Welcome to Play Make Write Think

I look forward to working with you this semester.

Your homework to complete before we meet again on Thursday, January 16:

  • Read over this website very carefully as it constitutes the syllabus for this course. Note that the Syllabus page includes a number of subpages, covering such topics as: how to contact me; the course learning outcomes; the texts you need; attendance, participation, and other policies; and how you will be graded. There is also a calendar of readings and assignments; and posts describing the major assignments (podcast episodes, Fiasco role-playing game, and creating a game and designing a Kickstarter-style proposal for its further development) and minor assignments this semester.
  • 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.
  • Respond to this simple survey so I can get some basic contact information and get to know you a little bit better.
  • Sign up for a basic, free WordPress site. (See further information below about choosing a name for your site.) Note: If you already own a domain and server space, come talk to me to determine whether you can use that instead of creating a site on WordPress.com.
  • Leave a comment on this post asking a question about the syllabus. Put the URL for the WordPress site you created in the “website” line on the comment form. If you want to receive an email every time a new post goes up on this site, check the “Subscribe to site” box before you submit your comment.
    Reply to this survey form, which both asks some basic information I’ll need in order to manage communications with you and also asks some questions that will help me get to know you a little bit better.
  • Read Andrea Lunsford, “Rhetorical Situations” and “Reading Rhetorically” from Everyone’s an Author.  Note that link will take you to the PDF that I’ve uploaded to our electronic course reserves, so you will need to login with your Emory netid and password to access the document.

A little more on naming your WordPress site

You can choose a URL based on some version of your name (i.e., janestudent.wordpress.com or johndoe.wordpress.com) if you’d like. Using a version of your name has the advantage that you will be building a digital identity on the web based on your name, which can be really helpful. On the other hand, it also means that this site that you’re building will likely come up near the top of web searches for your name, so consider whether that is something you would like.

If you don’t want to publish your coursework on a site with a version of your name, you can also use some sort of pseudonym for your domain name.

It is also perfectly acceptable for your domain name to be a short word or phrase that is easy to remember and spell, and which speaks to some interest of yours or an aspect of your character (for example: my friend Audrey Watters, a noted educational technology scholar and researcher publishes a site called hackeducation.com; Tanine Allison, a professor of Media Studies here at Emory who just published her first book entitled Destructive Sublime: World War II in American Media, uses destructivesublime.com as her domain name; or one of my favorite art and design blogs is called thisiscolossal.com). If you’re going to choose a title or phrase as your domain name, make sure you think about it very carefully so you don’t show up on one of those lists of the most unfortunate domain names ever, like the design firm called Speed of Art that ended up with a domain name that sounds like it’s about flatulence in a swimsuit. Note that in the case of your site, you’ll be publishing a page that’s a subdomain of WordPress.com, so if Audrey Watters were in this class her site might be called hackeducation.wordpress.com.


  1. I remember that you mentioned in class that we are able to revise our assignments/work; if that is the case, how will the grades be changed for regraded work? Will we receive full credit or partial credit?

    1. Initially, I’ll let you know whether your work is proficient and will give you feedback on how to improve it. I don’t enter a grade or anything at that point — I just give you a sense of where I think the work is and what you might do to make it better. When I grade your portfolio, I’m not judging it based on how it was in the first draft but looking at where it is now. Does that make sense?

  2. How would you describe the difference in receiving a proficient and an excellent on an assignment? What are you looking for the most when deciding if a student should receive an excellent on an assignment?

  3. There are too many variations in games, how are we going to learn games as a whole? What commons do all games share? [moving comment here to the correct post]

    1. We won’t be able to study all games, you’re right. We’ll read some theoretical texts early in the semester and establish some definitions. I have in mind certain kinds of games that I think are more interesting and worth studying in this particular class, and you will get to make decisions about other games that you can pull into our discourse (mostly through the podcast episodes).

    1. You can still complete Side Quests whether you’re absent or not. You can’t make up in-class work if you’re not in class.

  4. It seems like many of the assignments will require using programs such as Photoshop, Indesign and Lightroom. Does Emory University provide us with subscriptions to these applications, or do we need to purchase them ourselves?

    1. Emory doesn’t provide individual licenses to students for those Adobe products but there are computers in the Media Lab on the 4th floor of the library that have Adobe Creative Suite available for use. That said, you won’t need those. You can do any required work with free web-based photo editors. But it would be great to learn those softwares!

    1. Yes, your comment is published now. You might choose to do something with role playing games for your Kickstarter proposal.

  5. I wanted to know how in-class discussions works? Will it be seminar-based like everyone in a circle with their questions prepped? Will there be an assigned person to lead discussions? Is there a minimum to how often we talk? Thank you for your attention to these questions.

    1. It will vary week to week. Sometimes you’ll be in small groups. Sometimes I’ll lead discussion with question. Sometimes we’ll do other things.

    1. Not really. You’ll become proficient with WordPress and Audacity but you don’t need to know how to use them already. You’ll get to try out some photo editing. And you might end up using other tech, but whatever you need to do you can learn along the way.

  6. There are questions specifically about video games and board games in the survey, so are we focusing on these two types of games more in the class? Also, just curious, does minesweeper count as a board game?

    1. We’ll focus most of our attention on board games and video games, yes, but we’ll also play at least one role-playing games and we’ve already played one card game. There’s room to explore other genres and we’ll probably talk about some things that most people don’t think of as games but that might be.

      I think there are both board game and video game versions of Minesweeper.

  7. I was thinking about naming my URL after my gamer tag (TryScales) that I’ve been using since I was 9 or 10 since it fits with the theme of this class. Is this appropriate? I could just make another website if this not okay.

  8. How would you describe the difference in quality of work between a proficient and excellent grade? Is there anything in particular that you look for in students’ work when assessing this?

    1. Honestly, it varies depending on the rhetorical situation of a text, but most fundamentally I’d say that excellent work is when you have a clear sense of your own audience, genre, and purpose and are making strategic decisions in order to achieve your purpose. An assignment can be proficient if you are showing that you understand what’s expected and competently complete the task.

    1. Best thing to do is talk to me as soon as you realize it’s going to be a problem, preferably at least a day or two before something is due. THe key thing for me is that if we have some time in advance to negotiate what’s expected so that we’re both clear, it makes it much easier to accommodate needs.

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