Section A1: MWF 9:05-9:55, Clough 325
Section B2: MWF 11:15-12:05, Clough 123
Section C: MWF 8:00-8:50, Clough 123

Instructor: Dr. Dori Coblentz
Office Hours at Skiles 307:
Mondays from 10-11
Wednesdays from 12:30-1:30
Thursdays from 1:30-2:30
By appointment

Course Description

Hobby Histories is a class designed to make you better at writing and reading across many contexts and using multiple technologies. The best way to do this is to practice – a lot. You can expect to spend at least some time most days this semester practicing your written, oral, visual, electronic, and non-verbal communication skills. This particular section of English 1101 uses the theme of hobbies to improve skills like public speaking, asking good questions, finding out answers, and communicating your findings. We will explore the history of hobbies and what it can tell us about changing ideas regarding technology and identity. We will read Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier alongside Puritan polemics and modern-day texts on hobbies and hobby communities. Your assignments will include a PechaKucha presentation, a 1-2 minute hobby project pitch, two 3-4 page papers, a 6-8 minute video essay, a group hobby resource project, and a final portfolio.

Course Goals and Learning Outcomes

In addition to the program-wide General Education Outcomes for English 1101, students will develop the:

LO1: Ability to make an original contribution to a discourse after researching existing contributions (hobby resource group project, hobby pitch)

LO2: Ability to recognize and analyze how texts and performances make meaning (in-class essays, discussion, and workshops)

LO3: Ability to recognize and reproduce generic conventions (in-class essays, essay, websites, and hobby resource project)

LO4: Ability to identify and adapt to audience, presenting arguments persuasively and engagingly (hobby group project, hobby pitch)

LO5: Ability to analyze how texts influence and are influenced by their historical context (in-class discussion, workshops, essay)

Graded Components

  • Participation and In-Class Writing Workshops: (10%)
  • Common First Week Video: August 28th (5%)
  • PechaKucha Presentation: due date varies (10%)
  • Paper 1: September 18th (7.5%)
  • Paper 2: September 29th (7.5%)
  • Video Essay (20%)
    • Storyboard: October 16th
    • Final Project: October 20th
  • Hobby Project Pitch: October 25th (5%)
  • Group Hobby Resource Project (20%)
    • Proposal and work plan: October 30th
    • Project draft for peer review: November 13th
    • Final project November: 20th

Assessment details will be included with each assignment and a comprehensive breakdown of feedback components may be found in the English 1101 and 1102 assignment feedback guide. Your final grade will be assigned as a letter grade according to the following scale:

A         90-100%
B         80-89%
C         70-79%
D         60-69%
F          0-59%

Brief Descriptions of Assignments

Participation (10%)

5% of your Participation grade is based on the written work you do in our Writing Workshop classes throughout the semester. The other 5% is based on your preparation for class. Throughout the semester you will be asked to watch videos, look through websites, and read other online materials as well as complete textbook readings. To be prepared for class, you should do all of the readings, think about them, and have something to say about them during discussion. Summarizing each reading’s main argument and highlighting a few questions that it raises in your notes is a good way to come up with worthwhile things to say. For each class with an assigned reading, you are required to turn in a discussion question at the beginning of class.

PechaKucha Presentation (10%)

PechaKucha is a format of presentation in which you play 20 slides through continuously while you speak for 20 seconds about each slide. You will be using this format to present an image-driven argument about one of the three topics. Unlike your papers, the presentation is not designed to be a place for nuanced and complex argumentation. Think of it as a polemic instead – your goal is to have a simple, clear point that you present in an entertaining and engaging manner. The goal of the presentation is not really to prove a hobby’s worthiness, but rather to study the mechanisms of persuasion. Signups for PechaKucha will occur during the second week of class.

Short Papers (7.5% each)

You will write two 3-4 page papers, due September 18th and September 29th. The first of these will be a critique of a hobby of your choice written in imitation of Gosson’s Schoole of Abuse and accompanied by a brief reflection. The second paper will perform an explication of a passage in Twelfth Night and connect it to the course theme. They will use 12 point font, be double spaced, and have one-inch margins. Papers will be submitted via T-Square.

Video essay (20%)

As a midterm project, you will choose one of the two short papers to expand into a 3-6 minute video essay. The project includes two steps. On October 16th, you will turn in a storyboard of your proposed video containing 12-18 images with text describing the image, its purpose, the kind of shot (i.e closeup) it will be and its duration. On October 20th, you will turn in the final video essay project with an attached 200-400 word reflection.

Hobby Project sequence (25%)

You will complete two prewriting workshops on mindmapping and Wikipedia. Then, you will write a hobby project pitch of about one minute in length to be given to the class on October 25th. Your group will submit a proposal and work plan on October 30th. Drafts of the project for peer review are due November 13th. Final projects are due, as an in-class event, on November 20th. To receive credit for the final project you must complete all draft and peer review steps.

Extra Credit

Students from another section of English 1101 may visit our final project exhibition day for extra credit in their course on fandom. I will make the same opportunity available to students in this section.

Final Portfolio (15%)

All sections of English 1101 will complete a portfolio project in lieu of a final exam. The portfolio will include a reflective essay and several examples of your work throughout the semester with brief introductions for each example.

Course Materials

  • Folger Shakespeare Library, Twelfth Night, 2004. ISBN-10: 0743482778
  • Castiglione, Baldesar, The Book of the Courtier George Bull. ISBN: 0140441921
  • A laptop brought to each class and loaded with all digital readings
  • WOVENText, edited by Amy Braziller, Elizabeth Kleinfeld, and the Georgia Tech Writing and Communication Program. Available for purchase as a RedShelf eBook

WCP Common Policies

Review the WCP Common Policies here. You are responsible for knowing and adhering to these policies. By signing the syllabus agreement at the end of this document, you are verifying that you have read and understood both the syllabus and the WCP common policies.

According to our Program-wide attendance policy, you may miss 4 classes without penalty. Each additional absence subtracts one-third of a letter grade per absence (for example, if you missed five classes your final grade would change from B+ to B).  Eight missed classes results in an automatic failure of the course.

Course Website and Other Classroom Management Tools

We will be using T-Square and the course website at

Course Expectations & Guidelines

Late Policy

It’s important for you to be at every class meeting with your readings completed and your reading questions written. If you cannot meet a deadline you must contact me before the class in which it is due to discuss the situation. Each essay is to be turned in on time.  For each class period late, a full letter grade will be lowered (i.e. by 10%) unless you have made prior arrangements with me.

Revision Policy

Because we are covering so much material so quickly and I do not want students to fall behind, I do not allow revisions on most assignment unless there are extraordinary circumstances. If you get a grade you are unhappy with, turn your focus to the next assignment and meet with me to talk about how you can prepare for it.

Classroom and Online Environment

Arrive on time – excessive tardiness will affect your participation grade. You are welcome to use your laptop, tablet, or smart phone, but only for notes and other class-related things. Exercise common courtesy such as paying attention when others are talking and not interrupting.

Academic Integrity

Georgia Tech aims to cultivate a community based on trust, academic integrity, and honor. Students are expected to act according to the highest ethical standards.  For information on Georgia Tech’s Academic Honor Code, please visit or

Any student suspected of cheating or plagiarizing on a quiz, exam, or assignment will be reported to the Office of Student Integrity, who will investigate the incident and identify the appropriate penalty for violations.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you are a student with learning needs that require special accommodation, contact the Office of Disability Services at (404)894-2563 or, as soon as possible, to make an appointment to discuss your special needs and to obtain an accommodations letter.  Please also e-mail me as soon as possible in order to set up a time to discuss your learning needs.


Date Topics and Activities Reading and Assignments
8/21 Syllabus review and introductions
8/23 What is multimodal communication?

Syllabus Q&A

Review syllabus and sign syllabus form.

Read WOVENText Chapter 1

8/25 Common First Week workshop Read WOVENText Chapter 2 and Chapter 7, pages 151-158
8/28 Discuss Common First Week videos Common First Week video due

Eric Hayot, Elements of Academic Style, chapter 6: “A Materialist Theory of Writing.” Available through library online access.

WOVENText Chapter 3

8/30 In-Class Workshop: what is a hobby?
9/1 Genre Elkington and Stebbins, The Serious Leisure Perspective: An Introduction: pages 70-85

WOVENText Chapter 4

Discussion question

9/4 Labor day – no class
9/6 Rhetorical analysis Gosson, School of Abuse, containing a pleasant invective against Poets, Pipers, Players, Jesters, and such like Caterpillars of the Commonwealth pages 1-11 and 32-37
Discussion question
Signups for PechaKucha
9/8 Discussion of oral presentations WOVEN Chapter 10, Chapter 16 569-575
9/11 Taking leisure seriously PechaKucha

King James I, “Declaration of Sports” (T-Square)

Common First Week video reflection
Discussion question

9/13 Writing Workshop: bring drafts of paper 1 PechaKucha
9/15 Chivalry in Urbino The Book of the Courtier 9-29
Discussion question
9/18 Castiglione’s rhetorical legacy The Book of the Courtier 31-36
Discussion questionTwelfth Night: Act I
PechaKuchaShort Paper 1 due before class
9/20 In-Class Writing Workshop PechaKucha
9/22 Urbino and Illyria Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, 39-44

Twelfth Night: Act II-III

9/25 Shakespeare’s courtiers Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, 45-55

Twelfth Night: Act IV-V

Discussion question


9/27 Writing Workshop Peer review of Paper 2 drafts


9/29 Grazia Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, 56-60


10/2 Sprezzatura Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier 61-66

Discussion question

Paper 2 Due

10/4 Writing Workshop
10/6 Asynchronous Virtual Class Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier 67-74
Discussion question and one-paragraph attempted answer to the question.Statement of which paper you are turning into a video essay and why. Due in class 10/11

No class – fall break

10/11 Writing Workshop: PechaKucha

10/6 homework due

10/13 Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier 75-84
Discussion question
10/16 Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier 85-89


Video Essay Storyboard Due

10/18 Research Day – Work from Home
10/20 Persuasion Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier 89-96

FAQ, About, and Categories for 1000 Pitches


Video Essay due

10/23 The print revolution Selection on T-Square from Elizabeth Eisenstein’s  The Printing Press as an Agent of Change
Discussion questionPechaKucha
10/25 Pitches Hobby Pitch due
10/27 Collaboration WOVENText chapters 8-9

Discussion Question


10/30 Planning Proposal and work plan due
11/1 Writing Workshop Group Work
11/3 Hobbies, bodies, science Eric Hayot, “The Uneven U” 59-73. Available on T-Square or through the library’s online copy of Elements of Academic Style, chapter 8.


Discussion question

11/6 Tinkering today, “What’s a Maker Faire?” “What’s the Maker Movement”, and “Be a Maker”
“What is a Maker? You Are” in MakezinePamela Smith, The Body of the Artisan, “Conclusion: Toward a History of Vernacular Science” 237-241. Available through the library.
Discussion questionPechaKucha
11/8 Writing Workshop  PechaKucha
11/10 Hobbies and games Jane McGonigal, Reality is Broken introduction
Discussion question
11/13 Peer Review Draft of hobby project due

The Book of the Courtier, 96-104

Discussion question


11/15 Writing Workshop PechaKucha
11/17 Group work PechaKucha
11/20 Project Fair Group Hobby Project due
11/22 No class
11/24 No class

Final class sprint: Extra credit and portfolio work

11/27 – Reflection on courtiership, rhetoric, and hobbies in pop culture. Submit examples of pop culture courtiers and lead discussion on them for extra credit.

11/29 Portfolio workshop. Bring rough draft of reflection essay.

12/1 Portfolio workshop. Course Evaluations. Peer review.

12/4 Portfolio workshop. Portfolio drafting assignment TBA.

Section A1: 12/13

Section B2: 12/8

Section C: 12/11