Category Archives: instructor notes

Given your Friday posts and the comments I’ve already seen tonight, I do plan on spending tomorrow’s class discussing the readings and taking your questions about Twitter. Til then, here’s a handy infographic, although I also think this 2009 Time Magazine cover story does a great job at offering an overview.

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Instead of a Tegrity capture, and because the past few days have been dominated by my voice, I decided to have the three groups of f2f students use class time to present on today’s three assigned readings. Here were the instructions:

The group focused on Fictional Worlds in the Digital Age shared the following:

The second group focused on Riddle Machines: The History and Nature of Interactive Fiction shared this:

And the final group which reviewed “Electronic Literature: What is it?” came up with this set of responses:

As you can see, there’s a lot of overlap when it came to defining these terms and understanding how literature can evolve into “textual adventures” once put online and in a virtual reality/game format. [Anyone who wants to explore the games Montfort discussed can access them in The Interactive Fiction Archive.]

I also shared my limited understanding of SecondLife, which I [naturally] had only experienced in academic settings. Here’s an example of well-known researcher of fandom, Henry Jenkins, participating in a Harry Potter-themed meeting in SecondLife:

He shares more about the experience in his blog post called “Dumbledore for a Day: The Things You Can Do in SecondLife” but I really like the dance party theme to it because it accentuates the avatars’ movements [and the intertextuality of the Harry Potter universe]:

As we’ve noted, this week was a return to text and more English Department-related work. I think awareness of how texts can “live” simultaneously alongside visualizations is representative of the digital humanities.

I look forward to your Virtual Friday posts!


Here’s a link roundup of what I showed or referenced in class today:

“Talking Numbers with Edward Tufte: Campaigning for the Charts that Teach” — Significant Statements: ”The task is not to have ‘high-impact presentations,’ or ‘point, click, wow’ or ‘power pitches.’ The point is to explain something.” ‘Good design is clear thinking made visible, and bad design is stupidity made visible.” He is a man of strong opinions, but like we discussed in class, we know good design when we see it and the goal is to convey ideas rather than put on a show.

Here’s the link to A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods that may come in handy for us as the semester progresses.

And finally, here’s the TED Talk by David McCandless, which inspired me to remember Context is Everything!


Hello ENGL 335 students,

This is a quick note about how this class will run since 1) I’ve combined the two sections so both face-to-face and online students will interact and 2) some online students aren’t PCEM majors so I’m not sure if they are familiar with Tegrity.

The first item is pretty self-explanatory. Instead of keeping sections 001 and 002 separate [as some of you know I did last year in ENGL 371], I’ve combined the two so that there’s only one section in D2L and both groups of students will have the same projects and due dates. Depending on the assignment, you may be put into groups that have a blend of f2f and online students, but more on this as the semester progresses.

The second item may require a bit more information, especially if you’ve never taken a class that utilizes course capture recordings. This is NOT an online class where you can check in to D2L once a week and expect to be able to keep up. I’m going to be utilizing Tegrity to record the face-to-face meetings [held MWF 11:15am-12:10pm]. You will be able to view these at https://uwstout.tegrity.com. You use your same UWStout login and password and once logged in your dashboard will look something like those shown here: http://help.tegrity.com/visual-guide-to-my-tegrity-homepage.html. More help for students can be found here: https://help.tegrity.com/help-for-students.html.

What this means is that you [online students in particular] are responsible for listening/viewing these recordings before the next class meeting so you do not miss important announcements or class discussions.

On our first class day, this Wednesday, I’ll discuss this a bit further and provide a detailed calendar for at least the first 8 weeks of the semester, so everyone should be on the same page as to when discussion board or blog posts are due. [That’s actually a third aspect of the course you should be aware of now–the majority of the writing you will do in this course will be in this course blog. I’ll be sending our WordPress invites during Week 2].

Finally, as you all may know, this is a brand new course being offered as part of the PCEM major and, consequently, my first time teaching it. Because of the subject matter–the digital humanities which is a rapidly evolving field and is very connected to social media–new readings are likely to emerge during the semester and will be incorporated into the syllabus and noted in the course blog where appropriate.

Please email me or leave a comment if you have any questions or if you are unsure about taking the course, especially in the online format.