Seminar meets Thursdays 3:30-5:00 in the Learning Studio (Torgersen 1100), sometime in Torgersen 3080

Seminar Twitter Hashtag: #vtnmss15

Primary Print Text: Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort The New Media Reader (2003)nmrfront300

Week 1: Feb. 5
Web 2.0 / Networked Seminar Orientation
Videos in today’s session:
Douglas Engelbart introduction to “The Mother of All Demos” (1968)
Mike Wesch, “The Machine is Us/ing Us” (2007)
Reading: Editors’ preface and excerpt from  “Inventing the Medium.” Janet Murray’s Introduction to the New Media Reader

Week 1 “Make”: Blogs!

You need one. Sign-up for a blog on the Virginia Tech WordPress system here.  ( email address required) Send Amy the link so she can syndicate your blog to the main site.

Week 2: Feb. 12

Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think” (NMR); also in The Atlantic, July 1945
Photograph of Bush at Langley (1938)
Video interview with Edward R. Murrow and Vannevar Bush
Bush, “Science the Endless Frontier” (report to FDR; founding document of the NSF)

Week 2 “Makes”: Nuggets and Responses

A) Nuggets: Select a passage from “As We May Think”  that resonates with you and do one (or both) of the following:

1) Respond to your nugget (meaningful passage) in a post on your blog.  You can agree, disagree, or jump off of your nugget, or work with it in whatever way you find most interesting.  Think about exploring the words as well as the meaning of the passage as a whole.

2) Tweet a response to your nugget to the seminar hashtag: #vtnmss15

B) Responses:

Comment on other seminarians’ blog posts about their nuggets and / or respond to their tweets.  Make sure to use the seminar hashtag: #vtnmss15

Week 3: Feb. 19
Norbert Wiener, “Men, Machines, and the World About”
J. C. R. Licklider, “Man-Computer Symbiosis”

Alan Turing, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”

Optional: Watch “The Imitation Game” (starts at The Lyric on Friday)

Week 3 “Makes”:

A) Post about Turing, OR Post/Tweet an image that resonates with you in terms of “Machines that can Think and Learn”

B) Comment on blogs, respond to Tweets

C) Pick a session:

Look over the remaining sessions and identify one you would like to facilitate. Please have a fall-back choice in mind in case some readings are more popular than others.

Week 4: Feb. 26
Doug Engelbart, “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework”


“Of Mice and Men” | 99% Invisible.  Episode 149 January 20, 2015

Week 4 “Makes”:

A) Post  / Tweet about Engelbart

B) Comment on Blogs, respond to Tweets

C)  Come to seminar ready to play

D) Start thinking about the “Makes” for your week.

Week 5: March 5 / Snow, snow, go away!!!!
Ted Nelson, “Computer Lib / Dream Machines”
Seminar Presenter(s):  Anna R.

week 5 Make:

Post an image from Ted Nelson or make your own Ted Nelson-inspired image and post it.

Week 6: March 19
Ted Nelson, “Computer Lib / Dream Machines

Seminar Presenter: Anna R.

Week 7: March 26
Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg, “Personal Dynamic Media”
Seminar Presenter(s): Jordan L.

Week 7 Make: 

Share a “nugget” and /or  an app that has fulfilled Kay and Goldberg’s predictions.

Week 8: April 2
Marshall McLuhan, excerpts from Gutenberg Galaxy
and “The Medium is the Message” (from Understanding Media)
Seminar Presenter(s): Carolyn M.

Week 8 Make:

Post something abut the communication medium you think has had the biggest impact on our world and why.

Week 9: April 9
Bill Viola, “Will There Be Condominiums in Data Space?”
Seminar Presenter(s): Zac Z.

Week 9 Make:

Zac gives us two options:

1) Viola’s essay is enigmatic. One key to deciphering the argument is his reference to Indian/South Asian spirituality. Viola tells us that the visual image, the geometric diagram and the mantra are all equal outward expressions of the same underlying thing.
Given this framework, I suggest we also understand the parable of the porcupine and the expository sections of the essay as equal outward expressions of the same underlying thing. So: what is that thing?

2) Share a diagram of data space, either one you find or one you create.

Bonus question: Is data space a sacred space, a secular space, or something else altogether?

Week 10: April 16

Brenda Laurel, “The Six Elements and the Causal Relations Among Them
and Star Raiders: Dramatic Interaction in a Small World

Sherry Turkle, “Video Games and Computer Holding Power”

Week 10 Make:
1) Identify an example of human-computer interaction (from today) that has some/ most/ all of the six elements.

2) Which of the six elements you think is most critical for human-computer interaction and why? (nugget: which of the six most resonates with you, or do you also think all are necessary?)

Bonus question:

Are there certain features of a pre-established form which we may not want to apply to new media?  What are they are why?

Seminar Presenter: Madlyn F

Week 11: April 23
Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society, Chapter 7
also available here.

Week 11 Make:

Illich is highly critical of the schooling system–so much so that it might be difficult for those of us who have invested heavily in education (ahem) to not feel affronted by some of his positions and/or propositions. But let’s entertain the notion of a “deschooled” society, shall we?

1. Identify a real-life example of one of Illich’s four “approaches” (in the subsection “Four Networks”) that has made a difference in your life–teaching you something new, for example. What did you learn? Could you have learned it in a traditional classroom environment? Which would you have preferred?


2. Provide an image, video, doodle, screen-grab or other visual representation of this or one of the other three approaches that demonstrates a deschooled learning opportunity.

Seminar Presenter: Sarah O.

Week 12: April 30
Scott McCloud, “Time Frames”
Tim Berners-Lee, “The World Wide Web”
Seminar Presenter(s): Jennifer S.

Final Make:

Choose one or more of the following:

1) Both the readings McCloud & Berners-Lee, et al. consider how interfaces shape user experience. For this week’s make, do a brief analysis of time (like McCloud did for comics) as encoded in a digital interface of your choice. For instance, how is time represented on your web browser, smart phone, Apple Watch, Mac or Windows interface, YouTube, Twitter, WordPress, Scholar, or some other digital interface? And what are the implications for how users use the system/object/technology?

2) In several of the readings this term, we see a tension between those who believe users need to understand the mechanics of a system (i.e., be able to code) in order to be critical users of that system, versus others who endorse making systems easy for users to use via standardization, wysiwygs, increasing accessibility, etc. (as in this week’s reading by Berners-Lee, et al.). What are your thoughts on this tension (if it does indeed exist)? And what are the implications of this tension for education/teaching with technology?

3) Since this is the last week we’ll be meeting, draw some observations across the readings we’ve done this term, and discuss how will you apply what you learned in the seminar to your teaching. What questions do you still have about applying the readings to your teaching?