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Spring 2003, Tues. and Thurs. mornings, 8:00 -9:15 in Campus Center 42. Course home page: http://www.d.umn.edu/~cstroupe/5250/

Dr. Craig Stroupe, 726-6249, Humanities 424
cstroupe@d.umn.edu; Office hours Tues and Thurs mornings, 9:30 - 10:30 or by appointment

Purpose | Expectations | Resources Needed | Grades


Moving from California to Minnesota two summers ago, I shot the photograph above as we approached the Continental Divide, the point in the Rockies east of which water flows to the Atlantic rather than the Pacific.

In this course, we will map the Great Divide between genres of communication traditionally taught in composition or English departments and the forms of electronic communication operating in digital environments where various "multimedia" are converging into a single, integrated meta-medium of practices, known as "New Media Writing."

We will explore and understand this divide both by doing and theorizing. In five of our assignments, you will take a traditional print document and "remediate" it using the techniques and discourses of the New Media in the form of Web pages. In the final assignment, you'll move the other direction across the digital/print divide by creating a single-author, analytical essay from an interactive online discussion, which will give you an opportunity to distill and formalize your critical vision of the semester's experiments.

This course is designed to give you skills, practice and understanding toward realizing the following goals:

  1. remediating print discourses creatively and appropriately into New Media environments;
  2. discussing your work in critically informed ways;
  3. writing critically and knowledgeably about issues and questions raised by the digital culture and the New Media, particularly the relationship of the online world to the social, civic, professional and political world of material existence;
  4. conceiving and carrying out writing/design projects that engage potential audiences on a variety of levels;
  5. participating in and contributing to a community of writer/designers; which are especially necessary in the creation of texts for institutions, businesses, and civic organizations;
  6. using a variety of software to create New Media texts for electronic delivery, especially via the Internet.

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The Projects

The six assignments are sequenced to progress from smaller projects using relatively simple HTML techniques to larger projects that take advantage of the New Media's visual and interactive capabilities. On the Assignments Page, these projects are designed by numbers (1-6). I will also ask you to print out the HTML pages (black-and-white is fine) and hand these hard copies in on the due date (or the first class meeting after a non-class-day due date). The sixth assignment will be an analytical paper. I am assuming no background in HTML- or image-editing software.

There is a three-point penalty per day for late projects, including the hard copies.

Other Writing and Design Work

In addition to the design and creation of the projects themselves, you will be assigned

  • exercises to learn and practice technical skills in Dreamweaver and Photoshop (done in class, though you have 24 hours after the class meeting if necessary to post the completed exercise for credit)
  • analytical or speculative writings on the readings in our textbook,
  • plans and preliminary writings or designs for your projects,
  • peer critiques
  • other writings.

Many of these writings will be kept in a journal, as numbered "journal entries," which you will turn in at the end of the semester and perhaps periodically during the semester. The exercises will be designated by letters (A-Z) on the Assignments Page so we won't confuse them with the major projects (labeled numerically). On days when readings are assigned, you can expect brief quizzes or to write and turn in "pop" responses at the beginning or end of class. There are no make-ups on these responses if you are absent, late or leave early.


Since this class will function as a community of writer-designers, your regular attendance is absolutely necessary.

  • Absences in excess of three (over 10% of the class meetings) will deduct 2 percent each from your overall grade.
  • These three possible absences can be spent however you wish and so there are no "excused" or "unexcused" absences. Save your "free" absences for a rainy (or snowy) day.
  • If you are absent, you are responsible for all material covered in class.
  • In the case of absences or lateness, some requirements like quizzes and guided in-class activities cannot be made up when timeliness or group interaction is critical.
  • In addition to your budget of allowed absences, you also have three instances of arriving late or leaving early to use (with or without an excuse) if necessary. Instances in excess of three will decrease your overall grade by a percentage point each.

If on some occasion during the semester you need to leave class early, even if it's one of your three allowed instances, please arrange it with me in advance.


A larger goal of this course is to establish a community or network of writer-designers--with a wide variety of backgrounds, expertise, and interests--to enhance your learning and enjoyment during the next sixteen weeks. Work in such networks or teams is a hallmark of New Media culture. The class is designed to provide a number of avenues for this community building, including peer workshopping and critiquing, in-class production work, support groups, and various Internet-based communications and collaborations. Your sincere and regular contributions to maintaining this collaborative environment will count in your grade, and of course will greatly benefit your final products in the course. Because your work is the subject matter for this course, turning in all projects and writings on time is critical; work turned in late will be assessed a 3% penalty per day.

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Resources Needed

  • Tarin Towers, Dreamweaver 4 for Windows and Macintosh, Peachpit Press
  • Weinmann and Lourekas, Photoshop 7 for Windows and Macintosh, Peachpit Press
  • George Landow, Hypertext 2.0: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology, Johns Hopkins University Press
  • a UMD e-mail account
  • a Zip disk for saving and transporting your work
  • occasional access to a digital camera, or several high-density, IBM-formatted floppy disks for use in a digital camera to be checked out from UMD
  • access to a printer, or funds for printing
  • a flat binder to organize and keep in-class writings (journal)


  • Your work on the six projects (weighed variously according to the size and complexity of the project): 60% total
  • The quality and consistency of your exercises; insight and extent of your assigned, occasional writings (including the lettered assignments and journal entries); performance on quizzes and guided readings: 30%
  • Participation in class generally, including in-class activities and contributions, peer workshops, group work, promptness, attendance in class and individual scheduled conferences: 10%

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