English 230

This is an FAQ for undergraduate students in English 230, “Contemporary Media and Fiction” (Fall 2021), at the University of Victoria.

The syllabus for the course is now available online, and the course Brightspace will be ready by Wednesday, September 8th. English 230 will meet TWF, 10:30-11:20am.

What Will We Study?

We’ll examine what audio, images, and text do in 21st-century fiction: how we read fiction but also see, play, watch, and listen to it. We’ll consider numerous formats along the way: comics, podcasts, games, animation, short fiction, and more.

Here’s a list of what’s on the schedule:

If this ends up being too much for the term, then we’ll cut material, or some of it will be optional.

What Do We Need to Purchase?

The only book we’re asking you to purchase is Bechdel’s Fun Home (print or ebook), which is available at the UVic Bookstore. It’s $25 new and $19 used.

All other materials will be available either online (public) or via Brightspace (private to the class). To increase accessibility and ease of use, we will share detailed lecture notes with you as well.

You do not need to purchase any software for this course; however, you’ll need access to the internet and a computer. We will use Brightspace and Teams, both provided by UVic. We will also use Zoom for office hours and appointments outside of class.

What Will We Learn?

You’ll learn to:

What Are the Assignments?

We’re back to campus during COVID-19. These are complex and overwhelming times, so we’ll try to keep this course as simple as possible.

We’re asking you to complete only four assignments this term, each 25% of your final mark. You’ll have an opportunity to revise one of your first three assignments to improve your grade. (Your mark can only improve with revision.)

For each assignment, you will respond briefly to a prompt (available in Brightspace) through a combination of audio, images, and/or text. The prompt will ask you to examine assigned materials, with attention to detail, from a critical perspective. It will also provide you with options (choose your own adventure!) for how to respond.

Each response will be assessed based on a rubric provided in the prompt itself, and you will submit all four responses via Brightspace.

This all means there are no research papers, quizzes, presentations, or discussion forums in this course. There are no exams, either.

What’s the Workload Like?

The most important thing to know about this course is that we’ll opt for care in every instance. If the workload becomes too much, or we’re juggling more than we should, or we need to return to zoomrooms, then we’ll cut materials.

We suggest dedicating 3 to 5 hours of study each week to this course, plus 3 hours for weekly meetings (TWF). To frame expectations and decrease overwork, we assign in the schedule a number of recommended hours to each week of the course.

What Will We Do in Class?

We’ll meet three days a week (TWF). A typical week will include a lecture on Tuesday, a large group discussion about a work of fiction on Wednesday, and, on Friday, a workshop on foundations of media and literary studies, including writing with media. Detailed lecture notes will be provided in Word for Office 365 for the purposes of accessibility and group discussion.

Is The Syllabus Available?

It is, indeed! Check it out. We’ve included due dates for everything as well as brief descriptions of what you should expect each class session.

Will There Be a Course Brightspace?

There will be! Look for it on September 8th (when we’ll first meet).

How Many of Us Will There Be?

Probably 62: 60 students plus us two (Jentery and Madyson)

We’re Studying Games? What If I Cannot or Do Not Want to Play Them?

We’ve selected a few indie games to interpret and discuss. They are available across platforms, such as Itch, which is DRM-free. If you’d rather not purchase or play them, then you’re welcome to watch no-commentary gameplay videos of them.

You’ll access other formats (including podcasts, animations, and interactive fiction) online, and you can read Fun Home in print or on an e-reader.

We’ll study samples of the assigned works during class. Those sessions will involve combinations of reading, looking, watching, listening, talking, playing . . .

Who Are You?

My name is Jentery Sayers (he / him / his). I skip a syllable and say it in two: “JEN-tree.” I spend 12.67% of the day looking for my glasses, and I enjoy writing about prototypes and experimental fiction. I grew up in Richmond, Virginia and went to VCU for my BA and BS degrees. Then I moved to Seattle, where I received an MA and PhD in English from UW. I’ve been at UVic, on lək̓ʷəŋən and WSÁNEĆ territories, since 2011. I teach courses in English and Cultural, Social, and Political Thought (CSPT) and direct the Praxis Studio for Comparative Media Studies. You can email me at jentery@uvic.ca.

And my name is Madyson Huck (she / her / hers). I am a graduate student interested in Victorian periodicals, the digital humanities, and all things literary theory. I am a settler originally from Calgary, which is located on the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta. Through the course of this semester, I aim to leverage the skills from my BAs in English and Psychology, and my 5+ years of experience in the fields of mental health and leadership consulting, to support your learning. You are welcome to contact me via email with questions, or if you are eager for in-person conversation, please know I am happy to chat before / after our scheduled sessions, too.

I Have Questions.

Please email them to me (Jentery), and I’ll address them. I’m at jentery@uvic.ca. I realize we’re all juggling a lot (and are likely a bit nervous or anxious) right now. So don’t hesitate to drop a line with any concerns you have. I’m happy to help.

See you soon! We’re looking forward to working with you this term.