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Mark Lussier & Bruce Matsunaga
SLNs 35256 & 15867
Tuesday (on-line) & Thursday 3:15 - 5:30 pm (class + lab)
Computer Commons 225

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Course Description:

The course cultivates engagement with the history of critical theory from Plato and Aristotle to the present, although the tightened focus will be on the concept of techne, the linguistic root of the terms “technique” and “technology.” This concern for method has continually conditioned analytic approaches, and the varied ways that technique and technology mutually illuminate each other will function as the broadest spectrum of concerns for the course. As well, the course will also introduce students to the current range of information technologies as they impinge upon critical and hermeneutic activities. Thus, the course cultivates a learning outcome long established in upper division major courses—the ability to critically analyze complex materials and render critical insights into compelling analytic prose—and further fosters tangible technical abilities in the use of information technologies for analytic ends, ultimately leading to enhanced critical production.

The format for this class is that of a “hybrid.” Hybrid classes spend one day on-line (Tuesdays) and another day in the classroom (Thursdays). On Tuesdays, on-line activities might include reading responses, on-line lectures, web-based research projects, and general discussion (through Web Board). On Thursdays, following in-class activities, we will remain in Computer Commons 225, since the one-hour lab required for the course will also take place in that space.

Course Requirements:


The Critical Tradition, Richter

Also available used at Bookfinder

Hyper/Text/Theory, Landow
The PostModern Condition, Lyotard Radiant Textuality, McGann
The Question Concerning Technology The Question Concerning Technology, Martin Heidegger  

Attendance and Participation:

This hybrid section allows you to become literate in technology as well as in writing. The course asks you to complete the same work as other classes, but has the added benefit of teaching you to communicate electronically with your teacher and classmates. This component is an integral part of your grade. Whether the class meets in the classroom or online you will be marked absent if you are not present. Technical difficulties will not be accepted as an excuse for absences on online course days.

Our online Tuesday class meets on WebBoard. You will need to become familiar with this software very quickly so that you do not miss early assignments during the semester. This component is an integral part of your grade. Each missed assignment will result in an absence. Your virtual attendance and participation will be valuable to you for many reasons. You will be involved in computer-mediated discussions of your reading assignments, thereby enhancing your understanding of these readings. In short, "attendance" and participation are the only ways to acquire the tools and knowledge that you will need to pass this course.

Ground Rules for Online Discussions: The classroom—whether physical or virtual—should be a place where we all feel comfortable expressing positions on issues, even if those positions or issues are controversial. However, these spaces are not completely "free speech" zones; they involve state-owned facilities, and participants may be subject to state and federal discrimination and harassment laws. Even more important, classes are temporary communities that function best when their members exhibit consideration toward one another. In order to create a comfortable learning environment--and in order to receive credit for online discussions and online peer response activities--we should all follow the common-sense ground rules below:

Course Work:

Preparation: You must come to each class prepared. Class discussions depend on your ability to keep up with the reading. You should plan to spend at least three hours outside of class for every hour in class.

Academic Honesty: To plagiarize is to present as your own any work that is not exclusively your own, and it violates the University policy on Academic Integrity: "Each student has an obligation to act with honesty and integrity, and to respect the rights of others in carrying out all academic assignments." It is the University's policy to severely penalize plagiarism of all, or a portion, of any assignment. See the Guide to Composition and the Student Academic Integrity policy for specific rules.

Grade Distribution:

20% Contributions to class discussion and Webboard conferences
20% Lab Projects
20% Midterm
20% Critical Paper
20% Final Web Project

Final grades are available after the end of the semester at the Registrar's online site.

General Procedures:

Conferences / Office Hours / E-mail Availability: Even though this is a hybrid course, you will still find my office hours invaluable to you. If you’re a local student, we can conference about your writing face to face, and if you’re not a local student, we can conference about your writing using the chat capabilities of WebBoard. My office hours provide you with the best opportunity to get individual feedback from me on your essays. If my office hours are not convenient for you, I will make a good faith effort to make myself available for a conference with you outside of my office hours. Probably more helpful than receiving written comments on drafts, talking about writing often helps you to understand ways in which essays might be organized and developed and also often helps you to understand the assignments better.

Finally, while the Internet is always on and you can be on the Internet at any time, I am not constantly on the Internet and therefore cannot immediately respond to all of your e-mail messages. In fact, while I may be online at the time that you e-mail me and thus may be able to give you an immediate response, don't expect that level of immediacy all the time. Rather, my goal is to provide you with a response within 24 hours of receiving your message during the work week (M-F). Like you, I often have plans for the weekend and may not even check my e-mail (gasp), so I will try to reply by 5pm Monday to all e-mails received after noon on Friday

Problem Solving:

I encourage you to see me during office hours, email me, or make an appointment if you wish to discuss issues connected with this class and/or your performance. Students frequently tell me that the most helpful feature of the class was coming to my office to discuss their writing projects. Please discuss concerns with me while we still have options. I tend to be generous with students who take the initiative to consult with me about concerns while they are still "situations" and "not yet crises," and less generous with those who permit things to slide until a crisis is unavoidable.

Remember: You are responsible for all University and Departmental policies, whether you have read them or not.

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