ENGL105i: Writing in the Digital Humanities

Section 028 – Monday/Wednesday – 4:40PM- 5:55PM – #431 Greenlaw

Course Website:

“[The value of the Digital Humanities] is the demands it makes on knowledge of other subjects, the transgressive nature of the study, which does not respect disciplines…It’s a mountain with no top.”– Willard McCarty

Instructor: Grant Glass –

Office: 505 Greenlaw

Office Hours: Monday 2:00PM-4:00PM, Thursday 1:00PM-2:00PM & by appointment

Required Materials:


  • UNC Writing Program. The Tarheel Writing Guide, 2016.
  • Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, 2014. 3rd ed.
  • Your fully charged laptop



Course Description:


Welcome to ENGL105i: Writing in the Digital Humanities!


In this course, we will investigate how writing works at the university level in the discipline of the digital humanities. We will discover how to frame research questions, evaluate evidence, and make knowledge claims. In order to accomplish the objectives set for this course, you cannot think about writing as merely an assignment that satisfies a list of requirements to achieve a grade. Thinking about writing only as a means to this end renders it artificial, solitary, and static. Instead, I want you to view writing as dynamic and problem-based. In this class, you will participate in writing activities that call upon you to think about and place yourself in realistic rhetorical situations. Your writing will become dynamic by actively responding to practical situations common to academic communities and engaging with those communities. I want you to view your writing, as well as yourself as a writer, as a work in progress. This course is more than a series of essays for grades; it is a progression of encounters with rhetorical situations and genres that will prepare you to be a successful college writer.


We will work toward the following goals:

  • Reimagine, redefine, and understand the complexities of “writing” and “rhetoric.”
  • Develop skills and awareness around your own writing and writing process.
  • Develop writing strategies, awareness, and self-­assessment skills to help you confidently approach future writing challenges that you encounter in your academic and professional lives at UNC and beyond.
  • Tailor compositions to specific audiences and rhetorical situations by analyzing and adapting genre conventions.
  • Develop a social and process-­oriented approach to composition in which collaboration and revision are central components.
  • Compose across technologies and modalities.
  • Identify, evaluate, and appropriately use relevant research and resources to support your compositions.


What should I expect to learn?


In addition to the writing and composition skills mentioned above, we will explore:


  • structured data
  • digital maps, data visualizations, and network graphs
  • content-management systems
  • undertake sophisticated humanities research
  • speak, think, and write critically about the epistemological biases and affordances of all of these methods and tools
  • imagine other possibilities for humanities scholarship




Course Design:

The course will be organized around the following principles:


Student-centered: My instruction will emphasize process: how to read, write, analyze, interpret, understand, and create oral, written, or multimedia texts. My role in this class is not that of a traditional teacher who stands at the front of the room and lectures. Rather, I am someone who offers structure, motivation, support, perspective, and feedback as YOU engage with your classmates and the course projects. While I will ultimately take on the role of the judge at the end of the semester, my main focus is on empowering you to make decisions about your writing because that’s when you learn the most.


Workshop format: Classes will be taught using a workshop approach that emphasizes the role of learning by writing and promotes interactive, experiential learning. Each of you will become a member of a small working group. These groups will serve as writing groups, discussion groups, and smaller cohorts in the larger classroom community. We will be using Sakai (UNC’s online course management system), DropBox, and Google Docs as forums for posting and responding to drafts in progress and as a communication system so that you can access the syllabus and daily homework assignments electronically.


Process-based approach: We will move through three units, each one containing short “feeder” assignments that build into one substantial unit project. The feeder assignments are generally designed to give you practice with a particular skill (such as finding potential grants or analyzing secondary sources), while the unit projects will ask you to synthesize primary and secondary research. Using a process-based approach, you will write multiple drafts, receive ongoing feedback from your peers and instructor, and participate in evaluating your own and others’ projects throughout the composition process.


Open-Source sharing: We will be centering technology in our learning process.  To that end, we will post all our assignments, homework, and other contributions on our class’s Sakai site or our Trello board, making them viewable to everyone in the class.  This open-source sharing fosters collaborative learning as your peers can learn from what you posted.  Because we will be relying on our Sakai site and Trello board both in and outside of the classroom, it is imperative that you bring your laptop or tablet to every class. However, you must stay focused on class work – not social media or web browsing!




Course Policies:

Please remember that the syllabus functions as a contract between the instructor and the students. You are responsible for knowing and abiding by these policies. Everyone has an “off” day now and then, but when you are here, your brain should be working.



  • Computers: Please bring your computer to class every day. Be sure that it is fully charged because our classroom has limited and inconveniently placed outlets.
  • Cell Phones: You can use your cell phone as a classroom tool to take pictures of the board or print materials, record short lectures, navigate Sakai, view our readings, etc. However, cell phones should not be used for endeavors unrelated to class during class sessions.
  • Other Devices: Tablets and any other devices are welcome as long as you are using them for work related to this course.


In this class, we will use Sakai (, UNC’s online course management system for a number of course assignments. Also, we will be using for the course website, which is the University’s WordPress environment. If you have difficulty accessing either of these, please let me know ASAP.



Finally, it is important that you check your email, the class website, and our Sakai site daily for messages and updates, as these will be our primary forms of communication inside and outside of class..



Email Correspondence:


This class focuses on how technologies and technical formats for writing affect rhetorical content, so you need to be mindful of your own use of email. Consider email for what it is— an epistolary form of text-based communication. Craft your emails to me and to other students accordingly: with respect and with respectful use of language. This means that the email must include a subject line, an address, thoughtful and respectful prose in the body paragraph, and a signature. Also, although email is a nearly instantaneous mode of communication, do not expect my responses to be so. Do not expect me to respond within 12 hours to any email and certainly not one sent on the eve of a deadline; this means that you need to plan in advance in order to receive the kind of feedback and attention you need before deadlines approach.





Plagiarism/The Honor Code

The honor code applies to everything that we do at this university, including our use of outside sources in our research and writing. Our work in this class will conform to the principles and procedures defined in the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance ( The research that we do this semester, whether primary or secondary, print or online, formal or informal, will require careful documentation on your part. We will review citation guidelines early and often throughout the semester. The need to cite your sources applies to all your work, including drafts as well as final versions of your feeders and projects. When in doubt: CITE.


If I suspect you of plagiarizing all or part of a paper, even unintentionally, I am required to report the offense to the Honor Court. If you think you are running into trouble with an assignment, PLEASE come and speak with me.



Non-Discrimination Policy

We can never guarantee that a classroom will be a completely “safe” space. However, I believe that our classroom should be a sacred space where students can share their thoughts and ideas without fear. The University is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment and to ensuring that educational and employment decisions are based on individuals’ abilities and qualifications. Consistent with these principles and applicable laws, it is therefore the University’s policy not to discriminate on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status as consistent with the University’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct. No person, on the basis of protected status, shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation under any University program or activity, including with respect to employment terms and conditions. Such a policy ensures that only relevant factors are considered and that equitable and consistent standards of conduct and performance are applied.


Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and support applied to offenses against other protected categories. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, I encourage you to investigate these resources:


Accessibility Statement

Disabilities can be visible and invisible, and I am dedicated to ensuring that all students succeed in my course. If there are circumstances that may affect your performance in this class, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can work together to develop strategies for adapting assignments to meet both your needs and the requirements of the course. If you have information you wish to share with me about a disability, disorder, or neurodiversity issue, if you have emergency medical information you think I should know about, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please set up an appointment with me to discuss this during office hours.


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ensures that no qualified person shall by reason of a disability be denied access to, participation in, or the benefits of, any program or activity operated by the University. In compliance with UNC policy and federal law, qualified students with psychological, physical, and other disabilities are eligible to receive “reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access to education opportunities, programs, and activities” ( If you anticipate such accommodations and/or have concerns that should be discussed, please notify me as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Additionally, you may seek out student support services at the Accessibility Resources and Services Office ( and through the Learning Center (



On Diversity. I value the opinions and perspectives of individuals from all diverse backgrounds. My goal is that all students’ needs are addressed in this course and all perspectives are valued. I broadly define diversity to include race, gender, national origin, ethnicity, religion, social class, age, sexual orientation and physical and learning ability. I strive to make this classroom an inclusive space for all minority student groups. I value your input to improve the climate of my classroom.




The UNC Writing Center, located in SASB North and in Greenlaw Hall #221, offers free tutoring services for students. You may visit the Writing Center to ask for help with a specific paper, whether you are concerned with developing ideas and content, organizing your assignment, or working on style issues. To make an appointment, browse the Writing Center’s online resources, or send a draft online, please go to ( To make the best use of your time there, please bring a copy of both your assignment sheet and your draft with you. The Writing Center will not proofread papers or discuss grades with you.


Additionally, the Purdue Online Writing Lab ( and your textbook, The Tarheel Writing Guide, are fantastic resources for learning more about mechanics, style, grammar, and citations.


Note: If you need help, ASK! These writing courses are small so that we can all get to know and trust one another. If you are falling behind or need extra help, please let me know. We can discuss brief concerns before or after class, and we can have an extended conversation and/or writing conference during my office hours. To schedule an appointment, please email me.




Evaluation and Grading


Because grades often cause counterproductive anxiety for both students and teachers and because they distract us from the real work of learning, this course will employ a method known as contract grading. Your final grade for this course will be based on two things:

  1. Your work in class according to the grading contract
  2. The quality of the work you include in your final portfolio


Contract grading is intended to shift your focus productively: it assures you that, if you work hard and demonstrate the professionalism necessary to fulfill the contract, you will receive a grade above what the university considers an above average grade. I hope this will permit you to concentrate less on your performance on the course and more on growing as a writer and thinker.


  • To qualify for a B+ (87%): You must follow the contract for the entire semester by fulfilling the behaviors, activities, and practices it necessitates. Only students who have fulfilled the contract can earn higher than a B+.
  • For grades higher than a B+: I will evaluate only the quality of the writing and the finished products overall in the final portfolio to determine your final grade in the course. To earn an A, your projects must be of exceptional quality – i.e. ready for publication in a genre-appropriate source (undergraduate science journal, etc.). A grades can only be earned by submitting A projects.
  • For grades lower than a B+: You will earn a lower course grade for not fulfilling the contract. If you have breached the contract, but the work in your final portfolio demonstrates exceptional quality, your final grade may improve up to a B at my discretion. You are responsible for being aware of and following the contract stipulations whether I comment on them or not at the time. I will help you remain aware by notifying you periodically of minor or major breaches of contract.


ENGL105i Grading Contract to Earn a “B+” (87%)


  1. Attend class and be on time for class consistently; 3 tardies = 1 absence. Being more than 20 minutes late for class without prior approval counts as an absence. More than 2 absences (without prior approval) throughout the semester is a major breach of the contract.
  2. Complete every assignment thoroughly, thoughtfully, and punctually. I expect your best effort and attention to all reading, writing, and day-to-day activities in the course. Please note that absence does not excuse you from completing any missed assignments. It is your responsibility to figure out what assignments you have missed and to work out an appropriate timeline with me for making them up.
  3. Engage actively in all in-class exercises, writing workshops, and activities. Participate intensively and diligently with your working group; slouchers will not be tolerated. Collaborate with your classmates by offering consistently thoughtful questions, reactions, feedback, and discussion related to their work and ideas. By closely engaging with your peers’ work, both you and your classmates will grow as writers, and we will all learn and benefit from a collectively engaged community.
  4. Give thoughtful peer feedback during class workshops and work faithfully with your group on other collaborative tasks (e.g., sharing papers, commenting on drafts, peer editing, on-line discussion boards, answering peer questions).
  5. Sustain effort and investment on each draft of all assignments (at least 2-3 drafts on average).
  6. Make substantive revisions when the assignment is to revise–extending or changing the thinking or the organization–not just editing or touching up. While you do not have to make every change suggested by your readers, final drafts of your assignments should show growth from original drafts and evidence of your thoughtful engagement with peer and instructor feedback.
  7. Copy-edit successfully all final revisions of main assignments until they conform to the conventions of edited American English. While we will prioritize higher-order concerns (ideas) over lower-order ones (sentence-level cosmetic issues), your attention to detail reflects your level of professionalism. The same standard for print projects applies equally to multimedia projects.
  8. Attend 1 scheduled conference with me during each unit to discuss drafts at the end of each unit. Office hours are the primary way (as opposed to written comments) that you will get my feedback on your work, so come early and often, and feel free to meet with me at any stage of the writing process. To cut down on waiting time and avoid conflicts, please email me earlier in the assignment sequence.
  9. Submit a complete final portfolio with an introductory cover letter and final versions of your unit projects.



Final Portfolio:

At the end of the semester, you will revise your 3 unit projects and resubmit them for a higher grade. You will also write a letter about your writing choices, revision process, etc. to supplement your revised assignments. We will discuss this in greater detail at the beginning of unit 3.



Final letter grades are determined based on the following scale:


A (93-100)       A- (90-92)        B+ (87-89)       B (83-86)         B- (80-82)        C+ (77-79)


C (73-76)         C- (70-72)        D+ (67-69)      D (63-66)         D- (60-62)       F (below 60)


I will use traditional rounding to determine grades that fall between whole values. Any mixed number with a decimal value of five tenths or higher will round up to the next whole number. (For example, 92.5 will round up to an A as a 93, but 92.4 will not.)


Late Assignments


Each assignment should be completed and prepared in the correct format for submission on the day it is due. This includes homework, feeder assignments, drafts, presentations, and unit projects. No late work will be accepted.




All of your papers (drafts and final copies) must adhere to appropriate MLA style and format guidelines for the genre and discipline you are writing. We will discuss these guidelines and examine models in class. Additionally, when saving documents (when you first ‘save as’ on your

computer) for homework and papers make sure to title it Last Name – Assignment – draft #. All Assignments are to be placed in Sakai Dropbox.




You are required to meet with me twice over the semester in a ‘conference’ setting (attending office hours) for 15 minutes each time.  You will sign-up through email for your conference time.

If you need help…

Come and talk with me. These writing courses are small so that we can all get to know and trust one another. If you are falling behind or need extra help, whether it has to do with this class or another, let me know. If you need help with a paper, please come for a writing conference with me.  Either make an appointment or come during my office hours.  You can also consider visiting the Writing Center, which offers writing tutorials free of charge.



Spring 2018 Semester Calendar



Important University Dates:

Wednesday, 1/10: First Day of Class

Monday, 1/15: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (no classes)

Monday, 3/12 – Friday, 3/16: Spring Break (no classes)

Wednesday, 4/25: Last Day of Class




Feeder 1.1: January 29th before class

Feeder 1.2: February 5th before class

Unit 1 Project: February 16th by 11:59pm

Feeder 2.1: February 21st before class

Feeder 2.2: March 5th before class

Unit 2 Project: Friday March 30th at 11:59pm.

Feeder 3.1: April 9th before class

Feeder 3.2 April 16th

Unit 3 Project: April 23rd in class

Final Portfolio: Friday April 27th at 11:59pm



Week Monday Wednesday
1 Jan. 10




Writing Classroom Culture


Rhetorical Chart







2 Jan. 15


No Classes  

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Jan. 17


Introduce Unit 1 

Adobe Spark


What is Digital Humanities?



HW: Pre-test essay

3 Jan. 22



Doing Research/Evaluating Sources.


Citation and Plagiarism (Summarizing and Paraphrasing)





Due: Pre-test essay

Jan. 24

Research Questions


Library Session

Doing Research/Evaluating Sources.


Citation and Plagiarism (Summarizing and Paraphrasing)



HW: Feeder 1.1

4 Jan. 29


Integrating Sources/Evidence


MLA and plagiarism activity

Source check-in








Due: Feeder 1.1

Jan. 31


Argument/Thesis Statements



Paragraph Organization/Outlining









Homework: Feeder 1.2

5 Feb. 5


Format and Structure



They Say, I Say Construction





Due: Feeder 1.2

Feb. 7


Revising vs. Editing vs. Proofreading


Sentence Style and Word Choice/Conciseness




Homework: Rough Draft of Unit 1 Project

6 Feb. 12


Peer Review/Giving and Receiving Feedback





Due: Rough Draft of Unit 1 Project

Feb. 14









Unit Project due Friday Feb. 16th at 11:59pm.

7 Feb. 19


Unit 2 Introduction




Homework: Feeder 2.1

Feb. 21







Due: Feeder 2.1

8 Feb. 26





Feb. 28


Text Analysis


HW: Feeder 2.2

9 March 5


Data Visualization



Due Feeder 2.2

March 7


Understanding Results


10 March 12


No Classes – Spring Break


March 14


No Classes – Spring Break

11 March 19


Presenting Research on the Web



HW: outline due

March 21


Digital Humanities Genres



HW: Rough Draft

12 March 26


Multimodal Composition



Due: Rough Draft


March 28




Unit Project due Friday March  30th at 11:59pm.

13 April 2


Wrap up Unit 2 and Start Unit 3: Presentation


How to Write an Abstract



HW: post example presentation

April 4


Conference Presentations








HW: feeder 3.1

14 April 9


Creating PowerPoints


Best Practices



Due: Feeder 3.1 – abstract


April 11


Conference Papers


They Say, I Say


15 April 16

Presenting Research


Due: Feeder 3.2

April 18

Workshop Presentations

16 April 23




Due: Unit 3 Project

April 25


Wrap up and evaluations