ENGLISH 294: Introduction to Computing in the Humanities

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Class Line # 58027
Meets Monday and Wednesday @ 3:15 - 4:30 pm
Instructor: Bruce Matsunaga

OFFICE HRS: M & W from 2:30-3:15 pm and M 4:30-5:00 pm (in CC237)
PHONE: 965-3884
E-MAIL: bhm@asu.edu
CLASS WEB SITE: http://www.public.asu.edu/~hiroshi/eng294/
CLASS WEBBOARD: http://english.asu.edu:8080/~matsunaga

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REQUIRED TEXT (links to Amazon.com)

Steve Johnson. Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate. New York: Basic Books, 1997. $5.99 used


Wendy Willard. HTML: A Beginners Guide. McGraw-Hill. $15.95 used

Steve Krug and Roger Black. Don't Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. Que Books. $24.50 new $19.00 used


In this course, much of our work will be the hands-on learning of computer applications and the navigation of the Internet. You will also be analyzing the uses of technology in your personal, academic, civic and professional lives through reading and discussion. We will attempt to navigate the intersection where technology and culture meet and puzzle out the implications of this connection. We will be creating the "content" of this course from our own interaction with technology, selected reading, and class discussion.

The types of programs we will concentrate on are:

Learning complex computer applications can be a daunting task for students, but in this class, we will facilitate your learning by combining short presentations that introduce concepts with hands-on practice with the applications. Each student will have slightly different interests with each application, therefore it is essential that we communicate and share what we discover. Since a good deal of the instruction and writing for the class will be communicated via the computer and because this class is computer-mediated, you will be required to sign up for an ASU e-mail account and make yourself familiar with computers, the Internet, various sundry computer applications and electronic means of discourse. In addition, student participation in on-line discussions is required of all students.

COURSE GOALS (or things I want you to leave with)


The work of the class is cumulative and incremental, and attendance is critical to your success. Please try to contact me before you need to be absent.

***Note If you are coming to class, you must make a commitment and arrive on time. If you make a practice of arriving late, you will be counted absent as well.


Office hours are times I set aside to meet with you and discuss problems you may have with a concept we have discussed in class or specific problems you may experience on a project. We should also have time in class to discuss many of these types of problems.


Web Based Portfolio - By the end of this course you will be able to create a web based portfolio of your work in the course. Although this will not be formally graded until the end of the course, I will provide you with feedback from each individual section of the project. This type of assignment provides you with the opportunity to revise and re-vision your work right up until the due date. At the end of the class you will present your portfolio to the class.

Individual Application Projects - These projects will demonstrate your ability to use the various applications we will be learning.

Team Research Project - You and your team/partner will research and present implications of a technology-related issue.

Written discussion responses (on-line) - Your written responses should show an engagement with our reading and the technological issues relevant to the class.


I use the ASU standard A through E grading system for final grades. Individual assignments may use the + / check / - system which equates to A / C+ / D respectively. I assign the following point system to letter grades when I calculate your overall grade:


A = 4.0 C = 2.0 Individual App As. 15%
A- = 3.7 C- = 1.7 Team Research 15%
B+ = 3.3 D+ = 1.3 Discussion 15%
B = 3.0 D = 1.0 Portfolio 35%
B- = 2.7 D- = .7 Participation 20%
C+ = 2.3 E = .3    
  No assignment = 0 TOTAL 100%

There is a significant point difference between failing an assignment and not turning one in.

Since final grades are reported as whole numbers as well (i.e., there are no plus or minus final grades), the following scale will be used to determine the final grade. A student will receive a final grade no lower than the grade determined by the following formula:

A = 3.5 - 4.0
B = 2.5 - 3.49
C = 1.5 - 2.49
D = .5 - 1.49
E = .49 & below


Knowingly presenting the language or ideas of another person as one's own is plagiarism. It is stealing. Plagiarism is cheating yourself and someone else. The consequences are severe, including failure for the assignment, probable failure for the course, disciplinary referral to the Dean, and possible expulsion from the University. Whenever you borrow a phrase, sentence, paragraph, or even an idea stated in your own words, from any outside source without giving credit to that source, you have plagiarized.

That said, the issue of plagiarism versus borrowing when it comes to digital work will be a recurring topic of discussion in our class.


Incompletes are not an option in this course.


Currently, communication over the Internet takes place primarily in text form. Therefore, effective communication over the Internet requires good writing. Part of becoming a good writer is learning to appreciate the ideas and criticisms of others and in this course; our purpose is to come together as a community of writers. Remember that you will often share your discoveries with others. Avoid writing about things that you may not be prepared to subject to public scrutiny or that you feel so strongly about that you are unwilling to listen to perspectives other than your own. This does not mean that you are not entitled to an opinion but that you adopt positions responsibly, contemplating the effects on others, that you take responsibility for your words and for engagement with the words of others.


A floppy disk, access to an Internet-enabled computer, and a college-level dictionary.

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