Making is fundamental to what it means to be human. We must make, create, and express ourselves to feel whole. There is something unique about making physical things. These things are like little pieces of us and seem to embody portions of our souls.

— Mark Hatch, The Maker Movement Manifesto

Dear students, welcome to ENG 101.

This 8-week freshman composition course is a re-envisioning of what it means to compose. In the 21st century, people are composing more than ever before in texts, emails, social media sites, and blogging platforms. A medium is a go-between: a way for information to be conveyed from one person to another. Writing is one example of a medium. Marshall McLuhan, in “The Medium is the Message” has suggested that the medium itself — even more than the content it carries — shapes how we interact and see the world. This semester, we’ll be working with different mediums and modes of communication to rethink how we reach audiences and achieve rhetorical goals. These critical, self-reflective lessons can be transferred back to print-based writing, which has always been visual/multimodal to begin with.

Our course is designed around a semester-long Research Project, which will engage you in different types of research and critical thinking and reflection practices, which in turn will help you develop dialectical, recursive writing habits. These skills and habits will become important for the work you do beyond our 101 course. (More on the Research project here.)

Situated within this project are smaller assignments, and these include maker assignments. Maker assignments are designed to help you reflect on the research and writing process through the tactile processes of making. (More on that here.)

In this WordPress site you will find curated resources designed to help you successfully complete the Research Project and related assignments. You will find our course calendar, assignment descriptions and instructions, video tutorials, helpful readings, resources, inspiration, and much more.

Additionally, you will become contributors to this site by blogging about your maker assignments — sharing and reflecting on your work — in the Student Blog.

Should we know exactly what we’re doing?

Nope. And that’s alright.

Inquiry and discovery will guide our work this semester. As we learn through exploration and experiment, this site will continue to grow and improve. Whether you are an ENG 101 student enrolled in this course or you’ve simply stumbled upon it by chance, your ideas, questions, and experiences are welcome! Please email them directly to bree.mcgregor@azwestern.edu

Thanks, and happy making!

-Bree McGregor, Online Adjunct Instructor, Arizona Western College