ENGL 3134
Computers, Writing, and Literature
3 Credit Hours

Course Information
Course Description: What are the connections among computers, writing, and literature? That's the focus of this course--the implications made by the Internet and computers for writing, literacy, and uses of texts. We'll begin by examining a variety of texts available in full or in part on the Internet; then we'll proceed to the rhetorical and technical aspects of these texts; and we'll conclude with the production, in HTML, of student text resources. Format and layout of documents (whether they're prepared in HTML or as word-processed texts) are important aspects of this course, and will be considered among the graded activities and in the broader context of good writing.
Course Objectives: In this course, students will learn to access texts, in a variety of formats, via the Internet. They will learn how to examine those texts, evaluating their rhetorical implications (as in traditional literary criticism) and their technical aspects (as in technical writing for the Internet). Students will also learn to create documents for the Internet, and may produce or edit some of these texts.
Prerequisites and Corequisites: 1) Students must have a recent-model PC with "24/7" Internet access.
2) Students must have an established email account.
3) Students must be motivated, self-directed learners.
Course Topics: The following is TENTATIVE:

Project I: A Sample Web Page
Project II: The Class e-Journal
Project III: A Traditional Paper using Internet Sources
Project IV: Final Presentation (A digital, multi-media text)

Specific Course Requirements: 1) Students should be familiar with Microsoft FrontPage or other HTML-writing software (or have sufficient knowledge of HTML to create very simple documents).
2) Students should have Microsoft Office software, or word processing software that can "Save As" documents in MSW format.
3) Students must be reasonably familiar with either Netscape or Internet Explorer browsing software.
Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements
Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course:


Supplementary Materials: none
Hardware Requirements: Students must have "24/7" access to the Internet via a Pentium-class computer.
Software Requirements: Students must have access to Microsoft Office software (Office 97 or later -- preferably Office 2000); however, students may also use late-model software that can "Save As" documents in MSW format.
Assessment and Grading
Testing Procedures: For this course, students will be evaluated using modified portfolio assessment. Students will create a series of drafts of projects; these will be evaluated and graded individually, and the entire portfolio will receive a "final grade."
Grading Procedure: Students' progress through this course will be evaluated via modified portfolio assessment. For each project, students will receive an individually-recorded grade, measuring each student's revision skills and acquisition of learning. The final portfolio grade will establish (1) each student's overall progress and (2) the quality and quantity of effort each student has put into the course as a whole.
Grading Scale: Grading Scale: 100-90 = A 80-89 = B 70-79 = C 60-69 = D Below 60 = F
Assignments and Participation
Assignments and Projects: This information will be provided via the WebCT and other web sites.
Class Participation: Students must participate in all interactive aspects of this course, as they are assigned and modified as the course progresses. Failure to participate will result in point loss relative to the degree of the lack of participation and the project at hand.
Punctuality: Absolutely no extensions will be allowed for deadlines for papers, discussion board entries, or other materials. This is not negotiable.
Course Ground Rules
Basic Skills: I expect you to begin this course with rudimentary typing and internet browsing abilities. Email: ALWAYS begin the "subject line" of your email with the identifier, ENGL3134; I get a lot of email from list-serves and individuals, and may miss yours if you don't clearly identify yourself. Also, first line of the "body" (or text area) of your email message must contain your name; although many email programs allow your full name in the "sender" area of the message, typing your name as the first line of every email to me assures that I'll know who you are, no matter what email program you use. Plagiarism: At this point I expect you know that plagiarism is presenting in any way, deliberately or not, the work of another person as your own. The penalty for plagiarism is outlined in university policy, and I will strictly enforce it. All ETSU students agree to the University's Honor Code; if you're not already familiar with that code, I suggest you read it at your earliest opportunity. Deadlines: These are NOT NEGOTIABLE. I will impose severe penalties upon work that is submitted late - those penalties may include, but are not limited to, assigning a failing grade to the late assignment or reducing of final or late work grade. Appointments: In most weeks you may visit my "virtual office" without appointment. You may also make appointments to meet with me online at other times. I encourage you to meet with me as often as you need to. By the way, some professors consider failure to show up for an appointment to be evidence of a character flaw or "controlling personality."
Guidelines for Communications
Email: ALL materials you submit for this course are public, in that many people may see them. Do not submit materials that are of such a personal nature that you might not be willing to share them. This is a text centered class. For most of your assignments I will not accept audio messages or email attachments with odd or unclear file extensions. Do not send large attachments via email without checking with me first. All of the standard texts you submit for this course will be in MLA format, with one-inch margins in 12-point Times New Roman font.
Discussion Groups: Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker, then an active participant. Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather than by starting a new topic. Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other's ideas. Keep your comments "I-centered" (i.e., "I don't understand this paragraph" rather than "This paragraph is unreadable). Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks. Be positive and constructive in group discussions. Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.
Chat: See directions for discussion board participatation.
Web Resources: Web resources will be announced periodically -- I expect you to examine, evaluate, and/or use these resources


The Tennessee Board of Regents Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in the Regents Degree Program. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading must be included in all courses. 

Students With Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.

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