ENGL278W - Literature in a Wired World

Like online games or web comics? Interested in digital storytelling? Want to learn more about blogging or try your hand at coding? This completely online course is an introduction to the changing nature of texts, storytelling, and humanist skills in the Information Age, using both traditional literary and digital, hands-on approaches. We'll be thinking about technology and literature in three ways:

1. Exploring technology as a motif within literature (e.g. Cory Doctorow's Little Brother, Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash)

2. Considering technology as a form of literature (e.g. web comics and electronic literature, playing online games)

3. Using technology to create and interact with literature (possibly learning some very basic Python coding skills to play with online text and build interactive fiction, a.k.a. choose-your-own-adventure stories)

No prior technical skill is necessary, and all technical aspects of the course will be thoroughly explained--but an interest in working with the digital, whether that's computers, games, or other digital media, is a must. Deliverables might include regular blogging and forum participation, preparing forum conversation starters for one topic (i.e. leading a discussion), and a final digital project (to be tailored to your individual interests) with accompanying short paper of explanation. Please be aware that this is a normal 3-credit course condensed into six weeks of class; you will be reading a normal course's worth of material in a shorter amount of time (e.g. equivalent of a book a week).

This course will be taught entirely online and asynchronously. This means you can take the course from anywhere in the world with an internet connection and complete your work at any time of the day, as long as it's turned in by the prearranged deadlines in the syllabus; there is no stipulated time for class meetings, but students are responsible for the timely completion of posted assignments. Students will receive and agree to a syllabus explaining assignments, deadlines, and how to make the best use of this online class during the first week of class.

Students must have reliable and regular computer and internet access. A central class website will be the main site of instruction, with posted assignments and deadlines, instructor and student blogs, a forum, and written, podcast, and/or video instruction. The instructor will be available via email and chat at regular times to discuss material or answers questions.

Questions? Please send any questions about the course to the instructor's last name @umd.edu.

This is an online course.