Response 3 Due Thursday, Jan. 29 Tuesday, Jan 27 2009 

Text Book claims that narratives with reversals and recognitions are more interesting. Browse youtube and find a commercial that contains a peripeteia or reversal of fortune. Or find a moment from your chosen TV show that contains a reversal of fortune. Then, write out how you would rewrite the commercial or show that would subvert or destroy its commercial function or appeal. Focus on an event that happens or something that is said that you could alter slightly that would completely change the meaning or intent of the original. Try to write at least two paragraphs, one describing how the commercial or show originally employs peripeteia and the other describing how you would subvert the commercial appeal with the smallest possible change. Reference pp. 51-57 for background on reversals and recognitions.


Assignment 2 Due Tuesday, Jan. 27 Thursday, Jan 22 2009 

I’ve posted Assignment 2, due Tuesday, Jan. 27. Please post any questions about the assignment here.

Response 2 Due Thursday, Jan. 22 Sunday, Jan 18 2009 

For this response we’re going to get some practice at enacting a story as a drama. When we are developing our event with the characters of a TV show, we’ll need to understand the relationship between dialogue and story, and from there to dialogue and drama. To put this narrative online, we’ll need to use something closer to stage directions than “literary” description.

Read the short story “The Kiss” on Text Book p. 19-21 and then read the dialogue taken from the story on p. 40-41.

Then, follow the instructions at the bottom of p. 41 to get practice with transforming descriptions of events into staging them.

Assignment One is online Thursday, Jan 15 2009 

I’ve posted the assignment description here. Please post any questions you have regarding the assignment in the comments so that others can view the answers as well.

Telling a good story instructions Tuesday, Jan 13 2009 

In comments, post your instructions for telling a good story. Pretend like you have a friend who tells boring stories. Come up with some instructions from Text Book, 1-12, to get him or her to tell better stories.

“Tell-me-a-story” Contest Monday, Jan 12 2009 

Duchamp's "Bicycle Wheel"

Duchamp's "Bicycle Wheel"

The “Tell-me-a-story” is derived from a game where participants are asked to tell a story about an ambiguous image. The game is designed to get creative juices flowing, but it also serves as an introduction to our first section of the semester which largely deals with narrative.

In the comments, please submit your stories generated from and including the object pictured here. As we noticed in class the other day the story can be as fantastical as you want to make it (it does not have to regard the image as a combination of two actual objects “bike wheel + stool”). The class as a whole will vote on the winners of the two categories: “most creative” and “funniest.” The winners will receive 5 bonus points each. You must submit a story to be able to cast a vote. The stories should be posted by and voting will begin on Jan. 27 and voting will end on Feb. 2.

“Email” response #1 Thursday, Jan 8 2009 

If time permits, we’ll finish these questions in class. If not, please finish it this weekend. This will count for the first “email” of the semester, so it is due by Tuesday, the 13th. Please send either a reply to the listserv or post your answers here as comments. Please use your real name so that I know who you are, or let me know if you’re using a different name. As with all emails, you will be graded on the completeness of your answers, not the correctness. Aim for at least 2-3 sentences per question.

I’ve drawn up a preliminary list of major questions the course will seek to answer. Rank these questions in order of interest.

1. What is creativity and what is my creative style? How can my creativity be educated?

2. How do media create meaning? Where do these meanings come from? How can I manipulate current meaning to create new meaning?

3. How can humor be used to understand, or provide new meaning to, “serious” events?

4. What does it mean to “write” through media? How will the practices of the internet change the ways we think and express ourselves?

5. What is the relationship between creativity, humor and learning? Why is exploring this relationship more important with the technology of photographic media than alphabetic?

6. How do I learn? What does true learning (rather than memorization) involve and how can I take control of that learning?

Find a partner and interview him or her with the following questions. Try to find specific answers. Take notes and type the answers to send to me.

What is your biggest dream/greatest ambition?

Can you think of a favorite a learning experience? If so, what is it? If not, provide a favorite memory from school.

What is your favorite book/movie/tv show? What are you currently reading/watching?

Who is your favorite comedian? Can you remember a particularly funny bit that

s/he does?

What (either local or national) historical events do you remember from school or that you’ve lived through? Why do you think they have stuck in your memory?

Course Policies Wednesday, Jan 7 2009 

Here’s what we discussed in class yesterday. Please review it and leave comments if I’ve left anything out or if you’d like to state a preference for a particular policy or propose an alternate one. We will have a preliminary vote on Thursday and a Final vote on Tuesday, the 13th.

Attendance and Lateness:

To counteract the tendency for students to miss class or be late, we will try to have as many days as possible with activities where bonus points can be earned. We will plan to have activities at the beginning of class to encourage promptness. Attendance and lateness will also be factored in to the holistic participation grade.

In addition we can set an amount of bonus points for students who never miss class and never come late. My initial suggestion would be 20 bonus points for perfect attendance, 10 points for one absence/lateness.

Late Projects/Assignments:

If you know that you won’t be able to finish projects on time, let me know 24 hrs. before it is due. When you do so, you must set a new due date for yourself, pending approval by me (I’m unlikely to accept a proposal for more than a week beyond the due date). You can only do this once per project or assignment. Keep in mind that class will go on despite your postponement, so you’re doing yourself a disservice by not finishing by the original due date.

Keep in mind that we have presentations for each of the projects, so you’ll miss out on the presentation grade (which can’t be postponed due to time constraints). Presentation will be spread out over two days, and you’ll be able to sign up for the presentation time that works best for you and trade with other students if necessary.

Reading Presentations & Tests

We have two proposals for encouraging reading and assessing your comprehension. The first would be a project review, where a group of students (a band) would present on the readings done for the project, pointing out the most important sections for completing the project. Then, the band would provide an open-note reading test for the rest of the class. The test would be worth 50 pts. as would the Band’s presentation and preparation of the test (to be done in consultation with me).

The second would be a more incremental approach. This would involve a similar review/test process, but done one week at a time, where each band would present once per project. One disadvantage of this approach is that bands would likely present on reading material before we’ve had a chance to discuss it. An advantaage would be that students would get a chance to liven up the class and be actively involved with learning the reading from the outset. The grading would be done a little differently, but we could say that it would be worth 15 pts. per presentation/test.


There are also two proposals so far for grading participation.

The first is a holistic approach. I would schedule an individual meeting once per project where both students and I would come prepared to assess their participation. Assessing participation is naturally subjective, so if we have different understandings about the quality/quantity of participation (includes attendance, lateness, speaking in class (both quality and quantity), writing reflections about class if you didn’t actively participate, being prepared for class, and willingness to perform in class activities), then we can come to a compromise regarding the grade. If you feel that certain contributions made to class are more important than others, this is your time to make that case.

The second is a more quantitative approach. We could assign a point value for each type of participation (1 pt. for attendance, 1 pt. per discussion point, etc.). We could have a maximum amount possible for each class, but you would not be able negotiate regarding the relative value or quality of each contribution.

Hello Learners! Wednesday, Jan 7 2009 

Welcome to the Writing Thru Media Blog. We had our first meeting yesterday and had a great class discussion about course policies. I’ll be posting the results of that discussion shortly so that we can continue our discussion here and begin to express our preferences. I also spent some time introducing the course yesterday. The course website has lots of useful information and the course schedule will probably be updated regularly throughout the semester. Feel free to leave comments to get in the habit of responding to my posts and asking questions relevant to the course or otherwise.