This Week

This is an overview of readings, deliverables, and in-class work for the week of

All reading should be completed by Monday morning of the week in which it is to be discussed. Process work drafts are due by class time on the day they are to be peer reviewed and workshopped. Peer reviews are to be completed by no later than midnight on the day of the peer review workshop.

For additional details about this week's work, please see the course calendar.


ENGL 1102-Technology, Culture, and Academic Writing

Spring 2015 │ M/W/F 9:00-9:50 and 10:00-10:50 │ UL 302-C

Instructor: Dr. Robin Wharton

Office: 25 Park Place #2434

Office Hours: M/W 2:00-3:00 pm, F noon-1 pm, and by appointment; T/Th by appointment via Skype or Google Hangout


Course website:

Assignment submission, unless otherwise noted: Google Drive or course blog

Course Prerequisite: English 1101, with a passing grade of "C" or higher

I reserve the right to change the policies, schedule, and syllabus at any time during the semester.


This course builds on writing proficiencies, reading skills, and critical thinking skills developed in ENGL 1101. It incorporates several research methods in addition to persuasive and argumentative techniques. A passing grade is C. Prerequisite: C or above in ENGL 1101. Projects will integrate a focus on academic writing with multimodal composition strategies designed to prepare students for working with and creating multimedia texts.

As our sense of self and understanding of personal identity has expanded to include our presence online, both the popular media and academic scholars have devoted increased attention to how technology shapes our cultural awareness of concepts such as privacy, personal and professional reputation, intellectual property, public speech, civility, and rhetorical ethics. At the same time, technology and new media have themselves influenced the processes and forms we use to write about and discuss such issues. In this course we are studying the role technology plays in shaping who we are as individuals and how we interact as a society, while also examining how technology is transforming the work of academic research and writing.

Over the course of the semester, in the proposal, multimedia annotated bibliography, literature review, and multimodal research essay, you will explore, compare, and contrast how a topic that is generally related to the themes of this course is discussed and analyzed in the mainstream media and in academic scholarship. For the most part, all of the work in this class will be directed to the multimodal research essay.

Consider readings and discussion in-class and on our course blog as background research for your project, providing you with an overview of the “big issues.” The technology and research methods you’ll be learning in class will help you in your research for and composition of your essay and the various stages leading up to it. In-class workshops and peer reviews will provide you with multiple opportunities to ask questions about and receive feedback on your work before you submit it for a grade. Finally, for the portfolio, you will reflect back upon the process of researching and composing an academic essay in order to understand what you have learned and how you have evolved as a writer and thinker over the course of the semester.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze, evaluate, document, and draw inferences from various sources.
  • Identify, select, and analyze appropriate research methods, research questions, and evidence for a specific rhetorical situation.
  • Use argumentative strategies and genres in order to engage various audiences.
  • Integrate others’ ideas with their own.
  • Use grammatical, stylistic, and mechanical formats and conventions appropriate for a variety of audiences.
  • Critique their own and others’ work in written and oral formats.
  • Produce well-reasoned, argumentative essays demonstrating rhetorical engagement.
  • Reflect on what contributed to their writing process and evaluate their own work.
  • Compose in and combine all five representational modes – linguistic, visual, aural, gestural, and spatial.
  • Articulate how multimodal compositions (either their own work, or work authored by others) respond to the rhetorical situations in which they are embedded, and in doing so, demonstrate an understanding of key concepts and vocabulary associated with each of the five representational modes (linguistic, visual, aural, gestural, and spatial).

Language conventions

This course presumes that because you were exempt from or passed English 1101, you have a basic knowledge of standard American English, including but not limited to variations in sentence structure, subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, parallel structure, dangling modifiers, grammatical expletives, possessives and plurals, punctuation, capitalization, word choice, and various other grammatical and mechanical problems. If you are someone for whom this knowledge and practice are a struggle, this course gives you time to improve, but you will be expected to write prose that conforms to the standard conventions of American English.

You have resources available at GSU to help you improve your knowledge. In the Writing Studio ( you can work one-on-one, in private, with a tutor to improve. Writing Studio tutors can also help you to help you refine already strong competence, moving from good to excellent. The Purdue OWL ( has resources to assist you with identifying and correcting common grammar, punctuation, and usage errors, and to help you with formatting citations and bibliographies.

Texts and Resources

Please see the Texts and Resources page.

Overview of Projects and Grade Calculation

Over the course of the semester, you will be completing a series of projects, each of them building towards and contributing to a multimodal research essay and your final portfolio. Failure to complete projects early on will make completing later projects that reuse or remix work from previous projects more difficult. It's especially important, therefore, to keep up with the work in this course.

Each project includes multiple parts, including drafts, peer review, and reflection. See the Project Descriptions page for details about the process, deliverables, and deadlines associated with each project.

Your final grade will be calculated out of 100 points:

  • Project 1: Blog (Individual) | 15 points
    • Semester-long project
    • 12 Topics
    • 4 Posts (400-500 words each)
    • 8 Comments (150-250 words each)
  • Project 2: Proposal | 5 points
    • Process work = 3 drafts + 3 peer review workshops
    • Final drafts and reflections due Monday, February 2 at midnight
  • Project 3: Multimedia Annotated Bibliography | 10 points
    • Process work = 3 drafts + 3 peer review workshops
    • Final drafts and reflections due Monday, March 2 at midnight
  • Project 4: Literature Review | 15 points
    • Process work = 2 drafts + 1 group conference + 1 peer review workshop
    • Final drafts and reflections due Monday, March 30 at midnight
  • Project 5: Multimodal Research Essay | 25 points
    • Process work = 3 drafts + 3 peer review workshops
    • Final drafts and reflections due Monday, April 27 at midnight
  • Project 6: Portfolio (in lieu of a final exam) | 15 points
    • Semester-long project
    • Final portfolios due Friday, May 1 at 9:00 am
  • Attendance, preparation, process work, and participation | 15 points


In this course, students are expected to adhere to the Georgia State University student code of conduct.

This includes the university attendance policy. Excused absences are limited to university-sponsored events where you are representing GSU in an official capacity, religious holidays, and legal obligations such as jury duty or military service days. Absences for all other reasons will be counted. You are permitted six absences without penalty. Missing more than six classes will result in a deduction of 5 points from your "Attendance, preparation, process work, and participation" point total for each additional absence. Missing ten or more classes will result in automatic failure of the course. In the event of extended illness or family emergency, I will consider requests for individual exemption from the six-absence limit on a case by case basis.

Receiving a grade of "incomplete"

In order to receive an incomplete, a student must inform the instructor, either in person or in writing, of his/her inability (non-academic reasons) to complete the requirements of the course. Incompletes will be assigned at the instructor's discretion (if you have specific criteria for assigning incompletes, put them here)and the terms for removal of the "I" are dictated by the instructor. A grade of incomplete will only be considered for students who are a) passing the course with a C or better, b) present a legitimate, non-academic reason to the instructor, and c) have only one major assignment left to finish.

Student Evaluation of Instructor

Your constructive assessment of this course plays an indispensable role in shaping education at Georgia State. Upon completing the course, please take time to fill out the online course evaluation.

Mobile Computing

If you have them, please bring laptops or mobile computing devices to class for use in in-class activities.

Project and Assignment Submission

All final projects must be completed and received by their due dates in order to pass the course. All parts of a project (i.e., drafts and reflections), including ungraded parts, must be completed by their due dates in order to pass the project.

See individual project descriptions for how to turn in each deliverable.

All projects and deliverables must be turned in to me before the due date and time. I will not accept projects or assignments in my mailbox or over email unless noted in class or in the assignment or project description. If you know that you will be unable to turn in a project or deliverable on time, please contact me in advance of the date in question: we may be able to make arrangements for you to turn your project or deliverable in at another time. Because every major project will be completed in stages, over the course of three to four weeks, you should always have something to submit by the deadline, even if it's a working rather than a final draft.

Participation and Office Hours Visits

Participation includes taking part in in-class discussions, completing assigned reading, process work, exercises, and other homework assignments, participating in group activities including peer review, and developing a professional relationship with me through office visits, email communication, and asking questions before, after, and during class.

Please take advantage of my office hours: they exist for your benefit. While I won’t do your work for you (e.g., I won’t proofread your documents), I will respond to your specific questions. In my experience, students who regularly use office hours tend to do well in the course. If you’re not able to come during my scheduled office hours, please contact me, and we’ll arrange another way to meet.

Academic Honesty / Plagiarism

The Department of English expects all students to adhere to the university’s Code of Student Conduct, especially as it pertains to plagiarism, cheating, multiple submissions, and academic honesty. Please refer to the Policy on Academic Honesty (Section 409 of the Faculty Handbook). Penalty for violation of this policy will result in a zero for the assignment, possible failure of the course, and, in some cases, suspension or expulsion. Georgia State University defines plagiarism as . . . “ . . . any paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another person without acknowledgment, including the submitting of another student's work as one's own . . . [It] frequently involves a failure to acknowledge in the text . . . the quotation of paragraphs, sentences, or even phrases written by someone else.” At GSU, “the student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources . . . and the consequences of violating this responsibility.” (For the university’s policies, see in the student catalog, “Academic Honesty,”

Accommodations for Students With Special Needs

Georgia State University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students who wish to request accommodation for a disability may do so by registering with the Office of Disability Services. Students may only be accommodated upon issuance by the Office of Disability Services of a signed Accommodation Plan and are responsible for providing a copy of that plan to instructors of all classes in which accommodations are sought. According to the ADA ( ‘‘SEC. 3. DEFINITION OF DISABILITY. ‘‘As used in this Act: ‘‘(1) DISABILITY.—The term ‘disability’ means, with respect to an individual— ‘‘(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual...major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. ‘‘(B) MAJOR BODILY FUNCTIONS.—For purposes of paragraph (1), a major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

For English Majors

The English department at GSU requires an exit portfolio of all students graduating with a degree in English. Ideally, students should work on this every semester, selecting 1-2 papers from each course and revising them, with direction from faculty members. The portfolio includes revised work and a reflective essay about what you’ve learned. Each concentration (literature, creative writing, rhetoric/composition, and secondary education) within the major may have specific items to place in the portfolio, so be sure to check booklet located next to door of the front office of the English Department. Senior Portfolio due dates are published in the booklets or you may contact an advisor or Dr. Dobranski, Director of Undergraduate Studies. See the English office for additional information.

Policy on Social Media

Lower Division Studies and the Department of English supports the use of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr as subjects for discussion and writing prompts in both ENGL 1101 and ENGL 1102 courses. Student and instructor privacy, however, is of utmost importance; therefore, students will not be required to use social media.



Class Schedule

See Course Calendar for reading and assignment/project due dates.

Image credit "Coffee cup jungle on my desk at work" by Geir Halvorsen on Flickr: