The schedule for this course will be updated and posted here as the semester goes on. Here’s a general guideline for what we’re doing when.

Unit 1: Digital media (Weeks 1-2)
Unit 2: Text (Weeks 3-5)
Unit 3: Image (Weeks 6-7)
Unit 4: Audio (Weeks 8-9)
Unit 5: Animation (Weeks 10-11)
Unit 6: Revision / revisiting (Weeks 12-15)

Week 1 (8/30 & 9/1) What is digital media?

Tues: Intro to course and each other; survey of experience with digital media; basic principles of digital media
Thurs: Principles of digital media

By classtime do these 5 6 things:

  1. Read: Sorapure, Madeliene. “Five Principles of New Media: Or, Playing Lev Manovich.” Kairos, vol. 8, no. 2, 2003, And check out the Flash version, if you can:
  2. Read: Chimero, Frank. “What Screens Want, Some thoughts on digital canvases.”, 2013, After/while reading both the Sorapure and Chimero pieces, think about the way they’re delivered, how they’re affected by time, format and context. Then think about their content: what do they have to say about what composing digital media is? What’s usable to us in this class?
  3. Post: an introduction to yourself and your interest in digital media on the blog, along with an animated gif that you made. Check out this page for resources on making gifs. (thanks to Kelsey Cameron for sharing this resource and this icebreaker activity.)
  4. Register: a Box account with your Pitt e-mail address (if you don’t have one already). You can do so here. After you log in, create a new folder (New / Folder). Name this folder: YourFullName_CDM_2016. Under “Collaboration,” select “Invite people to upload or download files.” Enter my e-mail address: adv17 @ Select access type: Co-owner. (This folder will contain almost all of your work for this semester and will be the primary way I view and give you written feedback on your work.) In your YourFullName_CDM_2016 folder, upload your gif that you made in class or a link to it. We’ll use this to test out our sharing capabilities. (thanks to Lauren Hall for these Box instructions.)
  5. Register: for the class Slack channel with your Pitt email address here. Post a “hello” just to make sure you can. If someone else is there when you are, you can say hi to them. Optionally, you can download the Slack desktop or mobile apps to check the channel a bit more easily than in your browser. Check out the help and the getting started articles to familiarize yourself with what Slack does.
  6. Fill out the skills survey: FirstDaycompetencies [Excel document]. Upload it to your shared Pitt Box folder (YourFullName_CDM_2016, see #4 above).
Tues, 9/6: The role of copyright in creativity

By classtime, do these things:

  1. Read the Copyright Code in US Law: Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 101-108, available through Cornell’s Legal Information Institute.
  2. Watch RIP: Remix Manifesto (note: this movie is 1.5h long)
  3. Post a link and a very short description of your favorite remixed media object to the blog. I mentioned in class 9/6 that if you didn’t do this by classtime, you’ll need to do a makeup post: For this post, instead of just posting to your favorite remixed object, I’d like you to instead post at least two different materials or media objects and describe what a remix/mashup of those materials might look like. Turns out that 95% of you did post on time (yay!) so unless you heard from me via email, I saw and gave you credit for your on-time post and you don’t have to worry about this now.

By classtime, do these things:

  1. Read Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation’s GNU Manifesto and What is Copyleft?
  2. Spend some time on the Creative Commons website to familiarize yourself with what they do/are and what licenses they offer.
  3. Read Rich Stim’s Overview of Fair Use.
  4. Watch Lawrence Lessig’s TED talk, “Laws that Choke Creativity” (18:52).
Tues, 9/13:

By classtime, do these things:

  1. Go through this Markdown tutorial:
  2. Read through the basics of Markdown on John Gruber’s site.
  3. Read Markdown Throwdown: What Happens when FOSS Software Gets Corporate Backing? on Ars Technica. You don’t have to follow all the details about the fight Scott Gilbertson describes in the article, but note the brief history of Markdown and the connections of the FOSS (Free/Open Software) fight to our discussions from Week 2.
  4. Read Karl Stolley’s “Lo-Fi Manifesto.” Remind you of something we read in Week 2?
  5. (Optional: You can look at Patrick Berry, Derek Van Ittersum and Tim Lockridge’s May 2016 resource and next steps information about Markdown. It’s meant for an audience of professors, but there are excellent, clear explanations of things to do with Markdown and good links there. Also optional: note that you can use Markdown formatting to make comments on Reddit all fancy. )

Thurs, 9/15:

Check out Dillinger some more.

Check out this Markdown Cheatsheet, and maybe keep it open in your browser while you work.

In class, we’ll work on some advanced stuff in Markdown. Note that we have a subscription at Pitt (in MyPitt, look to all the links on the right side, and it’s almost at the bottom). The Markdown tutorial is pretty good, and they have special sections on GFM.

Tues, 9/20:

By classtime, do these things:

  1. Read “How the Computer Works” by Andrea Laue. It’s a quirky account that goes from keyboard mechanics to system clocks to theories of Western civilization and humanity, but I like that it has some details on how computers work, coupled with some solid history of computing. As you read, consider: what’s the difference in thinking of the computer as a tool rather than a machine? What was Englebart thinking when he considered the computer as augmentation rather than automation?
  2. Watch two short videos on (1) what version control offers generally, and specifically with Git; (2) what Git is, and more on the advantages of Git.
  3. Do a Github tutorial and try to set up an account and repo. I’m still considering which tutorial to recommend. But if you want to take care of your work for class now, you can go here to Github for help setting up, or this slowed-down tutorial on Github on Read/Write, which refers to the desktop Github application. There’s also a 30 min video for beginners that looks pretty good. After looking at the explanatory videos and tutorials, try git for a while until you’re comfortable typing git commands into a simulated command line. My goals for you for Tuesday are that you’re familiar with some basic concepts of what git is, what it does, roughly what its basic commands look like and do, and how Github works. You don’t have to actually be able to create a repo on Github or commit changes or understand the git commands by classtime, but you should know what I mean when I say that, and by the end of workshop time in class, you should be able to do those things.
  4. Don’t forget that you can start posting your blog posts! You should probably start soon.
  5. Posting this on 9/19: Since I forgot to remind you here that I had asked you to prepare your Fair Use Markdown paper for workshopping in class on 9/20, I’ll extend the deadline a bit: let’s do the workshop in class on 9/22 instead. If you are already done, yay! You have a headstart for Thurs. If not, then enjoy the extra time and we can talk about it in class.
Thurs, 9/22:

By classtime, do this:

  1. Have your Fair Use Markdown Assignment ready for in-class peer review, in .md format, preferably in a repo on GitHub.
Tues, 9/27:

By classtime, do these things:

  1. Visit the Khan Academy basic Intro to HTML and Intro to CSS tutorial and go through as much of it as you need to match your skill level with HTML and CSS. (There are lots of other HTML/CSS tutorials out there, but this one is relatively short, clear, accessible to beginners and has nice visuals)
  2. Try some HTML in your browser at W3Schools.

If you’re already pretty comfortable in HTML/CSS, then hey, no homework for you! If you’re rusty, it would be good to review, and you can step forward to the other tutorials they provide there.

Thurs, 9/29:

By classtime, do these things:

  1. Read JCR Licklider and Robert Taylor, “The Computer as Communication Device,” 1968. Available on Pitt Box with Pitt login. Please excuse the sexist and heteronormative cartoons that accompany the article. It’s visionary about human relations in many ways, but not so much in terms of women and human sexual relations. Remember: it was written in 1968. I’ll probably give a quick quiz on it just to encourage everyone to read it and so we can discuss it.
  2. Work more on HTML/CSS through tutorials, etc. if you feel you need it. Check out Valerie’s post on cheatsheets for help.

Tues, 10/4:

By classtime:

  1. Work on HTML/CSS through various tutorials such as Khan Academy and W3Schools, and make sure that you know enough about what I’m asking you to do for the Tiny Corner of Pitt(sburgh) Website that you can ask questions in class if you need to.

Thurs, 10/6:

By classtime:

  1. Do at least 1h of tutorials on Photoshop. You will need access to a computer running Adobe Photoshop CC in order to do this. Any Pitt lab computer will work, or you can visit our classroom (the English digital media lab, hours are listed to your right). You can also download a free trial of Photoshop from Adobe, or download and pay for a monthly subscription from Software Downloads at Pitt. If you’re a beginner, you should do these two tutorials: A Quick Introduction to Photoshop for Beginners (which has you create an image from scratch and do layer edits) and then Adobe’s basic photo editing tutorial (which gives you a link to download the necessary files for the tutorial). Here’s another tutorial sequence that looks good: 10h broken up into 1h chunks; the first tutorial is on the Photoshop CC interface. If you are an intermediate or advanced Photoshop user, then choose whatever you’d like. We have a subscription, there are thousands of YouTube videos, and Adobe offers tutorials on their website as well. I found the beginning tutorial from a bit slow, but those tutorials are nice because they’re polished and you can skip around easily.

Tues, 10/11:

By classtime:

  1. Work on your Photoshop skills.

Thurs, 10/13:

By classtime:

  1. Finish a draft of your Tiny Corner of Pitt(sburgh) website.
  2. Begin working on your Image Editing Assignment.
  3. Bring a copy of a photo of a person’s face that you would like to edit.

Thurs, 10/20

By classtime:

  1. Install Audacity on your own machine if you want to work on your own machine (the lab computers have it). (You’ll do this for next Tues instead)
  2. Read Lupton and Miller on Graphic Design History. (You should be able to access it through your login on Pitt Box.)
  3. Ask me any remaining questions on your Tiny Corner of Pitt(sburgh) website. (It’s due by 11:59pm on 10/23 10/25).

NOTE: Since Tuesday was sucked into a black hole this week, I’m offering alternative office hours: Thurs, Oct. 20, 12:30-2:30. Come see me in 628C CL if you want to talk about your work.

Tues, 10/25

By classtime:

  1. Install Audacity on your own machine if you want to work on your own machine for the audio unit. Note that you will have to download the LAME mp3 encoder to work with mp3s. Why do you have to do this separately? The mp3 algorithm is patented.
  2. Have a draft of your images to review with your group in class.

Thurs, 10/27

By classtime:

  1. Listen to two stories of your choice on Radio Diaries. (Each story is under 15min long.)
  2. Take notes on what you found interesting about the narrative and the audio design of the stories you listened to.
  3. Read through the audio resource packet I have uploaded to Box.
  4. Bring a short (~1min) recorded audio sample of you talking with a friend to class. You will need to find a way to record the sample and find a suitable place to do it. See the audio packet for details. It doesn’t matter what you say. This is just a test of your recording set-up and it will give you something to work with in class.
  5. Bring headphones to class.

Note that your Image Editing Assignment is due by 11:59pm on 11/1 in your Pitt Box folder.

Both days will be dedicated to in-class worktime for your audio and image assignments.

Thurs, 11/3

By classtime:

  1. Write three total substantive comments on three different blog posts. In other words, something more than: hey, that’s cool, thanks for sharing! But more like sharing similar resources, trying out the tutorial the person suggests and letting others know what you thought, etc.

Tues, 11/8

Workshop Audio projects in class.

Thurs, 11/10

By classtime:

  1. Spend about 30min watching kinetic typography videos. You can search for your own, and below are also some suggestions to get you started. As you watch, take note of how the animations work in 3D space, or horizonally and vertically, the colors and size and font of the text, the speed and pacing of the animations, the relationship of the text on the screen and the narration or music that accompanies it, and the feeling you get from the animation along with the sound.
  2. Watch the Intro to AfterEffects Apprentice 1 Preroll tutorial on It’s about 30min and it will introduce you to the AfterEffects interface and some key concepts of animation like keyframes. You can access it by going to MyPitt, and scrolling all the way down on the list of links on the right side of the page to find Lynda tutorials, then searching for After Effects. It’s the first tutorial in that series.

Week 12: Animation workshop time

Tues, 11/15

By classtime:

  1. Spend at least 30 min watching kinetic typography videos on YouTube or Vimeo to help you see what’s possible and what you might be interested in doing for your kinetic typography project. Some suggestions:
  2. Spend at least 30 min watching AfterEffects tutorials of your choice on YouTube. You might want to choose tutorials based on kinetic typography specifically, or on using particular animation effects. Here are a couple of tutorials on kinetic typography that are pretty good: this one covers laying out text in a block, this one is an hour but covers lots of stuff.

Thurs, 11/17

Keep working on your animation project. Bring in something to discuss with your group today.

Turn in your audio project by tonight.

Over Thanksgiving break, note that we’re not having class, but you’ll want to fit in some considerable worktime on AfterEffects while you’re still on campus so that you can turn it in on 12/1.

Tues, 12/6

12/5 Animation project due in Pitt Box at 11:59pm.

12/6 Revised projects draft due for peer review. Prof. Vee will come around to talk to you about yours, and we’ll talk about how to give feedback to each other. Have questions ready, if you’d like feedback.

We’ll also do a quick review of the digital media principles we worked on in class.

Thurs, 12/8: Last day of class!

Thurs: Presentation of revised projects. Have your project loaded up on your personal or your lab machine; everyone will go around and experience the projects and leave written feedback, and we’ll talk about the projects. We’ll take into account that the projects will still be in draft state, since they aren’t due until 12/15.

Finals week

No class, but work is due.

12/9: Final day to turn in blog posts online (11:59pm)

12/15: Revised project due (11:59pm on Box); Final day to turn in projects for optional regrading (11:59pm on Box; send me an email with a link to let me know it’s there)