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Course Information

Course Description
This course is designed to investigate the diverse field of multimedia and to examine its intersections with our fields of rhetoric, composition, technical/professional communication, and pedagogy. We will look at and use many current and emerging technologies, including websites,YouTube videos, the genres of Web2.0, and multi-track audio and video editing. Within each of these subjects we will read academic and popular perspectives to help us consider the uses and implications of these multiple media. Many of our readings and activities will center around three key concerns:

  1. Multimodality and multiliteracies
  2. Interactivity and participation
  3. Social and rhetorical considerations for designers and users

We will explore how these how these issues are negotiated by multimedia creators, end users, and theorists. We will use and discuss examples from these genres, read what theorists have to say, and engage in hands-on projects to increase understanding of how these concerns are enacted through production.

Course Goals
By the end of the semester, you will:

Required Materials
There are no required textbooks for this course. All reading materials will be provided to you as PDFs or links on the web.

Office Hours:
Mondays 1:00-4:00 Milton Hall Design Center
Thursdays 1:00-3:00 in English 226 and by appointment

Grading Policies
I constructed this course to provide you with a rich resource of perspectives and ideas, as well as to give you multiple opportunities to develop your strategies through practice in using a variety of multimodal communications. Be assured that I do not expect you to be an expert with either design or technology use, but do expect evidence of significant growth in both areas over the course of the semester.

I view reading assignments, class activities, and course projects as occasions for you to explore and apply various approaches to design and communication. It is therefore critical that you not only complete all assignments, but that you come to class prepared and ready to participate. Similar to writing, I see multimedia production as a process in which the overall message of a text improves through collaboration, attention to thoughtful critique, and completion of multiple drafts. I have also designed the writing assignments for this course to help you work through ideas and to complete a text that could be used as the basis for future professional activities. In addition to writing and production assignments, part of your final grade will be determined by your level of class and group participation.

To receive an A in this course you will need to:

Late Work
With the exception of presentations or in-class activities (which cannot be made-up), I will accept late work only if prior arrangements have been made.

Several of the course activities and projects require you to work with at least one other classmate. I have done this not only because it reflects working conditions you are likely to encounter in professional environments, but also because it is an important way of learning. Each of you has different strengths, proficiencies, and experiences which you bring to class. By working with others, you can pool these resources and create projects that are more effective and sophisticated than you might otherwise be able to do on your own. Although collaborative work can bring with it additional challenges, learning to negotiate these with others is a valuable part of your experience.

As students in a graduate-level seminar, your participation in class discussions is required. I have set up this course to be exploratory and community-oriented, meaning I want and expect that you will think critically and creatively about the ideas you encounter and share them with your classmates. There are no right or wrong answers, only diverse perspectives, so please don't be afraid to jump into discussions. I also ask that you be generous and respectful in your interactions with others.

Although we will spend a good deal of time in class working with a variety of applications, this is not a how-to course on software. You should keep in mind that you will likely need to spend several hours per week (2-3 hours on average) outside of class time learning and using various applications and technologies.

To succeed in this course, it is imperative that you are self-motivated to find solutions for roadblocks and that you are willing to experiment with the tools we will use. There is no shortcut to becoming adept at utilizing technology. The more initiative and effort you put into this, the more return you will see in the success of your projects and your understandings of the social and rhetorical implications of these technologies' usages.

At the same time, I also recognize that some of you are not likely to have extensive experience with these technologies. I will do several things to help support your learning, including placing you in teams, providing electronic and text resources, and offering additional office hours in the Design Center where I can help you one-on-one. While I have realistic expectations and will take into consideration everyone’s technological starting point, I still expect to see everyone improve their comfort and facility with software and hardware over the course of the semester.

Lastly, while this is a class that explores uses of new media and you are welcome to bring a laptop to class, this does NOT mean it's ok to surf the web, check email, Facebook, IM, tweet or conduct other personal online activity during class (unless it is directly related to something we are working on). The same goes for mobile phones and text messages. It's incredibly distracting and disrespectful to me and your classmates to engage in this behavior during class, so don't do it or you'll be asked to leave. If you have an emergency situation and may need to be contacted during class, please let me know.

Academic Integrity
Plagiarism is using another person’s work without acknowledgment, making it appear to be one’s own. Any ideas, words, pictures, or other intellectual content taken from another course must be acknowledged in a citation that gives credit to the source. This is irrespective of the origin of the material, including the Internet, other students’ work, unpublished materials or oral sources. Intentional and unintentional instances of plagiarism are considered instances of academic misconduct. It is the responsibility of the student submitting the work in question to know, understand, and comply with this policy.

Feel free to call Jerry Nevarez, Director of Institutional Equity, at 575-646-3635 with any questions you may have about NMSU’s Non-Discrimination Policy and complaints of discrimination, including sexual harassment.

Feel free to call Diana Quintana, Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities, at 575-646-6840 with any questions you may have on student issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. All medical information will be treated confidentially.