I just finished my syllabi for two sections of College Writing II at Kent State in Fall 2010 with the theme: Humans, Technology, and Cyborgs, and I have attached them here (section 002) and here (section 007). The classes are identical, but the meeting places and times have been changed in each syllabus.
This semester, I have designed the course around the image of the cyborg in fiction and our everyday lives. We will read C. L. Moore’s “No Woman Born” and James Tiptree, Jr.’s “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” to get things started. Then, we will segue into William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Grant Morrison’s We3, and Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, “The Best of Both Worlds” part 1 and 2. This will be a lightly theoretical class for sophomores, but it will have a heavy independent research component for the second half of the semester. I still have to finalize the three major essay assignments, but I have penciled in the topics on the tentative schedule on the syllabus.
One important change about these classes as compared to my previous classes at Kent State is that I have decided against using classroom computers for all assignments. I found in my last two semesters that students weren’t revising as much, and they weren’t generally writing their assignments to meet the minimum word count (a tedious task at times with Blackboard). Writing in long hand in class and revising that on a computer later will encourage revision practices, and having a printout of a student’s work will quickly let me see if word counts are reached. Using paper will also eliminate problems with students’ digital files (corruption, fonts, version incompatibilities, etc.). Perhaps Michael Scott on NBC’s The Office is right and paper is still very important.
I am excited to get things started in a few weeks, and I am glad that I have the latitude at Kent State to devise a class theme on my own. I enjoy working with these texts, and I believe that I will demonstrate that in the classes. Also, it will be useful to think of these texts in relation to my dissertation, which I will be working on concurrently with these classes.