Some information about courses I have developed

DGST 101:
Intro to Digital Studies

2013 Fall 2014 Fall Summer 2016 2017 Spring 2018 Spring 2019 Spring 2020 Summer 2017 Summer 2018 Summer 2019 Summer 2016 Spring 2021 Summer 2022 Summer

In this class, "digital studies" is a discipline that takes a broad approach to the ways digital technology has changed our lives. This includes exploring digital creativity, understanding digital culture, and practicing digital methodology. Completing this class will help you develop the ideas, ethos, and skills that will continue to grow in other courses, especially those in the Digital Studies Minor or the major in Communication and Digital Studies, and that you can apply in other areas of your life. While some of your assignments will involve working closely with computer software and code, no prior experience with programming is required or expected other than reliable internet access and a willingness to challenge yourself.

By successfully completing this course, students will

  • Develop skills in designing, building and sharing ideas that can be expressed through the uniquely multimodal, procedural, and networked capabilities of digital tools.
  • Explore processes of knowledge production by using digital technology in researching, analyzing, and executing critical inquiry.
  • Build knowledge in contemporary and historical digital cultures, including social, ethical and philosophical issues related to technological development.
  • Build, promote and sustain an active and engaged digital identity.


DGST 302:
Creative Coding

2020 Summer 2018 Fall 2019 Fall 2021 Fall
Previously Known As:
DGST 301A: Creative Coding

“Creative Coding” is a field of aesthetic experimentation where writers, designers, artists, composers and poets find interesting ways to enlist the assistance of computers in accomplishing their creative work. In this class, we'll learn about so-called "computer-generated" poetry, literature, graphic art, and anything else you're interested in. We will look at the history of these genres to help us understand the ways artists have experimented with code, but mainly this class will be about creating your own original work.

No prior experience with programming is required, and to some extent, this class may serve as a good general introduction to programming — bearing in mind that the things you learn how to make for this class will be mostly be impractical.

It is my hope that, by completing this course, successful students will:

  • Be able to speak about their creative work critically, both process and product.
  • Reflect on the value of the creative process.
  • Evaluate and select appropriate digital tools, programming languages, and composition methods to accomplish their creative goals.
  • Reflect on and evaluate creative digital work by others, including both peers in the class as well as in society.

Note that these outcomes are relatively abstract. They don't, in other words, dependent a minimum competency for programming. Process is more important than product.

Promotional Video | Flier

DGST 395:
Applied Digital Studies

2018 Fall 2019 Fall 2020 Fall 2021 Spring 2015 Fall 2017 Fall 2016 Fall 2021 Fall 2022 Spring

Whereas DGST 101 is a wide, shallow approach to digital culture, creativity and methodology, DGST 395 is a deeper dive into fewer areas and a project that students design, complete, and share.

In this class, students will learn ...

  • How to analyze, critique, and respond to contemporary digital culture.
  • How to work with computer programming in order to express ideas, explore questions, and investigate problems.
  • How to plan, manage, and evaluate a long-term digital project.
  • How to share your work and make it meaningful beyond the audience of this class and this University.

ENGL 386:
The Graphic Novel

2014 Fall 2018 Spring 2019 Fall 2020 Fall 2015 Fall 2016 Fall 2013 Spring 2010 Fall 2011 Fall 2009 Spring 2010 Spring
Previously Known As:
ENGL 375TT: The Graphic Novel

In this class, we’re going to study “graphic narrative,” which is here defined as the combination of images and text in order to convey a story. While we’ll mainly focus on graphic novels, some other forms and genres such as comics, comic strips, and webcomics will provide relevant primary material. Of particular interest in this version of class will be the influence of digital technology on the design, distribution, and consumption of comic texts, but thematic links among the primary texts will speak to issues of cultural memory, nostalgia, and identity. Primary readings will include the works listed below, and these will be supplemented by relevant literary theory and comics-specific criticism and theory.

This class serves as an introduction to the academic study of graphic narrative within a literary framework. Students will

  • learn about the unique expressive affordances and formal qualities of the comics medium
  • study the history and cultures of the comics medium and graphic novel genre
  • explore the theoretical and critical discourse around Comics Studies
  • develop skill in the critical analysis of visual texts and
  • practice creating graphic narratives in a digital context

Course Website and Blog | Webcomics Archive

ENGL 203:
Writing through Media

2010 Spring 2011 Spring 2011 Fall 2012 Summer 2012 Fall 2015 Fall
Previously Known As:
ENGL 202H: Writing through Media

This class is designed to make you a better writer by exploring what it means to write with and for digital platforms. Through the assignments in this class, you will experiment with different rhetorical modes and concepts, all focused toward the differences made by doing things online. Readings and activities in this class will support the experimentation of your assignments and will also introduce you to critical ideas and debates within and about digital media culture. The final project will be a portfolio of your digital writing hosted on your own website.

In this course, students will

  • Experience working with and manipulating images to construct visually-based argumentation
  • Experience basic web technologies including website construction
  • Engage with critical issues in digital media cultures and context
  • Experiencing creating multimodal and interactive writing
  • Students will be able to experiment with the creation of an idea, question, format or product by applying new, or different, or divergent approaches to it.
  • Students will be able to use the creative process to understand oneself and solve problems.

ENGL 252:
Literature and Adaptation

2014 Fall 2017 Spring 2012 Spring 2008 Fall 2009 Fall
Previously Known As:
ENGL 251Y: Adaptation ENGL 251A: Forms of Narrative

No cultural artifacts exist in isolation. Instead, media texts relate to one another in a vast and complex ecology of relations like parody, pastiche, homage, translation, port, sequel, reboot, remix, easter egg, adaptation. This class seeks to explore and understand media by tracking and describing those relationships, especially those between literary texts and their place in contemporary culture.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explore and explain different, divergent, or contradictory perspectives and incorporate the results into one’s understanding of creative work.
  • Evaluate creative processes and products using appropriate criteria.
  • Analyze and critique media affordances in the diverse, intertextual networks of a contemporary media ecology.

Grand Map of Intertextuality

ENGL 253:
Games and Culture

2021 Winter 2021 Fall 2013 Spring 2015 Spring 2018 Fall
Previously Known As:
ENGL 251AA: Games and Culture

From Solitaire to Skyrim, from flight simulators to Flappy Bird, videogames are one of the major modes of media consumption today. Games create common experiences among users that we can share and learn from, and they are touchstones in popular culture. As digital texts, videogames allow different kinds of expression and new rhetorics, and as cultural artifacts, videogames join a larger ecology of media which contain and construct cultural values like representation, diversity, social justice, identity, equality, freedom. As products of a culture with these and other values, videogames in turn, reflect those values and can become vehicles for motivating change. This class, “games and culture”, is an investigation of these cultures and conversations. The class also serves as an elective for the Communication and Digital Studies Major or the Minor in Digital Studies.

This course is designated as an Honors class and is designated Digitally Intensive under UMW's 2020 general education plan. Additionally, it serves to fulfill an elective requirement for the Minor in Digital Studies and the Major in Communication and Digital Studies. These curricular contexts all inform the goals and structure of this class, and explaining how the course will help you complete the learning objectives associated with those contexts is also an opportunity to demonstrate how a class about videogames really is a serious academic undertaking.

In this class, videogames are both processes and products, or since this is also an English class, one might say that our approach is going to treat videogames like literary texts, with these specific course objectives.

  • Explore the processes of cultural value within videogames -- including issues of gender, race, sexuality, class, labor and neurological diversity -- and the ways by which games contain, demonstrate or encourage action in relation to those concepts.
  • Understand a history of games as both products and producers of culture.

ENGL 350:
Electronic Literature

2017 Spring 2019 Spring 2012 Spring 2015 Spring 2010 Fall 2014 Spring 2009 Spring
Previously Known As:
ENGL 251J: Electronic Literature ENGL 376VV: Electronic Literature

For as long as computers have been capable of expressing symbolic communication, people have been using computers to expressive creative literary ideas. As platforms evolve, authors, programmers, and designers find new modes and new audiences for born digital literature. This class will be a survey of the history, genres and forms of Electronic Literature.

Successful students will

  • acquire or develop knowledge of historical and contemporary electronic literature
  • gain experience using digital tools for creative expression
  • apply literary critical methodology in analyzing non-traditional textuality


ENGL 359:
Transmedia Fiction

2016 Spring 2013 Fall 2008 Fall 2009 Fall 2010 Fall
Previously Known As:
ENGL 376MM: World Building ENGL 376MM: New Media: The Virtual and the False

This class is a survey of “transmedia fiction,” a general category for narrative that is conveyed simultaneously through distinct but complementary media, including film, videogames, comics, or music. Students will examine major and emerging texts in this genre and engage with creative practice by producing their own transmedia work. The term “transmedia” encompasses several specific genres — Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), Viral Marketing, Hoaxes, Transmedia Storytelling, etc. — which share a common emphasis on digital technology as a platform for disseminating large-scale interactive narrative works of significant complexity. High-profile examples of this include ARGs used to promote new movies or TV series’ (Lost, for example), but increasingly, media consumers take for granted that the storyworlds in one medium can escape traditional media boundaries and expand into other worlds — perhaps our own.

This class first approaches this phenomenon through a historical perspective by placing these works in a literary context. Next, the course theorizes these undertakings by incorporating relevant narratological theory. Finally, students experiment with the craft of transmedia fiction by designing and possibly executing their own collaborative transmedia experience.

By completing this course, successful students will

  • Understand the technological and cultural contexts of transmedia storytelling
  • Understand the theoretical and philosophical contexts of transmedia
  • Experience transmedia production, including writing and working with new media
  • Work to preserve transmedia history

ENGL 451A:
After Books

2018 Spring 2016 Spring 2014 Spring

What are books? Where do they come from, and what will they become in the future? What is the power in books that has been perceived as so threatening in various periods of history that books have been banned or burned? What are the medial affordances of the bound volume, and why is it so compellingly romanticized? What what temperature do books actually burn?

This class is a senior seminar that will investigate these and other questions about the book considered as a medium. By reading some fiction and quite a bit of scholarly analysis, we’ll explore the ways that books have worked and evolved as media and how they play a role in a cultural context.

By the end of this class, successful students will:

  • Read literary texts with the methods and skills of a literary scholar;
  • Write with the methods and skills of a 21st-century scholar;
  • Pursue intensive study of primary and secondary material in a focused and directed way;
  • Demonstrate competence in advanced-level research, and the ability to take an independent role in the presentation of that research;
  • Demonstrate independent critical thinking skills measured in a variety of ways, including written work and/or oral presentations, one of which will be a capstone paper, portfolio, or project reflecting substantial, prolonged work on the seminar topic;
  • Achieve some mastery in the scholarly debates that inform the topic and contribute to that debate in a meaningful way.

ENGL 451B:
Reading Literature with Computers

2020 Spring

This class is an exploration of emergent methodologies in literature studies that take advantage of computational methods to pursue analysis and critique of literature. These so-called "distant reading" techniques have found many useful applications, but need to be interrogated for their latent assumptions and priorities. This class is about "teaching the controversy" while testing and demonstrating various methodologies like topic modeling, stylometrics, and various other data-driven approaches.

By completing this class, students will gain experience in applying digital tools to the questions and problems of literary studies. Specifically, successful students will be able to

  • Choose appropriate computational methods that explore meaningful questions about literature;
  • Account for the validity of data-driven analytic approaches;
  • Recognize and contribute to the network of scholarship around digital literary studies, especially within the so-called digital humanities;
  • Understand how digital literary studies exists within and in response to the history of literary theory.

ENGL 457S:
Code, Culture, and the Postmodern

2010 Spring 2011 Fall

A senior senior seminar in the English major studying code and the figure code as a literary device, specifically in postmodern contexts.

  • Produce seminar quality research
  • Create seminar-quality oral presentations
  • Explore various cultures of code (where code is, further, defined in various
  • ways)
  • Analyze codes of culture and figures of code or esoteric knowledge specific to
  • aesthetically postmodern texts (literary and otherwise)
  • Trace the figure of code as a recurring thematic and structural element in contemporary literature.

FSEM 100E3:
A Videogame Canon

2009 Fall 2011 Fall 2012 Spring 2012 Fall

What are the most important videogames ever made? What role do these games play in our culture, and how should cultural institutions like the university preserve and protect these artifacts?

In this seminar, students will undertake a study of one such proposed list, compiled in 2007 by a group of experts: Spacewar!, Star Raiders, Zork, Tetris, SimCity, Super Mario Bros. 3, Civilization I/II, Doom, Warcraft and Sensible Soccer. We will then research, annotate and exhibit our own list of games.

FSEM 100M7:
Beyond the Selfie

2015 Fall 2017 Fall 2016 Fall

This class is an exploration of how digital technologies and networked culture are influencing our sense of self and community, from the crafting and presentation of personal identity, to the empowerment of individual voices to create and effect change, to the building of communal narratives and spaces in an increasingly global and networked society.

Looking through the lens of social media and tools such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, mobile devices and apps, students will explore how their own identity is shaped and changed by their digital activities. Identity “markers” such as race/ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic class will become topics for deeper discussion around our evolving understanding of online presentations of self. Students will both discuss these issues and participate in activities using the array of social media.

A requirement of this class will be to participate in UMW’s Domain of One’s Own project, which provides a domain name and Web hosting space to each student. Students will use the resources of the project to further investigate, build, and manage their own digital identity. In addition, in this space each student will reflect upon the work of the class through the sharing of their ideas and work.