Writing for Cyberspace


Course Title: Writing for Cyberspace                 

Semester: Spring 2018                

Instructor  Name:  Nikki Dreste

Contact Details:  My office location, office phone extension, email, and advisement hours can all be found on your email copy of the syllabi!

Course Description:   This course explores emerging theories and practices for writing on the Internet and other new electronic media. We will study the effects of new media on the conceptualization of literacy, writing process, and products.  This course will survey how digital technologies are redefining what we mean by “writing.” You will read about the new genres and rhetoric associated with electronic (rather than print) environments, and you will compose your own digital texts.   Through this course, we will explore how writing in digital space is connected to audience, purpose, etc. We will also: discuss current issues for writing online, discover how online writing can encourage passivity or mobilize action, practice micro-blogging, engage in writing for web content creation, and work on reflective writing. Since writing in cyberspace is highly visual and rhetorical at its core, we will also delve into a few basic design principles as related to course projects.

Prerequisite/Program:  ENG2020 (Writing) or permission of instructor.

Course Objectives:

As a core course of the English writing concentration major, ENG 3080 Writing for Cyberspace adheres to the Kean University English department mission through reinforcing 5 major student learning outcomes (SLOs) as stated in the English-Writing option assessment plan: &  

Students will learn to: use rhetoric, recursive processes to produce texts for multiple purposes and contexts in an online, digital format; understand dynamics within the sociocultural construction of online identities, ideologies, and language in digital space; and critically analyze online writing processes and products.  


During this course, students will:

  • Produce digital texts through a series of drafts that include exploratory writing or talk, as well as revisions that include addition, deletion, substitution and arrangement (SLO#1)
  • Identify central ideas/themes of digital texts through class discussion and writing (SLO#2)  
  • Utilize two or more methodologies from English Studies to develop original research or creative products (SLO#3)  
  • Demonstrate ability to give compelling oral presentations (SLO#4)  
  • Connect ideas from classroom assignments to contemporary issues in class discussions and presentations (SLO#5)


Course Methods:  


This course will meet twice-weekly in a computer lab, and include the following methods:

  • Intensive creative writing and reading practices
  • Class & online discussions
  • Collaborative class workshops
  • Collaborative projects
  • Analysis and development of interactive media
  • Lecture
  • Tutorials and practice of digital technologies

Please allow additional time outside of class to explore and practice the technologies required.  Acquiring mastery of any technology requires time to “swim around” and “play” with its affordances.



Textbook:  The Digital Writer by Sean Morey


Publisher: Fountainhead Press

Reliable access to internet outside of class

Kean Google Account

The course hub website

Your own technologyA way to take photos/create original images


Grading and Assessment

Assignment sheets for all major assignments will be posted on the course blog website.

Your score in this class is determined by a percentage sum of 100% divided among four major categories: Participation, Personal Project, and Group Project, and Portfolio Reflection.  You may notice that one or more categories “feed” into other categories to be successful–this is intentional.  

Participation  (25%):  This grade is based on your performance as a participator in the course–this includes but is not limited to showing up, submitting work on time, being present and prepared to be part of the discussion, and engaging in class workshops and peer review.                                                                                     

Individual Project (30%):  You will propose, write, design, and present on an individual digital project of your choosing.

Group Project (30%): In a team of classmates assembled by Week 2, you will as a group propose, write, design, and present on a digital project of your choosing.  Your groupmates will also represent your peer review group for your individual projects on most occasions.

Portfolio Reflection (15%):  You will assemble a Google document containing the hyperlinks to your individual and group works, paired with a reflective essay on your semester’s journey as a digital writer.

A 100-93%
A- 92-90%
B+ 89-87%
B 86-83%
B- 82-80%
C+ 79-76%
C 75-70%
D 69-60%
F 59% and lower



Extra Credit: I do not give extra credit under any circumstances.

Attendance: I do not believe one should necessarily be graded on their luck.  It is unrealistic to assume one will never have a personal emergency or otherwise need (or even want) to skip a class during the semester. In this matter, I am flexible and understanding.  However, the reality is that if you are not present, you are not engaged, so chronic absence, lateness, or leaving before dismissal will have a negative effect on your ability to properly learn and master the material. Being 15 or more minutes late to class counts as an absence.  If you miss four consecutive classes or six accumulative classes without a documented reason, I will request that you withdraw from the course.  Extenuating circumstances need to be communicated before or as soon as they happen, not after.

Late Work: Deadlines are clearly posted and designed so that I can return your work to you in a timely manner while also receiving and returning any incoming revisions. Late work will not be accepted for any reason or excuse whatsoever.   

Revisions: Writing is a process and in this course, emphasis will be placed on that process, not the product (i.e. grade). My late submissions policy is draconian, but it is in order to allow you unlimited revisions to assignments.  When I give you a score I always pair it with feedback (even on ‘perfect’ scores). If you are not satisfied with your score, take my feedback into account and revise, rinse and repeat, until you receive a satisfactory score.  This policy is open to all assignments with the the sole exception of late assignments. There is never an excuse to turn in nothing just because it is not finished or you are not happy with it yet (or any reason, really). However, you should still make every effort to submit quality material you are proud of, or can be proud of with proper feedback and revision. Nothing can be done with a blank page.

Children:  My classroom thrives best as an inclusive, accommodating space aware and understanding of the demands and surprises of daily life.  If the occasion makes it necessary, please feel free to bring your children to class.  

Technology: Feel free to bring your laptop, e-reader, smartphone, etc. During specific writing sessions, I also allow the use of earbuds to listen to music at a low, respectful volume. Please utilize this privilege responsibly, or it will be revoked.
Submission of Work: Unless otherwise notified, ALL work must be shared as a Google Doc (with permission to to comment), in proper MLA format, with the inclusion of a Works Cited page (if applicable) with the following file name format: LastNameFirstName_AssignmentDraftNumber.  For example:  DresteNicole_ProcessAnalysisDraft1, DresteNicole_ProcessAnalysisFinalDraft, DresteNicole_ProcessAnalysisFinalDraftR1 (R1= Revision #1).  Documents shared that are labeled incorrectly, do not grant me the proper permissions, or do not include proper MLA format or documentation will not count for timely submission.

Plagiarism:  The Academic Integrity Policy is clear. Take pride in your own work, especially when it is imperfect. The first time I find evidence of academic violation in your draft or response work, I return it, ungraded, and require an immediate rewrite within 24 hours.  If it comes back still violating academic integrity, the assignment is failed and I file the appropriate report for the offense.  Repeated violations in any work or violations in major project final drafts are failed out of hand and reported.