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Lesson 01 – Tuesday, 2017-08-29


Texts to have read: the course description
Writing to turn in:

  • (at end of class) infosheet about other coursework, languages, groups, etc
  • (at end of class) letter to Ben about your habits, expectations, and goals as a composer of digital media

1. Introduction to the course and to each other

Please fill out your info sheets. On the back, it will ask you to choose one animal and one fruit/vegetable. Set up your name on your desk when you're done, so I can (try to) see (around these monitors) when we're all ready.

EXT: If you're waiting, do an image search for your chosen fauna and flora.

Wait for it
Now describe **your interest in composing digital media** as the animal, and **your personality** as the fruit/vegetable, or vice versa. If you have time, use an image search to help you notice or help us remember the many aspects of these new avatars.

Metaphors can be a powerful way of extending our thinking. It's also a memorable way to meet each other! Take 2-3 minutes; when everyone's done, we'll all share. I'll do it, too.

2. A letter from Ben

It's part of the syllabus.

3. Write a short letter back to Ben.

Some considerations you might address include:

  • What were your expectations for the course coming in? What were your goals? If they’ve changed at all after reading / hearing my letter, how?
  • What, if anything, surprised you in my letter? Why? If you have any questions or concerns, please ask them!
  • If anything in my letter particularly excites you, or helps you, please let me know that, too!
  • What are your habits as a reader? Do you like to read? What do you like to read? Where do you do your reading? When? Has this changed, that you’re aware of?
  • What are your habits as a writer? What assets do you bring to the class that might help you or your classmates? What challenges do you think you’ll face?
  • Consider telling a story or two about a particular experience with reading or writing, multimodal or otherwise, that helps clarify something you want me to understand. Use concrete details to make the story present to me; help me get to know this memory through your eyes.

Don’t feel that you have to answer every single one of these questions, and especially don’t feel you have to answer them in order. Similarly, don’t feel your letter must be limited to only those questions covered in the bullet points.

  • EXT: If you finish early, think about making the letter multimodal. What images would you want to add? How might you arrange the images and text?
  • EXT: If you finish that, too, consider audience: how might you want to change this letter for posting an introduction to yourself on the course website?

Homework for next time

  • Before you leave, please:
    1. turn in the info form and letter to me (email is fine)
    2. take the grading contract
  • Administrative:
    1. Join the website if you haven't yet. If things are weird, give me a few hours; I'll get it sorted out asap!
    2. Buy the textbook, Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects, edited by Kristin L. Arola, Jennifer Sheppard, and Cheryl E. Ball.
    3. Read over the grading contract, and either initial-and-sign it, or come back with suggested changes. (But bear in mind that all bargaining over the contract must be collective – we have to achieve consensus on any revisions.)
  • Reading:
    1. Read Madeline Sorapure's interactive webtext, "Five Principles of New Media: or, Playing Lev Manovich". There are two versions; after you've finished the full Flash version, skim the pdf version.
    2. Watch Michael Wesch, “Information R/evolution”
  • Writing:
    1. Once you're a member of the site, click Add New Post to share an introduction of yourself to the rest of the class.
      • If you're familiar with WordPress, or just like browsing through widgets' worth of options you can put this post in the "Authors" category.
    2. EXT: Take the tech comfort survey that I set up for this course. (Everyone should take this before their first conference with me, but you've got a little time.)
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About benmiller314

I'm an assistant professor in the English department's Composition program. I earned a PhD from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), where I also got a certificate in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy; I also have a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University, in poetry. Basically, I've been in school a long time, and I'm delighted to be teaching, so that I can stay in school even longer.