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Professional Writing: New Media & Social Networking

Spring 2010

ENGL 4320.201
T/R: - 11:00 to 12:15

INSIDE THIS Course Description

Technological innovation continues to occur
SYLLABUS on the internet at an extremely fast pace.
Keeping up with the speed of innovation and
Course Policies and Maintaining a familiarity with the most recent
Procedures . . . . . . . . . . 2
tools and capabilities is handy in some
 Attendance/Participation
 Late Work
professions and absolutely critical in others.
 Technology Issues This course is designed to help you under-
 In-Class Conduct stand and effectively use a variety of “web 2.0″ technologies including
blogs, RSS, wikis, social bookmarking tools, mapping tools in
professional writing situations.
Course Policies . . . . . . 3
 Paper Format In this course, we will examine research approaches to contemporary
 Academic Honesty issues surrounding social networking software, privacy concerns, and
 Diversity Statement copyright issues. We will also use social networking tools and reflect on
 Students with Disabilities their sociality. We will discuss this sociality and how it impacts today’s
 Advising
personal and public worlds. We will use social networking tools to create
 Office Hours
“professional writing” for an outside client/institution.

Course Policies . . . . . . 4
 Course Calendar

Social Networking Tools
Teaching Philosophy
 English Majors  Professor: Dr. Billie Hara
 Email:
 Twitter: @ProfHara
Assignments/Grading . . . 5  Phone: (361) 825-2360
 Student Learning
 Office: FC 274A
 Course Blog:
 Grade Distribution
 Grading Scale  Office Hours: M/W: 1:30 to 2:30, T/TH: 4:00 to 5:30, and by appt.

Assignments/Grading . . . 5
 Grade Appeal Process
 Tapscott & Williams, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes
Daily Schedule . . . . . . . 8 Everything
 Aoki & Boyle, Tales from the Public Domain
Prerequisites for this  Library Reserve and Online Articles
course: English 1301 and  Internet access
1302, junior or senior  Portable storage medium (e.g. flash drive)
standing.  A few dollars on your SandDollar card for printouts.
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Course policies

You must attend and be on time for class, because the work we will do during class will be crucial
to your understanding of the material and your success in the course. In addition, English 4320 is
a pre-professional course, and you are expected to conduct yourself in a professional manner,
which includes good attendance. If you are alive, you need to be here. To be considered present,
you must be in class on time, participate in all class activities, and remain in class for the entire
 Absences
o If dire circumstances cause you to miss class, let me know and I will work with you.
o The only excused absence is a university sanctioned one. Extra-curricular (non-
academic) activities, studying for another course, breaking up with a boyfriend /
girlfriend, and very many similar issues are not sufficient cause to miss this class or
to be late with an assignment.
o Excessive absences will lower your final grade: after two absences, you will lose ½
letter grade for each additional absence.
o At five or more absences, you will fail the course.
o Missing class the day an assignment is due does not automatically mean you get
more time to complete that assignment.
 Tardies
o If you arrive at class after your name is called, you are tardy. Two tardies equal one
unexcused absence.

Late Work
I will take any essay up to a week late (Monday to Monday, for example) without a grade penalty.
However, when you submit your work late, I do not put comments on your work. I will not accept
late work after the last day of classes (no exceptions).

Technology Issues
This course relies heavily on access to computers, specific software, 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, not
emergencies. Technology problems are no excuse for unfinished work. Count on "stuff"
happening and protect yourself by doing the following: Plan ahead – start early, particularly if
scarce resources are required. Save work often – at least every ten minutes. Make regular
backups of files in a different location from the originals. Save drafts of work at multiple stages.
When editing an image, set aside the original and work with a copy. Practice safe computing when
surfing the web and checking email. On your personal computer, install and use software to
control viruses and malware.

In-Class Conduct
In general, treat each other and me with respect and follow simple standards of common courtesy.
Here are a few specifics:
 Please turn off all cell phones or other electronic communication devices and place them out of
sight (in a bag, purse, pocket) while in class.
 Use the computers only for ENGL 4320-related purposes. Please do not engage in e-mailing,
IMing, or the use of social networking websites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.) during class
unless directed. Those who violate this policy will be required to turn off their monitor until the
computer is needed for class work.
 Please do not bring food to class (it can be highly disruptive). If you wish to have a drink, as I
will usually have one, please make sure it has a secure lid.
 When group work is assigned in class, you must work in a group, not as an individual.
 During group work time, please stay on task and work cooperatively with other group members.
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Course policies

Paper Format
Unless otherwise instructed, all out-of-class writing, including rough drafts, must be word-
processed and in the format discussed in class. (This is generally double-spaced, normal
font (Times New Roman or Ariel) in a 12-point font, 1” margins.)

Academic Honesty/Plagiarism
The university will not tolerate plagiarism or any other form of intellectual/academic
dishonesty. Plagiarism is a serious violation of departmental and University policies, but it
is sometimes difficult to understand what plagiarism actually is. Often, students commit
unintentional plagiarism (not citing sources properly, for example), because they are
unaware of the standards that apply. In general, any work that contains material from
sources (including your textbooks) must be documented properly. Work that is turned in
for the course that is plagiarized will be failed. If you are unsure about your use of sources,
please consult with me or visit the writing center (in the TLC, in Library 216) for advice on
source documentation BEFORE the item is due. For this course, you must use either APA or
MLA citation style but be consistent. Any grammar handbook and many web sites have
directions on correct citation. You can find an excellent review of the various forms of
plagiarism, good for any teacher to review/use, at this link. It is long, but worthwhile.

Acceptance of Diversity
We are the most diverse campus, in terms of racial identity, in the Texas A&M system. This
means that we are all meeting and working with people who are different from ourselves in
terms of their identities: whether that is defined by their race, ethnicity, class, gender,
sexual orientation, and/or religion. Respecting and accepting difference is vital to your
success in this class, on this campus, as a future teacher in your own classroom, and in the
global community.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that
provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other
things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning
environment, which provides reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe
you are a student requiring an accommodation, please contact the Office for Students with
Disabilities at 825-5816. Students with special needs (recognized and documented by the
University) should notify me so we can discuss appropriate instructional aides or
accommodations. These conversations will be confidential.

Academic Advising
The College of Arts and Humanities requires that students meet with an Academic Advisor
as soon as they are ready to declare a major. The Academic Advisor will set up a degree
plan, which must be signed by the student, a faculty mentor, and the department chair.
The College's Academic Advising Center is located in Driftwood 203E, and can be reached at
825-3466. If your major is in another College (e.g., Education), please contact that college
for information and requirements about advising.

Office Hours
During the office hours posted on the first page, I will be in my office and available to talk
with you about any questions, comments, or concerns you have about the course. Please
stop by and see me during these hours. If those hours do not work for you, email me, and
we will find a mutually convenient time.
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Course policies

Course Calendar
In the course calendar that follows, you will find what we will be doing each day, what you
are expected to read or write for homework. The course calendar is very important, and
you are responsible for completing all the assignments listed. Keep in mind, too, that
writing can be a longer process than I can image now as I construct this syllabus.
Therefore, I reserve the right to make changes to this syllabus as we move through the
semester. If we do make changes, do not be alarmed. The changes will most often help
you. Those changes, however, will NOT be to move a date up early; if I have to change a
date, it will be to give you more time.

Twitter and other Social Networking Tools

I am an avid social media user. As time

allows, we will use some social networking
tools in class. In addition to regular office
hours, I am on the Twitter network as
@ProfHara. You can follow me if you wish.
Additionally, by engaging in social
networking and new media work in this
course, we will use a number of online tools.
These tools are free, but you need to signup
for account to have access:

Philosophy of Teaching
My teaching philosophy centers on ideas of critical / relational pedagogy, and the central
goals are simple. The critical: I will challenge you to think differently about the writing,
about the world, and even about yourself. The relational: while the responsibility for
learning belongs to you, we will do the work together. I support your products and your

Reminder to English Majors: As part of the English undergraduate capstone course

(ENGL 4351), all English majors are required to submit a portfolio of writings in different
discourse genres that they have completed for their college classes. To help you prepare for
this assignment, you should keep a copy of all essays, research papers, literary analyses,
creative and report writing, etc., so that you will have an ample selection from which to
choose when the portfolio comes due.
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Student Learning Outcomes / Grading Criteria

Student Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, you should be able to:
1. Apply contemporary theories of digital humanities (new media) to the design and
development of professional
2. Create collaboratively-produced documents for an outside agency/institution
3. Write in multiple new media genres to improve your own writing skills.

Please see the graph to understand how the course assignments will help you meet these
student-learning outcomes.

Grade Distribution
Your grades will be based on the following assignments:

 Oral Presentation (Pecha Kucha) 10%

 Blogging Project 20%
 Twitter (micro-blogging) Analysis 10%
 Wikipedia Entry 20%
 Collaborative Professional Writing 30%
 Final Writing Project 10%

Grading Scale
It is your responsibility to keep track of your grades. If you need to clarify or confirm your
grades, I am happy to do so during office hours. I will not discuss your individual grades in
class. If you have concerns about how to fulfill an assignment, or if you have concerns
about your grade, please make an appointment to see me. In the case of a grade issue,
please schedule an appointment at least 24 hours after I return the assignment to you. Be
sure you have read my comments carefully, and be prepared to discuss how your paper fits
the criteria given for that assignment.

Avg. 98 95 92 88 85 82 78 75 72 68 65 62 0

A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
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Assignments and Grading policies

Grade Appeal Process

As stated in University Rule 13.02.99.C2, Student Grade Appeals, a student who believes
that he or she has not been held to appropriate academic standards as outlined in the class
syllabus, equitable evaluation procedures, or appropriate grading, may appeal the final
grade given in the course. The burden of proof is upon the student to demonstrate the
appropriateness of the appeal. A student with a complaint about a grade is encouraged to
discuss the matter first with the instructor. For complete details, including the
responsibilities of the parties involved in the process and the number of days allowed for
completing the steps in the process, see University Rule 13.02.99.C2, Student Grade
Appeals, and University Procedure 13.02.99.C2.01, Student Grade Appeal Procedures.
These documents are accessible through the University Rules Web site at For assistance and/or
guidance in the grade appeal process, students may contact the Office of Student Affairs.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this syllabus, please speak with me as soon
as possible. You are responsible for understanding and adhering to the policies of this
course and TAMU-CC.
Daily Schedule (subject to change)
Readings must be completed before coming to class on the day listed. Remember to bring
your notebook everyday!


Introduction to Web 2.0

Thurs 1/14 Introduction to Course, “What is Web 2.0”

O’Reilly, “What is Web 2.0.”

Carr, “The Amorality of Web 2.0”
Tues 1/19
Carr, “The Good, the Bad, and the Web 2.0”
BLOG POST #1 (introduction) BLOGS / TWITTER
Carr, “”Is Google Making Us Stupid.”
Jarrett, “Interactivity is Evil! The Critical Investigation of Web 2.0”
Thurs 1/21
Shirky, "How Social Media Can Make History," & "Web 2.0 Expo Keynote"
Tools of Web 2.0
Rettberg “What is a Blog?”
Tues 1/26 Trapani, “Lifehacker” (Blogging Heroes)
Warren, “PostSecret” (Blogging Heroes) PREZI
"Social Bookmarking in Plain English" The Common Craft Show
Mathas, “Folksonomies – Cooperative Classification and Communication
Thurs 1/28
Through Shared Metadata”
Johnson, “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live”
Tues 2/2 Huberman, et al. “Social Networks That Matter: Twitter Under the
Wesch, “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube.” Presented at the
Library of Congress. YouTube. [Note: 55 minutes]
Thurs 2/4 Wesch, “The Machine is (Changing) Us: YouTube and the Politics of
Authenticity. YouTube.”
Community / Collaboration

Rheingold, “TED Talk on Collaboration” [video]

Tues 2/9
Shirky, Chap 1 (1-24) WIKIPEDIA
Turkle, “Who Am We?”
Kelly, “Who Are the Web?”
Thurs 2/11
Harris, “We Feel Fine.” [Interactive]
Berners-Lee, “The world wide web.” Communications of the ACM, 37, 76-
Tues 2/16 82.
Dibbell, J. (Dec. 1993). A rape in cyberspace…”. Village Voice. [PDF]
Bush, “As we may think.” Atlantic Monthly.
Harris, “We Feel Fine.” [Interactive.]
Thurs 2/18 Kelly, “We Are the Web.” Wired.
Turkle, “Who Am We?” Wired.
Bound by Law
Tues 2/23 Albrechtslund “Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance”
Bound by Law
Thurs 2/25 “Understanding Net Neutrality” [video]
Calcanis, “Is Facebook Unethical, Clueless, or Unlucky?”
Tues 3/2 Harris, Universe. [Interactive.]
Vaidhyanathan, “Naked in the ‘nonopticon.’” JIFFLE
Moulthrop, “You Say You Want a Revolution? Hypertext and the Laws of
Thurs 3/4 Media.”
DeVoss & Porter, “Why Napster matters to writing: Filesharing as a new
Tues 3/9 ethic of digital delivery.”
Thompson, “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy.”
Anderson, "Free! Why $0.00 is the Future of Business"
Thurs 3/11 Gladwell, "Priced to Sell. Is Free the Future?"

Tues 3/15 SPRING BREAK (no classes)

Thurs 3/17 SPRING BREAK (no classes)

Literacy and Writing

Selfe, C.L. (1999). “Literacy and technology linked.”

Tues 3/23
Rheingold, Howard. "Attention Literacy."

Thurs 3/25 BLOG POST #10


Thurs 4/1 BLOG POST #11

Tues 4/6

Thurs 4/8 BLOG POST #12

Tues 4/13

Thurs 4/15 BLOG POST #13

Tues 4/20
Thurs 4/22 BLOG POST #14

Tues 4/27


Thurs 4/29

Tues 5/4