Welcome to Play Make Write Think

Welcome to the class. I am really looking forward to working with each of you this semester.

Please check out the class welcome module on our Canvas site.

Your homework before we meet synchronously in person via Zoom on Tuesday:

  • Read over this website very carefully as it constitutes the syllabus for this course. Note that the syllabus page contains a number of subpages. There’s a list of the texts and services you’ll need this semester, our learning outcomes, the course policies (note that you can click on headers to expand each section), and how grading will work this semester. You can also find the schedule for the semester and a list of the side quests and major quests you’ll complete over the course of the semester. There is also a page of resources that should be helpful to you.Once students begin publishing posts to their own sites, those posts will syndicate here. My posts are published here. And eventually there will be a category page added to the menu bar where we’ll host the podcast series that you’ll each have a hand in creating.
  • Add this site to your bookmarks. Make certain that you can find your way back here, because you’ll be spending a lot of time visiting these pages over the course of this semester.
  • Respond to this survey so I can get to know you a little bit better.
  • Sign up for a basic, free WordPress site. (See further information below about choosing a name for your site.) Note: If you already own a domain and server space, come talk to me to determine whether you can use that instead of creating a site on WordPress.com. Make sure you get to the point where your website is published and you can see the site itself, not just a blank page indicating that the URL has been reserved.
  • Leave a comment on this post asking a question about the syllabus. Put the URL for the WordPress site you created in the “website” line on the comment form. If you want to receive an email every time a new post goes up on this site, check the “Subscribe to site” box before you submit your comment.
  • Start your very first quest for this class:  the Literacy Narrative.
  • [Edited to add] The Andrea Lunsford reading “Rhetorical Situations” and “Reading Rhetorically” were listed in your Canvas orientation module and on the course calendar, but I just realized that I left them off the list here. Please read those too.

A little more on naming your WordPress site

You can choose a URL based on some version of your name (i.e., janestudent.wordpress.com or johndoe.wordpress.com) if you’d like. Using a version of your name has the advantage that you will be building a digital identity on the web based on your name, which can be really helpful. On the other hand, it also means that this site that you’re building will likely come up near the top of web searches for your name, so consider whether that is something you would like.

If you don’t want to publish your coursework on a site with a version of your name, you can also use some sort of pseudonym for your domain name.

It is also perfectly acceptable for your domain name to be a short word or phrase that is easy to remember and spell, and which speaks to some interest of yours or an aspect of your character (for example: my friend Audrey Watters, a noted educational technology scholar and researcher, publishes a site called hackeducation.com; Tanine Allison, a professor of Media Studies here at Emory who published her first book entitled Destructive Sublime: World War II in American Media recently, uses destructivesublime.com as her domain name; or one of my favorite art and design blogs is called thisiscolossal.com). If you’re going to choose a title or phrase as your domain name, make sure you think about it very carefully so you don’t show up on one of those lists of the most unfortunate domain names ever, like the design firm called Speed of Art that ended up with a domain name that sounds like it’s about flatulence in a swimsuit. Note that in the case of your site, you’ll be publishing a page that’s a subdomain of WordPress.com, so if Audrey Watters were in this class her site might be called hackeducation.wordpress.com.


    1. Note that you haven’t finished publishing your site. The link you provided is to your dashboard and not to the site itself. The site’s address will be https://andrewmagica.wordpress.com/ but notice how if you follow the link now, you just get a blank page that says “Coming Soon”? There should be like one more box that you have to check in order to publish your site. Please finish that process.

    2. Do you want to be called andrewmijacika? Use the name you want us to call you in the name field when you comment in the future.

    1. You will eventually need to yes. Wait until after class tomorrow to download them though. But do get your copy of Superbetter as quickly as you can.

    1. The standard formula is that students should spend 2 hours on assignments per week for each credit hour. So we’ll spend 75 minutes in class on Tuesdays, plus 75 minutes doing asynchronous learning/writing, plus 6 hours reading, playing, and completing assignments. Of course, that is a theoretical ideal and the reality is messier.

      The side quests are all meant to be relatively short assignments that should take roughly an hour.

    1. Get your copy of Superbetter quickly. There’s no hurry for the games, and we’ll talk about them some on Tuesday.

      You should go ahead and join the class Slack channel too. You can wait to create an account at Roll20. You won’t need to use Audacity for a few weeks but it wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and download it now. Same for installing the hypothesis plugin.

    1. The short answer is don’t worry about aesthetics right now. By the end of the semester, I’ll ask you to do some things to make your site feel more designed but for now as long as we can get to the stuff you publish and there are images along with words on each thing you post, then you’re fine. You don’t need to know WordPress already — you’ll know it fairly well by the end of the semester though!

  1. Hi! Do we have to make the WordPress site before the class on Tuesday? Also, I didn’t understand how/where we have to submit the homework essay- could you please clarify this? Thank you!

    1. You don’t need the WordPress site before class tomorrow, but you’ll need it very soon thereafter. You’ll publish the literacy narrative on your brand new WordPress site, which is why it needs to be up quickly. The initial set up is very easy though, the only hard part is thinking of a name for it! So just go ahead and set it up now, even if there is nothing there until the literacy narrative and your avatar are completed.

    2. Hi professor, this class is so intriguing, can’t wait for it to start. Do I need Superbetter for class today?

    1. Last spring, I focused a lot of the class on board games. There will be freedom for you to analyze some board games, and we’ll play a tabletop roleplaying game (so not everything will be video games); however, it’s a challenge to play board games when we’re spread across the globe. It’s possible that I’ll have us play around with a Tabletop Simulator at some point in the semester, but that can be unwieldy for various reasons. So this semester, due to pandemic, we’ll be focused more on video games than I would prefer.

  2. Hi Professor, can you give us a sample game podcast, so we get an idea about how those things should turn out?

  3. Hi Professor, are we allowed to schedule an office hour appointment if needed? Also, I have Steam downloaded. Is that gonna cover most of the games that we’re going to play? Lastly, are we allowed to use grammarly for this class?

    1. Yes, you can schedule an appointment with me whenever you need to. Steam is a platform not the games themselves, but you can install the games we’re going to play in your Steam player, yes. Yes, you are allowed to use Grammarly for this class, though I would caution you to make sure you’re still making your own judgments about writing and not simply accepting every suggestion the software makes.

  4. jimmyyichengwang.wordpress.com. I’m Jimmy Wang. Hi professor, I wonder what you are specifically looking for in a good essay or writing assignment? Do you have specific standards for grading? Do you prefer conversational tones for most papers? What’s your grammarly policy? Can we go to TAs or writing center for help? Thank you! Have a nice day!

    1. We’ll talk more about the definition of good writing. A good writer is aware of their rhetorical situation and crafts their message to achieve their purpose — which includes being aware of their audience’s expectations and knowing when to frustrate those expectations. For major assignments I’ll usually give some specific guidelines about tone, but as a general rule for this class I’d say you should aim for “academic casual.” That means that I expect you to be analytical and intellectually engaged but without feeling the need to be overly formal.

      Yes, please make use of the Writing Center (there are links to it and other resources under “Student Success Resources” on our Policies page). I used to manage the Writing Center here and am a huge fan. It’s a valuable resource that you should all make use of when you can!

    1. You just did turn in the link to your website with that comment! More on games coming soon — the first couple of games we’ll play as a class are written in Twine and are available on the web via your browser. We’ll talk about Depression Quest in class on 9/1.

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