English 706: New Media Interfaces and Infrastructures

Professor: Jim Brown
Class Meeting Place: 2252 Helen C. White
Class Time: Wednesday, 9:00am-11:30am
Office: 6187E Helen C. White
Office Hours: Monday 12:30-2:30 [Make an Appointment]
Email: brownjr [at] wisc [dot] edu

Course Goals:

  • Analyze and synthesize recent scholarship on digital media
  • Research various hardware and software platforms
  • Collaborate on digital media projects

Required Texts:

These texts are available for purchase at Rainbow Bookstore

  • Brooke, Collin. Lingua Fracta: Towards a Rhetoric of New Media
  • Chun, Wendy. Programmed Visions: Software and Memory
  • Galloway, Alexander and Eugene Thacker. The Exploit
  • Jones, Steven and George K. Thiruvathukal. Codename Revolution: The Nintendo Wii Platform
  • Kirschenbaum, Matthew. Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination
  • Ramsay, Stephen. Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism
  • Wardrip-Fruin, Noah. Expressive Processing: Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies

Other Readings (available for download):

Learning Record
Grades in this class will be determined by the Learning Record Online (LRO). The LRO will require you to observe your own learning and construct an argument for your grade based on evidence that you accumulate throughout the semester. You will record weekly observations and you will synthesize your work into an argument for your grade. You will construct this argument twice - once at the midterm and once at the end of the course. We will be discussing the LR) at length during the first week of class. See below for more details.

Course Work (More details available in Assignments section of the website)

  • Attendance
    Success in this class will require regular attendance as we discuss the readings and share work.
  • Questions for Discussion
    For each assigned reading, I will create a Google Document in which you should post questions for discussion. See the Assignments section for more details.
  • Group Lab Projects
  • Final Project (group or individual)

Grades in this course will be determined by use of the Learning Record, a system which requires students to compile a portfolio of work at the midterm and at the end of the semester. These portfolios present a selection of your work, both formal and informal, plus ongoing observations about your learning, plus an analysis of your work in terms of the five dimensions of learning and the goals for this course. You will evaluate your work in terms of the grade criteria posted on the LRO site, and you will provide a grade estimate at the midterm and final.

The dimensions of learning have been developed by teachers and researchers, and they represent what learners experience in any learning situation:

1) Confidence and independence
2) Knowledge and understanding
3) Skills and strategies
4) Use of prior and emerging experience
5) Reflectiveness

In addition to analyzing your work in terms of these dimensions of learning, your argument will also consider the specific goals for this course. These goals are called Course Strands (these are also listed above in the "Course Objectives" section):

1) Analysis and synthesis of scholarly arguments
2) Digital Media Research
3) Collaboration

The LRO website provides detailed descriptions of the Course Strands and the Dimensions of Learning.

Your work in class (and in other classes during this semester) along with the observations you record throughout the semester will help you build an argument in terms of the dimensions of learning and the course strands. We will discuss the LRO in detail at the beginning of the semester, and we will have various conversations about compiling the LRO as the semester progresses.

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