Syllabus in PDF

Course Description

As humans, we are technological by nature. Whether we need to adapt our environment, communicate with one another, or read a course description for a required English class, we rely on tools that we or others have designed. And while we love our phones and laptops, with time technologies tend to fade invisibly into the background. Such is the case with language, perhaps the first human technology.

But in this class, we’ll try to undo this history, as we read poetry and fiction that place a special emphasis on technology. As we read, we’ll consider how technology interacts with our bodies, how it affects the stories we tell about ourselves, and how society’s relationship with technology shifts over time. We might even try “reading” some things that don’t use the technology of the book.

While our subject will be technology, the course as a whole is designed to introduce you to literary analysis and effective, written argumentation. Through continual writing and revising, you will learn how to write college-level papers about literature.


  • To introduce you to principles of argumentation in exploratory and academic writing
  • To teach you the basic principles and techniques of literary analysis and close reading
  • To consider how technology is represented in literature at different times and different circumstances


Neuromancer They say resized
Frankenstein Bellocq's Ophelia Frankenstein app

You are welcome to purchase these books from the Emory Barnes & Noble Bookstore, but you may very well find cheaper prices online at stores such as Amazon. You can get free shipping from Amazon if you join their Amazon Student program. Whatever you do, be sure that you have your copy of the text by the assigned dates.

Finally, there are a number of texts that are only available from Reserves Direct or online. You must bring a copy of these texts to class with you on the day that we will discuss them, whether that is a hard copy or on a portable device.


Participation: This is a class based on collaborative discourse. Students should come prepared to discuss assigned readings. As such, you must be in regular attendance (see below). More importantly, you need to come to class prepared to engage vigorously with the day’s material and with your peers and me.

Blog: Throughout the semester, we will engage with the ideas of the course through public blogging. Blogs only work when sustained by an energetic (and perhaps even chaotic) community. You will both post your own written responses to our class and comment on the posts of your colleagues. The blog will be a place for you to practice writing about literature as well as the moves in They Say, I Say.

Essays: You will write 4 essays during the semester. Each will go through multiple stages of draft and revision.

Group project: For the final exam you will work in groups to complete a design/prototype project. Your group will make a presentation to the whole class about your design and each of you will write a reflection on the assignment.


Your work in this class will be evaluated in terms of diligence and improvement over the course of the semester. I do not expect you to have mastered the skills we are learning within the first month. Therefore, essays will count more toward your final grade as the semester progresses. When grading your papers, I use only letter grades, without pluses or minuses.

Grades will be weighted calculated with the following percentages:

  • Participation: 15%
  • Blogging: 17.5%
  • Essay 1: 10%
  • Essay 2: 12.5%
  • Essay 3: 15%
  • Essay 4: 20%
  • Group project: 10%

Grades will be calculated as follows:

899-875 B+     874-825 B       824-800 B-      etc.

Course Policies

Attendance: You can miss three class sessions without penalty. After three, I reserve the right to lower your final grade; after six absences you risk failing the course. Note that this policy does not distinguish “excused” from “unexcused” absences—such a distinction puts me in a role I don’t want to play. If you must miss a class, you are responsible for obtaining the relevant notes and information from your classmates.

Be on time to class. Being late three times is akin to an absence. Finally, if you do not have a copy of the text we are discussing, you cannot participate effectively in our discussion, and I will mark you absent.

Preparation and Participation: This is a class based on collaborative discourse. As such, being prepared to participate in discussions is a course requirement. This entails having read, annotated, and thought about the complete assignment carefully before class starts. Furthermore, you must bring your copy of the text to class every day. Since we will be engaged in closely examining the texts we read and the language that they use, if you don’t have your text then you aren’t prepared for class, even if you have read the assignment. Naturally, this admonition applies to the texts that you will find online.

More broadly speaking: Ask questions. Be curious. You are more than welcome to have a different interpretation of a text than a classmate or me; just be sure to share your perspective in a productive and supportive manner. The substance of our class meetings will primarily consist of your responses to the course texts (such as general questions, impressionistic responses, or interpretations of particular passages) and, secondarily, my engagement with your responses. Your thoughts and questions will provide the starting point for our discussions. Your active participation will be consequently factored into your final grade for the course. If you’re reluctant to speak up, please talk to me and we’ll figure out a way for you to participate.

Office Hours: As noted above, my office hours are from 3:00-5:00 pm on Monday and Wednesday. I consider this your time, and I encourage you to make use of it. Please don’t think of meeting with me as something to do only as a last resort but rather as an important and integral part of your learning. Additionally, feel free to chat with me online during my digital office hours. I’ve been known to be there at times around the clock. If it says I’m available, I am. 


  • Assignments are due at the beginning of class.
  • Papers will be turned in electronically. You should send each paper to me as a PDF attached to an email. You should name your file in the following format: Last name-Assignment name. For example, “croxall-paper1.pdf”. Papers are counted as turned in based on when my inbox says they arrived.
  • Late work will not be accepted, except at my discretion (with a significant grading penalty). Assignment deadlines are not flexible.
  • Papers must be typed in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, with 1 inch margins and must be in standard MLA style format. Furthermore, the pages should be numbered in the upper right corner and must be stapled together. I know, I know: I’m picky. As Kurt Vonnegut has it in Slaughterhouse-Five, “So it goes.”

Late Instructor: In the unlikely event that I am late to class, you may feel free to leave 10 minutes after the scheduled start of the class. Don’t count on this happening, though.

Technology: This course relies heavily on access to computers, specific software, and the Internet. At some point during the semester you WILL have a problem with technology: your laptop will crash, a file will become corrupted, a server will go down, or something else will occur. These are facts of life, not emergencies. Sadly, technological excuses (“my printer died,” etc.) cannot be accepted under any circumstances. Always make back-ups for your work, and plan ahead so that you will have time to use the on-campus computers and printers if necessary.

Laptops and smart phones may be used in class, but only for classroom activities such as note taking. Text messaging unrelated to class is not acceptable. The use of MP3 players and portable game systems during class is also unacceptable (but you knew that, didn’t you?). 

Fine Print

Academic Integrity: For over half a century, academic integrity has been maintained on the Emory Campus through the student initiated and regulated Honor Code. Every student who applies to and is accepted by Emory College, as a condition of acceptance, agrees to abide by the provisions of the Honor Code so long as he or she remains a student at Emory College. By his or her continued attendance at Emory College, a student reaffirms his or her pledge to adhere to the provisions of the Honor Code. Plagiarism is a serious offense and will be treated as such by both the University and myself. While we will be using other people’s work in our research papers, there is a fundamental difference between drawing on those sources and documenting them appropriately and representing them as your own. The Honor Code is also detailed at

Students with Disabilities: Any student who, because of a disability or any other circumstance, may require special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should let the professor know and should register with the Office of Disability Services:

Counseling Services: Free and confidential counseling services are available from the Emory Counseling Center (404-727-7450):

Writing Center: The Writing Center is an excellent resource for writers of all skill levels. It offers assistance with all aspects of writing, including brainstorming, organization, thesis formation, style, wording, and revision. I strongly encourage each of you to schedule a meeting at the Writing Center at least once this semester. It is a good idea to secure appointments as far in advance as possible, especially towards the end of the semester, when the Writing Center is busiest. The Writing Center is located in the Callaway N212, and its website is