Mindstorms NXT graphic

Introduction to Digital Media Studies, O'Gorman



Project 1: Remediation/Database Animation + Essay (20%)
Project 2: (TBD) + Essay (25% + 15% = 40%)
Group Presentations (10% x 2 = 20%)
Blog (10%)
Participation & Attendance (10%)

Project 1: Remediation Animation + Essay (animation=10% | essay=10%)
Due Date: Tuesday, February 12
This group project with individual essay is based on early course readings, in which we investigate the concepts of remediation and database. Your group's goal is to embody one of these concepts (and related details from the readings) as specifically as possible in a short stop-motion animation. The constraints for this 30-40-second animation will be provided in class. You will be graded on: 1) the extent to which content reflects course readings; 2) technical detail (steady camera, sharpness of photography, smoothness of animation, quality of voiceover and audio).

The essay must be 5-6 pages in length, providing a detailed description of the video and how it embodies course concepts. The extent to which your animation "embodies" the theories covered in class will be judged through your essay.. Be sure to quote the readings directly and use proper MLA style annotation. You will be graded on: 1) whether your essay clearly describes the project in the context of course readings; 2) your effective use of course readings in direct quotes and paraphrase; 3) technics (grammar, spelling, formatting, organization).

Additional details about this project will be discussed in class.

Project 2: TBD (project=20% | essay=20%)
Due Date: Tuesday, April 2 (project); Monday, April 8 (essay)

This project will build on Project 1 as students develop an "object-to-think-with" that reflects course readings. This particular object is a robot, made with LEGO NXT Mindstorms. A robot is merely a practical machine capable of carrying out a series of actions. However, some robots are humanoid creatures meant to act as companion species. The robots in this project will likely be neither humanoid nor practical, but instead they will be "philosophical." How might a robot embody biomedia theories or the concept of posthumanism? What actions might be performed by a Marshall McLuhan robot? These are the types of questions that you must ask in order to create this object-to-think-with. The robot will be graded on its conception, functionality, design, and the extent to which it embodies course concepts. The essay, as with the first assignment, will be a description and theorization of this project. It must contain references to at least 3 course readings and be written for a general audience, not for the professor or the class. The essay will be graded on the following: 1) clarity of the project's description; 2) reference to course readings in direct quotes and paraphrase; 3) technics (grammar, spelling, formatting, organization). The essay should be 8-10 pages long. Submit the essay using the dropbox on LEARN. A hard copy is not required.

Group Presentations in Pecha-Kucha Style (10% x 2)
Each group will select two course readings from the syllabus and prepare two powerpoint performances in the style of pecha-kucha. Pecha-kucha involves 20 slides x 20 seconds each, usually with a live narrated voiceover. Students must submit their slideshow and a script of the voiceover on the date of presentation. Use the slideshow to cover key points, important terminology, and links to other course readings. This is not simply a summary of the reading, although the group must give a comprehensive overview of the text; instead, the goal of the presentation is to "translate" the weekly reading so that it is relevant within the context of previous and future course discussions. The grade will be based on the following: comprehensiveness (did you cover the most important concepts and terms from the reading?); oral performance (are you relying heavily on a script? are you speaking too quickly to be understood?); relevance (did you relate the reading to other course readings or discussions?); visual readability (are the slides an enhancement of the voiceover or are they just "wallpaper"?). Groups who perform well without use of scripts will be highly rewarded. How can you innovate the Pecha-Kucha format?

Blog (10%)
Do not underestimate the importance of this part of the course. You are asked to keep a detailed blog of your course activities, documenting the construction of your projects, and writing about current events that relate to items discussed in class. The blog will be graded on the quality of your project documentation (clear descriptions, use of images and video, etc.) as well as your use of course readings to discuss the ongoing projects. Also, the blog can be used to post regular notes about course readings.

Participation and Attendance (10%)
You will be graded on your attendance, participation in class discussions, effort in class workshops, and contribution to group work. Students will be responsible for providing a critique of group members, which will be used to calculate this grade.

Note on Absence and Tardiness:
Students who miss more than one class without sufficient documentation will automatically lose 50% of their Participation/Attendance grade. Students who enter the classroom late more than twice will suffer the same loss.