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Visions of the Future

ENGL 318 l Fall 2013 Nathaniel Rivers l

Course Introduction
If you had a time machine, which direction would you go: forwards or backwards? Go backwards and you can live through historical moments, meet a famous or infamous relative, or even correct past mistakes (weve all made a few). Sounds good, right? Wrong. The past is prologue (as Shakespeare wrote), and no one ever reads those things anyway. The future is the main event! Where will we be and what will we have done? A trip to the future allows us to see the consequences of our actions, the fruits of our labors, the reaping of what we have sown. In this course, we watch films that attempt to give us a glimpse into the future, and we watch them to see what they have to say about our present. What Does This All Mean? This semester is about writing and talking about big things (for instance, language, law, love) through the small lens of science fiction. You are thus able (and, in part, required) to bring with them into the films a keen interest in contemporary society and the big questions that circulate in and around it. What does it mean to live with others? How is this living together shaped by technologies and by our built/unbuilt environments? How fragile and subject to change are we? You get out of the texts what they put into them. In this way, your experience of the course is unique to your interests and perspectives.

Course Assignments
Assignments include in-class and online discussions using Twitter (#318) and personal blogs (Critics Blogs) as well as quizzes (over both reading assignments and film screenings). The final project is a collaboratively produced commentary track for one of the films we have screened. Rather than composing essays that engage films after they have been viewedwhich is important work to be surewe compose and record commentaries that engage audiences as they watch the films. These commentaries guide audiences through the film, pointing out landmarks and key moments, helping them to discern the arguments the film is making about our future and our present. As such they should be equal parts insightful and entertaining. We will spend a significant portion of the semester working on these commentaries. The Critics Blog This aspect of the course is most central: it is from your blog that you will engage the films and each other in ways that lead toward both a fuller understanding of the films and the beginnings of your Critical Commentary Track. It is on the blog where you will work out your critical responses to the films. A successful Critics Blog post does the following: focuses response on the film and its elements. connects or relates your response to recent discussions, your current coursework, something you might have read elsewhere, and/or previous experiences engaging with material of this nature in other contexts. discusses how the film contributes to your understanding of the present moment, how it expands your understanding of recent discussions, or how it suggests ideas for your work moving forward. provides commentary rather than summary. We have all seen the film, so we don't need much summary. Instead, take particular aspects of the film and make concrete, specific connections to
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Course Text
Film Art: An Introduction, 10th Edition. By David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson. McGraw-Hill. ISBN-13: 978-0073535104

Course Films
A.I. Artificial Intelligence Alien Blade Runner Brazil Children of Men Metropolis Moon Star Trek: Sunshine WallE

Films will be available for streaming online (but only during the times we are screening them) via the Instructional Media Center and in lab for the duration of the semester. I thus recommend that you purchase the films with which you wish to work with in more depth (e.g., your critical commentaries).

your own experience inside and outside of class and previous films. hits the word count, which is ~500 words (word counts are a little arbitrary, but they encourage the kind of sustained attention that makes a good post). uses hyperlinks when referring to a resource, web page, or other file type. Hyperlinks mean converting text to a link, not merely cutting and pasting in an URL. titled to reflect the context of what you have written, not merely restating the name of the title of the assignment or reading. Interesting and informative titles draw more interesting responses from others.

Assignment Quizzes Critics Blog (and Comments) Critical Commentary Track Participation and Attendance Total Here is the general course rubric: A B C D F

Value 15% 40% 30% 15% 100%

To produce successful Comments: read through all comments and replies in the thread. strive to be thoughtful and analytical in your comments. try to find something new to say instead of repeating what has already been said in the original post or in other comments already posted. provide hyperlinks to additional resources on the Web that would better inform the discussion. contend with and/or support the original post. If you are criticizing what the poster has said, remember to do so respectfully, as this encourages further dialogue. This sucks would not be an appropriate response. Neither would Thats great! if you dont explain what you mean. But, be sure to keep in mind the course atmosphere detailed on the course syllabus; this is to be a place where you can openly question, discuss, and debateeven disagree. But, you must do so in a respectful and informed manner so as to not offend anyone or cause them discomfort. direct attention to related and relevant issues. You may find that none of the posts about a particular film confront what you feel is an important issue on the assigned texts. As long as it is related to the general topic of the readings or the topic of this class, feel free to post a comment that turns the conversation in a new direction (use the subject line to clearly specify this new direction). dont just praise or complain in your comment. A good comment introduces new material. Its point is to contribute to and shape an ongoing conversation. hit the comment word count, which is ~100 words.

Achievement outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements. Achievement significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements. Achievement meeting the basic course requirements in every respect. Achievement worthy of credit even though it does not fully meet the basic course requirements every respect. Performance failing to meet the basic course requirements.

Arts & Sciences Grading Scale

A AB+ 4.0 3.7 3.3 B BC+ 3.0 2.7 2.3 C CD 2.0 1.7 1 F 1

Course Goals
Writing in Context Analyze cultures, social contexts, and audiences to determine how they shape the various purposes and forms of writing, such as persuasion, organizational communication, and public discourse, with an emphasis on: writing for a range of defined audiences and stakeholders negotiating the ethical dimensions of rhetorical action Project Management understanding, developing, and deploying various strategies for planning, researching, drafting, revising, and editing documents both individually and collaboratively selecting and using appropriate styles and technologies that effectively and ethically address contexts and audiences building ethos through voice, evidence, documentation and accountability Document Design Make rhetorical design decisions about documents (and other compositions), including: understanding and adapting to genre conventions and audience expectations
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understanding and implementing design principles of format and layout interpreting and arguing with design drafting, researching, testing, and revising visual designs and information architecture

situated in an increasingly connected multimedia environment. Each student is responsible for his or her own engagement with class meetings, and thus his or her resultant success or failure. Availability of Online Material Because of the nature of the course, some material posted to the course website may be publicly accessible through the Web. (A students grades and personal information will not be shared publicly.) Additionally, any material posted to the course website may be used anonymously for teaching or published research purposes. For these reasons, students are encouraged to select usernames that are different from their real names. Collaborative Work Because one of the most salient features of digital technology is its social aspect, teamwork and group projects are required elements of the course. Student teammates are responsible for updating each other and the instructor about project development and progress. Additionally, student teams are responsible for negotiating all aspects of their work, including planning, drafting, revising, file managing, scheduling, and leading tutorials and presentations. When a group project is assigned, students will complete activities that foster successful collaboration. After the conclusion of group projects, individuals complete forms to assess the contributions of group members and the global performance of the team.

Teamwork Learn and apply strategies for successful teamwork and collaboration, such as: working online with colleagues determining roles and responsibilities managing team conflicts constructively responding constructively to peers' work soliciting and using peer feedback effectively achieving team goals Research Understand and use various research methods and sources to produce quality documents, including: analyzing historical and contemporary contexts locating, evaluating, and using print and online information selectively for particular audiences and purposes triangulating sources of evidence Technology Use and evaluate rhetorical technologies such as emailing, instant messaging, image editing, audio editing, video editing, presentation design and delivery, HTML editing, Web browsing, content management, and desktop publishing technologies.

Core Course Policies

Technology Expectations ability to interact with the course website and other websites access to word processing, visual design, podcasting, and web design software a suitable email account checked regularly for course-related business a Flash drive or other means to backup coursework Routine work with technology is a component of this course. Students need not be technological experts to succeed in this course, but digital technology interaction is integral and computer problems are not valid excuses for incomplete work. Practice the core principle of digital data work: redundant backup. Digital technology will fail; be prepared for that eventuality. Personal Technology Devices Students may use laptops, cell phones, and other digital devices during class, provided that they do not disrupt other students learning. This is not a trick. This course is

Attendance is welcomed, expected, and mandatory. To best utilize time, students must come to class on time. Students are considered absent if they are 1) more than 10 minutes late, 2) unprepared for class, and/or 3) not in class at all. There is regular in-class work and/or a signin sheet to record attendance and preparation for class. Attendance in this course is treated as attendance would be in a professional setting. (See attachment No Nonsense Attendance Policy) This is particularly true for the days when students work in their teams (presentations, conferences, in-class exercises). If a student foresees an absence, they should make arrangements with the instructor and/or team members. After two absences, students must attend a conference with the instructor to discuss whether they should continue in this course.

SLU Statement of Academic Integrity

The University is a community of learning, whose effectiveness requires an environment of mutual trust and integrity, such as would be expected at a Jesuit,
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Catholic institution. As members of this community, students, faculty, and staff members share the responsibility to maintain this environment. Academic dishonesty violates it. Although not all forms of academic dishonesty can be listed here, it can be said in general that soliciting, receiving, or providing any unauthorized assistance in the completion of any work submitted toward academic credit is dishonest. It not only violates the mutual trust necessary between faculty and students but also undermines the validity of the Universitys evaluation of students and takes unfair advantage of fellow students. Further, it is the responsibility of any student who observes such dishonest conduct to call it to the attention of a faculty member or administrator.

English as a Second Language

Help is available at the ESL Resource Center, where tutors are specialized to work with second-language concerns. They work with any international student, undergraduate or graduate, who wishes to seek assistance. In one-on-one consultations and workshops, our ESL writing coaches provide feedback and offer strategies to improve your writing at every stage, from brainstorming for ideas to polishing final drafts. We also offer workshops and individual assistance in other language-related areas, including TOEFL test-taking strategies, multi-media projects, grammar, research, and conversation skills. For more information, to make or cancel an appointment contact Christian Rayner at 314977-3052 or visit

Student Conduct
This courses code of student conduct is informed by Saint Louis Universitys own code of student conduct, best encapsulated by the following statement: All members of the University community are expected to contribute to the development and sustainability of community through word and action. Our community is characterized by respect for the dignity of others, honesty, and the pursuit of truth. Insults, slurs, or attacks of any kind are not allowed in this class (this includes f2f meetings and on the course site). Any student who engages in this type of behavior in the classroom will be permanently removed from the class. This code of conduct is equally important to maintain during group meetings outside of class. In order to have an effective teaching and learning environment we must practice both respect and tolerance, without question. The remainder of the universitys code of student conduct can be found at x24293.xml.

Students with Special Needs

In recognition that people learn in a variety of ways and that learning is influenced by multiple factors (e.g., prior experience, study skills, learning disability), resources to support student success are available on campus. Students who think they might benefit from these resources can find out more about: Course-level support (e.g., faculty member, departmental resources, etc.) by asking the course instructor. University-level support (e.g., tutoring/writing services, Disability Services) by visiting the Student Success Center (BSC 331) or by going to

Students who believe that, due to a disability, they could benefit from academic accommodations are encouraged to contact Disability Services at 314-977-8885 or visit the Student Success Center. Confidentiality will be observed in all inquiries. Course instructors support student accommodation requests when an approved letter from Disability Services has been received and when students discuss these accommodations with the instructor after receipt of the approved letter.

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Visions of the Future

ENGL 318 l Fall 2013 l Nathaniel Rivers l
Film Discussed Week One (8/27 & 8/29) Week Two (9/3 & 9/5) Week Three (9/10 & 9/12) Week Four (9/17 & 9/19) Week Five (9/24 & 9/26) Week Six (10/1 & 10/3) Week Seven (10/8 & 10/10) Week Eight (10/15 & 10/17) Week Nine (10/22 & 10/24) Week Ten (10/29 & 10/31) Week Eleven (11/5 & 11/7) Week Twelve (11/12 & 11/14) Week Thirteen (11/19 & 11/21) Week Fourteen (11/26 & 11/28) Week Fifteen (12/3 & 12/5) Assignment (Due) Readings Discussed ( Film Art: An Introduction)

Doomsday Book Blade Runner A.I. Artificial Intelligence Moon Children of Men Metropolis Wall-e Brazil Star Trek: Insurrection Sunshine Alien Critics Blog #1 (9/6) Comments (9/9) Critics Blog #2 (9/13) Comments (9/16) Critics Blog #3 (9/20) Comments (9/23) Critics Blog #4 (9/27) Comments (9/30) Critics Blog #5 (10/4) Comments (10/7) Critics Blog #6 (10/11) Comments (10/14) Critics Blog #7 (10/18) Comments (10/21) Commentary Proposal Critics Blog #8 (10/25) Comments (10/28) Critics Blog #9 (11/1) Comments (11/4) Critics Blog #10 (11/8) Comments (11/11) Script Draft Due Ch. 1: Film as Art (46) Ch. 2: The Significance of Film Form (22) Ch. 3: Narrative Form (28) Ch. 4: The Shot: Mise-en-Scene (48) Ch. 5: The Shot: Cinematography (57) Ch. 6: The Relation of Shot to Shot: Editing (47) Ch. 7: Sound in Cinema (41) Ch. 8: Summary: Style and Film Form (18) Ch. 9: Film Genres (22) Ch. 10: Documentary, Experimental, and Animated Films (50) Ch. 11: Film Criticism: Sample Analyses (55) Critical Commentary Track Project Commentary Track Draft Ch. 12: Historical Changes in Film Art (42)

Commentary Track Due

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