Digital Textuality (Graduate)

 This class has been offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, and Spring 2016. All materials are from the most recent iteration of the course.

Syllabus

EMAC 6374: Digital Textuality

Spring 2016

These descriptions and timelines are subject to change at the discretion of the Instructor.

 

Course Information

Class No. 27697
Meets: M 7:00 pm – 9:45 pm
Location: ATC 2.918
Credit Hours: 3

Contact Information

Instructor: Kim Knight
Email (preferred method of contact): kim.knight@utdallas.edu
Phone: 972-883-4346 (no voicemail please)

Office Hours:

  • Drop In (no appointment necessary) : Mondays, 6:00pm – 6:30pm; Wednesdays 1:00pm – 1:30pm.
  • Schedule appointments via http://purplekimchi.youcanbook.me
    • be sure to read the Intro section before sending your request

Contact policies:

  • I generally respond to email M-F within 24 hours.
    • If I do not respond within that time frame, check my email address and re-send it.
  • Use official UTD email only.
  • I will not respond to
    • Email messages that request information found on the syllabus or assignment sheets.
    • Twitter direct messages.

Kim’s website: http://kimknight.com
Course wiki: digitaltextuality.pbworks.com
Twitter tag: #digitaltext
Twitter archive: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1yMVC7iOBp-8w6bjX76IYu9X_jJuJ3fSYABh9fT1ijnk/edit?usp=sharing

Course Description

One of the definitions of text is “something, such as a literary work or other cultural product, regarded as an object of critical analysis.” (thefreedictionary.com). If we drill down far enough into any form of digital “text,” we arrive at the level of binary code: 1s and 0s. This includes other objects of critical analysis, such as digital images, sound files, animations, videos, etc. This material commonality draws our attention to the fact that any digital object has multiple layers – from the surface representation to the source code, down to those 1s and 0s. In addition to this kind of fundamental multi-mediality, it is very rare to encounter a digital text that is composed on the surface of only one type of media object. In other words, in digital textuality, words almost always co-exist with images, links, sound, and video, all built atop a foundation of code. This course takes these types of multi-mediality as its starting point and asks students to reconceive “digital textuality” as a more broad form of cultural product that can occur in multiple media formats and that explores the unique affordances of different kinds of text objects.

Through this production-intensive course, students will explore the theoretical and material connections between analog and digital textuality, centered on text, image, sound, and moving image. Students will apply their theoretical understanding of digital textuality to the production of a portfolio, composed of four separate digital media objects and a short paper, each of which foregrounds certain modes of making meaning.

The goal is to examine the shifts in writing and representation in digital environments.  The course situates “writing” within a networked, digital environment and, as such, will focus on the production of “texts” in different media forms.

 

 

Course Goals

In this course, students will:

  • Become familiar with shifts in representation in text, image, and sound, including the relationship between them.
  • Investigate the social and cultural implications of new forms of text, image, sound, and moving image.
  • Investigate a variety of tools of digital production and utilize these tools to communicate ideas.
  • Utilize the existing research and publications of media studies in their own scholarship.
  • Engage in processes of feedback and revision to improve their work.

Required Textbooks and Materials

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics, ISBN-10: 006097625X

Various chapters and essays, available online or through course reserve. The username for protected downloads on kimknight.com is “” and the password is “”.

You will also need the following: an email account that is checked frequently, a public Twitter account, and a PBWiki account.

Course Policies

Attendance:

Some of the most valuable take-away from this course will come out of our class discussions.  Your participation is necessary for our success. It is important that you come to every class prepared and on time. To be “prepared” means that you have read the reading, developed and considered questions, and are prepared to discuss it in class.  Bring questions, comments, observations, disagreements, examples, etc.

Because your presence in class is important, more than one absence (i.e. missing more than 1 week of class) will negatively affect your participation grade. In most cases, more than four absences (i.e. missing more than 1 month of class) will result in a failing participation grade. Missing more than 8 classes (more than 2 months in class) will result in a failing course grade. There is no distinction between excused and unexcused absences. Use that one freebie wisely. If you need to miss class for religious reasons, please speak to me ahead of time. Absences for religious purposes do not count against the permitted number (as long as prior notification is given).

Lateness is also unacceptable; if you arrive more than thirty minutes late to class you will be marked as absent. If you leave more than 30 minutes early, you will be marked absent. In addition, please try to be as fully present and engaged as possible – silence cell phones, don’t send or receive texts or emails, etc.  Excessive distraction may be counted as an absence.

Coming to class without the necessary prep work (bringing photos, sound clips, etc.) will count as one half an absence.

Inclement Weather:

In the event of inclement weather, all coursework is still due online by the posted times. Students are responsible for checking their email for instructions regarding activities that may be scheduled during the regular class meeting time.

Accommodation:

If you have a disability that requires accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act -2008(ADAAA), please present your letter of accommodations from the Office of Student AccessAbility and meet with me as soon as possible so that I can support your success in an informed manner. If you would like to know more about the University of Texas at Dallas, Office of Student AccessAbility, please contact the office at 972-883-6104 or email: studentaccessability@utdallas.edu.  Their office is located in the Student Service Building (SSB), suite 3.200.

Online Due Dates:

First versions of media objects are due before class begins. All other online assignments are due by 11:59pm on the date listed, unless otherwise noted.

Late work:

You should make a concerted effort to turn in all work on-time, in the format outlined on the assignment sheets. Work submitted in formats other than that listed on the assignment sheet will not be accepted.

  • Reading Responses: Weekly reading responses will not be accepted late.
  • In class presentations: Work associated with in-class presentations will not be accepted late. This includes wiki pages for tool reviews.
  • Media objects: Each instance of late versions of written/image/video/acoustic work will result in a loss of 1/3 of a grade on the final portfolio. If you are not in class for the workshop, your work will be considered late.
  • Final Portfolio: Final portfolios will be marked down one letter grade for each day (or fraction thereof) that they are late.

It is your responsibility to complete your work early enough to allow time for any technical difficulties. Work that is turned in late due to technical difficulties is subject to late penalties.

Academic Honesty:

From the UT-D Handbook of Operating Procedures: “The university expects from its students a high level of responsibility with respect to academic honesty. Because the value of an academic degree depends on the absolute integrity of the work done by the student for that degree, it is imperative that a student maintain a high standard of individual honor in his or her scholastic work. The dean may initiate disciplinary proceedings under subchapter C against a student accused of scholastic dishonesty upon complaint by a faculty member or a student.” (http://www.utdallas.edu/dept/graddean/gsPolDishonesty.htm)

Plagiarism will be reported to the Dean of Students. Possible disciplinary action by the university may include failing the assignment, failing the course, expulsion, etc. If you have any questions regarding the proper use of outside sources or the distinction between sampling and plagiarism, I encourage you to meet with me.

Online identity:

This class asks students to participate in publicly accessible blogs and other forms of public writing. Writing in public has several advantages for student learning. It creates a closer analogue to offline environments, and allows for the creation of writing that is designed to be shared with an external audience, instead of just an instructor. It also allows students to learn from each other. However, some students may have legitimate privacy concerns about participating in publicly accessible assignments. These students may choose to participate in public assignments under a pseudonym, or assumed name. If you wish to request this accommodation for any reason, please contact me immediately.

The Classroom Community and Your Well-being:

Our many discussions and online assignments will require vigilance to ensure that we are always preserving an atmosphere of mutual respect in which everyone is welcome to learn. Disagreements may arise and consensus may not be possible.  We can, however, respect each person’s right to express an opinion and right to have the opportunity to learn. Name calling, harassment, or menacing behavior will not be tolerated.

Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, etc. All UT Dallas Faculty and Staff are considered mandatory reporters, and as such are obligated to report any suspicion of assault or harassment to the University’s Title IX office. Physical and mental health care professionals and pastoral counselors (including those who act in that role under the supervision of these individuals), are prohibited by confidentiality laws from reporting any information about an incident to anyone, in any way that identifies the victim, without the victim’s permission. Thus, students may discuss an incident with a counselor in the Student Counseling Center, the Women’s Center, a health care provider in the Student Health Center, the clergyperson of the student’s choice, or an off-campus resource (i.e. rape crisis center, doctor, psychologist, etc.) without concern that the incident will be reported to the Title IX Coordinator.

If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find the appropriate resources here:

  • Confidential reporting
    • UT Dallas Student Counseling Center (Individual and group counseling available.)
      • During business hours: 972-883-2575
      • After hours: 972-UTD-TALK (972-883-8255)
    • 24 hours: Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center: 972-641-RAPE (972-641-7273)
    • 24 hours, Collin Co residents: Turning Point: 800-886-RAPE (800-886-7273)
    • UTD Galerstein Women’s Center: 972-883-6555
    • UT Dallas Student Health Center (health care providers only): 972-883-2747
  • Non-confidential reporting that will launch an investigation
    • UT Dallas Police: 911, or 972-883-2222
    • UT Dallas Title IX office: 972-883-2292
    • UT Dallas Dean of Students: 972-883-6391
  • STD Testing
    • UTD Student Health Center: 972-883-2747
  • Education and Prevention
    • UTD Student Health Center: 972-883-2747
    • UTD Galerstein Women’s Center: 972-883-6555
    • UTD Student Wellness Center: 972-883-4275
    • UTD Residential Life: 972-883-5361

University Policies: Please visit http://go.utdallas.edu/syllabus-policies for the University’s policies regarding all courses.

Course Requirements and Grading Policy

 

Grading Scale:

A Range: Excellent
A, A-
B Range: Good
B+, B, B-
C Range: Fair
C+, C, C-
Needs Improvement
D+, D, D-
Failing
F

Assignments:

Participation – 50%

Participation includes participation in discussion, both in class and online (Twitter discussion and wiki contributions), attendance, class presentations, and office hours meetings.

In order for participation to be meaningful, it has to happen on time. As such, reading responses and the work surrounding in-class presentations will not be accepted late.

Portfolio – 50%

Each student will produce a multimedia portfolio that tells a story or makes an argument of their choosing. The portfolio will be composed of four pieces – text, image, video, and sound. Each piece will be completed as a first version at various due dates throughout the semester. First versions will receive peer feedback and will be revised for the final portfolio. More info on this after the second week of class.

General Requirements: This class involves a lot of dense reading. My hope is that you will apply the ideas from that reading “IRL” or “in real life.” You will be most successful in this class if you are able to have an open mind and take a critical approach to our topics. Please note that being “critical” does not necessarily mean being negative, but it does mean that you are willing to question assumptions and explore the implications of the seemingly mundane and minute aspects of contemporary media culture. Openness to experimentation and play and a willingness to try and fail are critical to the study of emerging media. In short, in this class we will be enacting some of the very changes we are studying – collaborative learning, alternative models of scholarship, etc.

Schedule of Readings

Academic Calendar
6374 Spring 20156
(Subject to Revision – Check the Course Wiki for the Most Up-to-date Version)

January 11: Introduction

  • Syllabus overview
  • Reading response criteria
  • Tool Review overview & date assignment

January 18: Martin Luther King Day Holiday – no meeting.

January 25: Signification Across Media

Unit 1: Text

Feb 1: Text

February 8: Text

February 15: Portfolio Workshop – Text Object

  • Bring to class
    • Text object, version 1

Unit 2: Still Image

February 22: Still Image

  • Reading
    • McCloud, Understanding Comics
  • Bring to Class
    • Your favorite comic book or graphic novel
  • Tool Reviews

February 29: Still Image

March 7: Portfolio Workshop – Image Object

  • Bring to Class
  • Still image object, version 1

March 14: Spring Break, no class

Unit 3: Sound

March 21: Sound

March 28: Sound

April 4: Portfolio Workshop – Sound Object

  • Bring to Class

    • Sound object, version 1
    • headphones, if you have them
       

Unit 4: Moving Image

April 11: Moving Image

April 18: Moving Image

April 25: Portfolio Workshop – Moving Image Object

  • Bring to class

    • Moving image object, version 1

TBD (Final Exam Period): Presentation of Work

  • Portfolio due
  • 5 minute Presentations

Assignments

Participation Requirements

EMAC 6374: Digital Textuality

Spring 2016

Participation Requirements

Purpose:

  • To involve students in active processes of learning.

Overview:

Forget the model of education you see in the movies where a brilliant professor lectures from a podium and students scribble away furiously in their notebooks. Research evidence overwhelmingly suggests that students learn better and retain more information when they are actively involved in the process of learning.

My classroom philosophy is that I am a coach, there to guide you through these active processes. I very seldom lecture and most of our class meetings will involve whole class discussion. And this will lead to some of the most valuable take-away from this course, in class and online. However, this means that your participation is necessary for our success. It is important that you participate in every class meeting and that you share resources between classes.

Your participation grade includes in-class discussion, sharing resources via twitter and the wiki, reading response tweets, attendance, tool reviews, and office hours visits.

The Requirements:

  • Do the reading. Take notes. Tweet responses and questions throughout the reading assignment. Come to class prepared to discuss key ideas, vocabulary, questions, disagreements, examples, etc.

  • Be in class. More than one absence will affect your grade, and in most cases, four or more absences will result in a failing participation grade.

  • Arrive on time and stay for the duration of the class session. If you arrive more than 30 minutes late, you will be marked as absent. Leaving more than 30 minutes early also counts as an absence.

  • Pay attention. Silence cell phones. Don’t send or receive texts or emails. Stay off of Facebook unless it is part of an in-class activity. Use workshop time to test new tools. Excessive distraction may be counted as an absence.

  • Share information. If you see articles or tweets relevant to the class, tweet them with the hashtag. Add new tools to the resource index pages. Present tool reviews when assigned.

  • You can use Twitter for in-class participation but try not to over-rely on it.

Technical Specifications

  • You will need a public Twitter account so that all of your peers can see your tweets and your tweets are included in searches for the class hashtag. You do not have to use your real name in your Twitter account, but you do need to give me your Twitter handle.

  • Make sure that you are signed in to your pbworks account when making changes from shared computers.

Grading

Participation is worth 50% of your final grade.

The criteria for grading your work are:

Excellent

Good

Fair

Needs Improvement

Failing

In-class discussion

The student always contributes meaningful comments and ideas to class discussion*. The student may additionally contribute to in-class in-class discussion via the Tweet stream.

The student consistently contributes comments and ideas to class discussion. Class discussion may be supplemented with in-class Twitter participation.

The student often contributes comments and ideas to class discussion or supplements with in-class Twitter participation.

The student rarely contributes comments and ideas to class discussion and may over-rely on Twitter in class.

The student never contributes to class discussion or in-class Twitter.

Sharing resources

(twitter and the wiki)

The student tweets at least 3 times a week outside of class with information and ideas marked with the class hashtag. Or the student consistently adds new tools to the resource index pages (the student should keep track of these additions and periodically submit them to Kim)

In addition to the reading response tweets, the student tweets at least twice a week outside of class with information and ideas marked with the class hashtag. The student frequently adds new tools to the resource index pages.

In addition to the reading response tweets, the student tweets a least one time a week outside of class with information and ideas marked with the class hashtag. The student occasionally adds new tools to the resource index pages.

The student tweets less frequently than once per week outside of class with information and ideas marked with the class hashtag (not including the reading response assignment). The student rarely adds new tools to the resource index pages.

The student never tweets information and ideas with the class hashtag (not including the reading response assignment). The student never adds new tools to the resource index pages.

Tool Reviews The student’s reviews indicate extensive familiarity with the tools and the writeups are insightful introductions, including relevant media. The pages are well-formatted and placed in the correct folders, and links are included on the index and student’s pages. The presentation of both tools is a useful introduction that falls within the 15-20 minute time frame. The student’s reviews indicate familiarity with the tools and the writeups are clear and helpful, including relevant media. The pages are well-formatted and placed in the correct folder and links are included on the index and student’s pages. The presentation of both tools is clear and engaging and falls within the 15-20 minute time frame. The student has clearly used the new tools and the written pages are clear and thorough. The pages use the template and are placed in the correct folder and links are included on the index and student’s pages. The presentation of both tools is clear and falls within the 15-20 minute time frame. The student does not complete all necessary reviews or the reviews may be unclear or lack sufficient detail. The tool review pages may not use the template, may be incorrectly placed, or the student may not have added the required links. The presentation may be unclear, superficial, or have time management issues. The student may fail to complete the new tool review or to select a previously-reviewed tool. The written or presented work may be so clear as to be unintelligible.
Reading Responses

(See 6374 Reading Response Instructions Spring 16 )

In addition to sharing resources, the student tweets at least seven times per week in response to the assigned readings, using the course hashtag. Tweets are consistently of excellent quality. Excellent reading tweets ask critical questions or share insight that expand understanding of the text. Excellent tweets give concrete examples and when necessary, reference page or paragraph numbers. Excellent tweets may be in response to classmates but move beyond simple agreement or disagreement and encourage discussion. Excellent tweets utilize the advantages of the platform including concise ideas and when necessary, use links, images, or video. In addition to sharing resources, the student tweets at least five times per week in response to the assigned readings, using the course hashtag. The quality of the tweets are generally excellent though they may occasionally waiver. In addition to sharing resources, the student tweets at least three times per week in response to the assigned readings, using the course hashtag. The quality of the tweets are excellent more often than not. In addition to sharing resources, the student tweets at least once per week in response to the assigned readings, using the course hashtag. Tweets are generally of poor quality. They may be overly simplistic or overly vague. They may be composed in such a way that shuts down conversation. They may engage in criticism without qualification. In addition to sharing resources, the student tweets less than once per week in response to the assigned readings, using the course hashtag. The quality of the tweets are consistently poor or they may be off topic, or engage in behavior that is unprofessional or harmful to other students or the Twitter community.

*Note: you do not always have to fully grasp the material to make meaningful comments. You may ask questions and make a good effort to understand.

Your Participation grade will be negatively impacted if:

  • You have more than one absence.
  • You are consistently late or leave early.
  • You are excessively distracted by other websites, your phone, etc.
  • You do not use workshop time effectively.

Late Work: Work associated with participation may not be completed late.

 

Tool Review Instructions

EMAC 6374 Tool Review Instructions

Spring 2016

Purpose:

  • To compile a repository of tools to use in the exploration of new models of textual production
  • To analyze the functionality of the tools in light of class readings and discussion.

Overview:

  • Each presenter will review two tools for the class. There are two options for completing the two reviews:
    • 1. Both are previously un-reviewed tools from one of the resources lists, or something new that the presenter contributes.
    • 2. One is a previously un-reviewed tool from one of the resources lists, or something new that the presenter contributes. For the second, the student edits and improves a tool review that was added in a previous semester (on the same wiki page).
  • A tool is a website/application/piece of software that can be used to produce new media objects for the final portfolio.
    • Tools should be selected with the goal of introducing your peers to new ideas, modes, possibilities, etc.  (i.e. nothing “obvious”)
  • Each review will consist of a written review in the course wiki as well as a demonstration/presentation in class. 
    • The in-class presentation should last 15-20 minutes total. 

Grading:

Reviews are part of your participation grade. The following is copied from the Participation Assignment Sheet:

Tool Reviews
(see the Participation assignment sheet)
The student’s reviews indicate extensive familiarity with the tools and the writeups are insightful introductions, including relevant media. The pages are well-formatted and placed in the correct folders, and links are included on the index and student’s pages. The presentation of both tools is a useful introduction that falls within the 15-20 minute time frame. The student’s reviews indicate familiarity with the tools and the writeups are clear and helpful, including relevant media. The pages are well-formatted and placed in the correct folder and links are included on the index and student’s pages. The presentation of both tools is clear and engaging and falls within the 15-20 minute time frame. The student has clearly used the new tools and the written pages are clear and thorough. The pages use the template and are placed in the correct folder and links are included on the index and student’s pages. The presentation of both tools is clear and falls within the 15-20 minute time frame. The student does not complete all necessary reviews or the reviews may be unclear or lack sufficient detail. The tool review pages may not use the template, may be incorrectly placed, or the student may not have added the required links. The presentation may be unclear, superficial, or have time management issues. The student may fail to complete the new tool review or to select a previously-reviewed tool. The written or presented work may be so clear as to be unintelligible.

Instructions

No later than 2 weeks before your presentation

Follow these steps to ensure that you do not review something that is already claimed by someone else.

  1. Go to the Resources Index page for the medium in which you are working
    1. Text Production Resources Index
    2. Visualization Resources Index
    3. Still Image Resources Index
    4. Sound Resources Index
    5. Video and Animation Resources Index
  2. Check the alphabetical list of tools to see if your tools are listed.
    1. If a tool is listed, but not reviewed:
      1. edit the page to add your name in parentheses next to the name of the tool.
    2. If it is listed, but already reviewed:
      1. and you are doing two new tools: choose something else.
      2. and you are doing one new and one edited tool: place your name in parentheses next to the name of the tool
    3. If it is listed, but already has someone else’s name next to it:
      1. choose something else.
    4. If it is not listed:
      1. edit the page to add the tool in the proper alphabetical order. Be sure to add all of the following:
        1. Name of the tool
        2. Your name in parentheses next to the tool
        3. very brief synopsis of what the tool does
        4. A link to the website for the tool
Before Your Presentation Date

Follow these steps for each of your two reviewed tools:

1. For new tool(s), create a page and name it with the name of the tool under review.

  • Use the “Tool Review” template.
  • Place the page in the appropriate folder.

1a.  If you are editing a previous review for one of your two, edit the already existing page. I will be able to see your contributions by looking at the page history.

2. Write or edit your review, filling in all areas of the template. If you are editing a previously reviewed tool, add any missing areas from the template.

3. For new tools: add a link to the review on the appropriate resource index page. Copy and paste the “reviewed” check mark image next to the name of the tool.

4. Add a link to both reviews on your course participant page.

Technical Requirements
  • If your tool has to be installed on any UTD computers, please let me know at least two weeks in advance.
  • If working with your tool requires that students bring any source material (a selection of text, images, etc.) please let me know at least two weeks in advance.

Timeline and Due Dates:

  • Rolling due dates with written reviews posted to the course wiki before the class meets each Monday. 

Reading Response Instructions

 

EMAC 6374 Reading Response Instructions

Spring 2016

Purpose:

  • To help students identify their questions and areas of interest in a text prior to class discussion.

  • To give students practice in communicating complex ideas succinctly.

  • To help students enter into the larger community of emerging media scholars.

Background:

Class discussions are more satisfying when everyone has actively engaged with the text and when they bring their ideas and questions to the class meeting. To that end, students will post discussion questions and/or responses to one another on Twitter  in advance of our meetings.

The Specs:

  • During the first class meeting, the group decided on the number of tweets for each section of the rubric. The class additionally brainstormed the criteria for what is considered a good tweet and a poor tweet. Pictured below is a photo taken by one of your peers on that brainstorming exercise.
  • Use the hashtag #digitaltext

Technical Support:

  • You can check your progress at any time by accessing the class Twitter archive:

Grading:

Reading responses are part of your participation grade.

As a class we brainstormed criteria for satisfactory completion of this assignment (see the images below). Based on this brainstorm, Kim developed the grading rubric, copied below from the participation assignment sheet.

Reading Responses(See 6374 Participation Assignment Sheet )
In addition to sharing resources, the student tweets at least seven times per week in response to the assigned readings, using the course hashtag. Tweets are consistently of excellent quality. Excellent reading tweets ask critical questions or share insight that expand understanding of the text. Excellent tweets give concrete examples and when necessary, reference page or paragraph numbers. Excellent tweets may be in response to classmates but move beyond simple agreement or disagreement and encourage discussion. Excellent tweets utilize the advantages of the platform including concise ideas and when necessary, use links, images, or video. In addition to sharing resources, the student tweets at least five times per week in response to the assigned readings, using the course hashtag. The quality of the tweets are generally excellent though they may occasionally waiver. In addition to sharing resources, the student tweets at least three times per week in response to the assigned readings, using the course hashtag. The quality of the tweets are excellent more often than not. In addition to sharing resources, the student tweets at least once per week in response to the assigned readings, using the course hashtag. Tweets are generally of poor quality. They may be overly simplistic or overly vague. They may be composed in such a way that shuts down conversation. They may engage in criticism without qualification. In addition to sharing resources, the student tweets less than once per week in response to the assigned readings, using the course hashtag. The quality of the tweets are consistently poor or they may be off topic, or engage in behavior that is unprofessional or harmful to other students or the Twitter community.

Timeline and Due Dates:

Reading Responses are due by 11:59 pm on Sunday evenings.

Whiteboard showing student ideas

Criteria brainstormed by S16 EMAC 6374

Portfolio Assignment

EMAC 6374 Final Portfolio

Spring 2016

Purpose:

  • To demonstrate familiarity with shifts in representation in text, image, and sound, including the relationship between them.
  • To utilize a variety of tools of digital production to communicate ideas in multiple media formats.
  • To utilize the existing research and publications of media studies.
  • To engage in processes of collaborative feedback and revision to improve student work.

Overview:

In order to better grasp the contemporary landscape of digital textuality, students need to take the ideas from class readings and discussions and apply them to the production of a variety of digital media objects.  The production of these objects will take place in a scaffolded structure wherein students compose early versions, receive feedback, and improve them.

Students will be introduced to new tools for producing digital media objects each week in class.  These introductions will take the form of Tool Workshops led by their peers.  In addition students should browse the Tool Reviews and resource indexes in the course wiki.  Students are not required to use tools that are listed in the wiki, but in the spirit of collaboration and community, they should add any tools that they are using to the Resource Index pages.

Instructions:

  • What’s in the portfolio?
    • Four digital media objects, one each for text, still image, sound, and moving image.
      • Multimedia pieces are acceptable, however each should foreground one of the different media forms.
      • You may use the sound piece in the moving image object, but other than that you should compose a different media object for each workshop.
      • In order to emphasize the particular qualities of different media forms, each media object will tell the same story or make the same argument, in a different form. The media objects may differ in terms of abstractness or concreteness, degree of narrativity, or amount of material that can be covered. Despite these differences, the portfolio should ultimately contain four versions of the same story or idea.
    • Collaboration is allowed, but multiply the number of collaborators by the length requirements. You may collaborate on one or all media objects, but not on the final paper.
    • In addition to the digital media objects, each portfolio should also contain a research paper (2100 – 3000 words for MA students; 3600 – 4500 for MFA and PhD students) that makes an argument about digital textuality.
    • MFA and PhD students will also complete an annotated bibliography of 9 readings drawn from the “further reading” sections of the reading schedule. This is 1 per reading/discussion session. No bibliography is due for workshop weeks.
    • See sections below for specifications on each particular media object and for additional items due in the Portfolio.
  • Topic
    • At the beginning of the semester, each student will choose a story or argument with which they will work all semester.
  • Audience
    • Consider your audience to be educated professionals interested in topics of emerging media.
  • Turning it in
    • The portfolio materials must be copied into or linked from your course participant page in the class wiki.
  • Each student will give a short presentation in which they present their portfolio work at the end of the semester. The length of the presentation is TBD based on the number of students after census day.

Technical Details:

  • Students should employ Revision Control so that version 1 can be submitted along with the final version in the portfolio.
  • If students need equipment to capture images, video, or sounds, EMAC has equipment available to borrow. Borrowing can be arranged through the ATEC equipment inventory. The UTD Library will also loan equipment.
    • To borrow equipment in the ATEC building, visit room ATC 2.402 M-F 8am – 10pm. You will need your net-id number and some form of photo id.
  • Be sure to allow plenty of time during the drafting process and before the final due date for technical difficulties.

Digital Media Objects – Specific Requirements

Text
  • 900 – 1200 words.
  • Possible formats for the text media object include:
    • Digital Text: 900-1200 words that is formatted for a digital platform (wiki, blog, twitter, goAnimate, etc.).
    • Other ideas must be cleared with Kim prior to the due date of version 1.
  • In addition to the criteria in the Grading section below, text-specific qualities include:
Still Image
  • Generally 10-15 images, unless otherwise noted.
  • Possible formats for the still image media object include:
    • Comic: A comic strip of 10 – 15 frames.
    • Photo Essay: A photo-essay of 10-15 original or creative-commons-licensed images (or a mixture).
      • You may only use creative commons images if:
        • the image is of an object or situation that is rare or inaccessible enough that you could not capture it yourself.
          • Note that this does include quality.
        • or the image is heavily modified.
      • If you use creative commons images, you must follow the terms of the license and give proper attribution.
    • Collage: A collage composed of 10-15 source images (original, creative-commons, or a mixture).
      • The same cc guidelines apply as to the photo essay.
    • Visualizations: A series of 10-15 data or text visualizations.
    • Other ideas must be cleared with Kim prior to the due date of the version 1.
  • In addition to the criteria in the Grading section below, image-specific qualities include:
Sound
    • 90 seconds to three minutes.
    • Possible formats for the sound media object include:
      • Composition: Original musical compositions, abstract, vocal, or instrumental.
      • Recording: Original audio recordings of stories or arguments
      • Remixing: Remixes or mashups of public domain or creative commons music and recordings.
        • The remixed version should heavily modify the source material.
      • Other ideas must be cleared with Kim prior to the due date of version 1.
    • In addition to the criteria in the Grading section below, sound-specific qualities include:
Moving Image
  • 90 seconds to three minutes.
  • Possible formats for the moving image media object include:
    • Video Production: narrative, informative, time lapse photography (converted to video), music video, etc. 90 seconds to three minutes.
    • Animation: narrative, informative, etc. 90 seconds to three minutes. (note that this does not include GoAnimate or XtraNormal, which are too text heavy)
    • Remixing: Two or more videos combined to total 90 seconds to three minutes.
    • Other ideas must be cleared with Kim prior to the due date of the first version.
  • In addition to the criteria in the Grading section below, the specific qualities of moving images include TBD in class
Portfolio
  • Should include:
    • Final versions of the four digital media objects, including a short explanation of revisions you made.
    • The research paper.
      • In addition to the digital media objects, each portfolio should also contain a research paper (2100 – 3000 words for MA students; 3600 – 4500 for MFA and PhD students) that makes an argument about digital textuality.
        • Cite 3 or more scholarly readings to support your argument. Use any citation format consistently.
        • You can reference your media objects in the research paper to help supplement your argument.
      • Options for uploading the paper include:
        • 1. Cut and paste the contents of the paper into your wiki page or wherever you are hosting your portfolio. If you do this, please be sure to double check to ensure that your formatting (particularly paragraph breaks) remains intact.
        • 2. Upload the paper to google drive and include a link to your portfolio. Don’t forget to set the sharing settings so Kim can view it.
    • First versions of the four digital media objects.
    • Everything should be linked from your course participant page on the wiki.

Grading

The Portfolio is worth 50% of your final grade.  You will be graded on the following criteria:

 

Excellent Good Fair Needs Improvement Failing
Media object content Media objects are consistently interesting or thought-provoking.  Any obfuscation is meaningful and purposely employed. Media objects are mostly interesting or thought-provoking. Any obfuscation is meaningful and purposely employed. Media objects have a clear argument or idea and are occasionally interesting or thought-provoking. Any obfuscation is meaningful and purposely employed. Media objects may lack a clear idea or focus. Media objects may be boring. One or more media objects is off-topic or so unclear as to be unintelligible.
Media form(see above for more about the signifiers of each medium) Media objects are consistently daring or interesting on the formal level and utilize the unique affordances of each medium. The form enhances the meaning and is designed to appeal to the intended audience. Media objects are well-composed and mostly utilize the unique affordances of each medium. For the most part the design appeals to the intended audience. The form of each media object supports effective communication and attempts to use the unique affordances of each medium. Additionally, each media object indicates an awareness of the audience. One or more media objects may be unclear, the form disconnected from meaning, or exhibit confusion about the audience.One or more media objects fails to communicate, is off-topic, formally obscures meaning, or ignores the audience.
Remixing, re-use, remediation

(if applicable)

Media objects amplify aspects of the source material and consistently enhance meaning. Media objects amplify aspects of the source material and are generally used to enhance meaning. Media objects amplify aspects of the source material. Repurposed material is used ineffectively. Source material is largely unaltered or becomes unintelligible in repurposing.
Drafting and Revising First versions are full-length and polished. Feedback for peers is consistently concrete and constructive. The student’s revisions make extensive improvements to their own work. First versions are full-length and polished. Feedback for peers is mostly concrete and constructive. The student’s revisions show substantial effort and generally improve their work. First versions are full-length and mostly polished. Feedback for peers makes a substantial effort to give concrete and constructive feedback. The student’s revisions show substantial effort. First versions may be short or in draft form. Feedback for peers or revision of one’s own work may lack substance. First versions are never completed. The student may give unhelpful feedback or fail to revise their own work.
Research Paper The research paper is consistently thought-provoking and well-organized. The author uses well-chosen sources to enhance meaning. The research paper is generally thought-provoking and well-organized. The author uses sources carefully in support of meaning. The research paper is well-organized and interesting. The author’s use of sources does not obscure their own voice. The paper may lack clarity or be boring. Sources may be missing or obscure the writer’s voice. The paper may be off-topic, fail to cite sources, or may be unintelligible.

Things that will detract from your grade:

  • Failure to meet minimum length requirements.
  • Late materials, including first versions. See the “Late Work” section for more information.
  • Missing items from the final portfolio.
  • Ignoring the license(s) of repurposed media objects.
  • Failure to present your portfolio, in the time allotted, at the end of the semester.

A Word About Late Work

  • First versions: Each instance of late first versions of written/image/video/acoustic work will result in a loss of 1/3 of a grade on the final portfolio. If you are not in class for the portfolio workshop, your work is considered late.
  • Final portfolio: Final portfolios will be marked down one letter grade for each day (or fraction thereof) that they are late.
  • Presentations: Late presentations are not allowed.

A Word About Drafting and Revising

  • You’ll notice the use of the terms “version” instead of “draft.”  That is because these are not “rough drafts.”  On days that first versions are due, you should bring in a polished and completed object so that your peers may give you as much helpful feedback as possible.
  • It is important that feedback is given constructively and with respect.  It is also important that feedback be concrete and specific.  We will come up with peer review guidelines in class on portfolio workshop days.
  • You will receive feedback from multiple student peers.  Though you are required to revise your work, you do not have to make any of the specific changes suggested during peer review. However, if you are hearing similar suggestions from multiple people, you would be wise to strongly consider them.
  • Make sure to retain copies of your first version of each media object to include in the portfolio.

Timeline and Due Dates

  • Feb 15: Text Object, Version 1 due in class.
    • Put a link on your course participant page.
  • Mar 7: Still Image Object, Version 1 due in class.
    • Put a link on your course participant page.
  • Apr 4: Sound Object, Version 1 due in class.
    • Put a link on your course participant page.
  • Apr 25: Moving Image Object, Version 1 due in class.
    • Put a link on your course participant page.
  • TBD: Presentations and Final Portfolio due.
    • Presentations: ## minutes
      • You may focus on selected media objects or give a brief overview of the entire portfolio.

Peer Review Groups

 

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