Digital Literature: The Death of Print Culture?
Honors Colloquium

English 190, T/R 10:30-11:45am (Fall 2010)
Clark Hall 111

Dr. Katherine D. Harris
Office: FO 220
Office Hours: W 1-3pm & via online tools
Phone: 408.924.4475
Email: katherine.harris@sjsu.edu

IntroductionsCourse PoliciesScheduleAssignmentsMoodle
Digital ResourcesBook History ResEnglish Dept.SJSU



DISCUSSION FORUM POSTS (various weekly writing)
Review of Print Material (500 words)
Due September 8 by 4pm
On Tuesday, September 7, we will visit King Library's Special Collections where Danelle Moon will take us through the treasures in the collection.  After the discussions on September 2, you should have a good idea about the artistic process of creating a printed object/text. Use those discussions to write a review of a single print object. Go beyond merely describing the object. Include an assessment of the visual and written spaces as well as the paper, ink, and all the other seemingly mundane aspects that go into making print material. When writing, avoid using "I" since this is a post about your object rather than yourself.  Post to Moodle in the appropriate forum. This post is worth up to 9 points. 


Reading Response to House of Leaves (500 words)
Due September 15 by 10am
For this post, write a 500-word response to House of Leaves by 10am.  Response for this assignment refers to your intellectual response instead of summarizing your reading experience.  For instance, you might want to write about the materiality of this novel, its oddly printed page, its interrupting narrative.  Or, you may chose to write about the plot development and the characters.  Whatever your preferences, keep in mind that this novel was selected because it represents a different type of narrative than the traditional novel offers.  Avoid using "I" in this post -- keep it academic. Post to Moodle in the appropriate forum. This post is worth up to 9 points. 


Review of Digital Archive (500 words)
Due September 23 by 10am
By this time, we will have discussion Archives & e-Books. Now it's time to put our discussions to use. Choose one archive project from the list on the online schedule or choose one that's relevant to your interests.  (Be sure that it's an archive of some kind, though.)  Write a 500-word review of the archive; include assessments of the content, usability and appearance as well.  Focus on the attempt to move from print to digital dissemination. As with all of these reviews, avoid using "I." Post to Moodle in the appropriate forum. This post is worth up to 9 points. 


Review of Digital Tool (500 words)
Due September 28 by 10am
In preparation for Professor Ramsay's virtual visit and our discussions about using digital tools, choose a tool from the list on DIRT and write a review assessing the usability and efficacy of this tool -- even if you don't code or program, you are an expert in tool use.  As with all posts, avoid using "I."Post to Moodle in the appropriate forum. This post is worth up to 9 points.


Review of Born Digital Literature (500 words)
Due October 12 by 10am -- addendum due by 10/14
Now that we've had a conversation with Prof. Lori Emerson and discussed assessing digital literature, it's your turn to write a review of one born digital piece. This can be literary or otherwise; it just needs to be a creative digital piece. Avoid discussing it from your personal "reading" experience. Also avoid discussing it as a tool or an archive.  Instead, assess the piece as a critic (literary or otherwise).  Avoid using "I." Post to Moodle in the appropriate forum. This post is worth up to 9 points.


Review of Social Networking Tool (500 words)
Due November 23 by 10am
We've been discussing social networking and presenting on Twitter.  Now it's time to write a review/critique of the social networking tools in preparation for Prof. David Silver's visit on November 23.  Write a review of a social networking tool and post to the appropriate Moodle forum. This post is worth up to 9 points.

Review of "Lucideyes" (500 words)
Due December 2 by 10am
We're rounding up the semester with a different type of discussion, one that focuses on multi-modal essays and visual narratives.  Is this a new form of delivery for scholarly inquiry or does it cross boundaries between creative and critique?  In preparation for Prof. Jamie Skye Bianco's visit on December 2.  Write a review (critique and analysis) of her video "Lucideyes" and post to the appropriate Moodle forum. This post is worth up to 9 points.




Videos, Blogs, Podcasts & Readings Post (500 words) & Presentation (pdf)
Due October 14, 2010
Digital Humanities scholarship has exploded in the last two years. Many digerati follow each other on Twitter, post to blogs, and have even started article clusters for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Many of these scholars and artists also head up some of the most intriguing projects and centers around the country. We canít possibly cover every reading, video, podcast or blog in our daily discussions. For this reason, Iím sending you to sift through our list of Online Resources for videos, blogs, podcasts and readings (http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/harris/Digital_Links.htm).

Texts & People

Choosing your "Text"
Choose 3 that you would like to explore and email those selections to me by Monday, September 27 at 12pm. If would like to work on a "text" that is not on that list, please indicate that in your email. I will try my best to give everyone his/her first choice; however, our goal is to avoid duplication.

Once you have your "text," spend some time reading/watching/listening to it. The goal of this assignment is to report back to the class the ideas that are represented in your "text" and to engage with those ideas. This is beyond a mere summary of the material. "Engaging" with the material means exploring the ideas beyond what is represented in the "text." In other words, go back to some of our readings; or even perhaps offer us a new phrase or term and discuss its relevance to our class.

Presenting & Posting
Presentations are 10-15 minutes each and will be spread over 2 days. Use any visual or audio that is necessary to demonstrate these ideas. Post a 500-word summary of your presentation to the appropriate Moodle forum by October 14, 10am -- post due by October 21, 10am.

A good presentation is one that has been well rehearsed. Presentations allow you to offer a wider array of information to our discussions Ė make it good!

A combined grade for both the presentation and the post will be based on 1) your ability to present the ideas represented in your "text" and to engage with those ideas; and 2) for the written post based on your ability to convey the complexity of your ideas in a written format. Please use MLA style if you want to quote from your "text."

Gaming & Adaptations Posts & Presentations (pdf)
Adaptations Presentation & Post 1000 words due November 2, 2010
Visualization Post & Post 500 words due November 4, 2010

Over the next two weeks, we will discuss play, rules, critical apparatus, and gaming. Prof. James Morgan should be able to help us establish what it is to play, and then also play using New Media. For this set of presentations and forum posts, you will create your own game.

Choose a work of literature that you find moving, satisfying, or well-written and describe the rules of a game version of its stories, characters, or themes. You may find that considering how to adapt a work of literature for a game is very different from speculating about making a film adaptation, although you may have to think about what characters would look like or how the writer's prose could be condensed into script format.

You do not have to design a videogame in which the action is represented digitally on a computer screen: you may choose to adapt the book as a board game, card game, physical game, alternative reality game, etc. But the game does need to have rules and a way to keep score or register winning and losing. It should also be a good game, which you would find engaging to play that invites participation.

You may chose to focus on the instructive rather than entertaining aspects of the work of literature and consider how best to persuade players how to eliminate the evils that the author is portraying, such as slavery in Huckleberry Finn or Uncle Tom's Cabin. Or you may want to use the game to encourage players to see possible counternarratives or ideological issues that the writer conceals, such as the place of English imperialism and colonialism in the works of Jane Austen or Daniel Defoe.

Whatever you do, you should choose the genre of your game very carefully to suit the aims of your adaptation. You could design a story-based adventure game with levels and a clear objective, such as the independent game Samorost (where you can try out a partial version online). Or a game that is much more about atmosphere and visual setting, such as the independent game Cloud, or even about a soundscape. Perhaps you imagine a game in which one player tries out different combinations in order to figure out the rules, such as the casual game Grow Cube. Or perhaps you want to choose a massively multiplayer online role-playing game in which there is a lot of knowledge-sharing among players to supplement the already generous exposition about rules that is provided by the game itself. You can look at Runescape to see an example of a free, popular, multiplayer online game. All of these examples are PC games that use a keyboard as an input device, but you may choose to develop an adaptation of your work of literature that involves a game controller, such as a PlayStation, Wii, or Xbox.

The first part of the assignment requires that you write a 1000-word description about your game. The second part of the assignment requires that you visualize your game using static or moving images and write a 500-word description to accompany the visual images. For this section of the assignment, you may use original or found art, images, photographs, etc. to display your ideas. Because you will have to accumulate those images somewhere, you might consider uploading them to an online environment like Picasa.

We will divide this work into two days of presentations:

  • On November 2, be prepared to present a 5 minute description of your game.
  • On November 4, be prepared to present a 5 minute demonstration of the images for your game.
  • Written Posts
    On November 2, post a 1000-word description of your game is due by 10am in the appropriate Moodle Forum.

    On November 4, post a 500-word description of your visualizations is due by 10am in the appropriate Moodle Forum.

    A letter grade for each presentation will be based on your ability to communicate the ideas about your game. Up to 9 points will be given for each written post based on your ability to convey the complexity of your ideas in a written format.

    Twitter & Digital Humanities Post (1000 words) & Presentation (pdf)
    Due November 16, 2010
    Many of the Digital Humanities scholars are following each other on Twitter, a micro-blogging platform that allows users to type only 140 characters to convey an idea. Typically, they blast the community with ideas and receive real-time responses (as opposed to email, blogging, wikis or print scholarly apparatus). In other words, they are constructing narratives from conversations with other Digital Humanists in a constantly evolving atmosphere.
    1. Register for a Twitter account (www.twitter.com)
    2. Create a profile and either in the username or the bio, use your real name
    3. Make your profile public; if you have a Twitter account already but would like to keep that private, register for a new account.
    4. Find and follow all members (students and professor Ė @triproftri) of our class.
    5. Review a list of Digital Humanists in @DanCohen comprehensive list and select one in particular to follow. (Many of our readingsí authors are on this list.)
    6. Get into the habit of checking Twitter at least once per day.
    7. Since tweets are not saved beyond a certain date, I strongly urge you to keep a log of your favorite tweets (perhaps in a Word document or in your Moodle blog area).

    You might find that you would like to expand your followings or that you will acquire some of the Digerati following you. Think about some of these questions as you follow along:

  • Is Twitter a valid scholarly apparatus?
  • Does it extend the conversations beyond the university walls?
  • Is it "professional"?
  • Is it literary?
  • Presentation
    Keep track of the daily conversations and report back to us during our Twitterati Presentation Day on November 16 and November 18. Each person will have 10 minutes to discuss the Digital Humanist he/she followed. Show us something interesting and innovative about this personís tweets.

    Written Post
    On November 16 by 10am, post a formally-written 1000-word evaluation (description, summary, and assessment) of your particular Digital Humanistís tweets to the appropriate Moodle forum. In your post, you may also include a brief assessment of Twitter itself.

    A grade for your presentation will be based on your ability to communicate the ideas represented by your Digital Humanist in tweets. A display of his/her tweets will be very helpful. A grade (up to 9pts) for the written post is based on your ability to convey the complexity of your ideas in a written format. Please use MLA style to cite and quote tweets. (Citing tweets is relatively new, so letís discuss how to do it.)

    Writing due: December 7, 10am, December 17 by 9:45am
    Workshop Presentation: December 7 & December 9

    Today, we discussed what you would like to do for your final projects. Many of you indicated that you already have plans.  So, we discussed formats and ideas today. I'm leaving this final project wide open for you to decide. The few requirements and instructions are listed below:

    • Your project must engage with the materials, discussions, readings, themes of this course.
    • You must submit a writing component no matter the form of your final project.
    • Traditional Essay should be 3500 words and also include a Works Cited.
    • Other formats must include a 1200-word Rationale that explains not only your artistic selections, but critically analyzes your creative work. Include a Works Cited or References page.
    • You may collaborate with another student in class but be sure to articulate who did what in the separate Rationales.
    • Post your project to the proper Moodle Forum by the due date and time.
    • Grading of the writing will be based on standards set by the English Department (see the Policies). See also my comments on your forum posts for help/suggestions on improving your writing.
    • My office door, time, virtual presence are available to discuss your ideas. Just email me.







    Dr. Katherine D. Harris
    Last updated: 12/04/2010 09:40 AM
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