Welcome to Experiments in Visual Writing

"Homework" by Flickr user Stephen Ransom

Homework” by Flickr user Stephen Ransom

Your homework to complete before we meet again on Friday:

  • Read over this website very carefully as it constitutes the syllabus for this course. Note that the Syllabus page includes 5 subpages, covering such topics as: how to contact me and course objectives; the texts you need to buy; attendance, participation, and other policies; how you will be graded; and how Domain of One’s Own will impact your experience in this class. There is also a calendar of reading and assignments (note that there will be some additional incidental readings and assignments added as we go); and pages describing the major assignments this semester (though as of this moment the final two don’t have much specifics included yet).
  • 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.
  • Sign up for a domain of your own. (See this post for a note about choosing a domain name.) Install WordPress on your domain. Give your site a title that is not “My blog.” Configure the settings on your site, making the front page static instead of a posts page.
  • Come back to this post once you have signed up for your domain and leave a comment. Enter your name and email and the new domain address in the “website” line when on the comment. In the body of the comment, I encourage you to ask one question about the syllabus.


  • Is there a limit to how many times we can go to the writing center?

    • There is sort of a limit. Writing Center policy is that you are “not allowed to have more than one appointment per day or two appointments per week,” so you can’t go more than about 30 times over the course of a semester. I do not have any sort of personal limit that is more restrictive. I encourage you to make use of the Writing Center because it’s a wonderful resource, but I doubt you’d need to go any more than 30 times this semester!

  • Will there be a point where we must synthesize all three major texts together so that we are able to look for similarities throughout the course?

    • Really good question, Jessica. And the short answer is … yes and no.

      There will not be a discrete, formal writing project that is explicitly comparative. However, you will be synthesizing and comparing in lots of ways. For one, there will be smaller, informal writing frequently and you can expect that many of those will entail comparing the texts and looking for similarities. Your group project will not be explicitly comparing the texts, but you’ll be synthesizing the processes you’ve learned analyzing the texts as you create your own comic. Finally, there is a major assignment component that is not outlined in the assignments page, called “Final Portfolio with Reflection.” I’ll give much more detailed instructions in the future, but the gist of that assignment will be to reflect on the reading and on your own writing over the course of the semester and to create a coherent portfolio of that work.

      We’ll talk more about how the final portfolio will work in class on Friday, and over the course of the semester.

  • Are we going to be reading the required texts together in class or are we doing most of the reading outside of class and spending class time to analyze and discuss the material?

    • We’ll discuss the reading together in class. So, when the schedule says on 1/21 “Persepolis 3-32″ that means you should read pages 3-32 of Persepolis before class on the 21st and come to class on that day ready to discuss it.

  • Is Persepolis and Persepolis 2 the same books as The Complete Persepolis?

    • Yes, but if you buy them as separate volumes you’ll need to check someone’s Complete edition and figure out how to match up with the assigned page numbers, so you can read the right sections.

      • I have the Complete Persepolis online but don’t seem to have page numbers. Can you tell me based on a chapter or title what page we should start and end for our readings? Sorry for the bother!

        • For tomorrow, pages 3-32 comprise chapter “The Veil,” “The Bicycle,” “The Water Cell,” and “Persepolis.” I’ll try to fill in chapter titles for the rest of the schedule as soon as I can.

  • How would you like our “individual conferences” to be spaced out?

    • I decided to leave that open-ended for now. I will encourage all of you to come meet with me individually after the first project is due–that’s a really good time to go over how that went and touch base as you move forward into the rest of the assignments. Other than that, it depends a lot on what your individual needs are but don’t wait until the very end of the semester before meeting with me.

  • Which of the texts is your personal favorite?

  • Do individual conferences take place during office hours or at separate times?

    • Either. I’m amenable to scheduling outside of that time. You can drop in on me during office hours without an appointment though.

  • Will there be a final individual assignment or will it just be the group assignment?

    • Your final grade includes three major individual projects, the group project at the end, and then your individual final portfolio. We’ll talk about the portfolio tomorrow in class some, but it’s essentially composed of reflecting on the work you’ve done and pulling it together with contextualizing work. There will be some revision of existing writing in the process.

  • Y’all have been asking excellent questions! Really pleased with your close reading of the syllabus today.

  • Do we need to bring our textbooks to class for discussion?

  • Do you give opportunity for extra-credit?

    • I’m not a huge fan of extra credit, but there will be some opportunities over the course of the semester. There will be a few outside speakers this semester that I’d like to encourage you to attend and if you attend the writing workshops mentioned on the Policies page, I’ll award some extra credit points as well.

  • Have you enjoyed reading comics all of your life?

    • For most of my life, yeah. I was not a huge comic book nerd as a kid, but I hovered on the fringes of comic book nerddom, if that makes sense. I’d actually say that’s about where I am now, too, if I’m being honest.

  • What will our “individual conferences” entail?

    • To a large extent, I don’t want to set specific guidelines or expectations, because the goal is for these conferences to be very specifically individualized. In other words, what they entail depends a lot on what you want them to entail, how you’re doing in the class, what questions you have going into them, etc. We’ll meet for 15 minutes or so and talk about whatever it is that seems most productive for us to address. You are free to, encouraged to, meet with me more often than twice.

      That said, I like one of the two to be focused on discussing feedback after a major assignment, preferably the first one, so I’ll really encourage you all to meet with me once I have looked over your Tracing Persepolis pages.

  • Do you believe that the general public values comic books as a tool for serious story telling?

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