Hypertext and Electronic Literature

This course looks back even as it looks forward, considering conventional media like printed texts and film, in addition to examining more revolutionary digital media.

Assignments

Media Interface Analysis. For this assignment, you will create a visual essay that engages in an analytic or argumentative way with one of the media interfaces we're discussing this term. You can address the content of a specific text but should especially consider how that content is influenced by its container.
1. You can choose to analyze any of the media interfaces we're studying: printed book, pop-up book, web-based text, Kindle, Kinect, iPad, etc. You can also compare two media interfaces, such as theatrical film and the iPhone as a film-viewer.
2. While you can use images or figures in your analysis, the primary medium for this work should be text.
3. You are encouraged to rethink text as a medium, considering innovative ways that typography can be used to convey your argument and to illustrate the effects of the interface you examine.
4. Maintain strict attention to detail in both the form and content of your own work.
5. Focus on using images, layout, and graphic design to convey your central points. While you don’t need a thesis statement, you do need a thesis, an argument that you explore in a focused way throughout your analysis.
6. Think in terms of volume not number of words, both literally and figuratively. In other words, it matters less how many words you produce and matters more how much you communicate with them. For comparison's sake, though, think of this as the equivalent of a 5-7 page paper.
7. Post this assignment on your blog and include a description of the work and what it accomplishes (an artist's statement).
Mid-term Self-evaluation. Write a short letter to me (the equivalent of about 1 page), an informal letter that responds to, discusses or questions your experience so far in the class. This is also a chance for you to write specifically about your work on the media interface analysis, how you feel about your process, what you think of the final results, what is working, what still needs work, etc. You are welcome, though, to speak your mind about anything going on in class. You have creative license in the letter, as well, and may respond in any style, voice, or genre that you find best suited to the task. The letter is your chance to make the course content personal. I will frame comments to you as a response to this letter, so if there are particular things you’d like me to address about your work thus far, your writing, your blog, etc., this is the place to let me know.

Finally, what letter grade would you give yourself for the first half of this course and why? Consider attendance, preparedness for class, the strength of your work and other assignments, and your participation in the large group, small groups, and on the blogs. (Ideally, I would give everyone the grade they give themselves, but I reserve the right to raise or lower grades as appropriate.)

You should send the letter to me by e-mail (jstommel@marylhurst.edu) anytime after you've published your midterm project to your blog. Include a link to your midterm project in the letter.
Final Project. For this assignment, you’ll compose for a digital or interactive medium.

1. The parameters are fairly wide open, so feel free to creatively interpret any of the following rules.
2. You can choose to work with any of the digital or interactive media we’ve discussed throughout the term, including but not limited to artist’s book, pop-up, comic, video game, web-based media, installation, film, hypertext, etc. The idea is for you to do a bit of creative work yourself, investigating one or more of the subjects of the course, using whatever style/form/medium you find best suited to the task.
3. As with the other assignments, you should have a clear argument. Even if your work is primarily creative in nature, you should still think carefully about what you are trying to convey.
4. Include a 500 - 750 word artist’s statement along with (or as part of) your work.
5. You are encouraged to collaborate on this project in a group of 2-3.
6. Archive this project on your blog in whatever way feels appropriate to you.
Final Self-evaluation: Write a letter to me (jstommel@marylhurst.edu) with answers to each of the following questions. No need to use an attachment. Just write or cut and paste your answers directly into the e-mail. Again, you have creative license in the letter, and may respond in any style, voice, or genre that you find best suited to the task. Please include a link to your final project somewhere in your letter.

1. Write a short evaluation of your work in this class (, addressing the following sorts of questions: How many absences did you have? How many blog entries/comments did you produce? Were you prepared for each class? Did you do all of the required assignments? How would you characterize your overall effort, interest, commitment to the midterm and final projects? Did your engagement increase or decrease as the semester went along? How did you meet the goals for the course?

2. What letter grade would you give yourself for the term and why? Consider attendance, preparedness for class, the strength of your written work and other assignments, and your participation in group discussions and on the blog. (Ideally, I would give everyone the grade they give themselves, but I reserve the right to raise or lower grades as appropriate.)