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Syllabus

YORK COLLEGE BULLETIN DESCRIPTION: 3 hrs. 3 crs. Preq: ENG 125. This is a writing intensive course. This course is a hybrid online course.  Students must have internet access, computer competency and a York email account. This course introduces students to the field of Digital Humanities (DH) and the wide range of tools available for the study of written texts. Through a variety of projects such as blogging, mapping, and distant reading, students explore what old and new technologies can do to shape and modify the ways we read and write texts. This is a writing intensive course: students are required to write 10-12 pages of work including blogs, reflections, and project proposals.

REQUIRED TEXTS: All readings will be made available freely on course site and Blackboard.

Learning Outcomes: By the end of this course, students will be expected to:

  1. Define technology and new media as a historical rather than exclusively recent phenomenon.
  2. Analyze books and other textual technologies as material objects and within their particular social contexts
  3. Draw parallels between literary studies and diverse fields such as information science, computer science, communications, and media studies
  4. Create original, public, creative research projects using archival materials
  5. Write confidently and reflectively about digital humanities as an emerging field

ATTENDANCE: Attendance is essential to success in this course. In addition to meeting face-to-face (f2f), students will be required to devote one (1) hour weekly to online assignments such as posting blogs on CUNY Commons, tweeting, and commenting on peers’ work (via CUNY Commons). This hour is additional to your other required homework. The student is responsible for all material presented in this course and is expected to actively participate in the learning process. Please inform the instructor about any health conditions that could create a classroom emergency. The student is responsible for discussing with the instructor any needed accommodations.  Repeated tardiness or early departure from class is not acceptable. Failing to complete online assignments on time will also be reflected in the student’s participation grade.

  • Students may miss no more than two (2) sessions, which should be reserved for unforeseen emergencies.
    • Roll call will be conducted every day at the start of class. If you’re not in class by that time, you will be marked as late.

Dropping the class:  Make sure you pay careful attention to how dropping a course may affect your financial aid. See here for more information: https://www.york.cuny.edu/administrative/finaid/frequenly-asked-questions/what-happens-to-my-financial-aid-if-i-drop-a-course

York College Resources Computers with word processing software and internet access are available in the library and in computer labs.

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:  The main components to successful completion of this course:

 

Forums and Writing 200 pts. (20%)
In-Class/Digital Participation 100 pts. (10%)
Project 1: Distant Reading Whitney 150 pts. (15%)
Project 2: Mapping Whitney 200 pts. (20%)
Project 3: New York: A Social Knowledge Experiment 250 pts. (25%)
DH Projects Review 100 pts. (10%)

TOTAL = 1000 pts.

COURSE WEBSITE and TECHNOLOGY The online portions of our class will be run on a CUNY Commons WordPress website. Assignments, instructions, and discussion questions will be posted on this website, so keep track of it by bookmarking it on your browser. The most updated schedule for our course will also be on this site. This class is about understanding, using, and creating with technology, and as such requires reliable access to a computer, the internet, and occasionally signing up for free software. Response blogs, and links to digital projects (when relevant) should be submitted via the course site. Grades and instructor feedback will be available on Blackboard approximately 7 days after deadline.

  • FORUMS AND WRITING Every week, you will use the online segment of this course to post short threads (app. 200 words) evaluating assigned readings, tools, or websites. Periodically throughout the semester you will also be asked to complete short, in-class writing and to follow academic Twitter conversations. We will use forums as an online discussion board. You’re required to post a least one topic a week and respond to at least 4 comments by your peers.

Please note that all forums have two deadlines: one for posting (Sundays at midnight), and another for commenting on at least 4 posts (Mondays at midnight).

  • CLASS PARTICIPATION This discussion will be a better experience for all of us if everyone comes to class ready and willing to be a part of it. Please plan on taking part in exciting conversations, asking hard questions, and engaging with the material in new ways. You will occasionally be asked to read text out loud, so be sure to bring your books with you to all class meetings. In addition to meeting face-to-face (f2f), you will also be asked to devote one (1) hour weekly to online assignments such as posting blogs, tweeting, and commenting on peers’ work. Our etiquette rules apply online as much as in person: be courteous, respectful, and only write feedback that’s thoughtful and constructive.
    • Check your space: This class is a community, and within it we need to respect each other and our wide range of ideas. As members of a community, we need to be aware of and in control of our own dynamics in the class. Come to discussion ready to add to, not detract from, our group.
    • Be tech-mindful: we will be constantly using technology in the classroom and you’re encouraged to bring your own devices. You’ll want to police yourself and make sure you are not distracted by websites and apps that are not assignment-related. Consider downloading blocking apps if you have difficulty staying focused.
  • PROJECT 1: Distant-Reading Whitney (visualization + 3-page analysis) This project will immerse you in a small facet of DH by asking you to consider what the collective “footprint” of a body of work tells us about an author. Using one of the visualizations provided by the online tool Voyant, you will select two-three significant words to analyze with the context of Whitney’s work.
  • PROJECT 2: Mapping Whitney (digital map + 3-4 page reflection) This project will engage you in understanding how real-life locations influence writing production and reading. Working independently, you will map one of Isabella Whitney’s poems according to historical and contemporary London. You will present your map to the class and write a 3-4 page reflection on the assignment when it is completed.
  • PROJECT 3: New York: A Social Knowledge Experiment (digital edition + 3-4 page reflection and presentation) Our end-of-the-semester project will be a collaborative experiment to make a social, digital edition collecting a variety of writing, images, and maps of and about New York relevant to our experiences as a class and as individuals. After evaluating other digital projects for pros and cons, we will work to design, edit, and reframe New York/Queens spaces for a contemporary audience of future students and scholars. The final exam will include a 2-page reflection piece asking you to define Digital Humanities in your own words.
  • DH Projects Review During weeks 1-2 you will sign up for a presentation on a DH-related theme (e.g. maps, exhibits, encoding, visualization). In addition to giving us an overview of that particular subject area, you will show us sample projects and write a 2-page evaluation of one digital project of your choice.

Extra credit (10 points) can be earned at any time by completing a coding course on Codecademy and blogging completion screenshots and a brief (250 words) reflection on your experience (was it easy/hard? what is this code for? will you continue to learn it?). You can do this twice in the semester.

GRADE DISTRIBUTION IS AS FOLLOWS:

A+ =97.0-100

A  =93.0-96.9

A- =90.0-92.9

B+=87.0-89.9

B =83.0-86.9

B-=80.0-82.9

C+= 77.0-79.9

C =73.0-76.9

C-=70.0-72.9

D+=67.0-69.9

D= 60.0-66.

CHEATING & PLAGIARISM:    The English Department abides by York’s policies on academic dishonesty, and considers all forms of cheating as unacceptable. Plagiarism includes copying language, texts, and visuals without citation (e.g., cutting and pasting from websites).  Plagiarism also includes submitting papers that were written by another student or downloaded from the internet. York College describes cheating and plagiarism as:

  1. “Cheating is the unauthorized use or attempted us of material, information, notes, study aids, devices or communication during an academic exercise.”
  2. “Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research, or writings as your own.”

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense:  the minimum penalty for plagiarism is an F for the assignment; the full penalty for plagiarism may result in an F for the course. Cases of plagiarism in ENG 295 may be reported to the York College’s Academic Integrity Officer. Assignments in ENG 295 may be submitted to Safe Assign for plagiarism check. Information about plagiarism procedures is available here: http://www.york.cuny.edu/president/legal-compliance/legal-affairs/cuny-legal-policies-procedures/Academic-Integrity-Policy.pdf 

CLASSROOM ETIQUETTE:  All Students are expected to conduct themselves in an adult manner. Keep in mind that our class is a place to share ideas and questions, but it is also a shared space which demands mutual respect and understanding. If you feel like your gadgets or your friends may be disruptive to the class, please keep yourself in check.

  1. Hybrid courses require commitment. If you’ve never taken a hybrid class before, be aware that hybrid courses can be extremely demanding and time-consuming. They require independent, self-guided work and extra time devoted to reading and writing on top of regular assignments. Make sure you reserve an extra hour every week to complete hybrid requirements. 
  2. Take responsibility. If you leave your work to the last minute, skip classes, consistently show up late, sleep or talk during class, your grade will suffer. Do not rely on your professors to make up or accept excuses for your behavior. Keep track of your grades and budget your time to accommodate for the demands of the class.
  3. Ask for help when you need it. I am happy to discuss drafts, outlines, or ideas during my office hours. As noted above, my office hours are from 4pm-5:30pm on Mondays and Tuesdays, but we can make virtual appointments as needed. I consider this your time, and I encourage you to make use of it. Please don’t think of meeting with me as something to do only as a last resort but rather as an important and integral part of your learning.
  4. Devices/Readings: You must bring the readings with you to class every week. You may use your devices to access course materials only if you have a tablet or laptop. Cell phone usage is not permitted during class.
  5. Technology Problems: This course relies heavily on access to computers and the Internet. At some point during the semester you WILL have a problem with technology: your laptop will crash, a file will become corrupted, a server will go down, or something else will occur. These are facts of life, not emergencies. Sadly, technological excuses (“my printer died,” etc.) cannot be accepted under any circumstances. Always make back-ups for your work, and plan ahead so that you will have time to use the on-campus computers and printers if necessary. This is a hidden message to check how thoroughly you read the syllabus. If you see this, email me a picture of a polar bear and a cheesy joke.
  6. Late Work. You are expected to make up work if you are not here.If you will miss class the day an assignment is due it is still your responsibility to turn in a digital copy of that assignment before it is due. Small assignments automatically lose 10% of the total grade for each late date. Major papers will not be accepted past the due date. Students must contact the instructor in advance if work cannot be submitted by the due date. The instructor will determine specific grade reductions based on timely prior notification, whether revised deadlines are met, and similar factors. Late papers will be accepted and graded only if a new deadline is arranged with the instructor in advance (at least 48 hours prior to deadline). No comments will be provided for late work.
  7.  You may email or talk to me at any time with questions. But first: CHECK THE SYLLABUS. The answer to many of your questions might be in this very document. I will do my best to respond within 24 hours (48 hours on weekends). If you send me an email at 1am, you probably won’t get a response until the next day (even if your paper was due at midnight!).

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