Week 15 and Finals Week: Wrapping Up the Research Project

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

I can hardly believe that we’re down to our final week of Rhetoric in Digital Environments. This semester has flown by for me, and it’s been an incredible pleasure to work with all of you during the past few months. Based on the first set of presentations we saw today, I can tell that your Research Projects have really come a long way since you wrote those initial MOUs. I’m looking forward to the rest of your presentations on Tuesday, and I can’t wait to read the finished papers and websites during Finals Week.

Here are a few reminders about what needs to happen between now and May 12:

  • On Tuesday, we’ll hear from everyone who didn’t present today. (Tentative order of presentations: Kayla, Rachel, Kevin, Britt, Jessie.) Knowing our tendency to chat after each presentation, you should plan on 9-11 minutes for your actual presentation. And I’ll do a better job of keeping time.
  • If you’d like to meet with me one last time before you submit your project, email me. If necessary, I’ll add extra office hours during Finals Week.
  • The final draft of your Research Project is due on Tuesday, May 12, at 10:05 a.m. (our university-designated final exam time). Before you submit your project, please review the assignment guidelines and your individual MOU to ensure that you’re submitting what you said you’d submit. (And if you’ve departed from that initial plan in a significant way, it might be wise to preface your paper with a short memo explaining why.) If your project is a traditional research paper, please submit it in Google Docs format. If you project uses a “nontraditional” format, please submit a Google Doc (or folder in Google Drive) that contains links to the artifacts so I can (a) find them easily, and (b) provide some private feedback on your work.
  • If you’re interested in meeting one last time to celebrate the completion of your projects, I’d love to cook breakfast for you during our final exam. I created a Google Doc in our shared class folder to find out who can make it; please take a minute to fill that out before class on Tuesday.

And that’s all there is! Good luck putting the finishing touches on your projects, and please let me know what I can do to help.

Week 14: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

Even if you didn’t stick to the “green team” and “red team” model in class today, I hope you received (and gave!) some valuable feedback during our final peer critique session of the semester. From this point on, your sole focus in this course should be finishing your Research Project. If there’s anything I can do to help you along the way, please don’t hesitate to ask. If needed, I’ll make time for extra office hours, and I’m always happy to review drafts-in-progress of your work. Just let me know if you need me.

Next week, we’ll spend Tuesday taking stock of what we’ve done this semester and considering ways that this course might be different in the future. We’ll also have some time to discuss expectations for your oral presentations, which will keep us busy during our final two class sessions (April 30 and May 5). Speaking of which, if you have a strong preference about which day you’d like to present, please email me ASAP. I’ll do my best to honor your request, but if everyone asks to present on May 5, we’ll draw names out of a hat.

As you work on your presentation, try to aim for 10–12 minutes, and think of this as an early version of a presentation you would give at a scholarly conference. I’m not expecting you to read a paper word-for-word, but your presentation should be well planned and slightly more formal than some of our earlier in-class presentations.

I know that a lot of work has gone into these research projects, and I can’t wait to see your presentations and read your papers. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably feeling stressed out and overextended right now, but don’t give up yet — you’re almost there!

Week 13: Individual Conferences and a Rough Draft Workshop

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

We’re rapidly approaching the home stretch of the semester, and I want to make sure you’re able to focus all of your energy for this class on your Research Project, so I’ve decided to eliminate our final day of reading discussion on Tuesday. Instead, I’ll hold individual conferences with those of you who would like to meet (I hope that’s everyone; sign up here). When we reconvene as a class on Thursday, you should be ready to share an early draft of your paper/project/website/etc. with your classmates. That’s a full week away, so if you pace yourself, you should be able to avoid a Wednesday-night crisis. (Or at least minimize it!)

Remember: if you’re still collecting data for your project, you should plan to complete that work no later than Friday, April 24th. It’s important to “lock in” your data set a couple of weeks before your paper is due so you can focus on analyzing the data and writing up your findings.

I’m looking forward to meeting with you early next week, but if you need anything before then, just let me know.

Week 12: The Future of Digital Humanities; Research Methods Workshop

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

Our conversations in class this week were excellent — thank you to Andrew and Kevin for their discussion prompts, and to all of you for engaging with the chapters we’ve read. Next week, we’ll conclude our discussion about “future trajectories” in the digital humanities, and we’ll spend a day experimenting with different tools for analyzing research data. Here’s a quick overview of our plans:

  • On Tuesday, we’ll review pp. 255–306 in Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities, and (if time allows) I’ll share a conference presentation I gave last year that deals with digital methods.
  • On Thursday, we’ll dedicate the entire class session to an “early findings workshop” for your Research Projects. Please come to class ready to explore whatever data you’ve collected thus far. (Translation: bring your laptop and make sure you have some artifacts, interviews, field notes, etc., to work with.)

By the end of Week 13 (April 24), you should be completely done collecting data for your research project; please plan accordingly. If you’re worried that this won’t be possible, come see me during office hours (T 2–5, W 9–12) or email me to arrange for another meeting time.

Week 11: More Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

Our course calendar originally called for a Research Project workshop during Week 11, but several of you are still waiting on IRB approval, so I’ve decided to postpone that workshop until Week 12. Instead, we’ll dedicate both days next week to reading discussions:

  • On Tuesday, we’ll review pages 152–98 of Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities, with Andrew serving as our discussion leader.
  • On Thursday, we’ll cover pages 199–254 of Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities, with Kevin serving as our discussion leader.

In addition to reading these sections, you should making steady progress on your individual Research Project. If you haven’t received clearance to begin collecting human subjects data, you can work on your literature review and make sure that you’re ready to hit the ground running as soon as your IRB application is approved.

If there’s anything I can do to help you with your project, please don’t hesitate to ask. As usual, I’ll hold office hours on Tuesday from 2–5 and Wednesday from 9–12.

Week 10: Wrapping Up the Book Review Presentations; Diving in to Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

I’ve been impressed with our first six Book Review presentations, and I’m looking forward to the last three. Once we put that assignment behind us, we’ll be able to focus more squarely on the Research Project for the remainder of the semester. As I’ve said a few times in class, this is a big project, so it’s important to pace yourselves. If you feel like you’ve fallen behind, now is the time to catch up. If I can do anything to help you, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Here’s a quick recap of our plans for next week:

  • On Tuesday, Becky, Kevin, and Kayla will deliver their presentations.
  • On Thursday, we’ll start in on our last book of the semester, Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities, with Britt serving as our discussion leader. Please read pages 111–51 and be ready to contribute to another vigorous conversation in class.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Let me know. Otherwise, good luck with your next steps on the Research Project and enjoy your weekend!

Week 9: Book Review Presentations

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

Our plans for next week are very simple, so this update will be short and sweet. Your Book Reviews are due on Tuesday, so please make sure that a copy of your review is located in your shared Google Drive folder (in Google Docs format) before you come to class. For the following three class periods, we’ll enjoy hearing your individual presentations. Here’s our schedule for Week 9:

  • On Tuesday, Jessie, Christina, and Rachel will deliver their presentations.
  • On Thursday, Prabin, Britt, and Andrew will deliver their presentations.

A final reminder about your presentations, taken from the assignment guidelines: “There is no strict format for these presentations, so be creative. Do more than just march us through your written review; help us engage with the text in some way. As part of your presentation, create a brief handout (no more than a single page, front and back) for your classmates that will help them understand the book you’ve read and help them determine its potential value for their own research.”

If you have any questions about our plans, or about your individual presentation, please let me know.

Week 8: Peer Critique Workshop; Moving Ahead on Research Projects

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

I loved our discussions on digital pedagogy this week, and I wish we had more time to dedicate to that topic. Given that several of you are conducting pedagogical research for the final project, perhaps we’ll be able to keep that conversation alive during the second half of the semester.

As we head into spring break (with plenty of snow on the ground, naturally), here are a few reminders about where we’ll pick up when we see each other again on March 17th:

  • On Tuesday, we’ll spend the first half of class in a peer critique workshop for the Book Review project. You should be done reading the book you’ve chosen, and you should come to class with a draft of your review. Before you write your review, I recommend rereading the assignment description and double-checking the publication guidelines of the journal you’re targeting. It’s OK if these drafts are rough, but you do need something to share with your peers. Before you come to class, upload your draft to our class’s shared Google Drive folder and label it with your name. We’ll devote the remainder of class to discussing any challenges you’re having with your research projects.
  • I’ll be at CCCC on Thursday, so we won’t hold a formal class session. However, you’re welcome to gather as a whole class or meet in small groups to discuss your research projects, if (and only if!) it would be helpful.

Because I’m traveling during Week 8, I won’t be able to hold regular office hours, but I will be available to meet on Monday, March 16, if you’d like to discuss any aspect of your research project (IRB forms, surveys, interview protocols, data collection methods, etc.). I can also make time to meet during spring break, if that’s more convenient for you. If you’d like to meet, or if you have any questions while I’m away, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Week 7: Digital Pedagogy; Research Project Proposals

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

I enjoyed hearing your ideas for the Research Project in class today, and I hope listening to one another’s ideas helped you think through your own project. During the coming week, you should continue to refine those ideas, drafting a memorandum of understanding for the project as you do so. I’ve created a rough template with some guiding questions that you can use to draft your memo (you’ll find it in our class’s shared Google Drive folder), and I’m happy to meet with you individually during office hours (T 2–5, W 9–12, or email me to set up another time) if you want to talk about your project.

Our class discussions during Week 7 will focus on digital pedagogy, and all of the assigned readings are saved as PDF files in our class folder in Google Drive. Here’s what we’ll cover each day:

  • On Tuesday, Kayla will lead our discussion on Stuart A. Selber’s Multiliteracies for a Digital Age, Annette Vee’s “Understanding Computer Programming as a Literacy,” and Charles Moran’s “Computers and Composition 1983–2002: What we have hoped for.”
  • On Thursday, Becky will lead our discussion on Cynthia L. Selfe and Richard J. Selfe, Jr.’s “The Politics of the Interface: Power and Its Exercise in Electronic Contact Zones,” Kathleen Blake Yancey’s “Made Not Only In Words: Composition in a New Key,” and William I. Wolff’s “Interactivity and the Invisible: What Counts as Writing in the Age of Web 2.0.” Thursday is also the deadline for your Research Project MOU, which should be saved in your shared Google Drive folder before you come to class.

Good luck with your memos. If you get stuck, reread Chapter 6 of Internet Inquiry and remind yourself that you’ve got what it takes to do quality research!

Week 6: Catching up on Internet Inquiry; Narrowing Topics for the Research Project

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

I’m not sure I said this loudly and clearly enough in class today, so I’ll say it again here: excellent work on your Hashtag Analysis presentations! Each of you made me consider some new aspect of hashtags as rhetorical devices, and I can’t wait to read your essays this weekend.

Now that our first major assignment is behind us, we can focus on what’s next: the Research Project, which will keep us busy through the end of the semester. (Except, of course, when you’re reading for the Book Review assignment, which reminds me to ask: Are you reading for the Book Review assignment? I hope so!) Sometime this weekend, please review the assignment details for the Research Project and begin thinking about potential research sites that will hold your interest for the next few months. We’ll talk about how to choose a research site and develop suitable research questions in class next week, but I’m happy to meet during office hours (T 2–5, W 9–12) if you’d like to discuss your project one-on-one.

During class, we’ll focus mainly on our second book, Internet Inquiry, in an attempt to get back on track after our snow day. Here are the details for each day:

  • On Tuesday, Rachel is assigned to lead our discussion on pp. 69–130 of Internet Inquiry, but since we didn’t get a chance during Week 5 to discuss the previous section of the book, please come to class ready to discuss everything up to p. 130. We’ll try to be quick but thorough in order to catch up.
  • On Thursday, we’ll continue our conversation about Internet Inquiry, with Prabin serving as our discussion leader. Please read pp. 131–97 before you come to class. In addition, please come to class ready to share your chosen site/topic for the Research Project. We’ll spend some time helping one another refine our ideas before we begin writing our memoranda of understanding.

As always, if you have any questions about these plans, just let me know. Oh, and try to stay warm this weekend!

Week 5: Hashtag Analysis Presentations; Starting Internet Inquiry

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

Your conversations during our peer critique session today made me more excited than ever to see your finished projects! You’re in the home stretch now, so be sure to review the assignment guidelines as you put the finishing touches on your essay. If you’re looking for inspiration, I recommend reading Andy Baio’s excellent “72 Hours of #Gamergate.” If you have any last-minute questions, drop me a line and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.

Next week, we’ll bring one assignment to a close and start thinking about a new one. Here’s a quick overview of each day:

  • On Tuesday, your Hashtag Analysis project is due before you come to class. Wherever your final project ends up residing, you should add a version of it to your shared Google Drive folder so I can provide some private feedback. (If your “real” project resides somewhere else, be sure to link to it from Google Drive.) During class, we’ll enjoy short presentations (shoot for as close to five minutes as possible) on each of your projects. There is no set format for these presentations, but you should be ready to connect your laptop to the projector and dive right in to your data and findings. Five minutes is a very short amount of time, so think carefully about what you want to share with us. UPDATE: Due to inclement weather, Tuesday’s class has been cancelled. We will postpone your short presentations until Thursday, then do our best to get back on track with our regular reading assignment.
  • On Thursday, I’ll introduce our final assignment of the semester (so early, I know!), the Internet Research Project, and we’ll start discussing our next book, Internet Inquiry. Please read pages vii–67 before you come to class and be thinking about what type of research project you might like to pursue for the remainder of the semester.

Good luck wrapping up your Hashtag Analysis projects — I can’t wait to read them next week!

Week 4: Wrapping Up Keywords of Markup; Peer Critique Workshop

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

I think Week 3 helped us make several big leaps forward on the Hashtag Analysis project, and I hope you feel like your individual projects are beginning to take shape. At this point, you should have a stable data set (stop collecting new tweets!) and be digging into your data using a variety of tools and methods. To reiterate what I said in class today, I have no preconceived expectations for what these projects should look like, so you should write up your findings in the way that best fits the hashtag you’re studying. Of course, if you have questions about your data set or the methods you’re using, please come see me during office hours (T 2–5, W 9–12) next week.

And speaking of next week, here’s what our class sessions will look like:

  • On Tuesday, we will conclude our conversation about Keywords of Markup (pp. 150–235), with Christina serving as our discussion leader. In addition, Tuesday is the deadline for selecting the book you want to review, so if you haven’t added your choice to our shared document (in the class Google Drive folder), please do so before you come to class.
  • On Thursday, we’ll spend the entire class session in a peer critique workshop. Please come to class with a solid draft (it can be rough, but it needs to be complete) of your Hashtag Analysis project and be ready to ask for your classmates’ help with specific problems or challenges you’re facing.

I’m really looking forward to seeing your early drafts next week, and I’m always happy to talk with you one-on-one about your work in this class if it would be helpful. Don’t hesitate to contact me!

Week 3: More Keywords of Markup; Hashtag Analysis Workshop

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

We’ve been racing through our class sessions this week, with far too much to cover and not enough time in which to cover it. Now that I’ve introduced our first two assignments and we know where we’re headed for the coming weeks, I’ll try to slow things down during Week 3. Here’s the plan for each day:

  • On Tuesday, we’ll continue our discussion of Keywords of Markup (pp. 67–149), with Jessie serving as our discussion leader. In addition to completing the reading assignment, you should finalize your chosen hashtag for the Hashtag Analysis project and email me to confirm your choice. At that point, you should set up your TAGS spreadsheet and begin experimenting with some of the “Tools for Working with Twitter” that I added to the Resources page.
  • On Thursday, we’ll spend the entire class session in workshop mode, testing various tools for analyzing the data you’ve collected, so be sure you have access to all of your files for this project (translation: bring your own laptop). In preparation for our workshop, please listen/watch/read Episode 145 of 99% Invisible: “Octothorpe“, and read “#InPraiseOfTheHashtag,” by Julia Turner, and “Rhetorical Functions of Hashtag Forms Across Social Media Applications,” by Alice Daer, et al.

If you have any questions about these plans or want to chat about your Hashtag Analysis project or Book Review, just let me know. And if you find additional resources that might help your classmates on these assignments, be sure to share them on Twitter!

Week 2: HTML Markup as a Framework for Studying Online Communication; Social Media Research Methods

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

Our first two class sessions have be so invigorating for me. I was on research leave last semester, and I’ve really missed being in the classroom — especially when I’m surrounded by smart grad students. (Spoiler alert: that’s you.) As we discovered today, it’s likely that we will always have more to discuss than time in which to discuss it, but I hope you’ll continue to bring the same level of energy and focus that you’ve shown so far. (And I’ll work on managing our time better!)

Here’s a quick overview of where we’re headed during Week 2 and what you need to do to prepare for each class session:

If you have any questions about our plans for next week, please send me an email or contact me on Twitter. Otherwise, I’ll see you in class on Tuesday!

Welcome to Rhetoric in Digital Environments!

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

Welcome to English 6344: Rhetoric in Digital Environments. This website will function as the online headquarters for our class this semester. Each week, I will post an update to the website with details about coming week, deadline reminders, links to helpful resources, etc… I will use Virginia Tech’s Scholar site to record your grades, but otherwise, everything related to this course will be posted here. You should bookmark this site on your laptop, your tablet, your phone, etc. — whatever you use to get online.

A bit about me: I’ve been at Virginia Tech almost three years, and I love it here. I’ve been anxiously waiting to teach this seminar since I arrived — my job description is “assistant professor of digital rhetoric” and all of my research and teaching intersects with technology in some way. I spend a lot of time thinking about the digital tools that shape my research and teaching, and I love comparing workflows with other academics — especially my students. When I’m not working, I like to cook, read, watch British TV shows with my wife, a brilliant freelance writer, and hang out with our two daughters.

The Week 2 post will be up soon, but here are a few tasks you need to complete ASAP:

  • Create a Twitter account, if you don’t have one already. In recent years, Twitter has become the primary hub for conversations in the field of digital rhetoric, and I hope you’ll start following and participating in those conversations, if you aren’t already doing so. We’ll also be studying popular hashtags on Twitter throughout the semester, so you’ll need to familiarize yourself with Twitter’s interface, search tools, and third-party clients. For now, though, you just need to create an account, add a photo, and customize your profile.
  • Get familiar with your Google Drive account, which is connected to your vt.edu email address.
  • Purchase copies of the textbooks listed on the Course Policies page. I don’t have a preference for hardback, paperback, or ebook, so feel free to buy these books in the format that best suits your reading/studying style.
  • Read two essays before you come to class on Thursday: “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” by Walter Benjamin, and “As We May Think,” by Vannevar Bush. (Be sure to take a look at this PDF scan of a condensed version of Bush’s article, which includes some important illustrations.)