DTC101: Introduction to Digital Technology & Culture

Summer 2020
Class: asynchronous with three Zoom meetings: June 22, July 6th and July 27th
Location: online
Instructor: Will Luers
Phone: 503-975-3254
Office Hours: Zoom (open)

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 Point-Earning Opportunities

  • Online Slack Discussion/Participation: 20%
  • 5  Creative Assignments: 10% (2% per 5 assignments)
  • 10 Blog Posts: 20% (2% per 10 posts)
  • Multi-modal Project: 20%
  • 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 10 modules, each focusing on a theme or issue relating to digital media. Students are expected to engage with the materials associated with each module and respond to them through online Slack discussions, by addressing specific prompts through blog posts and through weekly creative assignments. 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 a subject of their choosing. 

  • Ten (10) 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 viewing assignments as a way of helping students to understand how to contextualize ideas within a body of knowledge. Technology required: Students will be taught how to use this WordPress site where they will write, publish, and archive their work.
  • Five Weekly Creative Assignments
    These will be short activities that will  hands-on experiences with digital technology
  • Participation, Discussions and Activities
    You will be graded on your general participation in class, including Slack and Zoom discussions. Your participation must be substantial and demonstrate your having read the materials.
  • 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 are not present in our Zoom sessions or Slack discussions. Share ideas, respond to others’ ideas, be awesome and you will get an excellent 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *