The contemporary age is one of tremendous upheaval and uncertainty for the literary arts. New technologies challenge established business practices. Emerging markets pose new questions about processes and products. Conflicted conversations about rights and the uses of creative commodity dominate an increasingly fractured landscape. Within this turbulent tumble lies the writer as artist, increasingly a citizen and denizen of the web and its cultures.

This is how all the great stories begin. Turbulence – emotional, cultural, political – is the source and fuel of creativity. The current age is thus a great gift. Artists and writers are now free, in the philosophical (and perhaps spiritual) sense, free to pursue the clamour and craft of their work, in a manner that we have not encountered before. Not since the audacious invention of writing itself.

This course invites writers to discover – or rediscover – the unrivaled adventure of creative work in the world today. The path forward lies on the web. And so, this course examines various digital and online technologies of creativity as well as deeper questions about what it means to be a creative person in the world today.

This course is about reclaiming the fundamental right of creative endeavour and choosing the paths that lead forward. Freedom, adventure, opportunity: these are the watchwords of the contemporary creative professional. Every age calls its inhabitants to action. How do we know this? Writers tell us. How do they tell us? By facing their own crises of confidence, by wrestling with the emerging norms and practices of their time, by seizing the word as their instrument and their stand. Why should we expect our age to be any different? Why would we want it to be?


You will find thorough information about projects (the reading project, the writing project, and the self-awareness project) on their own dedicated pages.

Due Dates

The basic schedule for project submissions is that a project is due every four weeks (from the first day of the semester). The first project is due at the end of week four; the second project is due at the end of week eight, and the final project (the self-awareness assignment) is due at the end of week twelve. That’s easy, right?

I strongly encourage you to follow this schedule – one assignment every four weeks, for twelve weeks. However, you do not have to follow this schedule. Any project that you submit before the end of week twelve will be graded.

Let’s review and confirm: there are no fixed due dates and no penalties for late projects in this class. There are suggested due dates: every four weeks. But you will not be penalized if you do not submit projects on those dates. You can submit your projects at any time up until the final day of week twelve. Again; no penalties are involved. Everyone in the class has the right to delay the submission of projects up until the final day (but not beyond).

For the Spring 2022 semester, that final day is Sunday, April 3.

What happens if the final day passes and you still have not submitted all projects? You will get zero on the projects you have not submitted.

Ideas and practices regarding due dates and late penalties are legacies of a traditional educational structure that focuses on compliance and control. These traditions do not encourage creativity, and they are not sensitive to the diversity of human experience. Life happens. Sometimes things take more time, or less time, than you imagine. In this class I acknowledge the dynamic character of learning, which in turn entails that I also recognize the fundamentally problematic nature of due dates and late penalties.

This all might sound great, and I hope that the scheduling flexibility afforded you in this course works well for you. My goal in doing this is to facilitate a more fluid approach to creative work. But I also offer a cautionary note: every semester there are students who miss the final deadline and fail the course as a result. Freedom has consequences. If you miss the final submission date, there will be no further discussion about due dates and timelines. You will forfeit grades for whatever is incomplete. Try to avoid this situation.

How best to avoid it? Use the monthly schedule shown below. It works. It’s there for a reason (and the reason is that many people are not good at scheduling). If something happens in your life and you are delayed in submitting a project, get it done as close to the monthly schedule as you can. You won’t be penalized. If you get stuck, ask for help.

Whatever you do, don’t plan on submitting everything at the end. That is a terrible strategy. It will probably result in you failing or dropping out of the course. Instead, work consistently in this class. The projects are entirely doable on a monthly basis. The schedule is set up for you to do it that way. Don’t push the river.

Scheduled Dates and Final Deadline

First Project (Reading) — February 6
Second Project (Writing) — March 6
Third Project (Self-Awareness) — April 3
Final Deadline for all ProjectsApril 3 (11:55 p.m.)

For further details, please review the specific pages for each project.

Multiple Submissions

You can submit any project for moderation as many times as you like — until the final deadline. In fact, I encourage you to submit your projects more than once. Writing is an iterative process, after all, and later drafts are often better than previous ones (especially if you ask for feedback on these drafts). I will review each new draft that you send — until the final deadline. Typically, your grade will improve after each draft (provided you ask for feedback and that you are attentive to it). Once the final deadline has passed, the project submission period is closed and you will no longer be able to send new drafts. This also means that you will not be able to improve your grade on a project after the final deadline has passed.

A Note of Caution

You can write about anything you want. But please consider that any subject that is challenging for you to talk about openly (such as personal trauma) is a subject you should probably not write about. On the other hand, powerful personal experiences often provide excellent source material for writing, so it may be difficult for you to decide what to do. First, please use your judgment about how best to keep yourself emotionally safe within and beyond the classroom. Second, please discuss your plans (or your concerns) with me if you decide to write about personal or provocative subjects. In particular, be cautious of subjects involving violence, abuse, trauma, death, mental illness, and related themes (whether they happened to you, happened to someone else, or are imagined). These subjects reliably activate strong emotions and are often unsafe if not handled properly. While no subject is absolutely off-limits in this class, there are many subjects for which there is a risk of harm to you, to me, to others in the class, or to our shared communities. We must be respectful and careful of ourselves and our relationships with others. Please ask me for guidance if you are uncertain.

Asking for Help

People are different. Some like to learn on their own, others prefer direct and ongoing support, and there is, of course, a wide range in between. You are free to approach this course in the manner that suits you best. If I don’t hear from you, I will assume that you are working happily away, reading, composing, and getting things done. If you ask for help or feedback, I will try to be as helpful as I can.