In this class, "digital studies" is a discipline that takes a broad approach to the ways digital technology has changed our lives. This includes exploring digital creativity, understanding digital culture, and practicing digital methodology. Completing this class will help you develop the ideas, ethos, and skills that will continue to grow in other courses, especially those in the Digital Studies Minor or the major in Communication and Digital Studies, and that you can apply in other areas of your life. While some of your assignments will involve working closely with computer software and code, no prior experience with programming is required or expected other than reliable internet access and a willingness to challenge yourself.
By successfully completing this course, students will
“Creative Coding” is a field of aesthetic experimentation where writers, designers, artists, composers and poets find interesting ways to enlist the assistance of computers in accomplishing their creative work. In this class, we'll learn about so-called "computer-generated" poetry, literature, graphic art, and anything else you're interested in. We will look at the history of these genres to help us understand the ways artists have experimented with code, but mainly this class will be about creating your own original work.
No prior experience with programming is required, and to some extent, this class may serve as a good general introduction to programming — bearing in mind that the things you learn how to make for this class will be mostly be impractical.
It is my hope that, by completing this course, successful students will:
Note that these outcomes are relatively abstract. They don't, in other words, dependent a minimum competency for programming. Process is more important than product.
Whereas DGST 101 is a wide, shallow approach to digital culture, creativity and methodology, DGST 395 is a deeper dive into fewer areas and a project that students design, complete, and share.
In this class, students will learn ...
In this class, we’re going to study “graphic narrative,” which is here defined as the combination of images and text in order to convey a story. While we’ll mainly focus on graphic novels, some other forms and genres such as comics, comic strips, and webcomics will provide relevant primary material. Of particular interest in this version of class will be the influence of digital technology on the design, distribution, and consumption of comic texts, but thematic links among the primary texts will speak to issues of cultural memory, nostalgia, and identity. Primary readings will include the works listed below, and these will be supplemented by relevant literary theory and comics-specific criticism and theory.
This class serves as an introduction to the academic study of graphic narrative within a literary framework. Students will
This class is designed to make you a better writer by exploring what it means to write with and for digital platforms. Through the assignments in this class, you will experiment with different rhetorical modes and concepts, all focused toward the differences made by doing things online. Readings and activities in this class will support the experimentation of your assignments and will also introduce you to critical ideas and debates within and about digital media culture. The final project will be a portfolio of your digital writing hosted on your own website.
In this course, students will
No cultural artifacts exist in isolation. Instead, media texts relate to one another in a vast and complex ecology of relations like parody, pastiche, homage, translation, port, sequel, reboot, remix, easter egg, adaptation. This class seeks to explore and understand media by tracking and describing those relationships, especially those between literary texts and their place in contemporary culture.
From Solitaire to Skyrim, from flight simulators to Flappy Bird, videogames are one of the major modes of media consumption today. Games create common experiences among users that we can share and learn from, and they are touchstones in popular culture. As digital texts, videogames allow different kinds of expression and new rhetorics, and as cultural artifacts, videogames join a larger ecology of media which contain and construct cultural values like representation, diversity, social justice, identity, equality, freedom. As products of a culture with these and other values, videogames in turn, reflect those values and can become vehicles for motivating change. This class, “games and culture”, is an investigation of these cultures and conversations. The class also serves as an elective for the Communication and Digital Studies Major or the Minor in Digital Studies.
This course is designated as an Honors class and is designated Digitally Intensive under UMW's 2020 general education plan. Additionally, it serves to fulfill an elective requirement for the Minor in Digital Studies and the Major in Communication and Digital Studies. These curricular contexts all inform the goals and structure of this class, and explaining how the course will help you complete the learning objectives associated with those contexts is also an opportunity to demonstrate how a class about videogames really is a serious academic undertaking.
In this class, videogames are both processes and products, or since this is also an English class, one might say that our approach is going to treat videogames like literary texts, with these specific course objectives.
For as long as computers have been capable of expressing symbolic communication, people have been using computers to expressive creative literary ideas. As platforms evolve, authors, programmers, and designers find new modes and new audiences for born digital literature. This class will be a survey of the history, genres and forms of Electronic Literature.
Successful students will
This class is a survey of “transmedia fiction,” a general category for narrative that is conveyed simultaneously through distinct but complementary media, including film, videogames, comics, or music. Students will examine major and emerging texts in this genre and engage with creative practice by producing their own transmedia work. The term “transmedia” encompasses several specific genres — Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), Viral Marketing, Hoaxes, Transmedia Storytelling, etc. — which share a common emphasis on digital technology as a platform for disseminating large-scale interactive narrative works of significant complexity. High-profile examples of this include ARGs used to promote new movies or TV series’ (Lost, for example), but increasingly, media consumers take for granted that the storyworlds in one medium can escape traditional media boundaries and expand into other worlds — perhaps our own.
This class first approaches this phenomenon through a historical perspective by placing these works in a literary context. Next, the course theorizes these undertakings by incorporating relevant narratological theory. Finally, students experiment with the craft of transmedia fiction by designing and possibly executing their own collaborative transmedia experience.
By completing this course, successful students will
What are books? Where do they come from, and what will they become in the future? What is the power in books that has been perceived as so threatening in various periods of history that books have been banned or burned? What are the medial affordances of the bound volume, and why is it so compellingly romanticized? What what temperature do books actually burn?
This class is a senior seminar that will investigate these and other questions about the book considered as a medium. By reading some fiction and quite a bit of scholarly analysis, we’ll explore the ways that books have worked and evolved as media and how they play a role in a cultural context.
By the end of this class, successful students will:
This class is an exploration of emergent methodologies in literature studies that take advantage of computational methods to pursue analysis and critique of literature. These so-called "distant reading" techniques have found many useful applications, but need to be interrogated for their latent assumptions and priorities. This class is about "teaching the controversy" while testing and demonstrating various methodologies like topic modeling, stylometrics, and various other data-driven approaches.
By completing this class, students will gain experience in applying digital tools to the questions and problems of literary studies. Specifically, successful students will be able to
A senior senior seminar in the English major studying code and the figure code as a literary device, specifically in postmodern contexts.
What are the most important videogames ever made? What role do these games play in our culture, and how should cultural institutions like the university preserve and protect these artifacts?
In this seminar, students will undertake a study of one such proposed list, compiled in 2007 by a group of experts: Spacewar!, Star Raiders, Zork, Tetris, SimCity, Super Mario Bros. 3, Civilization I/II, Doom, Warcraft and Sensible Soccer. We will then research, annotate and exhibit our own list of games.
This class is an exploration of how digital technologies and networked culture are influencing our sense of self and community, from the crafting and presentation of personal identity, to the empowerment of individual voices to create and effect change, to the building of communal narratives and spaces in an increasingly global and networked society.
Looking through the lens of social media and tools such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, mobile devices and apps, students will explore how their own identity is shaped and changed by their digital activities. Identity “markers” such as race/ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic class will become topics for deeper discussion around our evolving understanding of online presentations of self. Students will both discuss these issues and participate in activities using the array of social media.
A requirement of this class will be to participate in UMW’s Domain of One’s Own project, which provides a domain name and Web hosting space to each student. Students will use the resources of the project to further investigate, build, and manage their own digital identity. In addition, in this space each student will reflect upon the work of the class through the sharing of their ideas and work.