EG 48 5715

Spring 2007

Instructor: Gerry O'Connor


English Department


This is a course in the art of exploraton - a drive to discover new things, creating new realities and building new connections. It's a course where surprises abound, where "explorers" thrive on knowing that just around the corner is something new that they are going to have to learn and react to. The ultimate effect is not just a matter of recombination, which often happens within a single field, but of creative encounters, of one discipline fertilizing another, one thought triggering another.

Students love schedules, love knowing the order of subjects and the satisfaction of ticking off one requirement after the other, one chapter after another, class after class, week after week. Exploration and learning happends best, conversely, by accident, serendipitiously (even the word has a carefree lilt about it) not by following a rigid schedule down a track.

Learning to look around sparks curiosity, encourages serendipity. Amazing connections get made that way, questions are raised - and sometimes answered that would never be otherwise. Any explorer sees things that reward not just a bit of scrutiny but a bit of thought over the years. Put things in spatial context or arrange them in time, and they acquire value immediately

During the semester, you will explore the literature of sport.

You will also research the cultural, social, political, literary, literacy and economic changes that have resulted from any increase/decrease in our culture's preoccupation with sports. Because this course is being offered only online, it will take place in cyberspace, where, throughout the semester, you will work both alone and with your peers (asynchronously) to enhance your understanding of the topics and experience a glorious explosion of newly recognized meanings.

You will, in the spirit of open-ended play, be able to experiment, to try new combinations and to take risks often not available in print culture. This will generate some surprisingly new, complex intellectual combinations. We need to learn, to challenge ourselves, to invent new patterns. The fun of creating and using the web to create our text will give you the opportunity to change work into play. Play is what we do for our own sake, yet it is a spur to our most creative, most significant work.

Because this course will be conducted with no face-to-face contact, you will work on developing, enhancing, and learning new computer skills: web page construction, FTP, telnet, and e-mail etiquette.

Threaded class discussions and exercises will take place regularly using Suny Learning Network threaded e-mail--attendance and participation are required. Peer evaluations will take place using e-mail to swap URLs and provide feedback. You will post your work weekly (chapters) to your webfolio and be evaluated with comments via e-mail. Most individual questions will be handled using E-mail, but when a question's response applies to others, the class listserv will be used. In addition, I will be available by e-mail most days.

The course is only accessible through the Suny Learning Network. All threaded e-mail discussions will take place in this arena.

The course is writing and reading intensive, as are all the English courses at Suffolk County Community College. The required writing component will take various forms:

    • e-mail
    • WWW pages
    • hypertext
    • your individual Course Web Page - Webfolio

Using both the web and printed sources, students will be expected to explore/discover/read and respond to the readings. Their acquired knowledge will be developed into a minimum of 6-8 extended essays/critiques (500 - 1000 words) . These essays will be posted to your webfolio on the college server as individual web pages and subjected to a collaborative review by their peers.

There will also be a collaborative electronic presentation (Collaborative Observations). Students will collaborate electronically ( for more on how this team collaboration works click here - How Teams Work )and be responsible for selecting a topic from a list of topics provided (I will generate a list sometime in March) and develop a team presentation to be posted to a team web page. To see a graphic representation of how this works please visit the following site.

Students will participate weekly in threaded discussions (I will provide questions and areas for discussion - See SLN). This Socratic questioning begins with inquiry, leads to perplexity, and ends in enlightenment. In online discussion, writing is very much dialogical. There is an audience of peers whose role is not to evaluate writing for a grade but to explore and develop ideas together. It provides you with an arena to further your understanding. Collectively, the webfolio and threaded discussion provide a real purpose and a real audience for student writing.