ENGL 1302 / Fall 2020 / Syllabus
tccengl130124326.slack.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / brockkingsley.com
Welcome, and thank you all for joining our course this fall. We’re going to try something a little different in that class will be hosted, here, on Medium. Think of it as a kind of experiment — where it’s okay to break things and fail at others. You can annotate any Medium page, so feel free to add notes, make comments. Feel free to ask questions, and if we need to we’ll make adjustments as we go. I’m really glad you’re here.
This course, Engl 1302, is meant to introduce you to concepts in close reading of important forms — short stories, essays, poems — of literature, as well as providing you a means to achieve a critical appreciation of literary art. “Critical appreciation” is a fancy way of referring to the reasons for liking whatever literature (or parts of literature) you like. For our purposes, critical appreciation will hinge largely on the ability to interpret* a piece of literature. While interpretation does include developing a meaningful account of what a piece of literature means, we will be less concerned with that and more concerned with the choices the author has made, what effects she is trying to achieve, and what the author/literature is doing to/for the reader. As you can imagine, the whole thing gets complicated, and abstract, and hard. Really, this business is largely subjective. That being said, this class’s raison d’être is to give you a way to talk about literary art, and, maybe, along the way prepare you to be a better citizen.
We will be doing all this in a digital format that, at least for now, eschews the “conventional” format.
(A lot of what’s written below is the same as the first term)
This course will try to stay curious and ask questions: How does technology change language and the way we use it? What do we consider writing? How does where we write affect how we write (think about platform and audience)? As we develop new means of communication online, how do we create ends that are monstrous, or ends that are beautiful?
We will engage our subjects through primary and secondary sources, but also through our own experiments and experience. We will work in familiar and unfamiliar media and come to understand how those interfaces vary our methods of writing.
There is no traditional text for this course. We will read some stuff and maybe watch some stuff, but the course will center around what we create and the conversations that arise.
I will provide PDFs or hyperlinks of texts, or provide a road map with which to find them. The same goes for any other form of media we will use.
The Work (Projects)
This course will be about “figuring things out” more than following instructions. We’ll be writing posts on Medium, commenting on each other’s work, engaging in other activities, and having discussions (if only in a virtual setting). Some projects will be more structured than others; some will appear to have no structure at all. Know that if instructions are vague, it’s because they are intended to be.
Also, know that it’s okay to be confused, feel stuck, or feel lost. Ask questions, ask lots of them, ask them whenever you have them..
- Medium Much of our written work will be posted on the publishing site Medium. This is a public site — people will be able to read your work. I happen to think there is educational value in that. If you’re uncomfortable with your work being readily available, I encourage you to adopt a pseudonym — a pen name, or write anonymously.
- Slack We’ll use Slack to stay in constant contact. There will be some “assigned” postings to Slack, but you should feel free to use the app to reach out at any time. It is a place for conversation, for discussion, for asking questions, asking for help, or just saying “hi.”
- Other Projects There will be other projects, too, throughout the term. Project guidelines are on the class schedule.
While final product is important, this course is much more focused on process — what we learn as we continue to work. You will receive a final grade, but I will not be grading individual projects. Instead, I’ll be providing comments, feedback, and questions that engage your work rather than pass judgment on it. Each project will receive a “complete” or “incomplete” marking in the grade book on Blackboard. If you do the project, you receive full credit; if you do not do the project, you receive no credit.
Your final grade will be determined with your input using the grading narrative on this site.
You may collaborate with your peers on any projects we do in this course. If you have questions, or would like guidance, on how that collaboration might work please feel free to chat with me at any point.
In this course we will:
- Think about the different ways we write; the different place we write
- Consider our own identities as writers (and people), how our unique traits transform into style and voice
- Communicate our ideas and continue to work on the different ways we do so
- Try, and fail
- Think about the different ways we learn
- Make mistakes
- Work together to figure out this new learning environment we find ourselves inhabiting
- Promote and practice empathy wherever and whenever we can
My Commitments To You
- I will be prepared for class
- I will be patient, honest, and flexible
- I will challenge you intellectually
- I will hold you to high standards
- I will do my best to foster an environment that is beneficial to everyone
- I will treat you as an individual
- I will never knowingly embarrass you
- I will respect your individual beliefs, and opinions
- I will provide you with timely, and clear feedback
- I will be available for any questions, or concerns about this class, my teaching, or your progress
I will be holding virtual office hours every day from 10am — 11am. But you should feel free to contact me whenever you need via whatever method you prefer.