilstu account. Let me know if you have questions.

For homework, leave a Comment responding to these two questions:

  1. What other concepts/ideas about multimodality do you have questions about? What else would you have included in your presentation but didn’t have time?
  2. If you had to revise your group’s presentation, what would you do differently?


Welcome to English 239!

This semester, we will be learning how to write with multiple media, specifically for an online, peer-reviewed journal. If that sounds boring or scary or doesn’t even make sense; give me a week to show you it will be fun, innovative, and offer you a more strategic way of communicating with peers, teachers, and future employers. This class isn’t about writing papers. It isn’t even about  “writing,” unless your definition of writing includes composing with multiple media and digital technology. You do not have to be a technological expert to do well in this class. You will be learning technologies throughout; sometimes you will know more or less than your classmates, and even more or less than I do. We will all help each other as we proceed.

Here’s a quick tour of the resources on this class blog, which serves as your syllabus/contract for this class (and is subject to change). At the top, you’ll find a row of links to important class information, including the following:

  • About describes the course goals and learning outcomes, course’s policies, required texts and technologies, grading and value systems.
  • the Schedule has the weekly calendar for this class, including reading assignments, what we’re doing in class that day, and other homework. The current version is from last year’s class — I always start with the same framework and change it weekly, as needed, so (again) make sure to check the online version every week for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
  • the Assignments pages describe all the major assignments you will complete. Some of these are posted already, but they will probably change slightly as the course morphs through the semester, so make sure to read the updates thoroughly when I assign these in class.

In the sidebar, to your right, you will find

  • the Instructor information, including my contact information. I will sometimes be in my office on Wednesdays before or after class, but the best way to ensure catching me is to email me and make an appointment. I do not have scheduled office hours because one hour a week won’t do much good for of-the-moment questions. Email me and I’ll get back to you pretty quickly, except at night when I do not check email (after 6pm usually).
  • the Blogroll, where I’ve listed Online Journals we’ll be studying this semester.

Please let me know if you have any questions. You can comment on this post or email me.

Looking forward to the semester,
Dr. Ball

Syllabus/Expectations Response

Post a comment in response to THIS post (click on the little speech bubble in the upper-right corner of this post) by 8am, Wednesday, August 31. This comment should be a response to the class About pages. You should discuss your response to the course goals, projects, what you expected from this class, what you think it’s going to be about (instead of?), what you value as a student, what you hope to gain from this class, what ideas you might already have for projects, and anything else you find relevant for me to know from the outset.

Your post serves as recognition that you have read and understood the course syllabus and also helps me gauge what you expect from me and this class. This post should be 3-4 paragraphs or an annotated list.

Let me know if you have questions!