Spring 2017 Digital Studies Courses


Digital Studies Courses

50:192:101 Introduction to Digital Studies
Prof. Brown
MW 1:20-2:40PM
swiss-army-knife-iconIntroduction to Digital Studies provides students with a space to tinker with digital tools and also to develop critical vocabularies for analyzing digital objects. The class begins by examining some of the historical roots of digital technologies and then moves on to some key terms in digital studies: networks, interfaces, code, digital narratives, and physical computing. The class examines the history and cultural significance of digital technology while also experimenting with how to write, design, and make with those same tools. Students in the class use Twine to create interactive stories, Audacity to create audio compositions, and Arduino circuit boards to build physical computing projects. No technological expertise is required.

50:192:210 Multimedia Thinking
Prof. Emmons
TTH 3:00-4:20PM
Multimedia thinking is a way of making arguments and telling stories using digital media production tools. Multimedia thinking cultivates a transmedia perspective and involves the convergence of text, graphics, audio, and video, and the distribution of these assets over various media. Media may include video and sound, text, animation, still images, audio, or any form of non-physical media. Ideas are presented in a variety of formats including videos, comics, electronic literature, sound installations, remixes, mash-ups or video games. The course will begin with a theoretical and critical examination of media to prepare for their own digital media creations.

50:192:301:02 Videogame Design
Prof. Nash
TTH 11:00-12:20AM
game-controllerThis class serves as an introduction to video game production, with a focus on game design and mechanics. Whether you’re an aspiring game developer, an avid gamer, or even just a total n00b, this class will break down the fundamentals of game design as an artform, providing you with a vocabulary and critical understanding to start designing your own games. From Tic-Tac-Toe to Mario to Pokemon to Overwatch, we will disassemble games and look at their fundamental building blocks: the mechanics, procedures, and systems that shape the players’ experiences and emotions.

This class combines several assignment types to give a broad, realistic sense of what it takes to make a video game:

– Studying existing games like the retro classics, modern indie and art games, and AAA blockbusters – By breaking down the core gameplay of familiar games, you can gain an understanding of them on a more nuanced level and “play like a designer”.

– Designing your own games – All great video games stand on the pillars of great game design, the purest form of which is the physical game. Be it a sport, board game, or paper prototype, building a game without a computer is the best way to explore game design itself, without code or bugs getting in your way.

– Making your own (very simple) video game – You will get a taste for implementing game design into actual playable code! While you shouldn’t expect to make Uncharted 5 any time soon (or even Angry Birds), the last part of the course will serve as a brief introduction to programming and specifically Unity, an incredibly popular, free-to-use game engine.

Even if you have no interest in designing games, you will see your favorite video games in a whole new light!


50:192:302:90 Deconstructing and Designing the ‘How-To’ in the Age of Google and YouTube
Prof. DeCarolis
Online (Hours by Arrangement)

knowledge-iconOpportunities for teaching and learning are no longer limited to the classroom, curated by experts. People consult Google and YouTube everyday, whether to search for a decent cupcake recipe, steps for factoring an algebraic equation, or a video demonstrating how to change your car’s oil. Learning is no longer a formal process; it is an everyday experience. But what makes a “how-to” effective? What compels users to click away from some videos and websites in search of something better? This course will use these questions to explore and examine learning, memory, and the mechanics of designing effective digital learning. We’ll then apply these methods in the creation of “how-tos” in multiple modalities. In our efforts to explore and conceive effective instruction, we’ll also examine and discuss the implications of copyright for digital materials, universal design, and user experience design on teaching and learning.

50:192:303:90 Meatspace Invaders
Prof. Ervin
Online (Hours by Arrangement)

joystick-iconWhen Walt Whitman (1819-1892) wrote:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

he did so in a poem and not in a Facebook post or tweet, and yet even our most commonplace technologies today demonstrate the profundity of Whitman’s insight about what it means to be human. Variations of our multitudinous selves exist concurrently IRL and across increasingly more digital platforms, such as on social media and in persistent-world video games. Using Camden, New Jersey’s most famous son for inspiration, the objective of our course will be to better understand what it means today to contain multitudes. Starting with the notion of “Zen-ness” as introduced in DoubleFine’s 2013 video game The Cave, Meatspace Invaders will ask students of the DS Certificate program to to consider the spiritual ramifications of their technological habits. It will ultimately be a cross-disciplinary class of self-exploration, albeit it that allows us to question exactly what the “self” means in the digital age. Class time will take place inside World of Warcraft. Combing elements of play, research, reading, and meditation (which we might also think of as flow or eustress), the course will help us better appreciate the ultimate interface experiences: those of ourselves to the world and to each other.

50:192:305 Internship in Digital Studies
(Hours by Arrangement)

50:192:401 Digital Studies Capstone
(Hours by Arrangement)
Brown and Emmons

Interdisciplinary Electives

50:080:201 Social Media Photography
50:080:224 New Media Art
50:080:332 Graphic Design II
50:080:334 Graphic Design Production
50:080:386 Computer Animation I
50:080:387 Computer Animation II
50:082:202 History of Design
50:082:213/56:606:609:01 Chinese Art: Traditional and Digital Approaches

50:160:447 Computational Chemistry
50:350:224 Animation Mystiques
50:350:329 Design Publications for the Web
50:420:392 History of French Animation (course conducted in French)
50:512:364 City and Suburban America
50:700:302 Sound and Image
50:790:489 Introduction to Digital Politics
50:965:325 Advanced Video and Film Production
50:975:488 Geographic Information Systems
50:989:312 Writing New Media