DTC101: Introduction to Digital Technology & Culture

Summer 2015
Class: MW 2:30pm – 5:50pm
Location: VMMC 111
Instructor: Will Luers
Phone: 503-975-3254
Office Hours: MW 5:50pm – 6:20pm, VMMC 111

NOTE: All matters associated with this course are subject to change. Any changes will be communicated to students.

Course Rationale

The WSU catalog describes this course as “[I]nquiry into digital media, including origins, theories, forms, applications, and impact with a focus on authoring and critiquing multimodal texts. 3 credits; no pre-requisite.” The course is categorized as a “Ways of Knowing,” under “ARTS” Inquiry in Creative and Professional Arts;” thus, it counts toward UCORE requirements for a degree at WSU.

Overview of the Class

The focus of this course is learning about the history, background, theory, and development of digital media objects, not so much learning how to use various software programs. There will be abbreviated opportunities for hands-on learning through making things. This approach follows the “learn, think, build” focus of The CMDC Program.

(LEARN) Read scholarship by major figures involved in the development of the field of digital media, including multimedia artists and scholars who have laid the groundwork for its practices and theories.

(THINK) Engage in meaningful discussion, both in writing and orally, about the digital objects produced by others and apply critical thinking and problem solving to digital media projects.

(BUILD) Create expressive or informative multimodal, digital objects that are not reproducible as print objects and effectively explain both orally and in writing the process and method of their production.


Learning Goals

Course Activities University 
Learning Goals University 
Learning Objectives CMDC 
Goals & Objectives
1.short written responses to readings Critical and Creative Thinking (ULG1)Communication (ULG4) Combine and synthesize existing ideas, images, or expertise in original ways.Express concepts propositions, and beliefs in coherent, concise, and technically correct form. Goal8
Appreciate the history of technological development, from local to global perspectives, and its implications for a variety of mediums
2. multimedia/
Information Literacy (ULG2)
Communication (ULG4)

Identify, explain, compare, apply, argue, interpret, and evaluate information in a variety of digital forms.

Goal 1
Synthesize media forms for multimedia contextsGoal 3
Employ the principles of visual form for sophisticated image manipulation
3. final project Critical and Creative Thinking (ULG1)Information Literacy (ULG2)Communication (ULG4)Depth, Breadth, and Integration of Learning (ULG7) Combine and synthesize existing ideas, images, or expertise in original ways.Determine the extent and type of information needed.Express concepts propositions, and beliefs in coherent, concise, and technically correct form.By applying the concepts of the general and specialized studies to personal, academic, service learning, professional, and/or community activities. Goal 2
Synthesize media forms for multimedia contextsGoal 9
Utilize an interdisciplinary perspective in order to understand the basics of social, economic, and education changes brought about by digital media

The assignments and activities for this course reflect these objectives and serve to assist students with reaching program goals.

Required Course Texts and Other Resources

  • Course Packet from University Readers, (see below)
  • The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan and Quinton Fiore Gingko Pr Inc (2005), ISBN-10: 1584230703 – available at the Bookie
  • Class Website:
  • 4GB Thumb/Flash Drive, $10; available at the Bookie or any grocery or electronics store

Instructions for Purchasing the Textbook

  1. Log on to
  2. Create an account or log in if you have an existing account to purchase.
  3. Choose the correct course pack, select a format and proceed with the checkout process.
  4. After purchasing, you can access a digital copy of the first few chapters (if you selected a print format) or all chapters (if you selected a digital format) by logging into your account and clicking “My Digital Materials” to get started on your reading right away.

Print Price: $95.44
Digital Price: $85.90

*Digital access: If you select a digital format, you will need an Adobe ID and the free Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) software installed on your computer. Visit for easy instructions and a video walkthrough of the process. Once you download the digital pack you can access it online or offline at any time on your computer, tablet or smart phone. You can also annotate, highlight, and search the content. Printing is available from the first device you use to access the content. Please note that the digital course pack expires after six months.

Print orders are typically processed within 24 hours; the shipping time will depend on the selected shipping method and day it is shipped (orders are not shipped on Sundays or holidays). If you experience any difficulties, please email or call 800.200.3908 ext. 503.

Course Point-Earning Opportunities

  • Discussion/Participation: 20%
  • Blogging: 20%
  • Multi-modal Project: 30%
  • Final Project: 30%

General Project Guidelines

  • Writing in this course should be substantive, thoughtful, proofread, and should be written by you
  • All text not created by you must be properly and clearly noted
  • Projects should be checked thoroughly for errors. There is no excuse for sloppy writing and such mistakes will count against you.
  • All media not created by you must be properly and clearly sourced, labeled with ownership and copyright information


The course is divided into 11 modules, each focusing on a major theme or issue relating to digital media. Students are expected to engage with the materials associated with each module and respond to them through in-class discussion as well as prompts via blog postings. Twice during the semester (mid-semester and at the end of the course) students are required to produce a project aimed at helping them to synthesize information and develop a unique perspective on the subject. Thus, texts that students are assigned to research, read, and write in this course will consist of a wide range of digital media objects and environments, including blogs and social media as well video, virtual reality, and multimedia installations, etc.

  • Eleven (11) Responses to Prompts
    These are blog posts––referred to as a “Contextualizing Scholarship Activity”––that ask students to produce 250-500 word responses (with required citations from the texts) to prompts relating to the readings and multimedia assignments as a way of helping students to understand how to contextualize ideas within a body of knowledge. Technology required: Students will be provided access to a Word Press blog, provided by The CMDC Program, where they will write, publish, and archive their work.
  • Participation, Discussions and Activities
    You will be graded on your general participation in class, including discussions on the readings and all in-class activities. No checking email or facebook!
  • Two (2) Digital “Authoring” Projects
    These are production projects––referred to as an “Authoring Activity”––that ask students to demonstrate what they have learned about digital technology and culture. Students will compose and present their projects as digital objects that synthesize concepts, practices, theories, ideas and expressive modes encountered in the readings and in online research activities.

Assessment and Final Grades

Both attendance and participation will be monitored and deficiencies in either/both will result in lower final grades. Participation means being attentive in class, joining in discussions, engaging in informal critiques and completing all in-class and outside assignments.

You will receive a poor participation grade if you repeatedly arrive late to class and/or take up valuable class time with activity unrelated to class (such checking mail and facebook). Stay focused, share ideas, be awesome and you will get an exellent participation grade. It is that simple.

You are allowed 1 class absences. Each class absence after that will result in a five point deduction from the final cumulative points. It is your responsibility to make sure I check your attendance if you arrive after the start of class. Frequent late arrivals, leaving early, or other forms of lack of attendance will also deduct points from the cumulative total. Absent students remain responsible for all course matters during their absence(s). Opportunities to make up missed work may not be available.

Final grades are determined from the cumulative points earned, plus or minus any deductions or additions for attendance or participation. No curving, averaging, or other manipulations are utilized. No other assessment or extra credit opportunities are planned. Incompletes are not available. Final grades are based on the following scale:

B+ 87-89
B 83-86
B- 80-82
C+ 77-79
C 73-76
C- 70-72
D no Ds
F 0-69

Submission of Late Work

All work must be submitted as and when required. Late work may not be accepted, or accepted with a substantial penalty. Email submissions of work or work submitted “under the door” or “in the mailbox” will not be accepted. No excuses, no exceptions.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the cornerstone of the university and will be strongly enforced in this course. Any student found in violation of the academic integrity policy will earn an “F” for the course and will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. For additional information about WSU’s Academic Integrity policy/procedures please contact (360) 546-9781.

Disability Accommodation

Accommodations may be available for disabled students to fully participate in this class. Accommodations may take some time to implement so it is critical that you contact Disability Services as soon as possible. All accommodations must be approved through Disability Services, located in the Student Resource Center on the Lower Level of Student Services Center (360) 546-9138.

Emergency Notification System

WSUV has made an emergency notification system available for faculty, students and staff. Please register at myWSU with emergency contact information (cell, email, text, etc). You may have been prompted to complete emergency contact information when registering for classes on RONet. In the event of a Building Evacuation, a map at each classroom entrance shows the evacuation point for each building. Please refer to it. Finally, for information about class cancellation campus-wide, please check local media, the WSU Vancouver web page and/or Individual class cancellations may be made at the discretion of the instructor. Individuals are expected to make the best decision for their personal circumstances, taking safety into account.

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