Technology and English Studies (Eng 467)

This course is an elective for masters and PhD students in the English Department at Illinois State University.

semesters & syllabi

This course was an introduction to the intersections of textual production and consumption, modes of communication (i.e., visual, linguistic, aural, gestural, spatial), and media within English studies since the advent of the World Wide Web. The subtitle for the course was “What is ‘new media’ in an English department?” We studied the eras of digital, literary hypertext (1989–1994), hypermedia (1994–1999), and new media (2000–present), with some attention paid to the impact of Web 2.0 on these texts (2006–present). We read primary texts (i.e., Joyce’s afternoon: a story and Jackson’s Patchwork Girl) that helped introduce students to these genres. We also read theoretical texts (literary theory, computer science, rhetoric, design, cinema studies, etc.) such as Landow’s Hypertext 3.0, Hayles’ Writing Machines, and Manovich’s The Language of New Media. Students produced final projects that embodied/enacted these theories.

teaching challenge
467 was the first graduate-only class I had taught at ISU, so I wrote the syllabus trying to appeal to the broad range of English studies backgrounds that students might bring to class. Because, I suspect, of the word technology in the class title and my newness on campus (students didn’t know me or my research yet), the course enrolled mostly Masters students studying technical communication. In addition, three students from the Arts Technology masters program enrolled. Because of the broad range of backgrounds, I learned to explain the theoretical and e-literary works in more detail than I would have normally (leading to a bit more lecture than discussion, which is not my preferred method for graduate classes), but this was a great learning experience for me in understanding the range of students we teach at ISU and in enacting a pedagogy useful for an English studies model.

accompanying materials