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Many moons, waxing and waningThe following schedule is subject to change based on our needs as a reading and writing community.

Assignments are listed (as HW) on the day they are assigned, and are due online at 10pm the night before the following class meeting, unless otherwise specified. You should in general also bring a copy to class, so that we have access to it for discussion and/or revisions. Digital versions are usually fine.


Unit I | Laying the Ground Work | (weeks 1-2)
Unit II | Guiding Attention with Visuals | (weeks 2-5)
Unit III | Transmedia Revision with Audio | (weeks 5-8)
Unit IV | Webslinging with Markup | (weeks 8-10)
Unit V | Collaborative Composing | (weeks 10-14)
Unit VI | Reflection and Revision | (week 15)

Unit I: Laying the Ground Work

Lesson 1, Tuesday 8/29 – Course introduction: the writers in the room

For next time:

  • Read Madeline Sorapure's interactive webtext, "Five Principles of New Media: or, Playing Lev Manovich". After you've finished the Flash version, skim the pdf version.
  • Watch Michael Wesch, “Information R/evolution”
  • Buy the textbook, Writer/Designer, by Kristin L. Arola, Jennifer Sheppard, and Cheryl E. Ball. (I've ordered it to the University bookstore.)
  • Join this website if you haven't yet, and
  • Add New Post to share an introduction of yourself to the rest of the class.

Lesson 2, Thursday 8/31 – What is New Media?

For next time:

Lesson 3, Tuesday 9/5 – How lo should we go? Intro to GIMP

For next time:

  • Read Writer/Designer (W/D) pp. 63-76, plus online components;
  • Read Stanford’s Fair Use overview;
  • Post a reflection on the reading;
  • Find new images, if need be;
  • Schedule one-on-one conference with Ben

Unit II: Guiding Attention with Visuals

In this unit, you will design a composite visual text designed to attract a reader’s interest: e.g. a poster or flyer, or a cover for a book or music album.

Lesson 4, Thursday 9/7 – Fair Enough

For next time:

  • If you haven't yet done so, sketch some ideas for your project
  • Begin drafting your project using GIMP or Photoshop
  • Track your progress using Git and push to GitHub periodically
  • Find and watch online tutorials in pursuit of the effects you want
  • Read Writer/Designer (W/D) chapters 1 and 2

Lesson 5, Tuesday 9/12 – Sharing Skills, Setting Goals

For next time:

  • If you're being workshopped, bring a working draft of your visual media project, as a Photoshop- or GIMP-native file
  • Everyone, push a draft for me to give feedback on.

Lesson 6, Thursday 9/14 – Full-class workshop

For next time:

  • Read about fonts via FontSquirrel, TutsPlus, and/or Canva
  • Work on your project; optionally (depending on criteria) incorporate two fonts as a generative constraint

Lesson 7, Tuesday 9/19 – Studio

For next time:

  • Finish, at least for now, your visual project (deadline: 9/26)
  • Write a process reflection: how did you meet the criteria? What are you wondering? What would you do if you had more time?
  • Bring headphones; we start the audio unit next time we meet!
Note that there is no class on Thursday, 9/21, for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. So our next class is next Tuesday. See you then!

Unit III: Transmedia Revision (audio)

In this unit, you will re-imagine a text you’ve previously written using only alphanumeric text, and rewrite and record it for the ear.

Lesson 8, Tuesday 9/26 – Intro to Audio

For next time:

  • Read the text of John Bresland's Future Ex Buys Pajamas, as it was published in the literary journal Brevity.
  • Afterwards, listen to how Bresland remediated that same piece as an audio track
  • Listen (and, I guess, watch) Ira Glass talk about the basic building blocks of storytelling for broadcast
  • Write a brief reflection on the WordPress site, and put it in the Reflections category: what do you notice in putting these texts together? what does that make you wonder?
  • Begin thinking about what piece you might have that could benefit from translation to audio.
    • Bring a couple of options to talk through with your groupmates

Lesson 9, Thursday 9/28 – Layering Sound

  • Read and listen to Bresland's "On Writing for the Ear"
  • Read and listen to Rob Rosenthal's HowSound on Sound Design Basics
  • Record at least one spoken track to begin working with, knowing you can revise, retake, dub in, change your mind, etc.
  • Take notes about what kinds of other sounds you might want to add
  • Save and commit to git / GitHub as you go
  • Find and watch any tutorials you need to begin getting a handle on Audacity
    • Be ready to share one Audacity move with your classmates

Lesson 10, Tuesday 10/3 – Sharing Skills, Setting Goals (audio edition)

For next time:

  • Push a working draft of an audio remediation project as a working *.aup file and an mp3 export, for ease of listening online;
  • Make sure I can find your files by adding me as a collaborator
    • NB: if you couldn't get git-lfs working, use Box to share your large files (.aup, .au). But please still do use github to keep track of your progress. You can even add a link to your Box folder as a .txt file in your git repository!
  • Review the criteria we came up with today, and be ready to propose amendments as needed

Lesson 11, Thursday 10/5 - Full-Class Workshop (audio edition)

For next time:

  • Continue working on your projects, looking up tutorials as needed
  • At the end of each working session, commit and push a working draft of an audio remediation project and an mp3 export, for ease of listening online;
  • Make sure I can find your files.
Tuesday, 10/10 – Pitt Monday. Our class does not meet

Lesson 12, Thursday 10/12 – Studio

For next time:

  • By Tuesday, 10/17, finalize (at least for now) your audio project
  • Write a reflection
  • Bear in mind the collaborative guidelines, including how to submit

Unit IV: Webslinging (html+css markup)

In this unit, you will create or modify and publish an html+css website, supplying your own content for a collaborative project pitch.

Lesson 13, Tuesday, 10/17 – Separating Content from Display

For next time:

  • (Re)read chapters 2 and 3 of Writer/Designer, on "Analyzing Multimodal Projects" and "Choosing a Genre and Pitching Your Project," respectively.
  • Do the Process! activity on page 37: "Analyzing a Web Site's Design Choices."
    • Use your browser's developer tools (e.g. the Chrome inspector) to view the html and css of the website you chose for this exercise. How are the chunks of content organized behind the scenes?
    • Post your analysis to WordPress under the new Reflections subcategory.
  • Sign up for a midterm conference with Ben over the next 2-3 weeks (absolute latest deadline: 11/9)

Lesson 14, Thursday, 10/19 – Backstage on the Web; Building on Others' Designs

For next time:

  • Continue reading and following along with the tutorial disproving the claim that "html & css is hard". Spend at least an hour, aiming to learn something you don't already know.
  • Once you know what <img> tags are, review this guidance on how and why to include the alt attribute in all of your <img> tags:
  • Push a draft website to github; if you're not up being workshopped, it is fine if all you have to post is your tutorial progress.
  • If you haven't yet, sign up for a midterm conference with Ben over the next two weeks (absolute latest deadline: 11/9)

Lesson 15, Tuesday, 10/24 – Gathering criteria (web edition)

For next time:

  • Push a draft pitch website to github, and make it visible through

Lesson 16, Thursday, 10/26 – Workshop (web edition)

For next time:

  • Continue working on your pitch and your site, drawing on any tutorials or tips sites you need.
    • If you're downloading assets, save as you go!
  • Come in ready to share a CSS trick or semantic html element with your groupmates
  • If you haven't yet, sign up for a midterm conference with Ben over the next two weeks (absolute latest deadline: 11/9)
  • EXT: Re-read Stolley's "Lo-Fi Manifesto," especially section four: "Design first for the most constrained users and devices."

Lesson 17, Tuesday, 10/31 – Studio (web edition)

For next time:

  • Post your pitch website materials to github by Thursday; aim for 10pm Wednesday night if possible.
    • When it's ready, post a link to make it easier for your classmates to find
    • In class, you'll each have 2-3 minutes to make your pitch, which hopefully leaves us with 10 minutes to vote on your top four.
  • UPDATE: I'm extending the deadline for the web unit reflection (and any attendant revisions to your pitch site) to Tuesday, 11/7. As usual, please aim for the night before.
  • If you haven't yet, sign up for a midterm conference with Ben over the next two weeks (absolute latest deadline: 11/9)

Lesson 18, Thursday, 11/2 – Lightning talk presentations and project vote

For next time:

  • Vote as soon as you can! By end-of-day Friday if possible. I'll compile all the preferences into groups as soon as I have them all.
  • Read Writer/Designer chapter 5, on "Conceptualizing and Collaborating," and pay particular attention to the team contract – you'll be writing one next class.
  • Review the criteria for the web design unit, and don't forget to scroll down.
  • Finalize your website and reflection, and post them to GitHub.
  • If you haven't yet, sign up for a midterm conference with Ben over the next week (absolute latest deadline: 11/9)
  • EXT: Review the pitch websites for your top four pitches, and think about what roles you might want to play, depending on the group you end up in.

Unit V: Collaborative Composing

The deadlines and assignments here will vary from group to group, according to a team contract and more formal project proposal.

Lesson 19, Tuesday, 11/7 – Team Contract

For next time:

  • Begin research toward your group project
  • Re-read Writer/Designer chapter 5 in light of your new groups, especially the section on "Proposing to Get it All Done."
  • Prepare to collaboratively compose a group project proposal on Thursday.
  • Last chance to sign up for a midterm conference and not be late (I've had the deadline at 11/9 for several weeks)

Lesson 20, Thursday, 11/9 – Planning for Success

For next time:

  • If you haven't yet turned in a project proposal, finish it by Tuesday; I'd like to meet with every group by the end of Tuesday's class, if possible.
  • If you haven't yet (and why not?), sign up for a midterm conference with Ben (it'll now be late for midterm, but we should still meet)

Lesson 21, Tuesday, 11/14 – Group conferences

For next time:

  • Work on your group projects
  • Email Ben with requests for mini-lessons

Lesson 22, Thursday, 11/16 – Workshop + group studio (collaboratory edition)

Tu 11/21 — No class in deference to Thanksgiving travel; stay in touch with your group
Th 11/23 — No class: Thanksgiving

Lesson 23, Tuesday, 11/28 – Workshop + group studio (collaboratory edition)

Lesson 24, Thursday, 11/30 – Group studio + mini-lessons by request

Lesson 25, Tuesday, 12/5 – Final project presentations

Lesson 26, Thursday, 12/7 – Final project presentations; last day of class!

Final portfolios will be due by the end of the final exam slot, which we now know is Thursday, December 14th, at 9:50am.