writing about technology and the arts

ENGL 111 | University of Washington

Class description

Texting: Digital Humanities is meant at once to introduce you to compositional practices at the university level, while also opening up the large and dynamic range of literary practices filed currently under the heading “digital humanities.” There is hardly a field of interest generating more than this, and as denizens of a pioneering tech-hub, and members of a university uniquely endowed to make practical contributions to a growing field, we would do well to make ourselves conversant with the expectations, forms, trends and writerly expectations of the genre.


Student Learning Goals

The main goals of this course are to become more adaptable as writers in unique situations, more critical as readers of an ever-widening array of texts, and more thoughtful participants in the varying communities we occupy: educational, civic, cybernetic, etc. We will also have occasion to practice with many (mainly digital) tools that are meant to enable more fruitful research in any field of interest.

Recommended Preparation

While this class does not presume that you are all advanced computer-users, it does require access to the internet, which thankfully, can be had at any of the fine computer labs on campus.  Most of the reading will be from websites, and most of the responses will be rendered electronically as well. The preparation for each session will change from week-to-week.  Stay tuned.


General Method of Instruction

Think of the mind as a sensor in the back of a digital camera.  Our method will be to expose that sensor to many forms of art, expression, and argument and then to evaluate our experiences and responses to said.  In this, we are writing a kind of metadata over the digital world as we encounter it, and learning to share our impressions, disagreements in clear and forceful ways.  Through reading, structuring, public blogging, tagging, mapping, researching, and talking, we will position ourselves as conversants in a field that is exploding: indeed, that is struggling with self-definition.

Class Assignments and Grading

Engagement is the first assignment, and reading the second.  Beyond that, expect weekly blogging, commenting on the work of your peers and of professionals, a few online quizzes, and as many in-class talks as we have time for.  Your written assignments will become position papers by term’s end, which will undergo significant revision in response to peer and instructor feedback, in accordance with the university’s “W” requirement.