Jentery F Sayers
Provides hands-on experience in communicative practice and the production of media. Combines production and theory.
WINTER 2011: DIGITAL COLLABORATION AND PUBLICATION
This course is an introduction to collaboratively composing, collecting, and curating digital content using multi-authored, web-based platforms. As a class, we will collectively use the Omeka platform to develop online exhibits of media assets (such as digital video, audio, and images). Rather than writing only individual essays or producing work independently, we will collaboratively develop an exhibit. This collaboration will require students to determine their own roles and responsibilities as the project develops. Such roles involve web design, content and metadata management, outreach, interpretation, and media production. No previous experience in any of these domains will be assumed, and I will encourage students to develop competencies in areas new to them.
Of course, the project necessitates both a context and some content. To that end, we will be in conversation with our partners in the Puget Sound region, specifically musicians who are (or were) somehow involved in the "do-it-yourself" (DIY) scene. At its core, a term like "DIY" is highly subject to debate. Why does DIY matter today, especially when so many things are composed digitally? What does it mean in the first place? What is made and how? How is it motivated? For whom? And to what effects on people's perceptions of local culture? With the UW's "Crocodile Cafe Collection" as our focus, we'll unpack these questions as a group and with our community partners, who will converse with the class and present their differing perspectives and artifacts. Students will be expected to work with our partners to digitize existing materials (e.g., print texts and analog recordings), conduct interviews, and research the region for assets that could be included (with consent) in the exhibit. In so doing, we will learn more about the politics, aesthetics, and history of local DIY cultures and do our best to represent the complex and often contentious diversity of that spectrum on the web.
There is no textbook for the course, and most of the course material will be provided by our community partners. I will supplement this material with some example digital exhibits that may serve as influences, as well as texts that will provide us with some histories and theories related to DIY culture.
Student learning goals
Develop competencies in online project management and collaboration using Omeka as the primary platform for collecting and curating media assets (including digital images, video, and audio).
Demonstrate a project-specific awareness of how to compose with multiple media (e.g., video, audio, and text) that engage various modalities (e.g., watching, reading, and listening) and audiences (e.g., academics and enthusiasts).
Articulate how the design of web-based content influences people's interpretations of and access to it and explain why the project should be digital in the first place.
In groups, create an online exhibit consisting of at least twenty media assets, determine whether it should be published on the web, and develop a post-quarter sustainability plan for it.
Individually and in writing, document changes made to the project, reflect on contributions made to it, and identify what was learned, what could be done differently, and what future contributors need to consider.
Learn more about "do-it-yourself" cultures in the Puget Sound region, not to mention the multiple valences of the term, and articulate how (if at all) those cultures should be represented through an online exhibit.
General method of instruction
Class meetings will occur in a computer-integrated classroom. Meetings will rely primarily on workshops and modules on Omeka, collaboration, and digital publication.
There are no prerequisites for this course. However, some previous experience in media and communication studies (especially media practice) may enhance learning.
Class assignments and grading
A majority of the assignments will be collaborative in character, with groups developing their own online exhibits. Students will also be expected to write individual reflections and contribute to the documentation of their exhibit's development.
Students will be evaluated based on project development, persuasiveness of the final exhibit, individual reflections on process, class participation, and final presentations.