Peer-Review Annotation assignment

Purpose: For this assignment, I want you to reflect on your peer-review letter written to your classmates by annotating the specific places where you drew on the evaluation criteria you chose when reviewing their piece. Each time you use a criteria (or if you introduced a NEW criteria in your reading), say WHY you thought it was important to address for the particular piece you were reviewing and HOW it got at a specific critique (or good point) you wanted the authors to know about. In essence, this annotation is a meta-reflection of your peer-review letter that will show me that you understand how and why we came up with the sets of criteria we did (from earlier in the semester), how you can apply them to an actual webtext, and will help you think about how you would continue to create new criteria for evaluating different kinds of texts in future writing scenarios (either in or out of class). So, show me what you know 😉

Instructions: I’m expecting that you’ll have around 4-6 annotations of about 3-5 sentences each. You can use Comments in Word, or some other similar program, or insert your comments in ALL CAPS and BOLD within the body of the text. Email me (as an attachment) your annotated peer-review letter. My email is cball at ilstu dot edu.

Due date: end of the day, Wednesday, December 15

Submittal Email assignment

When you turn in your final project URL to me, you need to do so via an email to me, as if you are the author of the work submitting it to the editor of the journal you have chosen. This is called a Submittal Email. (Well, that’s why I call it, anyways.) A submittal email includes the following information:

  • Salutation to the editor (make sure you get their name/s right!)
  • Indication of what you’re doing (submitting a webtext)
  • title of your webtext
  • URL/location of the webtext
  • Summary/abstract of the webtext
  • If it’s an unusual fit for the journal, explain why you think it’s a good fit.
  • Any known issues/concerns about the webtext in its current form (usually things that you want editorial feedback on and/or known technical glitches that don’t interfere with the working of the piece but that you’re still working on and plan to fix) so that the editor will know to take those into consideration when reviewing the submission.
  • A thank you for taking the time to review/respond to the piece.
  • Valediction (Sincerely, Best, etc.)

This should be a GROUP email, sent by ONE of you, copying ALL of you, sent to ME. These emails are usually a paragraph or two (sometimes more) in length.

peer-review groups

1. Hip-Hop Renaissance
submitting to C&C Online
Reviewers: Justin, Sarah, Shane
Send reviews to: Kayla, Billy, Danny, Breezy, and me

2. Facebook Activism
submitting to Kairos Disputatio section,
Reviewers: Hannah, Kayla, Danny, Breezy
Send reviews to: Sarah, Katie H., Justin, and me

3. Review of Distracted
(read instructions under Peer Review Assignment)
submitting to Kairos book review section,
Reviewers: Shayla, Diamond, Katie H., Jeremy
Send reviews to: Jason, Mike, Katie E., Shane, and me

4. Culture Jamming
submitting to Kairos Inventio section
Reviewers: Billy, Katie E. Mike, Jason
Send reviews to: Shayla, Diamond, Hannah, Jeremy, and me

Evaluation Criteria from Digital Media Texts

Here is the criteria y’all came up with today, based on the digital media texts you brought to class (in random order):

  • reader -friendly: (a) teaches us how to read the text, and (b) fits, mimics, or breaks from expected genre conventions
  • making hard things look easy
  • a text that connects with you as a group/audience (e.g., “college student” as a cultural, historical, generational discourse community)
  • every element is accounted for in the meaning-making process
  • pacing and organization is apropos to the content
  • media and modes engage the purpose of the text (whether the purpose is funny, artful, persuasive, to parody, etc.)
  • DIY aesthetic (mixing lo- and hi-tech depending on availability)
  • you like it/want to watch it — the text is persuasive in a way that is “fun to watch”
  • unexpected juxtaposition of elements
  • employs a “simple” concept

Assignment: Finding 3 examples of digital media

Hey all,

Find 3 online pieces of digital media that make you say “wow.” That might be wow in a good way (as in, wow that’s the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen!) or in a bad way (as in, wow, that’s total crap!) or some combination. All three pieces shouldn’t be from the same category (good or bad) — mix it up a little, so you can have a variety of texts to consider.

Also, the examples you choose should vary in media and modes of communication in some way. iow, they shouldn’t all be animations, nor all web-comics, nor machinima, nor lolcats, nor scholarly multimedia, etc. You can have 2 from one “kind” and at least one from another kind. This is to prevent you from getting stuck into one way of visualizing how a project might proceed.

Here are some completely random examples where you might start. As you can see, some of these have something to do with digital writing studies, and some of them don’t. Your examples may or may not have anything to do with writing studies. My main goal with this exercise is to have you explore different ways of presenting information/ideas/creativity using digital media. All of the examples below would be akin to good final projects for this class.

To complete this assignment you should find 1-2 others in addition to any above you’ve chosen, but you need three examples total. Read the pieces with the multimodal reading heuristic in mind, which we discussed in class (and is linked from the Schedule).

Once you’ve read these pieces, you should make a new post on your blog in which you

  1. provide the title of the piece and link to it or embed it (if possible), and
  2. annotate/describe the piece in a 5-10 sentences, as it relates to the multimodal reading heuristic. The point is to be explicit about how the piece is working and why you chose it as an example.
  3. In addition — either in the same blog post, in another blog post, or just in notes that you bring to class next week (i.e., be ready to discuss this in class) — list questions that you wish had been included in the heuristic that you would have liked to use to describe/annotate your pieces of digital media. iow, what’s missing from the heuristic; what ways of reading and/or concepts and/or technology does it overlook/exclude?

All three examples should be described/linked in one blog post. These posts are due by 8am Wednesday, Sept. 15. Let me know if you have questions!


Readings for Sept. 8


I’ve put 6 copies of the ix: visual exercises CD on reserve at Milner. You can borrow it and view it in the computer lab (or your laptop) in Milner for two hours at a time. It’s possible you can get through the whole thing in two hours, but some folks may want or need to spend a little more time with it. The reserve guy said you could re-reserve it as long as no one is waiting. Don’t wait til Tuesday to do this. Also keep in mind that the library will be closed Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. (And, yes, you have until the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 8 to finish this assignment. I’ll be picking up the copies around 10am that morning to use them in class that day.)

Same goes for your other reading (which I am still working on today [Saturday] and should have uploaded by this evening). It’s also due Wednesday, Sept. 8. If you have any questions about that reading, you should post them to your blog before class, so I can come prepared to help you understand it better.

Remember that I’ll be offline much of this upcoming week. Will be checking email occassionally, if I can get online, but no guarantees. You’ll be fine, tho. I promise 🙂


Syllabus/Expectations Response

Post on your own blog a response to the class About and Expectations pages. You should discuss your response to the course goals, projects, what you expected from this class, what you think it’s going to be about (instead of?), what you value as a student, what you hope to gain from this class, what ideas you might already have for projects, and anything else you find relevant for me to know from the outset.

Your post serves as recognition that you have read and understood the course syllabus and also helps me gauge what you expect from me and this class. This post should be 3-4 paragraphs and might also include mention of previous students’ portfolio reflections that we watched in class (which are linked from the Schedule page, in case you want a refresher).

This post is due by 8am next Wednesday, September 1 and should include an active link to the expectations page and links to any other outside online materials you’ve referenced. Let me know if you have questions!


Welcome to English 239!

This semester, we will pursue an opportunity to publish digital media scholarship in an online, peer-reviewed journal. If that sounds boring or scary or doesn’t even make sense; give me a week to show you it will be fun, innovative, and offer you a more strategic way of communicating with peers, teachers, and future employers. This class isn’t about writing papers. It isn’t even about  “writing,” unless your definition of writing includes composing with multiple media and digital technology. You do not have to be a technological expert to do well in this class. You will be learning technologies throughout; sometimes you will know more or less than your classmates, and even more or less than I do. We will all help each other as we proceed.

Here’s a quick tour of the resources on this class blog, which serves as your syllabus/contract for this class (and is subject to change). You should subscribe to its RSS feed so that you can keep up to date. (I will show you how to do this in class.)

At the top (under the picture), you’ll find tabs to lots of additional and important class information, including the following:

  • About describes the course goals and learning outcomes.
  • the Expectations page describes this course’s policies, required texts and technologies, grading and value systems.
  • the Assignments pages describe all the major assignments you will complete. Some of these are posted already, but they might change as the course morphs through the semester, so make sure to check back when I make assignments.
  • the Schedule has the weekly calendar for this class, including reading assignments, what we’re doing in class that day, and other homework.
  • the Resources page links to handouts, useful technology-tip websites, and course permission forms.

In the sidebar, to your right, you will find

  • the Instructor information, including my contact information. I will sometimes be in my office on Wednesdays before or after class, but the best way to ensure catching me is to email me and make an appointment. I do not have scheduled office hours because one hour a week won’t do much good for of-the-moment questions. Email me and I’ll get back to you pretty quickly, except at night when I do not check email (after 6pm usually).
  • a Search feature for the class blog, Recent Posts & the Calendar of Posts.
  • the Blogroll, where I will include a list of links to all of your individual course blogs, which each of you will set up on the first day of class.

Please let me know if you have any questions. You can comment on this post or email me.

Looking forward to the semester,
Dr. Ball