Category Archives: Weekly Updates

Week 15 and Finals Week: How can we refine and revise our webtexts to connect with the largest possible audience?

I know it will break your hearts to read these words, but here goes: this is the final website update for the semester. Congratulations — you’re almost done with Writing and Digital Media! I have been so impressed with your flexibility, your willingness to experiment with new tools, and your collegiality with one another this semester. You have created some amazing projects for our first three assignments, and I am especially excited to see how your scholarly webtexts turn out.

Here’s how we’ll spend our last two days of class:

  • On Monday, we will use the entire class period as a Unit #4 workshop session. Each of you are working on different topics using different platforms, so most of your work will be individual; however, I’ll try to help you identify other students who might be struggling with some of the same issues you’re facing with your project. In addition, I will be available during the entire class period to help you solve technical problems or just to give my initial impressions of your webtext. The only requirement for Monday is that you come to class ready to work on your project and stay focused on that work for the entire class session, so please bring any materials (physical or digital) that you might need.
  • On Wednesday, we will conduct our last peer critique session of the semester. You should come to class ready to share a full, finished draft of your project with your classmates. The further along your project is on Wednesday, the better the feedback you’ll receive and the better your revised project will turn out, so please treat Wednesday as a “hard” deadline for Unit #4. Also, please don’t forget that the Innovation Space will be collecting your iPads at the beginning of class. If you haven’t turned yours in already, be sure to bring it to class, along with its case and charger.

We will not meet as a class during Finals Week, so please remember to submit your final project no later than Wednesday, December 18, at 7:45 p.m. (our university-appointed time for the final exam). Please review the instructions for submitting your memo of transmittal and make sure that your project is live and viewable on the web before the deadline. Wednesday evening is also the deadline for adding posts to your ENGL 3844 blog, so please be sure to publish any posts you would like me to consider when I assign your end-of-semester blogging grade. (If you need a few more posts, you should be blogging about your composing process for the scholarly webtext, the tools you’re using to create your site, and the articles that are shaping your own arguments.)

As always, if you have any questions about these items, please drop me a line. I’ll try to be in my office as much as I can for the next week, so let me know if you need to come by during a time other than my “official” office hours. Good luck wrapping things up!

Week 14: What do multimodal arguments look like? What can we learn from others’ scholarly webtexts?

I hope you’re enjoying your Thanksgiving break! With Unit #3 behind us, we can focus all of our energy for the remainder of the semester on Unit #4, the Scholarly Webtext. I’ve given you a great deal of freedom on this assignment, both in terms of your topic and the format in which you present your argument. All that I ask is for you to use that freedom wisely, to do something you haven’t tried before and to take seriously the prospect that you can reach an audience beyond your classmates and your professor.

We’ll spend most of Week 14 helping you refine your plans for Unit #4 and make progress on your individual project. Here’s how we’ll use our time in class and what you need to do to prepare:

If you have questions about these plans, or if you would like to discuss your Unit #4 topic with me before you draft your plan of action, please email me. Otherwise, I’ll see you after the break!

Week 13: Does peer critique really improve final drafts? (We’re about to find out!)

I think our intense focus on peer review during Week 12 is going to pay off when you submit the final drafts of your Unit #3 projects; I hope you feel the same way. In order to keep things as fair as possible, here are the slightly adjusted due dates for the two big components of Unit #3:

  • Regardless of when you are delivering your presentation, your PowerPoint file should be submitted before you go to bed on Sunday night, November 17. To submit your PowerPoint file, name it “Full Name Interrogating the Interface.ppt” (e.g., my file would be called “Quinn Warnick Interrogating the Interface.ppt”), then upload it to your shared Google Drive folder. You will not be able to make any changes to your file after Sunday night, so please make sure that your presentation is completely finished before you upload it. (Don’t forget to take advantage of the “presenter notes” feature in PowerPoint, especially if you plan to read any portions of your presentation.)
  • Your essay/website is due before you come to class on Wednesday, November 20. To submit your essay, simply email me with the URL for your website.

Both sessions of class next week will be devoted to your “Ignite” presentations, which will be delivered in this order: Briana, Margaret, Matt, Sarah, Tim, Kristin, Lindsay, Abbey, Jess, Emily G., Emily W., Amy, Daniel, Jenni, Erika, Michael, Haley, Allison, Courtney, Heather. We’ll enjoy as many of these as we can on Monday, then finish on Wednesday. We’ll wrap up Wednesday by talking about the Unit #4 project, which will keep us busy for the remainder of the semester.

Finally, a quick note about your blogs: Several of you are doing much better at keeping up with your weekly posts, but a few of you really need to buckle down during the next few weeks. During Week 13, you could write a short post that links to your Interrogating the Interface site and shares some “behind the scenes” information about the process you used to create it. Or you could write a post that tackles these questions, in preparation for Unit #4: How accurate are media portrayals of your generation’s relationship with technology? What do stories about “Millennials” and “Digital Natives” get right? What do they get wrong?

As always, if you have any questions about these plans, please let me know.

Week 12: How can an iterative approach to revision strengthen our written and oral communications?

Our plans for next week are incredibly simple, but incredibly important: help you finish both deliverables for Unit #3. In order to do that, we will spend most of our class time conducting peer critique sessions. I know these activities can be awkward and frustrating, but trust me when I say that students who take peer critique seriously are students who do better on their final drafts. I cannot stress this next point strongly enough: Resist the urge to take one of your “freebie” absences or to show up with a half-finished draft on Monday or Wednesday. Whatever you need to do to complete your drafts, do it. Trust me: it will be worth it.

I have cleared the syllabus to give you ample time to put the finishing touches on your project. Here’s how we’ll help you get there in class next week:

  • On Monday we will conduct a peer-critique workshop focused on your essays in Google Sites. You should come to class with a finished website, which means no “coming soon” sections and no empty placeholders for images. Yes, some of your text might still be a bit “drafty,” but the essay should be complete. Your site should be live on the web and viewable even by those who aren’t logged in to Google. In addition to your peers reviewing your site, I will check your site for completeness, so please email me the URL for your Google Site before you come to class on Monday.
  • On Wednesday you will rehearse your oral presentation with a few of your classmates. Again, this means that you should come to class with a finished PowerPoint file (using the template on the Unit 3 page) and a solid script for your presentation.

And that’s it — your only work for this class during the coming week is to make your Unit #3 project sparkle and shine. If there’s anything I can do to help you accomplish that goal, please come see me during office hours (T 1–4, W 9-12). Otherwise, happy writing, designing, and revising!

P.S. — An idea for this week’s blog post: embed the YouTube video of your favorite Ignite talk into your blog and write a brief post explaining what makes it so good. (See how easy this blogging stuff is?)

Week 11: What happens when we “remediate” a printed text as a website? And then remediate it again as an oral presentation?

Our exciting adventures with the Tapestry platform have come to an end, but I hope you will continue to share your outstanding work on your social networks over the next few weeks. When a little time has gone by, we’ll check in with the people who run Tapestry and ask them for the statistics on how many people have read, liked, and shared your tap essays.

At this point, your work on Unit #3 should be progressing well, and by Monday you should have a rough draft of your essay. Next week, our class sessions will focus on the concept of “remediation,” which we will apply to your websites and oral presentations. Here’s a quick description of our plans for each day:

  • Your homework for the weekend is to upload a draft of your Unit #3 essay to your shared Google Drive folder and read Chapter 1 of Remediation, by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin. You can choose to print out that PDF or download it to your iPad, but you should come to class ready to explore the key concepts Bolter and Grusin advance in that chapter. In class on Monday, we will discuss what it means to “remediate” a text, then I will introduce the oral presentation style we will use for Unit #3.
  • Before you come to class on Wednesday, please watch several rapid-fire oral presentations and tweet a link to your favorite one(s) using the #engl3844 hashtag. There are lots of places to find these presentations (just search for “Pecha Kucha”), but two sites in particular have great collections: PechaKucha Night and Ignite. We will spend most of Wednesday’s class workshopping your Unit #3 presentations, so make sure you have access to your written text and screenshots for Unit #3. If you prefer to work on your own laptop, please bring it to class. [Update: Here is the PowerPoint template we will use for this project.]

Last but not least, I promised that I would begin providing you with ideas for your weekly blog posts, so here’s an easy one to get you started: write a post that answers the four simple questions posed by “The Setup.” (Read a few examples to get a feel for the genre.) Please note that this is not a “required” topic for one of your blog posts; I’m just trying to help those of you who said you needed a little extra motivation.

If you would like to talk about your Unit #3 project, please let me know — I’d be happy to meet with you during office hours (T 1-4; W 9-12). Otherwise, I’ll see you in class!

Weeks 9 and 10: What does it mean to “interrogate” a technology? How can we analyze digital tools using other digital tools?

As we get started on our new assignment, we will spend a few days in class focused on writing about technology. We will read several pieces by experienced technology critics, and you’ll get the chance to apply your analytical skills to several different types of interfaces.

I will be traveling for part of next week, so I’m taking this chance to share our plans for the coming two weeks. You’ll be completing some of this work while I’m gone, but if you have any questions, I will be available by email. Here’s a quick overview of the next two weeks:

  • Before you go to bed on Sunday night, please familiarize yourself with several of the applications on the “pre-approved” list for Unit #3 and email me your top four choices for this project (three from the list, plus one that you found). [UPDATE: Here is the finalized list of assigned applications for Unit #3.] On Monday (10/21), I will review the midterm feedback you gave me during Week 8, and we will chat about what we might do differently during the second half of the semester. Afterwards, we will compare a few different approaches to analyzing software, so please read the following articles before you come to class:
  • On Wednesday (10/23), I will be at a conference, so we will not meet as a class that day. However, on Monday I will give you a short homework assignment that you will complete while I’m gone. I hope you’ll work with a few of your classmates to complete this assignment, and the Innovation Space will be available for your use if you decide to meet during our regular class time.
  • On Monday (10/28), we will consider the history and evolution of word-processing applications. Before you come to class, please read the following articles:
  • On Wednesday (10/30), I will introduce some basic concepts of HTML, and we will experiment with Google Sites, which you will be using to publish your Unit #3 projects. In order to take advantage of this workshop, please come to class with electronic copies of your Unit #3 materials (early drafts of your essay, screenshots, etc.).

If you have any questions about these plans, please don’t hesitate to contact me. We’ll also have a chance in class on Monday to make sure that everyone knows what’s going on for the next few weeks.

Week 8: How does “revision” change when we move from print to multimodal work?

I’d glad I got the chance to meet with each of you during class yesterday to discuss your tap essays. Most of them are still in the “early draft” stage, but I am confident that you’re headed in the right direction. Between now and Monday, most of you need to focus on three things:

  • Images — Carefully examine your essay to find places where pictures can either enhance your written text (in the background) or replace your written text entirely. Remember to use the Tapestry format for what it does best: visual storytelling. If you’re creating images from scratch (or cropping images to fit perfectly into the app), use the following pixel dimensions: 1136 x 640.
  • The “hook” — Your essay needs a great title and a beautiful first screen, which is what users will see in the Tapestry app. And once they click on your essay, the first few screens need to capture and hold their attention. So be bold, be funny, be insightful, be artistic. Once you hook your readers, they’ll stick with you for awhile.
  • Details — I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a writing format where little details matter as much as they do in Tapestry, so even after you’ve finalized your text and your images, keep working on the small, subtle aspects of your essay. I know that attention to detail will pay off when you release your essay into the wild next week.

Next week, we’ll wrap up the Tapestry project and start thinking about our third major assignment. Here’s how we’ll spend our time in class:

  • On Monday, we will conduct a more formal peer critique exercise to provide you with one more round of feedback before your essays “go live” on Tapestry. You should come to class with a finished essay (accessible on your iPad) and be ready to tap through it on our big screens in the Innovation Space. To make sure that your essays really shine, we’re going to get nit-picky during our workshop, so I cannot stress this enough: your tap essay must be completely finished before you come to class. You have no other homework for the weekend, so please don’t let us down!
  • Before you come to class on Wednesday, please email me the URL for your tap essay and upload all of your resources for this project to your shared Google Drive folder, as described on the assignment sheet. In class, I will introduce our next project, “Interrogating the Interface,” and I’ll solicit some midterm feedback from you about what’s going well and what we might want to change during the second half of the semester.

If you feel like you need extra help with your tap essay, I would be happy to meet with you. Next week I need to modify my office hours due to some departmental meetings, so I will be available on Tuesday and Wednesday from 9-12. Feel free to drop by during those hours or email me if you’d like to reserve a specific time slot.

Week 7: What happens when we remediate traditional texts? What stays? What goes? Why does it matter?

You came to class on Wednesday with great ideas for your tap essays, and I can’t wait to see how they take shape over the next few weeks. I have contacted all of you with feedback on your essay topics, so if you haven’t seen my comments already, please check your Google Drive folders ASAP. Once you finalize your topic, you should take what you learned using Tapestry to reformat someone else’s words and apply those lessons to your own tap essay. Tapestry may not be the best application for drafting your essay, but don’t forget about Tapestry’s affordances and constraints as you write. Remember: concision, pacing, and selective emphasis are incredibly important to the success of your project.

Your homework for this weekend is to produce a first draft of the text for your tap essay and begin collecting images that you might use to enhance your essay. In class next week, we’ll focus on the composing process(es) you can use to refine your project. Here’s what we’ll cover each day in class:

  • On Monday, we will begin by reviewing Chapter 3 (pp. 57–82) in Toward a Composition Made Whole, so be sure to bring your book to class and be ready to discuss how the concepts in this chapter relate to your composing process(es) with the tap essay. (Hint: this is a great topic for a blog post, too!) We will use whatever time remains working in Tapestry, so please bring an electronic copy of the text you’ve drafted for your own tap essay.
  • On Wednesday, we will spend the entire class in workshop mode, and I will pair you with another student so you can share the tricks you’ve learned for working in Tapestry. In addition, I will meet briefly with each of you to review your script and answer any questions you have about your project. Before you come to class, all of your text should be added to your Tapestry draft, and you should have collected all of the images you think you’ll need for your project. (Use the links on the Resources page to find appropriately licensed images.)

As always, if you have any questions, send me an email or stop by during my office hours (T 1–4, W 9–12).

Week 6: What are the new formats and genres of writing? How are they different from the old ones?

It feels good to have our first major assignment behind us, doesn’t it? I’m looking forward to watching your videos this weekend, and I will do my best to respond to each of you individually within the next week. I hope you’ll enjoy watching each other’s videos, and I hope you’ll start sharing your videos with a broader audience. A few ideas to get you started: tweet a link to your video, share it on Facebook, email friends and family, create a “teaser” video using Vine or Instagram, and/or embed your video in your personal blog. Remember: one of our goals for this class is to get comfortable writing in public, and this is a great opportunity to share your work with the world.

During the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring some new formats and genres of writing, using the tap essay to focus our discussions. If you haven’t create a Tapestry account and downloaded the app on your iPad, you should do so ASAP, and you should get in the habit of bringing your iPad (or another mobile device with Tapestry on it) to class throughout Unit #2.

Here’s a quick overview of how we’ll get started on this new project next week:

  • On Monday, I will be at a professional conference, so I’ve scheduled a video viewing party for you. You’ll get the chance to watch all of the video narratives created this semester, then vote on your favorites. Erika has graciously agreed to manage the playlists (one on YouTube and one on Vimeo), and you are welcome to bring snacks and drinks if you’d like. At the end of class (or shortly thereafter), please vote for your five favorite videos. I’ll announce the winner(s) of the “Audience Prize” at the beginning of class on Wednesday.
  • On Wednesday, we will begin working with the Tapestry application to better understand the differences between traditional printed texts and multimodal texts. You should bring a laptop to class or plan on borrowing one from the Innovation Space. Before you come to class, please create a document in your shared Google Drive folder containing at least five possible topics for your tap essay. For each topic, write a paragraph that summarizes the argument you want to make and describes how you might do so using the tap essay format. During class, you’ll share these ideas with your peers and narrow down your list of topics to three finalists. I will then review these ideas with each of you to help you finalize your topic for this project.

I won’t be back on campus until Wednesday morning, but if you need to reach me, I’ll be checking my email while I’m away.

Week 5: Why does mindfulness matter? How can we make our composing process(es) more visible?

I hope our peer critique exercise helped you with your video narratives. Even though I couldn’t hear the audio, I could tell that most of your videos are really starting to come together. Now that we’re in the home stretch for Unit #1, you should be completing the following tasks:

  • After making any necessary changes to your script, go to the InnovationSpace in 1140 Torgerson Hall to record the final version of your narration.
  • Adjust the timing and sequencing of your images and video clips based on the feedback you received from your classmates.
  • Add some type of title at the beginning of your video, and make sure you are citing your sources in a “Credits” section at the end.
  • When you are finished with your video, export it so it will play on any computer. Depending on the software you’re using, you should end up with a file that has one of these extensions: .mov, .mp4, .mpeg, .avi, or .wmv. Remember to export your video using the highest quality settings available. You may also want to review YouTube’s guidelines before you export your video.
  • Place your video, your written script, and any other relevant materials into your shared Google Drive folder, then upload a copy of your finished video to YouTube or Vimeo. (You can login to YouTube with the same username/password you use for Google Drive.)

Next week, we’ll wrap up Unit #1 and start thinking about our second big project. Here’s how we’ll spend our time in class:

  • For Monday, please read Chapter 2 (pp. 39–56) in Toward a Composition Made Whole and write a blog post addressing one of our guiding questions for Week 5: Why does mindfulness matter? How can we make our composing process(es) more visible? When you come to class, be ready to engage in a vigorous discussion about what you’ve read and written over the weekend.
  • On Wednesday, your video narrative is due before you arrive in class. To submit your project, please follow the instructions on the assignment sheet. After you’ve uploaded your video to YouTube or Vimeo, add a comment to this post that contains a link to your video. (We’ll watch these in class during Week 6.) In class, I will introduce our second major assignment, the Tap Essay, and we will begin exploring this new genre, so make sure you bring your iPad to class.

If you have questions about these plans, please let me know. Otherwise, I’ll see you in class on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Week 4: What is different about composing with video? What’s easier? What’s more difficult?

We just passed the halfway point of our Video Narrative unit, and Week 4 is when your project should really start taking shape. You left class today with a “shopping list” of items that you need to collect for your video, and this weekend is the time to complete that task. Over the next few days, you should begin assembling your “raw materials” into a rough cut of your video, using whatever software program you have chosen for this project.

Next week, we will work on refining your videos and reflect a bit on the process of composing and editing with video. Here’s how we’ll spend our time in class each day:

  • On Monday, we will spend almost the full class period in workshop mode, so please bring your laptops (and headphones) or have your Unit #1 materials organized in such a way that you can work on one of the classroom computers. In order for this workshop to be productive, you’ll need to put in some serious time on this project before you come to class. I will be available during the workshop to help you resolve technological issues, or just to offer another perspective on your video, but I won’t be able to walk you through the entire process step-by-step. (For that, I highly recommend the tutorials!) At the end of class, the Innovation Space staff will make a short presentation about a research project that our class has been invited to join.
  • Wednesday’s entire class will be devoted to a peer critique workshop. In order to participate in this workshop, you must come to class with a playable video containing a rough cut of your video narrative. It’s OK if your audio track needs to be re-recorded or a few images need to be edited/replaced, but your video should be far enough along that your classmates can give you helpful feedback on the project. Please bring your laptop (or put your video on a flash drive so you can copy it to one of the classroom computers) and a set of headphones. If you need help with your video, you can come to my office hours on Tuesday afternoon (1–4) or Wednesday morning (9–12), but postponing your work on this assignment until a few hours before class starts is a very risky strategy.

Finally, consider this (another) reminder to give your personal blog the attention it needs to become something worth sharing with the world. One suggestion: chronicling your work on this project as a series of blog posts would be a great way to fulfill two course requirements at the same time. I’ll be checking up on the motherblog again next week, and I hope I find a little more content than I did today.

As always, if you have any questions about our plans for next week, drop me a line via email or Twitter.

Week 3: How is “multimodal” different from “digital”? Why does the distinction matter?

Now that everyone has created a Twitter account, I’ve added you to a Twitter list for our class, so you can see (and hopefully follow) each other. A few of you have made your Twitter accounts private, but that will hinder your ability to participate in our class’s conversations on Twitter, so I would encourage you to make your tweets public. If you’re new to Twitter, here are a few articles that will help you get started:

We’ll check in on our Twitter experiment on Monday, so here’s a mini assignment to complete this weekend: follow at least five new people who regularly tweet on a particular topic. For instance, if you want to use Twitter to keep up with campus news and events, follow a few of the accounts on the university’s list. Or use a hashtag search to find out who is regularly tweeting about your favorite sport, television show, band, etc. In my experience, Twitter becomes much more useful when you install one of the apps on your phone and/or iPad. And finally, when you tweet about something related to our class (tweeting links to your blog posts is a great idea!), don’t forget to use the class hashtag: #engl3844

Next week, our workshop sessions will help you refine your video narratives, and we will continue our conversations about multimodality. Here are a few more details for each day:

  • Our class discussion during Week 2 didn’t go well, so let’s hit the reset button and try again. Before you come to class on Monday, please RE-read the Introduction and Chapter 1 (pp. 1–38) in Toward a Composition Made Whole. Bring your book to class and be ready to point to specific passages that you want to discuss. Here are a few questions to consider as you prepare to “put your oar into the water”:
    • Why do we tend to equate “multimodality” with digital technologies?
    • How has technology shaped your writing/composing process(es)?
    • How should college English classes change to account for the ways in which students communicate today?

    In addition, if you have not finished the storyboards for your video narrative, please do so this weekend and bring your completed storyboards to class on Monday. If you need a little more inspiration as you think about your video, I would encourage you to watch (or re-watch) a few of the sample videos I’ve collected on Vimeo and YouTube.

  • On Wednesday, we will spend most of class in workshop mode, reviewing several different hardware and software tools that you can use to create your video narrative. In order for you to choose a specific tool (or set of tools) for your project, you’ll need to have a fairly solid idea about how you plan to tell your story, so your homework for Wednesday is to write a draft of your voiceover script and bring it to class. (If you’re worried about the length of your script, try timing yourself as you reading it out loud.)

If you have questions about these plans, or if you need help with your video narrative, please come see me during office hours (Tuesday 1–4 and Wednesday 9–12) or send me an email. (Big hint: it’s much less painful to have me look at your draft during office hours than to be surprised by my evaluation of your project after you turn it in.)

Week 2: What is multimodality? How is it changing our understanding of “composition”?

Our first two class sessions helped lay the groundwork for what we’ll be studying this semester and helped us get to know each other a little better, but I’m excited for next week, when we’ll dive into our first reading assignment and tackle our first big project, the Video Narrative.

Here’s a breakdown of how we’ll spend our time in class next week and what you need to do before we meet:

  • Your homework for Monday is to watch several sample video narratives to get a feel for the genre. I have created collections on Vimeo and YouTube, and those are good places to get started. (Try to find others!) During class, we will hold our first workshop session, which will be focused on developing storyboards for your video narratives. Please come to class with at least three different ideas for your video narrative and be ready to share them with your classmates. In addition, please read/watch these two pieces on storyboarding:
  • On Wednesday, we will begin discussing Jody Shipka’s Toward a Composition Made Whole, so please read the Introduction and Chapter 1 (pp. 1–38) before you come to class. When you have finished the reading assignment, write a post about it on your new blog. You might want to question a specific passage, relate a personal experience to what you read, or link to another article on the web that confirms or refutes the ideas in these pages. Please add your post no later than Tuesday night, and when you’re done, add a comment to this post that contains a link to your blog. In class, we will discuss the reading assignment, then begin exploring software options for your video narratives. If possible, bring your iPad to class.

Finally, consider this one last reminder to sign up for Twitter and add a comment to last week’s post if you haven’t done so already.

If you have any questions about our plans for next week, please send me an email or contact me on Twitter. Otherwise, I’ll see you in class on Monday!

Welcome to Writing and Digital Media!

Welcome to ENGL 3844: Writing and Digital Media. This website will function as the online headquarters for our class this semester. Each week, I will post an update to the website with details about coming week, deadline reminders, links to helpful resources, etc… I will use Virginia Tech’s Scholar site to record your grades, but otherwise, everything related to this course will be posted here. You should bookmark this site on your laptop, your tablet, your phone, etc. — whatever you use to get online.

A bit about me: I’m starting my second year at Virginia Tech, and I love it here. My research focuses on how people use rhetoric in online environments, and all of the classes I teach have something to do with technology. I love experimenting with new digital tools, and it blows my mind to think about what we can do with technology that we couldn’t do 20 (or 10, or even 5) years ago. When I’m not staring at a computer screen, I love to cook, read, and spend time with my wife, a brilliant freelance writer, and our two daughters.

Each week (typically no later than Thursday evening), I will add a post to this website that explains what we will be doing in class the following week, and what you need to do to prepare for those class sessions. I’ll show you the Week 2 post next time we meet, but here are a few things you need to do to before class on Wednesday:

  • Create a Twitter account, if you don’t have one already. (We’ll talk about using Twitter in the coming weeks, but for now, you just need to create an account, add a photo, and customize your profile.)
  • Set up an account on the Blogs@VT website. We’ll discuss the blogging assignment in class on Wednesday.
  • Get familiar with your Google Drive account, which is connected to your email address. (If you forgot your password for your VT Google Apps account, follow these instructions.)
  • Buy a copy of Toward a Composition Made Whole, by Jody Shipka. We will begin reading from this book next week, so you’ll want to get it ASAP.

Finally, a quick note about this website. Throughout the semester, we’ll be holding class discussions online. To help you get comfortable with that process, please add a comment to this post that introduces yourself, links to your Twitter profile, and answers the following questions: Approximately how much time do you spend online each week? What types of activities do you typically do when you’re online (email, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, etc.)? Are you happy with the way you spend your time online, or is there something you would like to change (quantity, quality) about your online activities?

Before you post, a couple of warnings: (1) Your classmates will see what you write, so don’t include anything intended just for me. (2) This website is public, so we will stick to using first names only. Also, please be sure to use your email address every time you post to the class website. Once I “approve” your first comment on the site, you will be able to post comments for the rest of the semester without waiting for me to approve them.