HUM 100  How the Web Works
JanTerm 2016 Syllabus

Monday-Friday, 9:00 am — 11:50 am
Abell Instructional Laboratory (Room 208)

Dr. Morris Pelzel
Abell 102
Office hours: by appointment

Course description and objectives

This studio lab will provide students the opportunity to build and manage their own space on the World Wide Web. In doing so, students will learn about issues such as digital identity and literacy, the historical, technical, and cultural infrastructure of the Web, and open connected learning. Students will learn how to blog and tweet for academic and professional purposes and will begin to create a portfolio of digital content in an open networked environment. Students will also learn build a digital toolkit for knowledge creation, representation, and curation through using applications to create timelines, social bookmarks, annotations of texts and videos, podcasts, and other graphical and visual items. The class will reflect upon how the internet, social media, and other digital technologies are transforming how we think, the way we learn, and our sense of personal identity and community.

Course policies and procedures

  • Format and attendance: Although much of the work of this class will take place online, the class will meet each weekday for face-to-face time in a studio laboratory. In general the f2f time will be split between solo work time and presentation/discussion. Think of our in-class space as a “co-working” environment. You are expected to be at class each day and to arrive promptly. Absences may be excused for a sufficiently intelligent reason if I am notified at the earliest possible time. Failure to do so could negatively impact your final grade for the course.
  • Schedule:  The proposed schedule for the course can be found here, and is subject to change as the course progresses.
  • Participation: Students should come to class prepared to work on their projects and assignments and actively attend to and engage presentations. You should be ready to ask and answer questions, express your ideas, and work independently and with others. This requires keeping up with the schedule of activities for each module of the course in a timely way–reading, viewing, and navigating the resources in the “explore” section, and completing the tasks in the “build” and “connect” sections within the time frames specified. Late work will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis; consistently late work could negatively impact your final grade for the course.
  • Observable Work“:  Unless otherwise specified, all your work will be posted on your website and blog in a publicly observable forum. This expresses the values of “observable work” and “thinking out loud.” There are many benefits to such a practice, as will be described and modeled in the course. If you are uncomfortable with conducting your work and posting your assignments on the “open web,” then you may wish to reconsider if this is the right course for you.
  • Online platforms and accounts:  You will establish an account with Reclaim Hosting in order to obtain a web domain and web hosting. The cost is $25.00 for one year. In addition, we will use Twitter extensively as a channel of communication, connection, and the circulation of ideas. You may use an existing Twitter account or create a new one. Twitter accounts may be anonymous, although I and other students in the class will need to know which account you are using to participate in the course. All course-related tweets should include the hashtag #HowtheWebWorks. You will also be establishing free accounts with other web-based services and applications, such as (web annotation), Diigo (social bookmarking), Wikipedia, and Story Maps Journal.
  • Digital devices in the classroom:  Because of the nature of the course, you will be working on your computer during most of the class time. You are welcome to bring your laptop, smartphone, and other devices to class as well. I do, however, expect you to remain focused on the tasks at hand and not to distract others. Cell phones should remain on vibrate during class. If I believe that your use of devices has become detrimental to yourself and/or others, I may ask you to put to put the device away.
  • Academic integrity:  You are responsible for reading and understanding the Austin College guidelines on plagiarism as specified in “The Environment.” If you have any questions on this matter, please consult with me.
  • Disabilities:  This course intends to be in compliance with all federal regulations and institutional practices regarding disability services. Should you need assistance with an academic disability, you should contact the Academic Skills Center.

Evaluation and assessment  

This course has been listed in Webhopper as having an A-F grading system with option for S/D/U. However, the course will in fact be conducted on an S/D/U basis; while feedback will be given on individual assignments, grades as such will not be calculated. The general rule is that assignments that are completed in a timely manner are judged satisfactory unless my feedback indicates otherwise. If you have completed all assignments on time in a satisfactory manner, you can expect to receive an A for the course. If there are assignments that are uncompleted and/or late without prior communication with me, your final grade may be lowered accordingly. One or two late/uncompleted assignments may lead to a B. Three or four late/uncompleted assignments may lead to a C. More than four late/uncompleted assignments may lead to a D or F.