M June 22nd

1.What is Digital Technology?

class structure: discussion/talk/activity/reflection
reading/writing for each class: 2 hours

critical reading:

  • quick overview of the text: intro, headings and conclusion – what is it about?
  • quick read of the text with highlighter – what are the main points? what is important in the context of the class?
  • read again, more slowly, especially around your highlighted passages


  • read the blog prompt!
  • after reading the assigned text, select 1-2 passages that relate to the blog prompt
  • draft 250-500 (not including quoted text) of your own words, make sure you address the question or prompt (be substantive!)
  • proofread, check spelling and grammar
  • post your entry on the blog


  • based on the readings, prepare 2-3 class discussion questions
  • speak up, be part of the discussion
  • connect ideas from other readings/discussions
  • refer to specific points in the reading
  • be clear!


  • 1000-1500 of your own word
  • images and other media are your own or cited properly
  • spelling and grammar checked
  • address the project description/parameters
  • at least 3 quotes from different readings
  • be clear!

blog set-up:

dtc101 server folder:

Usr: dtc101

Email me ( )with the following information:

  • Your major
  • What is your interest in digital media?
  • PC,  MAC or both?
  • An image or representation of you

history of computers
language/machine code /programing languages


NewHive Intro

W June 24th

2. Media, Art and Culture

reading: McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage
blog prompt: Describe how the design of “The Medium is the Massage” expresses the ideas in McLuhan’s text. What is McLuhan saying about the difference between print culture and the new electric culture of television and mass media?  


Marshall McLuhan interview excerpt – 1967

small group discussion

media change us
media and human culture
images and text
sound and image
sensory modalities

multimedia text (newhive)


Project 1: Mosaic Probe
Write a visual or multimodal essay in the “mosaic style” of The Medium is the Massage. You may expand one or more blog post(s) or start in a new direction. The topic is open. It can be personal, argumentative, exploratory, evidence-based or creative nonfiction. However, the essay should reference at least two readings and it should “probe” a single idea or aspect of digital culture and should address how digital media changes human interaction, communication, identity or community.  

Due July 8th

Digital Writing Tools:


  • Do not approach this as a linear college essay with an introduction, development and conclusion. This a mosaic. Start by writing in fragments around your central idea. Integrate quotes from the readings, design and media elements (you may use images from google search) and put these into play with your written fragments. Then edit/refine the writing.
  • Experiment with typography, color, imagery and sound, but try to make meaningful juxtapositions of text and design elements. You will not be graded on your design skills, but on the thinking you put into these relations
  • Always check spelling and grammar. Always proofread your writing.
  • Reference/quote from at least two readings
  • 500-1000 words
  • Include a notes section where you properly source any text, image, video, or sound file that is not your own


  • A reflective personal essay about how the web has changed you
  • Pick a social network and “probe” how the medium shapes social interaction and personal identities
  • Expand a blog post or connect ideas from two blog posts
  • Reflect on the consequences or implications of the reproduction, storage and distribution of digital media
  • Speculate about the future of digital media 10, 50, 100 years from now

 M June 29th

3. Reproduction

reading: Walter Benjamin – Age of Mechanical Reproduction (pdf)
blog prompt: According to Benjamin, how does mechanical reproduction change culture? What do you think are the consequences of digital reproduction on cultural expression today? Can a digital work have anything like an “aura?”


small group discussion

modernism and digital culture
the aura
print, photography and cinema
digital reproduction/remix/copyright

The Man with a Movie Camera, Vertov

W July 1st

4. Digital Materiality

Lev Manovich –
Prologue: Vertov’s Dataset
Introduction (skim)
Chapter 1: What is New Media?
blog prompt: Manovich gives us 5 principles of “new media.” Pick one of these principles and describe how it has affected social interaction and/or cultural production. In what ways are media and culture being reshaped and transformed by the logic of the computer?


check in…

small group discussion

5 principles of new media

The Loop: graphic interchange format- gif




numerical representation – Rafaël Rozendaal

modularity– inspect image swap,, textfreebrowsing

automation –  glitch, random, photoshop effects, contentawarecontentaware typography,

variability –

transcoding – computer language, translationships

make digital image using all principles:

  1. pick a random geolocation or truly random
  2. take a screen grab
  3. add photoshop effects, collage etc.
  4. upload image, give your image a title and post it to the blog

Multimodal Text workshop

M July 6th

5. Hypertext

As We May Think – Bush,
Computer Lib/ Dream Machines 1974 – Ted Nelson 
blog prompt: Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson were visionary thinkers seeking solutions to the problems of information overload and hierarchical storage systems that seemed to stifle human creativity and associative thought. Now that we have the world wide web, in what ways have these visions of Bush and Nelson been realized?  What remains unrealized?

small group discussion


Tim Berners Lee: the first web site
html basics / folder zip
twine  | easy tutorial  | twine wiki

W July 8th

6. Virtuality and Networks

What is an Avatar?  by Beth Coleman

blog prompt: After reading “What is an Avatar” and watching some or all of the documentary Life 2.0 (above), write a blog post about “being in two place at once”  in the digital age.  How has this “virtuality” changed our ideas of self, society and community?


Due: Multimodal Text

small group discussion

cyberspace and cyberculture
virtual reality, virtual work, representation
utopia and dystopia

field trip: 
visit MOVE lab

M July 13th

7. Remediation and Remix

Immediacy, Hypermediacy and Remediation, Bolter and Grusin.
blog prompt:  Do a google search for three images that are examples of 1)immediacy, 2)hypermediacy and 3) remediation as described by Bolter and Grusin. For each image, discuss your understanding of the term it represents. 

blogging and participation

Final Project: Compose a 1500-3000 word multimodal essay on any subject that relates to digital media. The essay may be presented as a text document with images, a website, a video, a work of audio, or as a work on any multimedia publishing platform. The essay, however, must meet the following criteria:

  • unlike the “mosaic probe” the writing must make a specific argument about digital media and relate the ideas/works we have discussed in class
  • the text must integrate at least two main topics from the class modules (reproduction/remediation, for example)
  • reference at least 3 of the class readings/viewings
  • meaningfully quote from at least 2 of the class readings
  • spelling and grammar checked
  • 1500-3000 words
  • include a notes section where you properly source any text, image, video, or sound file that is not your own


  • an analysis of a work of digital art or electronic literature
  • an analysis of an app or genre of app
  • an analysis of social media platform
  • an analysis of digital media used in political or ad campaigns
  • a comparison of two works in which one remediates another
  • make a digital work with an accompanying text

DUE: July 29th, the last class


small group discussion

immediacy, hypermediacy, remediation
remix/digital folk art

Noah: hypermediacy

W July 15th

8. Electronic Literature and Digital Art

Hayles- Material Metaphors, Technotexts, Media-specific Analysis,
Lev Manovich, The Database
blog prompt: Hayles and Manovich, in different ways, confront the materiality of digital code as it relates to the narrative arts. Digital technology easily remediates the narrative arts of all other media (radio, movies, tv, fiction), but it also introduces new possibilities that may challenge our very notions of narrative – that a story needs a beginning, middle and end, for example. Using quotes from both Hayles and Manovich, discuss how we can approach new digital works that present narrative in unfamiliar and challenging ways. What are your thoughts/experiences of how the digital is changing the art of storytelling. 


final project…

small group discussion

database narrative and techno-texts
non-linear, multilinear
interface, navigation structure
database and algorithm
entry point, absence, graphic devices, relational events

ELL – the electronic literature lab:

Uncle Buddy’s Phantom Funhouse, by John McDaid

Afternoon, a Story, by Michael Joyce

Victory Garden, by Stuart Moulthrop

It’s Name Was Penelope, by Judy Malloy

Myst, Robyn and Rand Miller

We Descend,by Bill Bly

Califia, by M.D. Coverley


VMMC 111:

My Body, by Shelley Jackson

Grammatron, by Mark Amerika

My boyfriend came back from the war, Olia Lialina

The Jew’s Daughter, by Judd Morrissey

Inanimate Alice, Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph

Cruising, by Ingrid Ankerson and Megan Sapnar

CityFish, by J.R. Carpenter

Dreamaphage, Jason Nelson

Rain on the Sea / Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries

The Whale Hunt, by Jonathan Harris

FilmText, by Mark Amerika

Found Floppy, by Andy Campbell

Pine Point, by Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons



M July 20th

9. The Hacker Work Ethic

Preface by Pekka Himanen
What Makes Hackers Tick? by Linus Thorvalds
The Hacker Work Ethic 
by Pekka Himanen
blog prompt: In the readings, Himanen discusses the qualities of the “hacker work ethic” – the “passion” programmers have for working together and alone on solving computational problems.  How does this hacker work ethic translate into the realm of politics, social interaction and cultural production? Can an artist or writer be a hacker? What about journalists, political activists and whistle-blowers? 


small group discussion

code – solving complex problems, inherently open, numerical representation
hackers – linux, open source, collaborative, hobby,
crackers – exploit security systems, encryption / surveillance
hacker artists – performance, tech, outside institutions, distributed
DIY-  maker culture, embrace of hacking
hacktivists – yes men, snowden
open networks / closed hierarchies
too much openness? what are social implications of openness?

Computer hacker culture

Yes Men


Hack North Korea

discuss/work on final projects


W July 22nd

10. Social Networks

Deanna Zandt readings, Chapter 1,2,3
All-Watched-Over-By-Machines-Of-Loving-Grace, by Richard Brautigan
blog prompt: Although dated (2010), Deanna Zandt’s “Share This”  is a popular book about the ethics and practice of social media. What is her prescription for a healthy social media ecosystem?  Do you agree with her ideas?  


small group discussion

hierarchies and networks
weak and strong ties
generosity, identity, authenticity

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, by Adam Curtis


M July 27th


readings: Jason Farman, Chap 1: Embodiment and the Mobile Interface and Chap 2: Mapping the Representations of Space
blog prompt: Jason Farman discusses the embodied experience of mobile and pervasive computing as a “multiplicity” of the virtual. What does Farman mean by “multiplicity”? Why is the concept of “real/virtual” a false opposition? In what ways has the virtual always been a way of making places? 

small group discussion

embodied experience – virtual (multiplicity) + real
sensory-inscribed body
locative art, narrative
games, transmedia, augmented reality


mobile activity

work on final projects

W July 29th

12. Final Projects

assignment: work on final projects


Due: Final Project

peer reading

  • does the author address an issue, make an argument or raise questions about digital media technology and culture?
  • does the author integrate at least two main topics from the class modules?
  • does the author discuss at least 2 specific class readings/viewings?
  • does the author meaningfully quote from at least 2 of the class readings?
  • are spelling and grammar in good form?
  • are quotes and media sources, properly noted or linked to the original?

Leave a Reply