2/19: More on Blogging!

Good morning everyone!

Today, we took a small step backward to talk more about blogging in relation to personal narrative.  We watched Mena Trott’s “How Blogs Are Building a Friendlier World”:

Mena’s anecdotes showed both the social benefits as well as the more problematic challenges of blogging about our personal selves to a vast digital audience.  In response to her Banjo post, she had been surprised and dismayed to find that readers rose to her defense in a negative attitude toward her husband.  “Those who knew me would get the joke,” she said; however, people who did not know her personally did not understand the context of her post and misconstrued it.

However, her story about Candygirl, a blogger who wrote during the last few months of her struggle with cancer, and the story of Baby Odin, whose recovery was documented day by day, show a different side to blogs that is much less “scary”–in that regardless of the audience, the act of blogging and connecting with others in cyberspace offered them the opportunity for a kind of emotional healing, and made them available to be supported.

So while it is important to be responsible with what information you share online, it is also crucial to remember that what you write is significant in that can reflect the humanity of both the writer and the reader.

Have a great weekend!




2/16: Open Workshop

Good morning!

Today we established our groups for the Storyteller Project:

Group 1: Megan, Kayla, Jackie

Group 2: Nadia, Jon, Arianna

Group 3: Will, Jen, Jessica, Karel

Group 4: Christina, Mutasim, Angie

Just to be clear, this is a collaborative creative writing project–which means that the writing will be created by you and your team mates (unlike the solo project, which is more of a transformed research/academic paper).

Just some thoughts/ideas/prompts that might get you thinking (this is not a full list–the possibilities are endless):


-In which each group mate writes a chapter of the same story.

-In which each group mate writes for a character/s in the same story.

Creative Non-fiction:

-A group autobiography of a single day, week, year (where were each of you on MM/DD/YY?)

-A collection of short nonfiction stories surrounding a specific chosen theme


-A digital poetry “book” where the poems compare/contrast each other (inspired by Group

-An epic poem using text, images, video, sounds?


-A TV show script/video (also inspired by Group 1)

Again, this is not the end-all be-all of what you can do–and please feel free to leave more ideas in the comments!

For Friday, be ready to share and send me your proposals for this project.


2/9: Introducing the Group Storyteller Project, and Hangouts


Good morning everyone!

Today we brought our writing in cyberspace to an entirely different level as we introduced Hangouts–a messaging app integrated into Google.  Since we all have Gmail through Kean, we all have Hangouts.  It is a great way for us to communicate in real-time in and outside of class, especially as we embark upon the group projects.  I have initiated a Hangouts chat with the entire class, so feel free to accept the invitation and join the conversation! Today we also introduced the Group Storyteller project assignment, and you’ll now see it in our menu.

Hangouts is available via your email browser on a computer, via it’s own dedicated page on Google (like Docs and Drive), and is even an app for your mobile device.

I would also like to remind everyone per our conversation today that we will not be meeting for class Friday, February 12th, due to my moving into a new apartment.  However, in lieu of meeting in person, I would like for us and for your groups to be in touch that day in order to start brainstorming for your digital story.  While I am on the road, I will be pinging you through Hangouts to check in on how groups are doing, and while we are at it we might as well have a writing in cyberspace related discussion! So make sure to tune in to Hangouts at some time on Friday.

For Friday:

  • Be on the lookout for conversations in Hangouts, and let me know the members of your groups!  If you don’t have a group by Friday, also let me know.

For next Tuesday:

  • Proposals for the Group Projects will be due.  We’ll allow some face time in class for you to finalize your plans.
  • Blog #4.



2/5: Snow(y) Day

Steven Universe “Winter Forecast”, image from From tumblr.com

Good morning, everyone!  So how about this weather?

As discussed in this morning’s email, today’s class will be an open workshop for anyone who plans on attending.  I will be in our lab until 11am so that you may come and use the space to work on your projects or conference with me about your topics, (and I will be running episodes of Steven Universe on the projector), but attendance won’t be counted against you.

As we’ve talked about, I have some strong feelings about making students commute in bad weather for class–such is to say, I don’t like doing it.  If you don’t feel safe to drive, don’t.  A benefit of a class that revolves around writing online is that we can be flexible and connect in “cyberspace”. 🙂

If you are staying home today, feel free to still participate in today’s workshop anyway!  I will be looking at Twitter and our #ENG30803 feed and my email/Hangouts vigilantly, so please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have about your multimodal projects, using Wix or anything else..  In addition, please email me your proposal if you have not already done so!  They are still due today.

For Tuesday:

  • Begin pulling together material for your Wix site.  Pictures, videos, sound clips and any other media you plan to use, along with beginning to outline your essay.
  • Write Blog #3.

Have a good weekend!


1/28 and 2/2: The Multimodal Essay

Good afternoon, everyone!

Last Friday, we introduced our first project, the Multimodal Essay–which was delivered to you by email, as well as added to the menu of our class site (you can see it above for more details).

On Tuesday, we had a Wix tutorial, as it will be the engine that you use for this and the group project (details upcoming).  We went over the basics of how to use it to edit, upload content, and design it to your individual essay’s needs.  We will keep going over how to use Wix in class during workshop periods, but please make sure to take some time outside of class to “play” with the program.

For Friday:

  • Make sure to comment on a classmate’s blog (and tweet!)
  • Your proposals for your essay will be due.  Make sure to email me with some subject topic/idea of what you plan to do, and have it ready to share with the class.


1/26: What is Cyberspace?

Good morning, everyone!

Thanks for an excellent discussion today.  As a class, we went over the many affordances and challenges of writing in “cyberspace” and how it is defined by what it can do and what it does differently from print text and “physical space”.  It seems that a major theme in your observations is that it allows us to connect–not only with people, but with information, ideas, entertainment, and interactions that might otherwise be difficult, if not impossible in physical space.  In addition, these connections are as various and as valued as physical, “real” life connections are in many ways, differentiating it from the implication of a “virtual” (or Sims like) world.  Brilliant!

For those of you who were not able to join us today, don’t worry–you were emailed the notes we generated during our discussion through our shared Google Doc.

For Friday:

  • Make sure to read through your classmate’s blogs (in the sidebar!), and comment on one.  Maybe it’ll give you some inspiration to get a head start on your next blog post!
  • Watch The Machine is Us/ing Us by Michael Wesch (in the Resources page)
  • If you have a moment, start reading up on Wix.  I’ve linked a page that provides several tutorials on the engine in the Resources page above.  We’ll go further into it next week.

Be safe on the roads, and see you Friday!




1/22: Syllabus Week Complete!

Good afternoon, everyone!

Thanks for a great class today.  We took some time to introduce ourselves since we had a few new people joining us.  We also spent class time exploring and setting up on WordPress, which you will be using to create and maintain your blogs throughout the semester.  Remember, your blog can either be a reflective journal of class progress throughout the semester, or a themed blog related to anything you’re interested in and can write content for weekly.

For Tuesday:

  • Have your first post up by Monday night.
  • Read over An Archeology of Cyberspaces: Community, Virtuality, Mediation, Commerce (found in Readings).
  • Come to class ready to do some writing!

That’s all for this week.  Have a great weekend!