50:192:101 Introduction to Digital Studies (Spring 2016)
The goal of the course is to provide 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. We will approach these key terms by way of readings and hands-on lab activities. In the words of rhetorician Richard Lanham, we will learn to look both "at" and "through" digital tools. By looking "at" tools, we learn how to analyze them and understand what they can or cannot do. We examine their histories and their cultural significance. When we look "through" tools, we begin to use them to compose and create. This course aims to allow students to move back and forth between these two ways of approaching digital technologies.
No technological expertise is required, and students will be encouraged to experiment and tinker with a variety of platforms.