English 138: Internet Culture
Spring 2012

Hours: MW 430-530 and by appt
408-551-1921 hjulien@scu.edu

CONNECTION & AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN DIGITAL CULTURE. This course explores major issues of the digital public sphere, including self presentation, identity and sociability. It fulfills several pathways, the university core technology requirement, the advanced writing requirement, and the rhetoric and writing requirement for English majors. There are two hypertext projects, a midterm and a final.

Books ordered:
Nancy Baym, Personal Connections in the Digital Age

Jane McGonigal, Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How
They Can Change the World

Leah Lievrouw, Alternate and Activist New Media

Rebecca MacKinnon, Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle
for Internet Freedom

You should arrange to buy or borrow paper copies of these books; I do not allow tablets or laptops in class except during media composition exercises.

M 4.2 Introduction. Exercise: sketch your “networked self”--the web of associations, interests, passions, and commitments through which you acquire & express your individuality, emphasizing the institutions, organizations, and groups that structure and support your beliefs, interests and values. Plan a website devoted to one aspect of your networked self. This is your personal hypertext project.

This should express an aspect of your "networked self” and involve some form of research/information gathering (broadly construed). You should include at least 1800 words of your own writing. This can be a service project for an organization with which you're involved, or a fan site for an author, band, or sports team that you admire. It can be creative writing, an autobiographical essay, a travelogue, family genealogy project, or a tribute to a relative who has passed away. It can be an annotated edition of a favorite text, such as a poem, song lyric, or photograph.

Ideally it will explore a conflict or issue to which you feel personally connected, rather than uncritically celebrate a personal connection. You will probably want to link this hypertext project to a personal home page, which you can use as a hub for your other projects for this class, pages for other interests, schoolwork, career needs (such as a resume, recommendations, or writing sample) etc.

Begin by writing the splash page on a plain piece of paper, indicating any images you plan to add and underlining the places you think links are appropriate. If you don't have the links you need to move on, re-write. Then, on new pieces of paper, create the pages to which you projected links on the front page. Write the text and describe the images you imagine for these pages. Indicate further links—and create the next layer of pages, as before. Keep going until you have a paper model of a functioning website. Consider: what sort of navigation bar would help readers navigate this site?

W. 4.4 Discuss Baym chapter 4, "Communities & Networks." Exercise in class: Complete a paper mock-up draft of your Personal Hypertext Project including the full text and images you would like to use for a site of 8-10 web pages and 1800 words (equiv 4-5 double-spaced linear pages).

Homework. Try to comprehensively redesign your still-on-paper Personal Hypertext Project. Add new pages. Revise the writing, image selection, organization and typography. Add a page with a 300 word essay linking to your design inspiration for the revision. Don't worry if you can't remember how to publish: create and save the pages in Kompozer. If you're having problems with the program, create the pages on paper and store the images/text/etc on your thumb drives and assemble the pages in class.

For design inspiration, explore the Webby Awards, plus former students here and here, and Gube's 20 Fresh and New Design Galleries and 10 Unusual Places to Get Design Inspiration.

For typography, view Gube, 20 Websites with Beautiful Typography and use a search engine to explore font image generators such as interactimage.com. Try using a font image generator to create unique and appropriate headlines for your site.

M 4.9 Web Authoring Tutorial MEETS IN LIBRARY MULTIMEDIA LAB (MML), FIRST FLOOR. Publish your personal hypertext projects, using the images and text you brought to class on your flash drives. Gloria Hofer will lead this section. NB: this class is almost impossible to make up. Attendance is mandatory.

W 4.11 0 Web Authoring Tutorial Part 2. MEETS IN LIBRARY MULTIMEDIA LAB (MML), FIRST FLOOR.

M 4.16 Discuss Baym chs 1&2. Brief discussion of creative commons and the use of an image credit and link to the source page for borrowed noncopyrighted images. HW: publish complete first drafts of personal hypertext (8-10 web pages, 1800 words). Use Gube for design inspiration and get publishing assistance from Gloria Hofer or Technology Training's student lab assistants. These students are available every Sunday through Thursday evening from 7-10 pm in the Harrington Learning Commons Multi-Media Lab. They are also available Monday and Thursdays for daytime consultations in Room 203. See the website for more about hours and locations. Email: tescobar@scu.edu

W 4.18 Workshop published, complete first draft of personal hypertexts.

M 4.23 Baym 5&6. Discuss final personal hypertexts.

W. 4.25 Lievrouw ch 1

M 4.30 Lievrouw ch 2. Begin discussion of reading on class blog.

W. 5.2 Lievrouw chs 3 and 6

M 5.7 MacKinnon chs 3 and 8. Brainstorm midterm hypertext

W. 5.9 McGonigal Introduction and ch 1 Draft midterm hypertext.

M 5.14 Midterm hypertext due

W 5.16 McGonigal chs 3 and 6

M 5.21 McGongigal chs 11-14; brainstorm final hypertext.