Week 1: Course Introduction
Learn how the course is organized, and get started on your literacy self-portrait.
Week One Preview
In week one, you'll get an overview of how the course is organized and designed. The syllabus and course orientation video explain some of the expectations for the course and how it works. Once you understand what the course is about and how it is organized, you can start writing the first assignment, a literacy self-portrait. This assignment is an informal essay in which you reflect on your own relationship to books and reading, and use that reflection to introduce yourself to your classmates.
Syllabus and Schedule
The course syllabus is important. It explains the expectations, policies, grade system, and other important information about the course. Please read it carefully, and then send me an email to confirm that you have read it and understand the course policies. Be sure to ask if you have any questions about the syllabus.
(This file opens in a separate window and can be downloaded. You need to be logged in to your UALR Gmail/Google Drive account to access the file.)
The course schedule summarizes the readings and assignments for each week. It is a living document (posted in Google Drive), and I update it frequently throughout the course.
(This Google Docs file opens in a separate window. You need to be logged in to your UALR Gmail/Google Drive account to access the file. The Schedule will be updated frequently with additional details and links to course content.)
How the course is organized
The course includes three main units, as summarized here. Each unit is five weeks long and ends with a major writing project.
UNIT 1 / The History of the Book: A Long-Zoom Perspective
UNIT 2 / Technologies of Literacy: Reading, Literacy, and Texts
UNIT 3 / Authorship in the Digital Age: New Forms of Writing and Publishing
Assignments and Projects
Assignments are short, informal writing and research activities that you will post to the Blackboard discussion forums for feedback from your peers and your instructors. These weekly assignments are designed to help you develop ideas and topics that you can use in your longer, more formal writing projects at the end of each unit.
Projects are longer, formal writing and research activities you will compose to share your insights and responses to course readings and videos. There are three main projects, one at the end of each main unit of the course. You will have a wide range of options to choose from in terms of topics and medium of delivery (essay, website, blog post, mobile publication), and we will work together to focus topics and develop your projects through a series of steps.
Final essay: At the end of the course, you will compose a reflective essay that summarizes your work in the course and connects what you have learned to the course learning objectives and course topics. (There is no final exam for this course.)
Graduate students: In addition to the assignments, projects, and final essay, you will be required to compose three extra blog posts (one for each main unit). You can post these in Blackboard, but I encourage you to publish them on Medium or some other public forum. Some of you may already have blogs, and you are free to post there as well. These blog posts will be an opportunity for you to share ideas about readings and topics of your choosing, beyond the readings assigned for the course.
Video: Course Orientation
(Length: 11 minutes)
We will be using Blackboard, this course website, and Google Drive for this course. This video explains how these three tools work together and where you can find what you need to get started.
(Downloadable transcript can be accessed below the video.)
Video: Mobile Site Tour
(Length: 4 minutes)
This course website is accessible on smartphones and other mobile devices. Watch this video for a quick tour and a demonstration of how to navigate the site on your phone.
These two short articles introduce one of the important questions we will explore in the course. Read them before you start work on Assignment 1, and refer to (and quote from) these readings in your assignment.
Assignment 1: Literacy Self-Portrait
Assignment 1: Literacy Self-Portrait
Assignment 1 is a short, informal writing activity that you can use to introduce yourself to the class and to start thinking about some of the themes and topics for the course. The project template can be accessed by clicking the title of the project. The template is a Google Docs file. You will need to make a copy, rename the file (Lastname Assignment 1), and save the renamed copy in your Google Drive folder for the course.
Be sure to create a folder in Google Drive where you can store all of your work for the course. Your folder should be named (Lastname RHET 5326 2019), and be sure to share that folder with me, as demonstrated in the video below.
Deliver the project by creating a thread in the Blackboard Discussion Forum for Assignment 1, include a short note to introduce yourself and your self-portrait essay, and include an embedded link to the file so we can access it.
(Watch the Getting Started with Google Drive video below for additional instructions.)
Video: Getting Started with Google Drive (11:03)
Watch this video for a tutorial on using Google Drive. The information in this video will make your life much easier, especially if you are new to using Google Drive. A few simple tips help to make the process work smoothly.