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Oakland University
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Writing and Rhetoric
Winter 2009

WRT 525 Syllabus

Instructor:             Lori Ostergaard
Office Phone:      370-2075
Office:                    O'Dowd 382
Office Hours:       Tuesday 12-2:00 (and by appointment)
Course Hours:      Online with 2 face-to-face technology workshops
Course Web Page:
Students with disabilities who may require reasonable accommodations should make an appointment with OU’s Disability Support Services office for assistance, by calling (248) 370-3266 or TTY: (248) 370-3268; faxing (248) 370-4989; or e-mailing

Catalog Description

WRT 525: Teaching Writing with New Media (4) Online
Explores the practices and effects of new media (digital audio, graphics, video, slide shows, wikis, and social networks) within the writing classroom and other literate contexts. Examines both the issues surrounding and the theories that are relevant to teaching writing with new media technologies. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Course Objectives

Students in this class will

Class Materials


In this class you will be asked to

Course Project Descriptions
As writing teachers, we all need to make the most of our time. While I know you’re committed to doing the work required for this class, I also want you to be able to use the work you complete this semester to serve your professional lives in other ways. So with each project, you should be thinking about how that work might translate into a conference paper, publication, professional development event, course assignment, grant application, or educational resource for others.

With some of the projects (like designing your course website or creating a multi-media assignment for WRT 160 or providing audio feedback to papers) you will easily see how our work together will serve you in other ways outside of our classroom. With other projects, I will recommend different publication and presentation venues for you to work towards. Ideally, you should leave this class with the theories and resources necessary for teaching with/in new media, with at least one assignment you can apply to your courses next semester, with a professional website and online teaching portfolio, and with at least one research project for presentation or publication.

Research Collective Project 20%:
Our first assignment will be an ongoing project. You will work with a small group to research the problems, possibilities, legal/ethical issues, theories, etc of teaching in online environments and composing with/through new media technologies. We will discover together which issues are relevant to the work we do as writing teachers and research only those issues. Once we have determined the topics for our class research, you will work in groups with each group researching one relevant issue. Your group will then become the class experts on that issue. Your group will work together throughout the semester to write a collaborative article, wiki, video or podcast, professional development event, workshop, or conference panel about your issue and present your work (in progress) to the class (and others) at the end of the semester.

Instructional Web Presence 10%:
We’ll begin this project by looking over your teaching philosophies so that you can begin to apply your theories about teaching and learning to the design of your professional/instructional website. Once you have a workable design, we will meet in the 400 lab (I’ll arrange for at least two workshop times in the same week to accommodate everyone’s schedules) where I’ll introduce you to the software you’ll use to put your design online. You will bring with you any course syllabi, schedules, and any other course materials you have in electronic form, and by the end of this one short workshop, those course materials will be available online for your students through your own website.

Multi-Media Assignment for WRT 160 or another research-writing class 20%:
While some of you may completely transform all of your course projects based on what you learn in this class, most of you will probably work to incorporate only some of this new media work into your existing classes. Either way, you should, as always, begin with a set of goals and objectives for your assignments. Don’t get carried away by all the whistles and bells: technology is not an end in itself, and you will still want your students to learn the basic rhetorical and inquiry processes that you’ve always valued. That being said, I want you to design one assignment sequence that incorporates new media and/or new technologies in some meaningful and productive ways. You will design the assignment (goals, procedures, assessment strategies) and write/deliver a short podcast where you discuss what you hope WRT 160 students will get out of your assignment, what problems you anticipate, etc.  At about mid-semester each of you will be asked to post your assignment and podcast online. We will listen to two people’s assignments/podcasts and read their lesson plans every week until the end of the semester (I will let you know when it is your week to post your work). The class will then respond to your work (using a variety of digital response mediums), offer suggestions, provide ideas for how you can improve the project or connect it to other work your students might be doing, etc.

Weekly Reading and Discussion/Activity Assignment 10%:
During the weeks when our class is engaged in peer reviews of lesson plans or final projects, one of you will be responsible for choosing a single course reading related to an issue or challenge related to teaching writing with new media. You may choose a website, video lecture, movie, journal article, or book chapter for the whole class to read or watch, and then you will lead our online discussion or activity related to the text you chose.

Online Class Participation and Technology Workshop 40%:
Obviously I expect you to participate in our online discussions & projects. Attendance at the technology workshops is also mandatory, so I’ll offer these workshops on several different occasions to accommodate everyone’s schedules. During the first workshop, you’ll develop your professional webpage and get your course materials online. During the second workshop, I’ll introduce you to using things like Photoshop, Audacity, MovieMaker, SecondLife, 30-second videos, nings, blogs, wikis, etc.

Course Policies

Accomodations: Students with disabilities who may require reasonable accommodations should make an appointment with OU’s Disability Support Services office for assistance, by calling (248) 370-3266 or TTY: (248) 370-3268; faxing (248) 370-4989; or e-mailing

Academic Conduct Policy: Cheating on examinations, plagiarism, falsifying reports/records, and unauthorized collaboration are considered serious breaches of academic conduct. The Oakland University policy on academic conduct will be strictly followed with no exceptions. See the university catalog under Academic Policies and Procedures for more information.

Attendance Policy: All OU classes will adhere to the OU Excused Absence Policy found at: Otherwise, students in WRT courses are allowed a number of absences equivalent to one week during the semester, which would be one week of missed online work, including absences due to absent-mindedness, illness, or schedule conflicts. For each absence beyond the one allowed, your grade will be deducted by 0.3 points on the 4.0 scale. Please be aware that students missing more than three combined weeks of class (the equivalent of 3 online classes) are not eligible to receive a grade above 0.0 in WRT 525. Please be aware too that failure to complete online assignments by the deadline for that assignment will result in your being counted absent for that online class. There are no make-up assignments for missed online work.

Social Practices: I hope for lively, interesting, and informed discussion throughout the semester. I expect that you will respect your classmates and me by being prepared for our online discussions, and, if not entirely excited to participate all the time, at least willing to fake it for our sakes. I expect you to be respectful to your peers, to me, and to anyone else you encounter in the course of completing research for this class.

Late Work: Work submitted late will be graded one full grade lower for each week iit is late. I reserve the right to fail any work submitted more than a week after the deadline. I also reserve the right not to respond to or return late work until after I have caught up on my other work. Late projects cannot be revised for a better grade.

The Evil Computer Ate My Homework Excuses: are rarely acceptable these days (their only real chance of working is in the event of a whole system--like the entire OU network--failure and even then you're skating on very thin ice). We're all expected to deal with technology and deal with it responsibly everyday of our adult lives, so err on the side of obsessive when it comes to saving the documents you're working on. And to be safe, write your longer Moodle responses in Word or Notepad and copy/paste them into the Moodle forum after you have saved them. This will prevent you from experiencing the heartbreak of writing a response only to find that Moodle didn't save that response for you.

Adds/Drops: The University add/drop policy will be explicitly followed. It is your responsibility to be aware of the university deadline dates for dropping this course.

Finally, I’m really looking forward to getting to know all of you and working with you this semester. I hope our work together will be both productive and fun.