Posts Tagged: assignments

Samples for Approachable Projects interested in Circulation

* Thanks to Kelsey for this week’s really thoughtful workshop materials. Once again, I thought I’d post a few links that her materials called to my mind (since my expertises are, perhaps, more askance of hers, some of these may seem a stretch). I was particularly taken with her invitation to consider “other non-technically demanding ways to invite the work we want when we assign video essays.”

I’ve started asking students to collect what Transom calls sonic IDs. They do this before we do any formal work on audio production, but could (I think) do them as standalone pieces leading toward non-audio assignments. I tell them these should be short and unscripted and that I’m not concerned at all about recording quality. (Although, we do go over some basics like: test your recording software before you need it and make sure you know where the mic on your computer or phone is, so you can think about positioning it). I tell them 10 seconds is plenty for an ID and that one should definitely be no more than a minute. That just a funny story from a friend or roommate is perfectly acceptable.

Cowbird is a platform that pitches itself as “a public library of human experience.” They say, “Our mission is to gather and preserve exceptional stories of human life… We offer a simple set of storytelling tools, designed to encourage contemplation and depth—for free, and without ads.” Most stories are really just a couple images paired with a brief text, but I can imagine requiring students to choose a “seed” (prompts the site provides) as a way of getting brief student works into circulation. Their idea of the site as a commons is also relevant to some classes we might teach.

Similarly, there have been a spate of brief articles about teaching microvideo with Instagram and Vine, and I can imagine something like asking students to participate in one of Instagram’s sponsored weekend hashtag projects grounding an assignment in an approachable way. Not quite for beginners in very short amounts of time but pretty doable — How To Make a Vine Using Stop Motion via Photojojo and Matt Willis.

Thinking about this Adweek article on Vine Stop-Motion Artists Doing Work for Brands also started me thinking about some other contexts in which teaching advertising examples or principles might make sense as an extension of work on GIFs.

To this end, asking students to create 360-degree product adverts via video with something like Shoogleit might be interesting. This is also a cool tool for creating “interactive” time lapse of places (for those who work on either spatial rhetoric or literatures of place).

If the idea is less to work on circulation and uptake and more to work on collaborative composition in a “new” media form, giving each student one word to create a photo of and then assembling something like Shelley Jackson’s Snow Story might be a great non-technically demanding way to start working with the poetics of media and typography. (Although, this story was also pretty viral in certain circles last year. So a project like this could also be about circulation.)

Another very different direction to take this would be to consider how GIFs have been used to capture glitches. I got lured into this (commercial) outfit’s technical description of different hardware glitches. I also like this piece on The Radical Capacity of Glitch Art by Lital Khaikin on redefine for the way it distinguishes glitch art from “raw error.” I can imagine this being cool for either looking at the glitch in a media studies or art historical way or in terms of “traditional” composition where—as a field—we’ve been amassing studies on “error” (and its aesthetics and consequences and potentialities) for a long time. 

Digital Writing and Research Lab’s Lesson Plans (UTexas) – A project of The University of Texas at Austin’s Digital Writing & Research Lab (DWRL); the DWRL is affiliated with UT’s Department of Rhetoric & Writing and is staffed by graduate students in rhetoric, literature, linguistics, and related fields. Link is for a list of well tagged lesson plans that range in scope from in-class exercises to semester-long projects. They also maintain an interesting pedagogy blog.


A few links to start discussion on Jan. 29th

Steven Hammer at SJU in Philadelphia – his “active” spring 2015 courses include visual rhetoric and digital storytelling. During fall 2014 he taught an audio design and production class.

Casey Boyle at UT-Austin – he has materials up for half a dozen courses built around his specialties in digital rhetoric, including a writing with sound class and a class on spatial rhetorics and locative media.

Jim Brown at Rutgers-Camden – his course archive includes a wide range of classes, perhaps of particular interest to people working on classes that involve videogames (esp. as/and the literary), interfaces, or writing-and-code.

Jennifer Proctor – filmmaker and media artist based in Ann Arbor; lots of great resources for teaching video.

Mark Sample at Davidson – many courses from both Davidson and GMU, including Future & History of the book, Videogames in Context, Intro to Digital Studies.

Jentery Sayers at U Victoria – you have to look around bit to find specific course materials in his portfolio, but he is particularly good on sound pedagogy stuff and on using/developing/teaching DH methods (with Modernist texts in particular). Also worth note: his DH perspective is deeply rooted in cultural studies training.

Quinn Warnick at Virginia Tech – is another digital rhetoric specialist who teaches a range of courses; it may be worth clicking through to some of the semester-specific websites for Developing Online Content (a class that used to be called “Writing for the Web”) and/or Writing and Digital Media. (Especially if you teach in our PPW program.)

Anne Wysocki at Wisconsin-Milwaukee – this website hasn’t been updated since 2011, but there’s a class on animating writing that’s intriguing, and the document design class is worth a look (if only for the way the course has both a conceptual description and a concrete description).

Elizabeth Losh at UC San Diego (director of their Culture, Art, and Technology Program) – classes include digital poetics, feminist dialogues on technology, media seductions, and public rhetoric.

Stephanie Strickland – a single, intriguing syllabus from a practitioner’s perspective for a class called Approaching New Media Poetry.

Information for the Writing with Video class at the University of Illinois – this has been around since 2005; it has now been taught by a wide range of instructors and been subject of a lot of development conversations.

Not yet fully composed, but already featuring some amazing resources: the curate pedagogy project’s list of keywords for digital pedagogy.

A blog post from Mu Lin collecting links to various digital journalism syllabi.