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Syllabus

Course Description

The contemporary understanding of communication and narrative is quickly shifting in a world where media is ubiquitous. This course explores the properties of non-linear, multi-linear, and interactive forms of narratives as they have evolved from print to digital media. The "language of new media" is the thematic used in this course to discuss contemporary and historic forms of non-linear narrative. Writers on communication culture, gaming, television, digital aesthetics, contemporary art and film, as well as synchronic narrative will be addressed. The course is structured as a theory and practice class: students will produce short papers and a final media project. The focus is to develop critical tools to analyze contemporary media as well as a minimal level of practical implementation. We will look at writers including Borges, Julian Dibbell, Steven Johnson, Friedrich Kittler, Jan Murray, Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman, films by Quentin Tarantino and Chris Marker, and game culture platforms such as Second Life, LARPs and ARGs, and various MMOs. This course is open to students of all levels, with assignment modification for graduate students.

Students will develop digital and non-digital collaborative projects that explore the complex relationships of narrative and interactivity in a hands-on, workshop format. The goal of this course is to expand our understanding of narrative and refine our skills in the critical analysis of interactive formats through a combination of project development, readings on the theory and practice of non-linear/interactive narrative, and close analysis of digital and non-digital narratives.

Course Requirements

  • Class participation and attendance
  • Written and media assignments
  • Final Media Project (Working Groups)
    • Media project + 5-page project description (co authored) + bibliography, or
    • 20-page research paper

Class attendance and participation are required. Assigned reading must be done in time for the class for which it is assigned. All written assignments are to be typed. One unexcused absence is allowed during the course of the semester. Should there be a circumstance where a student has cause to be absent for more than one session, please contact the professor in advance.

Working Groups for Media Projects

A media project shall be presented at the end of the course based on the research interests and technical design of a Working Group. Groups may contain between 2-3 people. Permission is required from instructor for larger groups. A minimum of 2 meetings outside of the class is required of the Working Groups.

Grading System


ACTIVITIES PERCENTAGES
Class Participation and Attendance 20%
Written and Media Assignments 40%
Final Media Project (Working Groups) 40%