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ENG 6819: Critical Making for Humanist Scholarship


Course Description

Critical making is a practice of making as scholarship, grounded in the humanities, that interweaves design, function, and theory towards born-digital scholarly practice. Engaging in scholarly communication through digital platforms demands attention to code, software, and hardware. This course emphasizes building a theoretical framework and applied practice in critical making, drawing on digital humanities discourse, intentional design, minimal scripting tools, and multimodal development as part of scholarly communication.

The opportunities critical making presents for humanist work are well-documented. Jentery Sayers’ Making Things and Drawing Boundaries (which we’ll be drawing upon during the course) collects cutting-edge humanist work from across the field, and in doing so points to the important interventions that critical making in the digital humanities can offer in how and what we know about technology as “not made from scratch but in media res; not transparent platforms but patchworks of memory and practice.” However, Sayers’ collection is also a reminder of how difficult it is to get started, with participation demanding layered expertise that is constantly changing. The combination of computational and systems thinking required for critical making develops what Michael Mateas describes as procedural literacy: “the ability to read and write processes, to engage procedural representation and aesthetics, to understand the interplay between the culturally‐embedded practices of human meaning‐making and technically‐mediated processes” (Mateas). These skills are of growing interest in transdisciplinary humanities, but still often seen as the domain of STEM programs, and the rhetoric of code and code education remains exclusionary. We will interrogate those assumptions and systems, emphasizing process over product, and building procedural literacy through play and exploration.

Each week, plan on following the module for all asynchronous activities. Each module will be divided into three sections:

Course Objectives

Materials and Texts

This course requires a mix of applied and theoretical readings, including some open access materials. The primary texts include:

In addition, each module includes samples, tutorials, and resources to guide the week’s making experiments.

Evaluation and Grading

Points Assignment Summary Due Date
5 Activity Verification - Complete the brief survey posted on Webcourses as soon as possible to confirm your enrollment in the course. As this is required by the university, please attend to it as soon as possible at the start of classes. Friday, August 26
75 Making Exercises - Weekly discussions will consist of making, sharing, and reflecting on the process of exploring. We will work from tutorials and try a new form every week, with reflective questions connecting our process of making to the theoretical frameworks and provocations offered by our readings. Weekly
20 Reflection - During the final exam week, students will complete a written reflective essay on their journey, with particular consideration to next steps and potential future applications of the making mechanisms introduced throughout the semester. Friday, December 9

Students can access their grades and feedback at any time using the Grade Book function of Webcourses. All assignments will be submitted through Webcourses. Plan on checking the site at least twice a week for updates and assignment information. Grades are calculated out of 100 following a standard letter scale.

Late work is accepted without penalty for one week after the listed deadline. If circumstances require extension beyond that deadline, please reach out to the instructor immediately.

There is one extra credit making exercise option available at the end of the semester for those who miss a weeek. Grades will be available through Webcourses and updated weekly.

Asynchronous Online Course Structure

This course uses a fully asynchronous online format, and relies upon students to complete all readings, engage with both course lectures and other online videos, and join in on course discussions. All assignments are due at the close of their listed module, but will be accepted with no penalty through the next listed deadline. Once an assignment closes, late work will not be accepted unless an additional extension has already been approved by the instructor: please reach out early if circumstances will require additional time!

Weekly Schedule

Week One: Shape of Our Thoughts (Monday, August 22)

Week Two: Unflattening (Monday, August 29)

Tutorial: Pixlr

Week Three: Terms of Usage (Monday, September 5)

Tutorial: Video

Week Four: Hypertext (Monday, September 12)

Tutorial: Twine

Week Five: Games (Monday, September 19)

Tutorial: Bitsy

Week Six: Platforms (Monday, September 26)

Tutorial: Glitch

Week Seven: Noise (Monday, October 3)

Tutorial: Tracery

Week Eight: Archives (Monday, October 10)

Tutorial: Omeka

Week Nine: Values (Monday, October 17)

Tutorial: P5.js (part one)

Week Ten: Practices (Monday, October 24)

Tutorial: Scalar

Week Eleven: Narratives (Monday, October 31)

Tutorial: P5.js (part two)

Week Twelve: Sites (Monday, November 7)

Tutorial: Timeline.js

Week Thirteen: Pedagogies (Monday, November 14)

Tutorial: Humanities Commons

Week Fourteen: Futures (Monday, November 21)

Tutorial: StoryMap

Week Fifteen: Creating (Monday, November 28)

Final Reflection (Due December 9)

General Policies

Academic Integrity

The Center for Academic Integrity (CAI) defines academic integrity as a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. From these values flow principles of behavior that enable academic communities to translate ideals into action.

UCF Creed: Integrity, scholarship, community, creativity, and excellence are the core values that guide our conduct, performance, and decisions.

  1. Integrity: I will practice and defend academic and personal honesty.
  2. Scholarship: I will cherish and honor learning as a fundamental purpose of my membership in the UCF community.
  3. Community: I will promote an open and supportive campus environment by respecting the rights and contributions of every individual.
  4. Creativity: I will use my talents to enrich the human experience.
  5. Excellence: I will strive toward the highest standards of performance in any endeavor I undertake.

Students should familiarize themselves with UCF’s Rules of Conduct. According to Section 1, “Academic Misconduct,” students are prohibited from engaging in

  1. Unauthorized assistance: Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information or study aids in any academic exercise unless specifically authorized by the instructor of record. The unauthorized possession of examination or course-related material also constitutes cheating.
  2. Communication to another through written, visual, electronic, or oral means: The presentation of material which has not been studied or learned, but rather was obtained through someone else’s efforts and used as part of an examination, course assignment, or project.
  3. Commercial Use of Academic Material: Selling of course material to another person, student, and/or uploading course material to a third-party vendor without authorization or without the express written permission of the university and the instructor. Course materials include but are not limited to class notes, Instructor’s PowerPoints, course syllabi, tests, quizzes, labs, instruction sheets, homework, study guides, handouts, etc.
  4. Falsifying or misrepresenting the student’s own academic work.
  5. Plagiarism: Using or appropriating another’s work without any indication of the source, thereby attempting to convey the impression that such work is the student’s own.
  6. Multiple Submissions: Submitting the same academic work for credit more than once without the express written permission of the instructor.
  7. Helping another violate academic behavior standards.
  8. Soliciting assistance with academic coursework and/or degree requirements.

Responses to Academic Dishonesty, Plagiarism, or Cheating

Students should also familiarize themselves with the procedures for academic misconduct in UCF’s student handbook, The Golden Rule. UCF faculty members have a responsibility for students’ education and the value of a UCF degree, and so seek to prevent unethical behavior and respond to academic misconduct when necessary. Penalties for violating rules, policies, and instructions within this course can range from a zero on the exercise to an “F” letter grade in the course. In addition, an Academic Misconduct report could be filed with the Office of Student Conduct, which could lead to disciplinary warning, disciplinary probation, or deferred suspension or separation from the University through suspension, dismissal, or expulsion with the addition of a “Z” designation on one’s transcript.

Course Accessibility Statement

This course is built with universal design for learning principles in mind: if you encounter challenges with any of the course materials, assignments, platforms, or requirements, please reach out for assistance, and know that additional support is always available regardles of documentation.

Additionally, the University of Central Florida is committed to providing access and inclusion for all persons with disabilities. Students with disabilities who need access to course content due to course design limitations should contact the professor as soon as possible. Students should also connect with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) (Ferrell Commons 185,, phone 407-823-2371). For students connected with SAS, a Course Accessibility Letter may be created and sent to professors, which informs faculty of potential course access and accommodations that might be necessary and reasonable. Determining reasonable access and accommodations requires consideration of the course design, course learning objectives and the individual academic and course barriers experienced by the student. Further conversation with SAS, faculty and the student may be warranted to ensure an accessible course experience.

Campus Safety Statement

Emergencies on campus are rare, but if one should arise during class, everyone needs to work together. Students should be aware of their surroundings and familiar with some basic safety and security concepts.

Deployed Active Duty Military Students

Students who are deployed active duty military and/or National Guard personnel and require accommodation should contact their instructors as soon as possible after the semester begins and/or after they receive notification of deployment to make related arrangements.

Authorized Events and Religious Observances

Students who represent the university in an authorized event or activity (for example, student-athletes) and who are unable to meet a course deadline due to a conflict with that event must provide the instructor with documentation in advance to arrange a make-up. No penalty will be applied.

Students must notify their instructor in advance if they intend to miss class for a religious observance. For more information, see the UCF policy.