Essay 1

Access the Essay 1 DH Project file here.


Essays build upon the blogs, readings, and discussions from class.  I offer options for each of the essay assignments.  Please choose one option that interests you most:

  1. Expand upon one of your blog entries to compose a 5-7 page “academic essay” in which you develop a strong line of inquiry. Watch my video “What is an Academic Essay?” and “The Line of Inquiry” here to better understand this kind of writing.
  2. Create a Wordle of one of the readings assigned in Sequence 1. Use the biggest words to focus an analysis on the text, and to help you to make larger observations about the role of DH in higher education today. Your analysis will be driven by exploring those key words. Write a 5-7 page academic essay that argues whether DH has potential to strengthen college curriculum.
  3. Make a study of a space on campus. Observe the space for 1-2 hours and take notes about what kinds of technology you see people engage.  How do they engage it?  How does it seem to affect the space and other people?  You may take some photos of the space or technologies, or ask to take photos of the people. You may interview people about their technologies.  Create a 5-7 page scientific report in which you present your findings and draw conclusions about how certain technologies create a college environment and what their impacts seems to be.
  4. Listen to MIT Press’s interview with Jesper Juul about “The Pain of Playing Video Games” (2013). Perform a sustained close-reading on one video game of your choice to refute or agree with the claims made my Juul.  Include personal experience you’ve had playing this game.  Write a 5-7 page analytical essay in which you connect your observations and arguments to some topic about DH that we’ve covered in class.
  5. Make a video – also termed an “audiovisual essay” or a “videographic essay” or a “multimedia essay” — that articulates your ideas concerning one of the topics that we’ve discussed in class. Take a look at Wesch’s and Reingold’s videos for examples.  Take your audience through the steps along the line of inquiry to make an argument about your topic. Upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo and send me the link.
  6. Evaluate one of the digital texts that we read in Sequence 1. Perform a 5-7 page close-reading and analysis of this text. Argue about whether or not these kinds of interactive hypertexts are relevant and useful in our current time, and in your own life.


No matter which option you choose, you have creative license to take the assignment where you want it to go.  You can engage any multimedia that is relevant and functional. However, please do the following:

  • Format with MLA when appropriate; but be sure to include a Works Cited entry
  • Engage multimedia when appropriate (you can even integrate multimedia into traditional essays or reports)
  • Integrate at least 2 of the articles/resources that we have covered in class
  • You may integrate additional research, but be sure that your work is focused on YOUR ethos
  • Submit in Moodle under “Response Paper 1”
  • Go to my Writing Overview Series and make sure that you understand my expectations for college writing.
Elements Distinguished Proficient Emerging Not Evident Value
Comprehension Meets all criteria of the prompt, exceeding expectations (5) Meets all criteria of the prompt (4) Meets most criteria of the prompt (3) Does not meet most criteria of the prompt (0-2) 5
Timeliness & Executive Function Blog is submitted on time and displays that student has met self-identified goals (5) Blog is submitted on time and displays that student has met some self-identified goals (4) Blog is not submitted on time but student made arrangements to submit late; may display some self-identified goals (3) Blog is late and student did not make adequate arrangements; does not display satisfactory movement toward self-identified goals (0-2) 5
Genre & Discourse Community Expresses the unique attributes of blog-writing well; but it also asks us to reconsider the genre and push the boundaries of how we define it (18-20) Expresses many attributes of the blog genre, such as language and style, but may miss some elements (16-17) Expresses a few attributes of the blog genre, but misses most elements (13-15) Does not express enough attributes of the blog genre (0-12) 20
Rhetorical Strategies Displays exceptional awareness of rhetorical strategies; these inform every move to display advanced critical thinking (18-20) Displays some awareness of rhetorical strategies; these play a role at some key moments, showing some critical thinking (16-17) Sometimes rhetorical moves are made but more attention needs to be paid to displaying rhetorical awareness (13-15) Few or no rhetorical strategies are apparent, suggesting that not enough critical thinking drives the line of inquiry (0-12) 20
Source Work: Close-Reading, Summary, Quoting, Multimedia, Synthesis Texts, links, images, and multimedia are integrated smoothly and accurately with attention to countering, forwarding, and sandwiching; usage enhances line of inquiry clearly (18-20) Most source work is integrated smoothly and/or accurately with some attention to countering, forwarding, and/or sandwiching (16-17) Some source work is integrated smoothly and/or accurately; however, sources could often be countered, forwarded, and/or sandwiched more clearly (13-15) Few or no texts are integrated well enough to provide a sense of usage to the line of inquiry (0-12) 20
Argumentation A series of arguments build upon each other to drive inquiry; includes judgment, counter-argument, and  a number of stakes (18-20) At least one clear argument is made that includes judgment, counterargument, and stakes (16-17) An argument could emerge but not enough judgment is apparent; the “thesis” is a smart observation with potential to grow (13-15) Observations are mostly without ethical value; no argument is clearly expressed (0-12) 20
Mechanics Uses appropriate and correct language, organization, clarity, grammar, punctuation, MLA formatting, etc. to express ideas creatively in the blog genre (10) Often uses appropriate and/or correct language, organization, clarity, grammar, punctuation, spacing, MLA formatting, etc. to express ideas in the blog genre (8-9) Mostly uses appropriate and/or correct mechanics (7) Does not use appropriate and/or correct mechanics and this affects the readability of the work (0-6) 10