Course Description: The Future of the Book

Submitted by David Blakesley on Thu, 01/07/2016 - 15:46

Dr. David Blakesley (
Office: Strode 616; Phone: 765.409.2649 (cell; also for texts)
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Behance Team Page: Future of the Book

ENGL 8310: Future of the Book
Spring 2016
Th, 5:00-7:45pm
WFIC 323

Course Website

Course Readings

All course readings will be distributed via the course website, our Feed Aggregator, and a shared folder in Box, which will include additional readings, videos, audio recordings, and more, including selected readings from Before and After Magazine.The course calendar specifies what should be read and when.


This course explores the rapidly changing landscape of the book publishing industry as it adapts to emergent digital technologies and the demands of a connected public, the continuing presence and influence of printed books, the nature and future of the book as an artifact, and the book's possible evolution as transmedia, as augmented, and as social. Students will also explore the future of the digital and printed book from practical and generative perspectives, focusing on methods of producing high quality content for mobile platforms or other ebook readers and using Adobe's Creative Cloud and Digital Publishing Suite (DPS). Students will develop existing books and work with authors to explore emergent models and processes of composition, design, collaboration, production, dissemination, promotion/marketing, and distribution. All students will use Adobe's Behance and Creative Cloud to manage book projects and share their own work.

Together, we will work on a wide variety of book publishing projects, share work in progress in professional networks, and create case studies and scenarios about this work with emergent technologies. Some course readings will focus on what others write and say about the future of the book. Based on these readings and experiences, students will develop portfolio content for publication in professional social networks like (Behance) and a web-based professional portfolio (ProSite). Students in the course will be prepared for possible careers in the publishing industry.


Behance and ProSite Portfolios. Throughout the course, you'll learn to use Behance to share your work publicly with the class (or your project groups) and then with a broader professional network. In addition to posting your weekly Publishing and Design Challenges, you'll be free to place any samples of your work in Behance. As you accumulate more work in Behance, you'll begin to develop your own ProSite, which functions as an online professional portfolio. You'll be responsible for choosing what content to make public. In the end, your Behance and ProSite portfolios will stand as an example of your best work in this course (and perhaps others as well, if you choose). By the end of the class, your Behance portfolio should have at least ten items (probably many more), and your ProSite at least five colleections or examples of your work (think of a collection as a set of images or artifacts on a particular theme or topic. (10% of course grade)

Weekly Activities

The products of these weekly activities will ultimately become the content for the Multimedia Book (see below). Each week, you'll meet either a Publishing Design or Techne Challenge that will be shared with the class and then developed and refined further for ultimate inclusion in the Multimedia Book.

Bi-Weekly Publishing Design Challenges. Every other week, starting in Week 3, you'll respond to a book design or publishing challenge with writing, images, audio, video, or other content. Some challenges will ask for multiple variations or samples of the product you produce for the particular challenge. Each design will be described on the course calendar. During class and after, you'll be asked to write short responses to the work of at least two other designers directly in Behance. As with your weekly design challenges, many of these challenges will be revised/improved for the Multimedia Book. (20% of course grade)

Bi-Weekly Techne Challenges. "Techne" refers in classical rhetoric to "art" or "craft," a set of generative principles for "making" something while drawing on knowledge and method. Every other week, starting in Week 2, you'll research, describe, produce, and/or and demonstrate an important method or process used to create some component of a print or multimedia book, which may also include its social marketing. For these challenges, you should choose method, platforms, and/or software that you already know pretty well. The goal in these challenges will be to explore and create future "spaces" for the book, aiming to be descriptive in outlining possible futures. As with your weekly design challenges, many of these will be revised/improved for the Multimedia Book. (20% of course grade)

Major Projects

* Note: Each of the following projects will be supported by an overview and guidelines when formally assigned.

Individual Book Project. On your own, you'll create a book platform (starting in Adobe InDesign) capable of generating multiple variations across media and platforms, from print to interactive, multi-touch, ebook. You'll be able to choose from existing (verbal and visual) content with the goal of adapting it for multiple platforms: ePub, Kindle (where interactive elements may be minimal), iBook, and DPS App with an eye for enhancing the content with multimedia components and interactivity (where possible and desirable), which might include integration with social media, external links or additional available content. You'll be able to choose your project from a list provided to you, or you may choose to work with a book from another source. Some of your work may involve working with authors or client organizations. At the end of the semester, you'll present your project with your team at an end-of-the-semester showcase. (30% of course grade)

Multimedia, Collaborative Book. This collection (yet to be named) will explore and present the process, methods, principles, and products of your Techne Challenges, Publishing Design Challenges and Individual Book Projects and be presented (and presentable) in multimedia formats including text, audio, video, and other forms of interactive media. Much of your work on this project will involve reviewing the work of others and refining/developing your own weekly challenges into publishable content. The first step in the process will involve defining the content of the book in a formal outline. The audience for this book will be book publishers, industry specialists, Clemson faculty, students, and staff, and the wider public. The assignment description will provide numerous samples and examples. (20% of course grade)

Resources and Technologies

You'll have full access to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of tools for designing and developing a wide variety of content across all media and platforms, from print to smartphone. Some of the course readings will support your learning of these tools and will be categorized on a separate page at the course site. You will need to spend additional time learning to use the tools you need for each of your projects, and some class time will be devoted to learning specialized uses of the Adobe tools. If you use a laptop, you should install the Creative Cloud (see and bring it to class. You can also install the software on your desktop machine.

Learning Creative Cloud Tools. Almost all of the work you produce in class will be with software in Adobe's Creative Cloud suite of tools, which are vast. At the start of class, you'll be asked to create and verify your Adobe ID, install the Creative Cloud on a computer you have easy access to, and then begin learning more about how to use the programs by watching and reading Adobe's many tutorials. Prior experience with Adobe software will be helpful but not absolutely necessary if you're willing and eager to learn more, develop existing skills further, and spend extra time learning to use the tools you need to use to complete course projects. Although we'll use a wide variety of them, the most commonly used applications will be InDesign, Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Premiere.

Additional course resources will be shared via the "Handouts" section of the course site.


Behance and ProSite Portfolios 10%
Publishing Design Challenges 20%
Techne Challenges 20%
Individual Book Project 30%
Multimedia, Collaborative Book 20%

To earn full credit for weekly challenges, you will need to complete each one on time and as a fully engaged designer/writer and actively respond to your peers. These challenges will be scored on the following scale: 2 (excellent), 1 (satisfactory), 0 (incomplete, late, or not submitted). The criteria for evaluation of the other major projects will be spelled out on the project description. You'll receive feedback along the way throughout each project from your peers and me, as well as a grade on the projects after they're completed. Much of the feedback you receive from me (as the instructor) will be provided orally during class or during my office hours whenever you would like to discuss your progress or recently completed work.


Attendance is required at all scheduled meetings. Two absences may result in your final grade being lowered by as much as a letter grade. More than three absences can result in a failing grade for the course. Excused absences will only be granted for religious holidays or university-sponsored events, provided you make a written request to me no fewer than two weeks in advance and that you complete any required work before the due date. Being excessively or regularly late for class can also be counted as an absence. Note: If the instructor is late to class, you only need to wait fifteen (15) minutes.

Decorum and Professional Communication

All students are expected to behave responsibly and collegially in class, via email, or in any other interactive course communication (e.g., Skype, if used to collaborate. As a professional communicator, you should be especially mindful of decorum, which is alertness to the ethical practices of a community. Harassment of any kind in email, face-to-face, or other communication will not be tolerated and may be subject to a warning from the instructor, dismissal from the course space, or referral to the Dean of Graduate Studies. Students who feel they have been harassed in some way should contact the instructor privately by email, phone, or in-person.

Clemson University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, veteran's status, genetic information or protected activity (e.g., opposition to prohibited discrimination or participation in any complaint process, etc.) in employment, educational programs and activities, admissions and financial aid. This includes a prohibition against sexual harassment and sexual violence as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The policy is located at policy. html. Jerry Knighton serves as Clemson's Title IX Coordinator and he may be reached at or 656-3181.

Academic Integrity

Clemson students and their instructors are expected to adhere to the community and ethical standards for behavior and academic integrity at the University:

As members of the Clemson University community, we have inherited Thomas Green Clemson's vision of this institution as a 'high seminary of learning.' Fundamental to this vision is a mutual commitment to truthfulness, honor, and responsibility, without which we cannot earn the trust and respect of others. Furthermore, we recognize that academic dishonesty detracts from the value of a Clemson degree. Therefore, we shall not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing in any form. In instances where academic standards may have been compromised, Clemson University has a responsibility to respond appropriately to charges of violations of academic integrity.

For more information, please see the Graduate School Policy Handbook at Unless otherwise noted in assignment guidelines, you should not submit work for this course that has been submitted for a grade in other courses.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who need accommodations or have questions about accessibility of the course materials should make an appointment with the Director of Student Disability Services to discuss specific needs within the first week or two of class. Students should present a Faculty Accommodation Letter from Student Disabilities Services when they meet with instructors. Student Disability Services is located in G-20 Redfern (telephone number: 656-6848; e-mail: Please be aware that accommodations are not retroactive and new Faculty Accommodation Letters must be presented each semester.

In Case of a Campus Emergency

In the event of a major campus emergency, course requirements, deadlines and grading percentages are subject to changes that may be necessitated by a revised semester calendar or other circumstances. You can acquire updated information from the course website, by emailing, texting, or calling me using the information provided on this course description, or by contacting me through the English Department at (864) 656-3151.

Late Work

All course work is due when listed on the course calendar. Assignments turned in late or not presented during class will not receive credit, and missed class assignments cannot be made up. Sketchy internet access or computer problems aren't acceptable excuses. If a serious and unavoidable problem arises, however, you should contact me in writing prior to the deadline to determine whether or not an extension for the work can be granted.