University of Victoria
Jentery Sayers
Spring 2015


Log 5: Working Prototype

For English 507, I am asking you to submit your final essay (due April 14th) in web-ready form. To do so, you're welcome to use one of the following: GitHub Pages [HTML], WordPress, Scrollkit (part of WordPress), Scalar, your GitHub repo [Markdown], or some other approach you're whipping up. Pick what you think is best for your writing style and the argument you want to make.

The point of producing a web-ready essay for 507 is to get you thinking about what (if anything) digital scholarly communication affords that print scholarly communication may not. That said, my advice is to keep things simple. No need to overdo it, and (where possible) avoid diving into something that's completely new to you. More importantly, don't get so preoccupied with whiz bang that you forget about content. In the last instance, make sure the writing's top drawer. Since you have multiple opportunities to circulate your work during 507, my expectations of the writing will be quite high. Consisting of 3500-5000 words, the final essay (again, due April 14th) should make clear claims, be based in evidence (including, where need be, a literature review), integrate new media and computation (of some sort) into the evidence and argumentation, be aware of its audience and field, be carefully proofread, follow MLA conventions, and point researchers in suggestive, concrete directions.

You might also note that not all approaches to digital scholarly communication are identical. For instance, peruse the following, and you'll quickly get a sense of how the essay form can change from one online venue or journal to the next:

After you've given each of the above a cursory look, please submit the following for this log entry (due March 17th):

Together, we'll call what's above your "working prototype" for an argument with a computer. Even if the final essay isn't finished (in fact, I hope it is not), you should have more than a data model, more than a rough idea of your claims, more than evidence, and more than a list of resources you plan to use for writing.

Please note: you are in no way required to publish your final essay online or make it publicly available on or after April 14th. You are also not expected to spend a significant amount of time on design, markup, or programming. Again, keep it simple and within reach, and do not let whiz bang eclipse content and persuasive argumentation.

During seminar, we'll conduct critiques of your working prototypes, looking to the MLA for guidelines. That said, be prepared to show everyone in the seminar the data you have thus far. You should also come prepared with a concise argument, even if that argument is (of course!) subject to change between now and April 14th.

Get in touch with questions or concerns. I am happy to help. Thanks!