Introduction to Literature

Reading in the Digital Age

Tag: reflection

Literary Experience #4

For your final assignment of the semester, write a micro-essay of no more than 300 words that answers the following question:

Why does literature matter in the digital age?

During weeks eleven and twelve you wrote a Twitter essay addressing why literature matters. This micro-essay will move extend the thinking you did when composing that tweet and speak specifically to the place of literature in the digital world. You can approach the assignment from any direction you would like, but I’ve got two stipulations:

  1. The essay must be titled. Think of something that captures what you’re saying in the composition.
  2. You must take the essay through at least two drafts. I won’t ask you to submit both drafts, but I’d like this to be more polished than a freewriting exercise.

The finished essay is due by midnight, 12/19. Post it to the Literary Experience 3 & 4 G+ Page.

Literary Experience #3

This course was designed to help you learn to actively and critically read, analyze, and interpret diverse works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama written by authors from diverse cultures and traditions. During our time together, I’ve tried to provide you with an environment in which you could begin to understand and practice diverse ways of responding to these texts. As we approach the end of the term, I’d like you to look back on what you’ve learned and measure that against the objectives of the course, which you’ll find under the Learning Outcomes heading on the course syllabus (here’s a link to that section).

For Literary Experience #3, pick at least three of these objectives and consider how your course experience has influenced your abilities in each area. You should write at least 100 words per objective (so that’s at least 300 words total). Post your response to the Literary Experience 3 & 4 G+ page by midnight, Tuesday 12/9 and post replies of at least 50 words to at least three of your peers by midnight, Friday 12/12.

Literary Experience #2

Now that you’ve chosen and reflected on your favorite text from the course and posted your freewrites in response to Literary Experience #1, I’d like you to create a word cloud using the paragraphs you posted in response to the course text. You’ll do this using the word cloud generator at The descriptive text for the Wordle service says that “Wordle is a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.” You may have seen these floating around the web before (Wordle is a fairly popular service); now you’ll get to create a Wordle for yourself and share it with the class.

To begin, review this tutorial on “how to make and save a word cloud”:

Then make a Wordle for yourself using the text you posted in the Literary Experience #1 forum. As you do so, be sure not to include in your word cloud the headings you’ve used to distinguish your freewrites from each other.

Once you’ve created and saved your word cloud (per the tutorial instructions), share it with the class by posting a link to the image or by attaching the image to your post. With your image include a brief (200 word) analysis of your word cloud. To help you complete this analysis, consider the following questions:

  • What decisions did you make when choosing the design for your cloud?
  • What is the most prominent word (or are the most prominent words) in your cloud? Did this word’s appearance surprise you?
  • What do you think the prominence of this word/these words in your freewrites says about your interaction with the literary text* you chose? In other words, why might you have repeated that word so often as you discussed why the text was your favorite?
  • What might this word/these words suggest about the theme of your chosen literary text?
  • What other words in your cloud stand out to you and what might these words suggest about your interaction with the literary text?

Post your word cloud and your word cloud analysis to the Literary Experience 1 & 2 G+ page by midnight Thursday, 12/4. Then, by midnight Sunday, 12/7, comment on at least three of your peers’ posts (with replies of at least 75 words), discussing any patterns and/or prominent features you may notice in/about their word clouds and what these patterns and/or prominent features suggest to you about their interaction with the literary text.


*”Literary text” refers to the story/essay/poem you wrote about in your freewrites for Literary Experience #1, not to the Wordle. Just to clarify…

The Work for Semester’s End

Unit Theme: The Literary Experience

Revisiting Your Course Experience of/with Literary Texts

Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore your course experience with literature by engaging in some literary experiences. These assignments are listed below. Review each assignment, then get started. Due dates are included in each post.