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Spring 2017 Undergraduate English Courses: Special Topics

351:209 Intro to Multimedia Composition

Spring 2017

In these classes, we will be examining different ways in which digital media has contributed to new modes of thinking about topics of social and cultural importance . Through assigned texts and selected videos, podcasts, and other examples of popular digital media we will be meditating on what creativity and communication means in the 21st century. In addition to working with the assigned course texts, students will have the opportunity to develop projects that utilize digital media in order to generate their own ideas around the question, what does it mean to be connected in the digital age?

This course satisfies two SAS Core Requirements
Area of Inquiry: Arts and Humanities; Critical and Creative Expression [AHr]
Cognitive Skills and Processes: Information Technology and Research [ITR] 

Section Subtitle Instructor Day/Period Location Index Campus
01 Documenting Your World McCarter  W2, 3 MU-038 09865 CAC
02 Documenting Your World Hoen T7, 8 MU-038 09994 CAC
03 The Fluid Page Standridge MW8 MU-038 10261 CAC
04 Turn on Your Radio and Hide: From War of the Worlds to Welcome to Night Vale Dawson M2,3 MU-305 11204 CAC
05 Documenting YOUR World Morgan  TH4, 5 MU-038 11205 CAC
06 Blogging Morgan  TH6, 7 MU-038 11850 CAC
07 Words About Music Warren F 2, 3 MU-038 11851 CAC
08 Digital Communication  Ahmed M5, 6 MU-305 16147 CAC
09 It's a Small World After All Strauss T4, 5 MU-302 13731 CAC
10 Curiosity and Expression Bielecki TH2, 3 MU-305 13732 CAC
11 Blogging McCarter M4, 5 MU-038 16907 CAC
12 The Internet Fitzgerald MW6 MU-038 13733 CAC
13 The Fluid Page  Bobe MW7 MU-038 21196 CAC
14 Documenting YOUR World Strauss W3,4 MU-305 21430 CAC
15 Documenting YOUR World Sumpter W4,5 MU-038 21899 CAC
16 Documenting YOUR World Bryan MTH2 MU-302 21987 CAC

*Honors College students and SAS Honors students enroll in Section H1

H1 Creativity and Expression Bielecki T 2,3 MU-305 13733 CAC

01, 02, 05, 14, 15, 16 - Documenting YOUR World
Sometimes, it feels like The News has everything covered: politics, entertainment, climate change, business. But there’s something only you can report on: The story of your everyday life. How your immediate world keeps changing. Is there a new graffiti artist in town? Is something fresh happening in the local music scene? Has your circle of friends changed its view on an issue? Is a new fashion trend emerging on campus? Through blog posts, a podcast, and a video project, we’ll keep track of micro-stories like these, analyzing and exploring them in different ways.

03 - The Fluid Page 
Digital media has altered not only the way we create and consume information, but it has also profoundly altered how we value that information; furthermore, it has changed the way we think. The realm of digital media is growing and changing so rapidly that even the experts often have trouble making sense of what tools like blogs, social media, and digital publishing mean for the future of human communication. In this class, we will be critically examining the ways that digital media has inspired us to reconsider permanence and fluidity, as they relate to information. Through assigned texts, websites, videos, and podcasts, students will rethink the modes of presenting information and find what it means to contribute to the perpetually updated World Wide Web. Students will also develop projects using digital media in order to explore their own personal questions about what it means to create and consume media in the Digital Age. 

04 - Turn on your Radio and Hide: From War of the Worlds to Night Vale

The age of the Ipod is over, but a genre of narrative audio that took its name — “podcasting” — is thriving. The course focuses on the rise of the modern fictional podcast from its roots in Golden Age radio drama. Students will listen/respond to several vintage radio dramas and modern podcasts, prepare a handful of sonic adaptations (from visual or textual sources), then write/produce two original podcasts (i.e. a "sound story" and an "ear movie"), as well as one video (in which the visual information doesn't compromise the work's integrity as audio narrative). The course also includes visits with a variety of podcast professionals (and at least one live performance of a classic radio drama). The great strength of audio storytelling, is the mind's innate willingness to try to see whatever someone suggests it see, no matter how bizarre. So come on, folks, let's get crazy!

06, 11 - Blogging
Students will learn the personal and professional value of being able to create and update a blog. By the end of the semester, students will be familiar with blogging jargon (posts, tags, archives, etc.), examine highly trafficked, exemplary blogs in the blogosphere, and begin to understand the many purposes and functions of blogs. Students will explore various blogging platforms and learn how to set up a basic blog. Writing exercises will focus on developing a distinct, consistent voice; writing for web rather than print; generating a steady stream of topics; and writing for a specific audience. Students will also be expected to consider how additional media (photos, videos, sound, external links) can support the text. All students will create a concept for a blog that they will update throughout the semester, and the class will also maintain a collaborative group blog.

07 - Words About Music
“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture” (Martin Mull, Frank Zappa, Elvis Costello, etc.). From the earliest days of concert reviews and album liner notes, journalists have been struggling to find words to describe the sounds that they hear when listening to music. The blogging world has brought many more voices into this cultural conversation, which at times can be both perplexing and fascinating. The current digital music landscape has become a thriving and vibrant community that has its roots in a long tradition of fanzines, concert bootlegs and mix tapes. Now more than ever, both artists and their respective audiences are engaged in a dynamic conversation that is not only changing how we talk about music, but also how artists are creating music. Through careful study of texts, blogs, podcasts, videos and recordings, students will evaluate how music is discussed and written about and become active participants in the larger social media conversation. Over the course of the semester, students will produce several blog posts that critique live musical performances, review albums and explore their deeper thoughts on musical style and culture. In addition, each student will produce a podcast and a video essay that takes traditional musical journalism off the page and into the aural and visual domains.

08 - Digital Communication
Media literacy means analyzing and thinking critically about online multimedia platforms in the form of short videos, images, blogs, sound bites, and ephemeral content. We will critique why bloggers, journalists, and artists choose particular mediums to showcase their message, and we will cultivate skills that will help us effectively communicate using these multimedia platforms. The kind of writing we will explore will be creative (poetry, plays, fiction) and journalistic prose.

09 - Its A Small World After All
You could say that poetry, integrating music, language, and a visual element, has always had a multimedia dimension. With its penchant for economy of expression and a strong, image-based appeal to the senses, poetry seems to have been tailor-made for the digital age. In this course we investigate the interface between poetry and a variety digital media platforms, exploring what each can offer the other. This course is for anyone who is interested in poetry and where digital media platforms can take it. Beginners, intermediate, advanced—all welcome! 

10 - Creativity and Expression 
How are our perceptions of art, communications, and information changing as a result of wide spread access to digital technologies and various digital media platforms? This course provides students the opportunity to explore the conceptual challenges that have emerged from the ever expanding digital world that we inhabit through blog postings, group exercises, and individual digital media projects that provide hands on experience of what it is like to compose and share works that are both thought provoking and entertaining.

11 - The Internet

* Honors College students and SAS Honors students enroll in Section H1

*11 (Honors) - Creativity and Expression
How are our perceptions of art, communications, and information changing as a result of wide spread access to digital technologies and various digital media platforms? This course provides students the opportunity to explore the conceptual challenges that have emerged from the ever expanding digital world that we inhabit through blog postings, group exercises, and individual digital media projects that provide hands on experience of what it is like to compose and share works that are both thought provoking and entertaining.