Web Genres In-Class Assignment

We've read a lot of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction narratives in this class, especially ones focused on our course themes of humor, sex and courtship, nature and science, and race and social justice. This week, you'll bring your laptops to class (if you want to) and will be working in groups to find examples of new forms of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. These could include the following:

This exercise counts as much as a quiz, with a 10/10 awarded for a serious effort.

Directions: This is a two-day assignment.

Day 1. On the first day, you'll work with your group to identify some sites and works that you think would qualify. Ideally, you'll find more than one work that you can discuss. Think about these questions:

  1. How is this form or work different from what we'd typically see in a print environment?
  2. In what ways does the web create a different environment for the reader of this work? If you're looking at the site of a traditional print magazine, how does the magazine adapt the work for the web? What additional features does it include?
  3. What effect does the visual elements (including things like paragraph spacing, fonts, colors, images, and so on) have on the reader or consumer of the text?
  4. Does it include sound or moving images? How were these created? What is their effect?
  5. In what ways does this work borrow from conventional narrative types, such as the plot device of the journey, the theme of initiation, or other features?
  6. If this is a story, could you understand what was going on? How was the story told? How did this work handle features such as point of view, plot, character, setting, and symbol?
  7. Did you find a number of these works? What characteristics did they have in common? If you had to name this form, what would you call it?
  8. If you're looking at something that uses humor or other context-heavy features, what is it like? How would you describe the humor? What would a reader in the future need to know in order to understand this form?
  9. How satisfying did you find this work or genre? Would you want to read more things like this?

Day 2. On the second day, you'll spend some time with your group consolidating what you have learned and putting together your presentation. You can add the links you'll discuss to your own page on the wiki. We'll spend the last 45 minutes of Day 2 on your presentations.

Our wiki is here: http://english210.pbworks.com. You should have received an invitation by email already; please log in and try leaving a message there.

Where can I start?

The only limits to this assignment are what you can find on the web. You can look at literary sites, humor, game narratives, blogs, graphic novels/comics, fan fiction, storytelling sites, or whatever else you think would be useful. As mentioned the other day in class, the only limitations are that what you present can't be illegal, crude, or cruel to an individual or a group.

Here are some possibilities, but please feel free to find your own. There are traditional magazines we've discussed (The New Yorker, for example) in their electronic versions here, too. Please don't limit yourself to these choices; these are just some examples.