Writing 3200: Writing and Coding (Special Topics)

Winter 2022
3.0 credits
Tuesday, 11:30am-2:30pm
Image credit: Unsplash


What does it mean to think of coding as writing? What do writers need to know about code? And what might writers be uniquely skilled at in coding? We’re going to explore these questions together through a combination of reading, writing, and coding. By the end, you’ll have working knowledge of JavaScript, more confidence in digital writing, and theoretical knowledge about the intersections of writing, coding, and literacy. No programming experience needed!

Course Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Understand the breadth of the writing act by considering the variety and depth of rhetorical activity possible in code and its surrounding discourses
  • Understand the roles of audience, form, style, purpose, and voice in code
  • Work independently and collaboratively on writing about, with, and in code to be prepared for professional writing opportunities in digital contexts
  • Reflect on their own writing and coding processes to develop flexible and robust digital writing practices

Because I believe that learning happens by doing, you’ll see that our assignments and their marks are weighted heavily toward lower-stakes assignments and not towards high-stakes projects. You’ll earn points each week for trying new things (even when it doesn’t work out!) and be assessed for the attempt and your reflection on that work.

Reading Quizzes (20%)
Soon, Winnie and Geoff Cox. Aesthetic Programming: A Handbook of Software Studies. Open Humanities Press, 2020.

All other readings available through York U libraries.

Class Participation (20%)

Writing Experiments & Reflections (40%)
Each week, you’ll tackle an experiment in writing and coding. I’ll be challenging you to try new things and take risks to see what you can say and do with code. Sometimes it will go well; sometimes it will flop. That’s okay! The goal of these assignments is to get you trying something new and reflecting on what it means to write about and with code. You should aim to spend about 3 hours per week working on and reflecting on this experiment.

Final Project (20%)
This final project is a revision, expansion, and reimagining of one of your coding projects. It is an opportunity to build on something that grabbed your interest and produce a polished, final digital writing project that you would like to have in your professional portfolio.

Student Work

%d bloggers like this: