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Spring 2018 Undergraduate English Courses: Special Topics

351:209 Intro to Multimedia Composition

Spring 2018

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  W/3,4 MU-305 09324 CAC
02 Food, Culture & Politics in the Digital Age Hoboyan M,Th/2 MU-038 09447 CAC
03 The Fluid Page Standridge T,Th/8 MU-038 09683 CAC
04 Turn on Your Radio and Hide! Dawson W/2,3 MU-038 10520 CAC
05 Documenting YOUR World LaBrie  Th/6,7 MU-038 10521 CAC
06 Storytelling in the Digital Age Fuhrman  M,W/5 MU-305 11076 CAC
07 Words About Music Warren F/2,3 MU-038 11077 CAC
08 Storytelling in the Digital Age  Ahmed M/2,3 MU-302 14235 CAC
09 Documenting YOUR World Bryan Th/4,5 MU-302 12671 CAC
10 Curiosity and Expression Bielecki Th/2,3 MU-305 12672 CAC
11 Documenting YOUR World McCarter M/4,5 MU-038 14707 CAC
12 Millenials and Multimedia Fitzgerald M,W/6 MU-038 16785 CAC
13 At Home: What Does it Mean?  Kearney W/4,5 MU-038 16978 CAC
14 Documenting YOUR World Kearney Th/6,7 MU-305 16979 CAC
15 The Need for Control: The Psychology Behind Photographic Manipulation Rose M,W/7 MU-038 17342 CAC

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

H1 Curiosity and Expression Bielecki T/2,3 MU-305 12673 CAC

 

01, 05, 09, 11, 14 - 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.

02 - Food, Culture & Politics in the Digital Age 
Multimedia appeals to various senses, but not all of them at once. How can students use digital platforms to create something that comes close to experiencing the real thing of food? Additionally, how can social media disseminate information about the food world, specifically agriculture and the politics that surround it? How can these media bring awareness to the forefront and encourage social action? In this course, students will consider these questions as they engage with all varieties of food literature (novels, restaurant reviews, political essays, how-to videos, food blogs) and how their own identities are created through food. As a result of our discussions, students will create a podcast, a video essay, and other related assignments.

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!
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, 08 - Storytelling in the Digital Age
Students will hone their creative writing and critical thinking skills, to learn the various styles and formats of storytelling in the digital age. You will create a digital portfolio which is a personal blog of your work throughout the semester. The portfolio will include – personal narrative, podcast, video essay, film critique, blog posts on current events, well-thought-out final essays or short fiction. How do we tell stories in the digital age? Are the possibilities endless? Let’s find out!

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.

10 - Curiosity 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.

12 - Millenials and Multimedia
Through blog posts, video essays, podcasts, and other multimedia projects, you will explore the ways you define yourselves within and against the millennial generation that is being actively discussed in the blogosphere. According to a 2014 White House report, one quarter of millennials—Americans born between 1980 and 2000—“believe that their relationship to technology is what makes their generation unique.” In this course, you will use multimedia composition—that is, writing and creating using digital technologies—in order to analyze, define, and ultimately contribute to millennial culture. You will theorize how millennials differ from Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and from other generational groups, considering questions not only of technology but also of race, gender, class, employment, education, health, family, community, and attitude.

13 - At Home: What Does it Mean?
What is home? Is it a place of belonging, of safety, of refuge? Must it be something that we call ours, that we identify with? Or can home be a dwelling in bewilderment? What happens when we don’t feel at home, when we don’t belong? In this class, we will develop work that documents the shapes and contours of our intimate dwellings and the stories of those who inhabit them. Through videos, podcasts, and graphic illustrations, students will develop narratives around questions of home and estrangement, investigating how each specific digital media employed can serve as a unique lens to view both feeling at home and feeling estranged. Students of all backgrounds and disciplines welcome!

15 - The Need for Control: The Psychology Behind Photographic Manipulation
Why do we use Facebook as a visual platform to showcase only the positive aspects of our lives? Why do we meticulously filter our Instagram pictures and feel the need to take the perfect selfie? When photography originated in the nineteenth century, it was seen as the artistic lens of truth. And yet from its birth, photography has been manipulated in its darkrooms. This course will look at the use of photography and portraiture from its birth to the present to see what its manipulation tells us about ourselves and the cultures we live in. We will think through recent uproars regarding Snapchat and their ‘beautifying’ filters and the whitening app of FaceApp. 

 

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

*H1 (Honors) - Curiosity 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. Taught at Honors level.