- Professional conduct
- Social justice policy
- Work visibility
- Official communication
- Office hours
- Course participation
- Technology policies
- Submitting course work
- Late work
- Academic integrity
ENGL 303: Multimedia Writing is a course in the Professional Writing and Editing (PWE) program at WVU. The PWE program is designed to prepare students for careers as professional communicators, and for this reason many aspects of PWE courses are designed to replicate professional experiences.
In this course you are expected to conduct yourself as a professional both in your work as well as in your interactions with the professor and your fellow students. As is the case with professionals, you are expected to complete all of your assigned work and take part in all activities, to reply to course communication in a timely manner, and to respond to all course activities and assignments as you would to comparable work activities and assignments.
The English Department and the Professional Writing and Editing Program support WVU’s commitment to social justice. In this course, you will work with your classmates to create a positive learning environment based on open communication and mutual respect.
The West Virginia University community is committed to creating and fostering a positive learning and working environment based on open communication, mutual respect, and inclusion. If you are a person with a disability and anticipate needing any type of accommodation in order to participate in this class, please advise me and make appropriate arrangements with the Office of Accessibility Services (304-293-6700). For more information on West Virginia University’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives, please see http://diversity.wvu.edu.
Due to the nature of the course, you will be sharing your work with your fellow classmates as part of workshops and peer review sessions. Additionally, you will share your work publicly on the Web (for example, on your personal website). By taking this course, you are indicating that you accept these requirements. If you have any questions or concerns about this policy please contact me immediately.
I will contact students in the course in two primary ways. First, I will initiate official communication to the class or individual students via my WVU email account. I will send these messages to your MIX email addresses and include “[ENGL 303]” in the subject line of the email.
I will also use the course blog to document announcements and updates to the course site—such as changes to the course schedule, or additional information about assignments. In order to make sure you do not miss important information, you should regularly check your MIX accounts as well as the course blog for updates about the course.
My tendency in course communication initiated by students is to respond in the medium in which the message was sent. For example, if you ask me a question via email, I will email you back, etc.
I will do my best to respond to student messages within 24 hours during the workweek (M-F); on the weekends and during breaks my responses may take longer.
If you have questions about the readings, assignments, or any other issues related to the course, come talk to me; I will be happy to answer them. The best times to meet with me will be during my office hours. My office is located at 231 Colson Hall. My scheduled office hours for spring 2017 can be found on the home page of this site.
If you would like to meet with me but are not free during my scheduled office hours, please contact me directly via email and I will be happy to arrange an alternative meeting time that fits both of our schedules.
If for some reason it becomes necessary for me to cancel or reschedule either my regular office hours or a meeting with an individual student, I will notify the class or the student as soon as possible. Similarly, if it becomes necessary for you to cancel a meeting with me, it is your responsibility to email me to let me know about the cancellation as soon as you are able to do so.
This course is designed to be a participatory learning experience, combining discussions with in-class workshops and other learning activities. As such, it is important that you fully participate in all in-class activities, committing yourself to the learning community consisting of your classmates and myself.
So, what does class participation look like? Participation can take different forms for different people. However, some participatory behaviors hold true for everyone.
First, you cannot participate if you do not attend class or if you regularly show up late or otherwise interfere with course activities. For these reasons, course attendance is a necessary prerequisite for participation. Conversely, attending class does not equal participation, for it is possible to be in every class meeting without engaging with or contributing to the learning that occurs in class.
Second, it will be impossible for you to participate in course learning if you come to class unprepared or leave class with no record of our discussions or activities. You can prepare in the following ways:
- Complete all assigned readings and homework before each class meeting.
- Bring or be able to access all course materials during each class. This includes course texts, additional readings, your notes, homework, assignment files and research sources, notes from previous meetings, and any other relevant materials.
- Take notes during all course discussions and activities.
- Actively engage with your classmates and myself during all discussion, peer-review, workshopping, or proposal meeting sessions, giving your full attention to discussions and taking notes (as appropriate).
All of these activities allow you to engage with and make the most of your learning experience in the course, and, consequently, improve the course experience for everyone. While preparation times may vary depending on our weekly schedule, you should generally plan to spend 6 hours a week—or, 2 hours for every hour of class time—working on course assignments and preparing for class meetings.
There are no prerequisite skills courses required for ENGL 303. The course is designed to teach students how to master basic genres of multimedia communication, such as videos. However, the course assumes that all students have basic skills in word processing as well as in accessing and navigating the Internet.
Working with new technologies
In this course, we will be experimenting with many different technologies for writing and reading, from editing HTML in a text editor to editing videos. In this course you may be introduced to a new way of communicating that you find indispensable. Alternatively, you may find yourself using technologies that you cannot imagine yourself using again outside of the course. You may at times experience these technologies as being difficult to master or unrelated to your career goals.
That is ok.
You are not required to love the technologies we experiment with in the course or to embrace them without question. What is required of you is that you approach all of our assignments with an open mind and your best effort, as a future professional experimenting with different modes of communication.
The course will contain some specific instructions on technology use and software. For example, we will cover basic video creation in programs like Imovie and Windows Movie Maker. When we do, I expect that you will take notes so you will have a guide to follow when it comes time for you to use these technologies on your own. In the event that your particular project requires you to use a software tool not addressed in class, this will require you to do additional research and adopt additional skills that you will learn on your own (although I will help you as much as I can).
As experimenters, our method will be trial and error. In all cases, when faced with new tools and technologies you should expect to devote some time to experimenting with and learning these technologies, researching (or discovering) their possibilities and limitations, and, when possible, sharing what you have learned with your classmates when they need help.
While I am always available to answer your questions and help you troubleshoot technology issues, if you need assistance with a particular technology you will find that, in most instances, if you have a question about how to accomplish a particular task—for example, resizing an image on your WordPress site—other people have had the same question and the answer is available in the course readings or on the Internet. For this reason, your first recourse when facing a problem should be to search for a solution on your own.
If examining the course readings and searching for help online does not solve your problem and you need to consult me, please remember that the more detail I have about your problem, the easier it is for me to help you solve it. If you email me saying
I can’t get my personal website to work. Help!
I will not have much to go on and this will lead to delays in you finding a solution to your problem. I better email request is
My “About” page won’t show up on the menu of my WordPress site. Help!
In some cases, it will be helpful for you to not only describe your problem, but also share with me the files that you are having trouble with.
Using technologies in class
During class you are welcome to use the computers in the lab for note-taking and activities that are relevant to the tasks at hand; you are also welcome to bring your own devices for these purposes. However, there may be some occasions when I will ask you to turn off computers and other devices for a period of time.
In general, most technology is welcome in class as long as it is used to aid student learning. Technology that does not serve this purpose—or that actively distracts you or your classmates from learning—is not welcome, and I reserve the right to restrict the use of these technologies in class.
The descriptors below will give you an indication of the the expectations that I bring to evaluating work in the course.
I will use +/- grades for assignments and for the final course grades. The +/- grades correspond to the numeric ranges below.
A (90–100): Excellent represents excellent participation in all course activities; all assigned work completed, with very high quality in all course work.
A+: 97 and above
In this class we will cover a large amount of information in our face-to-face meetings that will be essential to how you understand the content of the course and ultimately inform how you complete your assignments. We will also frequently engage in workshops and other in-class learning activities designed to teach you a number of skills that you will be expected to develop incrementally over the course of the semester. For these reasons, it is important that you attend class, arrive on time and bring any assigned work and necessary materials, take detailed notes, and participate in all in-class writing, workshopping, and discussion sessions.
For this reason, there are no excused absences in this course. This includes absences for illnesses, university-sponsored events, or any other unavoidable conflicts, so all students should reserve their absences for truly unavoidable emergencies. If you participate in university-sponsored events that will require you to miss class, you should reserve your absences for these events.
You will be allowed four (4) absences without it affecting your grade. If you are absent five (5) times, your grade will be lowered by 10 percentage points. For each absence over five (5), your final grade for the course may be lowered by 5 additional percentage points.
Additionally, if you arrive to class more than 5 minutes late or leave class more than 5 minutes before it is dismissed, you may be counted absent.
If you come to class unprepared on the day of a peer-review session, conference session, or workshop—that is, without a draft to discuss with your classmates or myself or in any other way unprepared to workshop or discuss your project—you may be counted absent.
Finally, as is common in professional settings, if you find that an unavoidable conflict prevents you from attending class or being on time, you should discuss this conflict with me prior to the absence (if possible). Otherwise, you should contact me about any absences as soon as possible.
As with other aspects of the course, you should keep a record of your absences and the reasons for them in case there is a discrepancy in our records.
Unless otherwise noted, all assignments are due before the start of class on the day they are listed in the course schedule. Unless otherwise noted, all course assignments will be submitted electronically. I will inform you of the method and procedures for submitting an assignment before it is due.
If you cannot attend class on the date an assignment is due, you should discuss a make-up date with me before the absence (if possible). With the exception of unavoidable emergencies, if you fail to turn in an assignment before it is due and do not contact me before the due date, the assignment will be considered late.
Major assignments—each submission of the personal website, multimodal analysis, remix video, and issue/cause website—turned in after they are due will be penalized by ten percentage points for each calendar day they are late.
Except for extreme cases, quizzes, homework, and all other in-class assignments will not be accepted late.
If you are absent on a day when you are scheduled to lead a class discussion or give a presentation, you should expect to receive no credit for that assignment.
In general, a problem with technology will not be considered an acceptable excuse for late or incomplete work. If your computer malfunctions, it is your responsibility to find an alternative one to work on (see these links to campus computing resources to find alternatives); if your Internet goes out, you will need to find a different access point; and you should create multiple redundant backups of your work in case you accidentally erase, overwrite, or otherwise lose your files.
Don’t plagiarize in this course.
The integrity of the classes offered by any academic institution solidifies the foundation of its mission and cannot be sacrificed to expediency, ignorance, or blatant fraud. Therefore, I will enforce rigorous standards of academic integrity in all aspects and assignments of this course. For the detailed policy of West Virginia University regarding the definitions of acts considered to fall under academic dishonesty and possible ensuing sanctions, please see the Undergraduate Academic Catalog. Should you have any questions about possibly improper research citations or references, or any other activity that may be interpreted as an attempt at academic dishonesty, please see me before submitting the assignment to discuss the matter.