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Mini Web Project
Weight: 25% of final grade
Due: 3 October
Choose a text from the syllabus that you think you will enjoy working on for a series of assignments. For your first assignment, you will concentrate on a short passage from your chosen text, approximately five to ten lines long. The purposes of this assignment are for you to learn to make a simple web page using html coding, to begin to think about the material dimensions of the text in its medieval manifestation(s), and to begin to analyse the meanings of the text.

For this assignment, you may not use Dreamweaver or any other program that does the coding for you. Although you will be given instruction in html coding in class, you may also wish to get ahead by reading the tutorials from htmlgoodies.com.

Your web page should have the following components:

  • A thumbnail image of one page of the manuscript for your text, linked to a full-sized image on another web site or on the CSUN server. Ideally, the image will be the very page that has your chosen passage on it, but, since everything isn’t on the web, it may be a different page of the same (or a closely related) text or from the same manuscript. Next to the thumbnail image, you should give information about the source web site and the manuscript, listed by its library shelfmark.
  • A physical description of the page, including its dimensions, condition, the kind of handwriting, any decoration, punctuation, and so on. If you have found a facsimile of the page with your text, whether online, in another digital medium, or a print facsimile, describe the page that has your text, even if you have had to link to a different page. If you have not found a facsimile of the page, even after consulting with me, then describe the page you found online, stating in what ways you think it may be similar.
  • An analysis of the meaning of the short passage you have chosen (a “close reading”), in which you discuss what it says and how it says it, getting into such matters as word choice, tone, metaphors, imagery, and rhythm. This part should be the equivalent of about three typed pages in 12-point font.
  • Your name, a statement that you are responsible for the content of the site and that no one is to quote it or use your ideas without proper attribution, a statement that it is an assignment for our course, and a link to the course web site.

You should keep your web page on your uDrive (or another site, if you already have one) and e-mail the url (address) by the due date to me (scott.kleinman@csun.edu).

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Group Web Project
Weight: 30% of final grade
Due: 14 November (Plan due 17 October)

  • The group’s site is to focus on a primary text or cluster of texts
  • The site should contain:
    • A “network” of related pages on specific topics, as suggested or approved by me
    • An introductory page that indicates the site’s authors and summarizes and/or relates a perspective on its topic, as well as providing access to the site’s other pages. It should also provide a link to the assignment page for the class and the same sort of “copyright” claim as the Mini Web Project.
    • Links to the members’ “mini web projects.”
  • Grading of individuals is based on:
    • Quality of research on topic
    • Quality of presentation both in terms of its written and its visual dimensions. The balance of written and visual dimensions may lean more one way than the other: while this class is not about visual design, you should feel free to use the possibilities the web affords you. Proofreading counts; useability and legibility counts; practices of academic honesty must be adhered to.
    • The organization and synergy of the group’s site. Although it is acceptable to present simply a collection of pages related to the group’s topic, it is preferable to indicate through explicit discussion and design of the site what the parts convey when considered as a single composition.
    • How well and how fully you as an individual contribute to the group effort.

Procedure and Plan: The group will need to exchange e-mail, decide on who will be the “webmaster,” keeping the page on his or her web space, and making sure that the site as a whole works. The group should also decide on someone who keeps everyone on track with their work (the “taskmaster”), reminding them to get drafts done to share with others. Individual pages (or at least full drafts of them) will need to be done enough ahead of time for composition of the introductory page. The design and substance of that page should be a group project, though one person will need to be in charge of final polishing and proofreading.

You will turn in a Group Plan on 17 October, which will specify the following elements: the webmaster, the taskmaster, the person who will polish and proofread the introductory page, the topics each member will present.

Topics: I will hand out a list of suggested topics during the course of the semester. You may come up with a different topic, but you must get it approved by me before you pursue it very far. Any topic may be narrowed or expanded as seems best; the length of any presentation should be the equivalent of 3-5 typewritten, double-spaced pages (if you do something more visual or dynamic, the “equivalent” will be in terms of detail and depth). Be sure to provide proper references for quotations and ideas derived from essays and web sites. Provide at the end a list of essays, books, and web sites that you have used in your research and presentation (i.e. a bibliography).

Research tips:

  • Bibliographic databases to consult include the MLA International Bibliography and the Bibliography Databases listed on the Resources page.
  • If you haven't yet set up a proxy server for library access from home or your laptop, you will want to do so now. For instructions, see Home>FAQs>Off-Campus Access to Our Resources>Proxy Server.
  • Although you will find many fabulous resources on the internet, the majority of scholarship is still confined to the print medium (even if it is then reproduced on the web, as with ProjectMuse). Work which does not make sufficient use of printed books and journals will be of an inferior depth and will be graded appropriately. So make sure you begin research soon, leaving time for interlibrary loans, if neceesary.
  • Always write down full bibliographical information for your notes, mark quoted words with quotation marks, and record the page number(s). Otherwise it will take you twice as long to check these things at the end.

If you can't find what you need, ask me for help.

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Weight: 25% of final grade
Due: No due date yet

This essay is about the difference it makes to think about a text in relationship to the material and/or social circumstances of its production and reception. The requirements are:

  • Return to your analysis of your passage, done for Mini Web Project.
  • Use one or two aspects of the material or social dimensions of the text, as you learned it from the Group Web Project (whether your part or another’s contribution), to refine or revise or frame your analysis. (You may rewrite your close reading if you wish; you should correct any errors that I marked.)
  • While you are not forbidden to use any other research, it is not expected that you will.
  • You may include ideas about relationships between the physical page and the words that you didn’t have an opportunity to include in your Mini Web Project.
  • For your thesis, make a claim about the significance of the passage or the importance of the material or social dimension(s) that you discuss.
  • Provide a title that indicates something about your approach or argument.
  • Provide a bibliography indicating the edition you have used, any facsimiles, articles and/or web sites used.

The essay should be approximately five pages, typed, double-spaced, with numbered pages. Your text should be styled according to the formatting and citation style of a recognised style guide (e.g. MLA, Chicago).

Along with this essay, turn in your printed analysis from the Mini Web Project, including my marginal comments.