Policy Statement

English 325: Writing in Digital Environments

Professor: Matt King (he, him, his; more on pronouns here and here)
Email: mrking@sbu.edu
Phone: 716.375.2457
Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 2:30-4:00 and by appointment
Office Location: Plassmann D6
Class Website: https://mattrking.com/courses/e325/

Class texts will be made available online as needed.

Professional and Creative Writing Major Objectives

  • Write effective texts in different genres and in multiple media to respond to a variety of professional and creative needs.
  • Construct professional identities as writers, readers, and researchers who can make valuable contributions in a variety of professional settings.
  • Interpret cultural, political, and historical situations using specific theories from rhetorical, literary, and writing studies.
  • Display the ethical commitment of writers to improve society.

Course Description
This course will give students experience writing in a range of digital spaces. Possible writing environments and technologies include blogs, wikis, websites, videos, podcasts, social media platforms, interactive and electronic fiction, video games, and virtual worlds. Students will develop skills and writing practices related to analysis, argumentation, creative writing, media production, design, editing, and coding. At the same time, the course foregrounds writing in specific digital environments and asks students to consider how these contexts shift and shape the act of writing. (3 credits; no prerequisites)

Course Goals:

  • Become better readers of digital writing through understanding and applying key terms and concepts in digital rhetoric;
  • Develop writing and production strategies that facilitate both academic (analysis, argumentation) and creative (experimentation, play, discovery) pursuits;
  • Produce texts that effectively address concerns of audience and purpose with particular attention to digital publics, editing and design practices, and the capacities of a given media/platform;
  • Reflect on and attend to the relationship between digital writing, academic writing, and writing in your field or future profession;
  • Understand and apply standards and best practices in documentation, fair use, and accessibility in digital writing.

Grading Policy
Short Projects
• Social Media Analysis = 10%
• Remix = 10%
• System Design = 10%
Final Project = 40%
Class Website = 20%
Participation = 10%

Late Work. I am pretty flexible concerning late work as long as you let me know ahead of time. I would rather you spend the time you need on your writing in order to succeed, and if you need an extra day or two beyond the deadline to achieve that, I want you to take advantage of that time. That being said, excessive or unexcused late work will not be acceptable; in such circumstances, late work will be penalized with points deducted equivalent to a letter grade. If circumstances prevent you from being able to submit an assignment on time, you should discuss the situation with me at least 24 hours in advance.

Attendance. You should arrive to class on time with all assigned readings and papers completed. You are allowed three absences throughout the semester without a grade penalty. After three absences, each absence will deduct 2 points from your participation grade (i.e., with four absences, you cannot get higher than 8 pts for participation; with five absences, you cannot get higher than 6 pts). If you have more than eight absences, you will automatically fail the course. Tardiness can also contribute to your absences; every 3 instances of tardiness will count as an absence. If you arrive to class more than 15 minutes late or leave more than 15 minutes early, you will be counted absent.

This policy does not distinguish between excused and unexcused absences except for athletes or other students with official university responsibilities. For athletes, students who provide documentation for absences related to athletic competitions will be excused for all such absences. Student athletes can also miss two more class periods throughout the semester without a grade penalty. If you have three or more unexcused (non-athletic) absences throughout the semester, then all of your absences will be counted toward the attendance policy.

+/- Grades. Plus and minus grades will be used in awarding final grades for this course. The letter-to-percentage conversion is given below.

Assignment Grades
A+ = 98.5  A = 95   A- = 91.5
B+ = 88.5  B = 85   B- = 81.5
C+ = 78.5  C = 75   C- = 71.5
D+ = 68.5  D = 65   D- = 61.5
F = 55

Semester Average
A = 93-100 A- = 90-93
B+ = 87-90 B = 83-87 B- = 80-83
C+ = 77-80 C = 73-77 C- = 70-73
D+ = 67-70 D = 63-67 D- = 60-63
F = Less than 60

Student Success Center
Revising and responding to feedback will be an invaluable and necessary part of your development as a writer this semester. Toward this end, you are strongly encouraged to visit me during office hours and to visit the Student Success Center on the first floor of Plassmann Hall to meet with a writing tutor. Bring your work with you to your appointment.

Academic Honesty
The work you submit for our class should be your own; when you draw on the work of others, you should acknowledge it and include appropriate citations. Instances of plagiarism can result in failed assignments and potentially failure of the course. A list of unacceptable practices and procedures to be followed in prosecuting cases of alleged academic dishonesty can be found here.

Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities who feel they need academic accommodations should contact Adriane Spencer (aspencer@sbu.edu), Director of Disability Support Services Office, 100D Plassmann Hall (Student Success Center), 716-375-2065. Please reach out early in the semester so that they can assist you as soon as possible. Documentation from the Disability Support Services Office is required before I can make accommodations.

Email will serve as an official means of communication for this class, and you should check the email account you have registered with the university regularly. Feel free to email me with your questions and concerns.

Title IX
Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, etc. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find the appropriate resources at the Health and Wellness Center or at the Campus Safety Office. For on-campus reporting, see the Title IX Coordinator (Sharon Burke, Director of Human Resources) and Residence Life Staff (RAs, RDs, and other professional staff). The University’s policy and procedures regarding gender-based and sexual misconduct can be found online.

In the event of an emergency, call Campus Safety at 716-375-2525 or contact Nichole Gonzalez, Residential Living and Conduct, 716-375-2572, ngonzale@sbu.edu. Be aware that most university employees are mandated reporters.

Other Concerns
If you have any other concerns that affect your ability to succeed in this course – for example, affording costs related to the class, having regular shelter and food, dealing with mental health issues, etc. – please let me know, and I will do what I can to help.