DTC 375 – Language, Texts and Technology
Tuesday and Thursday 12:00 –1:15pm
Dr. Jason Farman
Office: West 207H
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11:00-12:00/1:30-2:30 or by appointment
Office Phone: 509.372.7285
Catalog Description: In Language, Texts, and Technology, you will study “the relationship between technology, communication, and writing practices from a historical point of view.” (3 Units)
Prerequisite: Junior standing or higher
Required Texts (available in the campus bookstore):
● Communication in History: Technology, Culture, Society. 5th Edition. Ed.
David Crowley and Paul Heyer. Allyn & Bacon, 2006. ISBN: 0205483887
● Essential McLuhan. Ed. Eric McLuhan and Frank Zingrone. Basic Books,
1995. ISBN: 0465019951
● Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. By Janet H.
Murray. The MIT Press, 1999. ISBN: 0262631873
● First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game. Ed. Noah
Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan. The MIT Press, 2006. ISBN: 0262731754
Assignments: Reading assignments are listed on the day they will be discussed in class. You are expected to arrive to class having read the works listed. All written assignments are to be turned in on the course blog (www.textsandtechnology.blogspot.com) and are due before the start of class. You must also upload a copy to the course’s BlackBoard Digital Dropbox (http://blackboard.wsu.edu). No papers will be accepted via e-mail and computer problems are not an excuse for late work. NO LATE WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED.
- Essays: 30%
- Short response papers: 15%
- Midterm Exam: 15%
- Research Paper: 20%
- Research Presentation: 5%
- Attendance/Participation: 5%
- Quizzes: 10%
There will be three longer essays (750 words each) throughout the semester. The first will be an essay about your personal experience with a specific writing technology. The second will be an argument for our culture being a predominantly oral or textual culture. The final longer essay will be an interview with someone who did not grow up using digital computing as his or her dominant form of writing. You must meet the word count for each assignment and must upload your work to the course blog as well as turn in a copy on the course’s BlackBoard Digital Dropbox. If you draw from any outside sources for your essays, you must cite them accurately according to MLA or APA style. Each essay is worth 10% of your grade.
Short Response Papers:
You will have three short response papers throughout the semester related to your longer essays and the final research paper. These responses must be at least 250 words. Each of these must be uploaded to the course blog and must cite any sources accurately. Each of these short response papers will be worth 5% of your grade.
Your final project will demonstrate your mastery over the material that we have studied throughout the semester. This will take form as a 6-8 page research paper due during week 17 of the course. You must utilize the appropriate readings from the course as well as include at least two scholarly journal articles and two scholarly books in the paper. You must turn in a hard-copy to me (or create your own webpage of your research) and upload your work to the course’s BlackBoard site. In lieu of a rough draft, you will need to give a short presentation of your research to the class during Week 16 (see below).
Note on Academic Honesty and Plagiarism: Any source that you draw ideas and quotes from must be cited accurately in your paper in APA or MLA style. If you use any source in your work without correctly citing the work, this constitutes plagiarism. Any intentional plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the assignment and may result in a failing grade for the course.
Category A: Sloppiness. Automatic “0” on paper, with option to rewrite for no better than a “C”
Category B: Ignorance. Automatic “0” on paper, with option to rewrite for no better than a “C”
Category C: Obvious Conscious Cheating. Automatic “0” on paper, with no option for rewriting
Students caught plagiarizing a second time will be asked to leave the class and will receive an automatic “0” in the course.
For those of you who are not aware of what constitutes plagiarism, here is a breakdown of the various types:
1. Buying papers, borrowing papers, or recycling former papers unrevised and claiming these types of papers as your own for your assignment in this course. (This constitutes a Category C offense)
2. Cutting and pasting parts of a webpage or borrowing passages from a book for your paper without properly citing these parts and claiming the material as your own for the expressed intent of cheating. (This constitutes a Category C offense)
3. Failing to use proper citation style for material you borrow, accidentally. (This constitutes either a Category A or B offense)
By Week 16, you should have a significant start on your research paper and I want you to be able to talk through your ideas with the class. You should prepare a 2-5 minute précis of your work to present to the class (approximately 1-2 pages). I encourage a visual presentation, but most importantly, one that clearly presents the key argument you are making in your paper. Hopefully, this will help you articulate your most fundamental ideas as well as spark ideas in your fellow classmates. This presentation is worth 5% of your grade.
Attendance and Participation: You may miss up to three classes, however, anything beyond this amount will lower the grade significantly and six missed classes may constitute a failing grade. Attendance is taken only during the first 10 minutes of class. If you are 10 minutes late, this will constitute a tardy. Multiple tardies equate an absence and can affect your grade just as missing a class can. Your participation is crucial to the learning you will experience in this class and absences are weighed accordingly. Because this is a discussion-driven and hands-on class, the quality of the class for everyone is in large part dependent on the quality of preparation and visible engagement of each participant. Please realize that although you may have prepared the readings and assignments and may be listening to others, if you do not actively demonstrate your preparation and ideas in discussion, there is no way to observe and, hence, evaluate the quality of your preparation and participation. Attendance and class participation constitute 5% of the grade.
Quizzes: There will be pop-quizzes throughout the semester based on the readings and in-class discussions. Quizzes will be distributed at the beginning of class. The quizzes are worth a total of 10% of your grade. Quizzes cannot be made up if you are late or absent.
Midterm: There will be an in-class midterm on October 11. There will be no early or make-up exams and each student is expected to attend the Midterm during the specified time. The Midterm will be worth 15%.
—Please Note: This syllabus is subject to change at any time according to the professor’s discretion. The assignments below may also include readings handed out in class, which each student is responsible for completing.
□ Section One: Remediation: Technologies of Language □
August 21: Introduction to the course
August 23: ● Read: “Understanding Media” by Marshall McLuhan in Essential
McLuhan (pg. 149-188)
August 28: ● Read: “Immediacy, Hypermediacy, and Remediation” by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin from Remediation (pg. 21-50) (to be accessed online).
August 30: ● Read: “Mediation and Remediation” by Jay David Bolter and Richard
Grusin from handout of Remediation (pg.53-62) (to be accessed online)
● ASSIGNMENT 1 DUE: List of Writing Technologies
□ Section Two: From Orality to Print □
September 4: ● Read: Communication in History, Introduction and Ch. 1, “The Art and
Symbols of Ice Age Man” (pg. 2-14)
● Read: Communication in History, Ch. 3, “Media in Ancient Empires”
September 6: ● Read: Communication in History, Ch. 4, “Civilization without Writing –
The Incas and the Quipu” (pg. 28-33)
● Read: “Untangling the Mystery of the Inca” in Wired Magazine: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.01/khipu.html
September 11: ● Read: “What are Documents” by David M. Levy from Scrolling
Forward (pg. 21-38) (online)
● Read: “Cultures Without Literacy” by Marshall McLuhan in Essential
McLuhan (pg. 302-313)
September 13: ● Read: “Images as the Text: Pictographs and Pictographic Logic” by
Johanna Drucker and Jerome McGann at http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/%7Ejjm2f/old/pictograph.html
● ASSIGNMENT 2 DUE: Personal Experience with Writing Technology
□ Section Three: Initial Stages of Literature □
September 18: ● Read: Communication in History, Ch. 5, “The Origins of Writing” (pg.
● Read: Communication in History, Ch. 6, “The Alphabet” (pg. 44-53)
o Last day to drop course without record
September 20: ● Read: Communication in History, Ch. 7, “The Greek Legacy” (pg. 53-
● Read: Communication in History, Ch. 9, “Orality, Literacy, and Modern Media” (pg. 64-70)
-We will discuss Lacan and Derrida’s notions of Orality vs. Text
September 25: ● Read, “The Gutenberg Galaxy” in Essential McLuhan (pg. 112-126)
September 27: ● Read: Communication in History, Ch. 10, “A Medieval Library” (pg.
● Read: Communication in History, Ch. 11, “Communication in the Middle Ages” (pg. 74-82).
● In-Class Film
● ASSIGNMENT 3a DUE: Oral Culture versus Literary Culture
□ Section Four: Print-Text Culture □
October 2: ● Read, “The Gutenberg Galaxy” in Essential McLuhan, (pg. 127-149)
October 4: ● Read: Communication in History, Introduction and Ch. 13, “The Invention of Printing” (pg. 84-85 and 93-97)
● Read: Communication in History, Ch. 15, “Early Modern Literacies” (pg. 106-114)
● ASSIGNMENT 3b DUE: Oral Culture versus Literary Culture counterargument
October 9: ● Read: “Print Culture and Literary Markets in Colonial India” by Vinay
Dharwadker from Language Machines: Technologies of Literary and Cultural Production (pg. 108-133) (handout)
October 11: MIDTERM
□ Section Five: From Print to Electronic □
Week 9: Hypertext
October 16: ● Read: Hamlet on the Holodeck by Janet Murray, Ch. 2
October 18: ● Read: Hamlet on the Holodeck by Janet Murray, Ch. 7
● Read: “The Garden of Forking Paths” by Jorge Luis Borges (handout)
October 23: ● Read: “Books without Pages – Novels without Endings” by J. Yellowlees Douglas in The End of Books – Or Books Without End? (pg. 11-36) (handout)
● Visit electronic literature sites as assigned
October 25: ● Read: “Immersion vs. Interactivity: Virtual Reality and Literary Theory” by Marie-Laure Ryan in the Postmodern Culture journal online: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/postmodern_culture/v005/5.1ryan.html
Week 11: Blogging/Text Messaging/Twitter
October 30: ● Read: “What Interactive Narratives Do That Print Narratives Cannot” by J. Yellowlees Douglas in The End of Books – Or Books Without End? (pg. 37-62) (handout)
November 1: ● Read: “The Cyborg Author: Problems of Automated Poetics” by Espen Aarseth in Cybertext (pg. 129-141) (handout)
● Read: “Ruling the Reader: The Politics of ‘Interaction’” by Espen Aarseth in Cybertext (pg. 162-177) (handout)
● ASSIGNMENT 4 DUE: Interview
Week 12: Chatrooms
November 6: ● Read: Hamlet on the Holodeck by Janet Murray, Ch. 3
November 8: ● Read: “Live from Cyberspace, or I was sitting at my computer and this guy appeared he thought I was a bot” by Philip Auslander in Performing Arts Journal online at: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/performing_arts_journal/v024/24.1auslander.html
● Read: Hamlet on the Holodeck by Janet Murray, Ch. 8
● Class will take place entirely in the course chatroom. CLICK HERE TO ENTER CHAT.
Week 13: Gaming
November 13: ● Read: Hamlet on the Holodeck by Janet Murray, Ch. 4
November 15: ● Read: “Can there be a Form Between a Game and a Story?” by Ken
Perlin in First Person (pg. 12-19).
● Read: “A Preliminary Poetics for Interactive Drama and Games” by Michael Mateas in First Person (pg. 19-33)
● ASSIGNMENT 5 DUE: Reactions to Blogging/Twitter/Chatrooms
Week 14: Thanksgiving Break
November 27: ● Read: “Ludology” in First Person (pg. 35)
● Read: “Towards Computer Game Studies” by Markku Eskelinen in First Person (pg. 36-44)
● Read: “Genre Trouble: Narrativism and the Art of Simulation” by Espen Aarseth in First Person (pg. 45-55)
November 29: ● Read: “Representation, Enaction, and the Ethics of Simulation” by
Simon Penny in First Person (pg. 73-84)
● Read: “Videogames of the Oppressed: Critical Thinking, Education, Tolerance, and Other Trivial Issues” by Gonzalo Frasca in First Person (pg. 85-94)
December 4: In-Class Presentations
December 6: In-Class Presentations and Conclusions
Week 17: Research Paper Due