EN3DT-The Digital Text: Literature and the New Technologies

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: English Part 1 or A-Level (A*, A or B)
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Prof Michelle O'Callaghan

Email: m.f.ocallaghan@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
Digital technologies are now an integral part of the publishing world and all aspects of the media. They have also transformed ways of analysing, editing, reading, and archiving literary texts. This module has been designed, in collaboration with third-year students, to introduce some of the key areas – literary analysis and mapping, editing, and game theory – in digital literary studies. It explores the critical issues raised by digital technologies for how literary texts are understood and analysed, as well teaching practical skills, and so is suitable for students with basic IT skills. Students will have the opportunity to combine the critical and the creative, and make their own digital text.

This module aims to develop digital literacy and to enable students to critique material produced for the web, to understand the basics of editing literary texts, and how digital technologies have enhanced the analysis and representation of literary texts, through digital archives, editions, literary maps and games. It will teach students practical digital editing skills, such as mark-up languages and how to make texts searchable on the web, as well as editing theory. The module will introduce students to easy-to-use open source software that can be used to make digital texts, from simple literary maps to interactive fiction.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, students will be expected to:

•Demonstrate a knowledge of some of the methodologies used in digital literary studies;
•Show an awareness of some of the critical issues in digital literary studies;
•Demonstrate a familiarity with the range of digital literary material available on the web;
•Be able to distinguish between a digital archive and an edition;
•Understand the principles of editing literary texts for the web;
•Enhance their IT competence and digital literacy through the use of relevant resources and tools in a critically informed manner;
•Develop a critical vocabulary for analysing digital resources and the issues raised by digital technologies and the current ‘media revolution’.

Additional outcomes:
•Oral and written communication skills will be developed, together with critical, interpretative and analytical abilities;
•The ability to work collaboratively and share knowledge and skills will be enhanced;
•Students will develop the confidence to apply technical skills to create and share new knowledge;
•The value of creativity and flexibility in learning and problem solving will be reinforced.

Outline content:
Students will be introduced to a series of topics in digital literary studies. These will include the use of digital technologies to identify, map and analyse changes in major literary genres, such as the novel, and to represent the social networks and places imagined in novels and poems through creating literary maps. Students will be introduced to the mark-up languages used in editing literary texts, the theoretical questions they raise, and their practical use in terms of making texts searchable. They will explore ‘critical making’, in which building games is used to explore critical issues, by experimenting with simple open source software. Students will be encouraged to explore their own research interests through these tools and approaches.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Structured three-hour seminars, which will include discussion of the issues raised by the set critical reading, preparation for a practical task, and a workshop session in which students will be supported in their work for their practical tasks. Students will submit a portfolio of three tasks, with a 1500-2000 word report, and a 3000-3500 word critical essay based on a fourth task at the end of the module. Students are also entitled to a half-hour tutorial on their formative written work. With the consent of the module convenor, students may also undertake a placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 30
Tutorials 0.5
Guided independent study 129.5 40
Total hours by term 160.00 40.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
Students will produce one formative exercise, of between 1500 and 2000 words. Feedback will also be provided on the assessed coursework.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of at least 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-examination in August. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 25 August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Key Readings List:
    Currently there is no online Key Readings list available for this module, but you may wish to explore the range of Library resources available to you via the online guide for your subject area : http://www.reading.ac.uk/library/finding-info/subjects/lib-subject.aspx

    Last updated: 4 April 2017

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