All over the America, people are knitting scarves, throwing their own pots, hacking software apps, soldering small electronics, composing their own music and videos, and cooking innovative food—the “do-it-yourself” movement is in full swing. This class will explore the contemporary “do-it-yourself” trend (often called “making”) through fiction, critical essays on industrialization, web communities such as Etsy and Instructables, as well as field trips to visit places where the “maker” movement is hot in Pittsburgh. We will be “making” our own projects, “hacking” our way through technologies, and composing essays, blog posts, and images.

We’ll be talking about composition in a very broad sense: the composing of physical objects, traditional essays, online writing, and digital images and videos. You do not have to know particular software programs or be “makers” to succeed in the class, but you must be willing to use your hands and brains to make things with both physical and digital technologies. As we make things, we’ll always be thinking about what it means to compose in words versus physical and digital technologies.

You can download the syllabus for this class here:
Making/Hacking/Composing Fall 2011 Syllabus
Teachers: feel free to adapt it for your own use! (All content on my website is licensed Creative Commons attribution non-commercial.) If you get a chance, let me know if you do use it.

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