ENGL 303 Approaches to English Studies Cyberculture
ENGL 303 Approaches to English Studies Cyberculture


Assignment Values

Assignment Due Date Value
Participation Cards Daily 20%
Paper #1 – English Studies Story 2017.03.02 20%
Paper #2 – My English Literature Manifesto 2017.04.06 25%
Paper #3 – Digital Toy Design Fiction 2017.05.04 35%

Assignment Descriptions

Participation Cards

Starting the second week of class, you will be required to bring a 3”x5” notecard to class each day. These cards will serve to record your attendance in class. More importantly, they will structure class participation.

There are three required elements on a participation card for it to count as attendance:

  1. Your name (top of card)
  2. A passage that stuck with you from the reading (front of card)
  3. An unanswered question based on class discussion (back of card)

At the beginning of each class, I will give you two minutes to write out one sentence from the reading that stuck with you: that you loved, that you hated, or that confused you (you may also bring a prepared card, if you like). We will begin class discussion by going around the room and reading our passages. This activity will serve to spark our discussion of the reading.

At the end of each class, I will give you three minutes to write out (in complete sentences) an answer to the following: “What topic did we raise today that is going to keep you up tonight? If nothing, what should we have asked that would keep you thinking into the night?” This is your chance to show me what you learned in discussion, what you wished you had learned, and/or what you still want to learn. I will be using these to help shape future discussions.

You are required to bring your own 3”x5” cards to class. Additionally, days where there are no readings (BigDIVA demo, days marked “Writing Day” on the syllabus), I will take attendance and no card is required.

Paper #1 – English Studies Story

Create a story that shows why you became an English major. The story can be fictional or true. The story can be as funny or as serious as you want. The story does not have to directly answer the question of why you became an English major. The story does not have to be a narrative. The story does not have to be prose. The story does not have to be written.

Paper #2 – My English Major Manifesto

Based on peer feedback and my feedback from your narrative, compose your intellectual statement for “why English?” Additionally, outline an action plan for completing your major, including research to pursue, skills to acquire, and courses you hope to take.

Paper #3 – Digital Toy Design Fiction

For this assignment, you will need to produce an artifact documenting or describing a digital toy (defined however you want) that might exist in the future. The artifact you produce can take a variety of forms, but here are some examples:

  • A user manual
  • A Kickstarter promotional video
  • Some blueprints / diagrams / patent applications
  • A collection of Instagram sponsored posts advertising the product
  • Yelp reviews
  • A short story
  • Promotional art
  • A press release
  • A corporate website
  • A pitch presentation

You are not required, for this assignment, to have actually created the device in question, but, instead, to create a piece of writing (defined broadly) that will tell a specific audience about the product you envision. So, you imagine a fake digital toy and then document it as though it were real.

The product you write about can be genuine, satiric, ironic, surreal, or familiar. In this assignment, you can celebrate digital culture, tweak it, critique it, and take it apart to see how it works.

This assignment is an exercise in design fiction, the recently defined practice of blending science fictional speculation with design practice. Here are some examples to take a look at:

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