New Media Junior Seminar

Instructors: Peter Ohring: Nat Sci 1007. Mon, Thurs 2:00-3:30
Eleanor Paynter
Class Hours: Wednesday 8:30-12:10
Location: Nat Sci 2001

Course Overview: Since becoming a New Media major you have likely wondered, or been asked, as to the meaning of New Media. In this class we will attempt to develop an understanding, a definition if you like, of New Media, one that makes sense for us at Purchase. This will help you put your pre-advanced standing experiences in some perspective as you begin to take upper-level classes that require you to synthesize knowledge and skills from more than one discipline, and prepare you for work on a research-based senior project/thesis. We will experiment with a variety of learning activities to facilitate this understanding including readings and discussions, exploring New Media work both here at Purchase and in the greater New Media community, hands-on projects along with critiques, learning research techniques, and student in-class presentations. We will also benefit from meeting and hearing from visiting artists in the New Media Lecture series and field trips into NYC to experience New Media off-campus.

Many of the activities mentioned above involve some form of writing. It was this in mind that the faculty recently identified Junior Seminar as the Junior level writing intensive course for New Media majors. Junior level writing intensive classes are part of the college's initiative to integrate writing into the curriculum, and bridge the writing expectations of College Writing and Senior Thesis. As part of this initiative we will benefit from the active participation of a second instructor, Professor Eleanor Paynter, a writing expert.

This course has the potential be a very important one for all of us. In addition to content, the course fills a significant community role: It is the first time that we are all in a class together. As such it is a great opportunity for you to begin coalescing as a new media cohort. The relationships you form here will be vital in your remaining years at Purchase and in your post-graduation careers. Perhaps even more than in other classes it is central that we appreciate that this is a community experience, not an independent study. Your attitude and participation in the course will impact everyone's experience.

Course Structure: The class meets once a week. Please be in class and ready to go at 8:30 each Wednesday morning. The classes will be a mix of discussions, presentations, hands-on writing activities, and miscellaneous other activities. We will take a short break midway through the morning for a coffee run.

We will be using moodle, an open source course management system, extensively this semester. Course materials, other resources, and grades will be posted there.

You are allowed up to two absences. Each absence beyond this threshold will result in a letter grade deduction from your final grade. Attendance includes participating in two field trips to NYC to explore New Media work and attending all three New Media lectures.

Reading Responses: You will have weekly reading assignments. For each reading you must write a typed response that is at least one page long (double-spaced). These responses are not summaries. Unless questions are posed to you ahead of time in class, you should write your thoughts about the reading (e.g. what was interesting to you, what do you agree with, what do you not agree with, what do you not understand etc.). These responses are to show me that you read the materials closely and prepare you for class discussion. Submit your response via the moodle assignment set up for it before the class in which it will be discussed. Late reading responses will be marked down.

Readings and Class Presentations: As a way of better integrating the readings into the class you will each give one presentation during the semester in which you share with the class artistic and other creative work that ties in with the reading: For example the Life-Tracing reading explores some aspects of identity in a networked world and would be an opportunity to research and share new media work that explores identity. To be clear - everyone submits a written response as usual; those presenting will follow the guidelines in the weekly syllabus and, in consultation with the instructor, a short (10-15 minute) presentation on a topic related to the reading and be prepared to answer questions from the class on the topic of your presentation and the reading itself.

Text: MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th Edition

Other Books: The Language of New Media by Lev Manovich, Multimedia, From Wagner to Virtual Reality, Edited by Randall Packer and Ken Jordan

Grading:

Your grade for the class will be based on one collaborative project, written responses to readings, one research paper, an Artist Statement, attendance and participation.

Research Paper: 25%
Project: 25%
Written Responses: 30%
Artist Statement: 10%
Participation: 10%

Rhizome: Rhizome.org is an online platform for the global new media art community. Rhizome programs support the creation, presentation, discussion and preservation of contemporary art that uses new technologies in significant ways. Purchase has an organizational membership that allows each of you to create an individual account for free. Unless you tell me otherwise, I will add you to the subscription list. You will then receive an email from Rhizome with instructions for creating a user account.

Special Needs: I encourage students with disabilities to let me know as soon as possible during the semester what, if any, special accommodations they will need. After-the-fact accommodations will not be possible. All students requesting accommodation for disabilities need to provide documentation from the Office of Students with Disabilities. This office is located in the Counseling Center, in the basement of Humanities (Room 0012). Call Ronnie Mait, who directs the office, at (914) 251-6035, or call the Counseling Center, (914) 251-6390. They are happy to answer questions. For more information, go to http://www.purchase.edu/studaff/specialstudentservices.

Syllabus: This syllabus is subject to change. Always refer to the class web site for the current syllabus, live hyperlinks and class announcements. Reading assignments will often be accompanied by questions to help guide your responses. Please refer to moodle on a weekly basis for these questions.

Week 1 (January 20)

Class Activities
Discussion of course objectives, learning activities, and expectations
Intro Presentations: Peter and Eleanor
Writing Exercise on Presentations
Ice Breaker

Week 2 (January 27)

Reading:
What is New Media by Lev Manovich, Chapter 1 - Pages 19-61
Use the following to guide your response:

  1. What surprises you most about the history of the discipline as presented in this chapter?
  2. Can you identify ideological agenda in this reading?
  3. Does reading this chapter change your idea of what new media is? Can you define new media in one sentence?
  4. What do you think about the central role given to cinema?
  5. Identify and analyze new media work that model the five criteria that Manovich introduces.

Class Activities
Discussion based on reading
Intro Presentations
Writing Exercise

Week 3 (February 3)

Reading:
Ten Dreams of Technology by Steve Dietz, in Leonardo, Vol. 35, No. 5, pp. 509- 513+515-522.

Class Activities
Discussion based on reading
Intro Presentations
Writing Exercise

Week 4 (February 10)

Reading:
The Spectacle:
The Six Elements and Causal Relations Among Them by Brenda Laurel.
Piercing the Spectacle by Brenda Laurel

Class Activities
Discussion based on reading
Intro Presentations
Writing Exercise
Discussion and presentations based on reading

Week 5 (February 17)

Reading:
MLA Handbook Chapter 1.

Class Activities

Intro Presentations
Research Paper topics exchange
Writing Exercise
Research methods workshop and discussion with Sarah Van Gundy

Week 6 (February 24)

Reading:
Identity: The Traces of a Networked Life (Lifetracing 1 & 2) by Anne Helmond
MLA Handbook Chapter 2.
Man of the World A Gabriel Orozco retrospective by Peter Schjeldahl

Class Activities
Discussion and presentations based on reading
Intro Presentations
Writing Exercise

Field Trip (MOMA and Chelsea)
Meet in W2 on Saturday, February 27 at 9:00 a.m.

Week 7 (March 3)

Reading:
Privacy/Surveillance: Naked in Nonopticon by Siva Vaidhyanathan in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb 15, 2008. Vol. 54, Iss. 23, p. B7-B10

Class Activities
Discussion and presentations based on reading
Intro Presentations
Writing Exercise

Check it Out
The Armory Show

Week 8 (March 10)

Reading:
No reading (Research papers due.)

Class Activities
Final Project Discussion
Writing Exercise
Peer review of papers

Week 9 (March 17)

Reading:
Utopianism:
The Wired Nation, Pages 582-593, by Ralph Lee Smith, The Nation, May 18, 1970
HARRISON BERGERON by Kurt Vonnegut, October 1961

Class Activities
Discussion and presentations based on reading
Final Project Discussion
Writing Exercise

Week 10 (March 24)

Reading:
Participatory Culture: DIY-The Militant Embrace of Technology by Marcin Ramocki

Class Activities
Research paper presentations
Discussion and presentations based on reading
Intro Presentations
Writing Exercise

Week 11 (April 7)

Reading:
Artificial Intelligence: Why Minds Are Not Like Computers by Ari Shulman

Class Activities
Research paper presentations
Discussion and presentations based on reading
Writing Exercise

Week 12 (April 14)

Reading:
Gaming and Education: Education vs. Entertainment: A Cultural History of Children’s Software by Mizuko Ito

Class Activities
Research paper presentations
Discussion and presentations based on reading
Intro Presentations
Writing Exercise
Peer review of Statements of Purpose. (Statements due today.)

Week 13 (April 21)

Reading:
No reading.

Class Activities
Field Trip to Whitney Biennial

Week 14 (April 28)

Reading:
TBA.

Class Activities
Final Projects
Writing Exercise

Week 15 (May 5)

Reading:
No Reading

Class Activities
Final Presentations