Thursday, April 18th

Today in class, we discussed John Branch’s “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” as a transmedia text, and you all had a chance to workshop your project proposals. I also showed you guys an example of a whole class project that might give you some ideas on how to approach your own final transmedia projects: https://brilafond.wixsite.com/csusbcampusmap2015

Next week, we won’t be having formal class meetings, but you will be meeting with me one-on-one in my office in the English Building, room 220. To get to that office, go in the main entrance to EB on Wright Street closest to HAB, and turn right as you go into the building. If you take the elevator up to the second floor, turn right as you get out of the elevator and walk to the end of the hall. Turn left at the end of the hall, walk all the way down to the end of the hall (past Jerry the Mouse’s hole on the left). Turn right at the end of that hall and my office is immediately on the right: room 220. My desk is right as you walk in that door.

Here are upcoming due dates and accompanying prompts:

Transmedia Blog Post #2 is DUE by 11:59pm on Saturday, April 27th.

Here’s the prompt:

Log on to geocaching.com and search for geocaches located on campus and in the Champaign-Urbana area. Choose one or two geocaches that interest you, then go out on the hunt. Be sure to take pictures of your journey. After you’ve found the cache (or made a good-faith effort to find one, even if you don’t), write about the experience of hunting for the geocache. How might geocaches be said to function as rhetorical objects? What was the purpose of the particular geocache you found/looked for? How effective were the puzzles and clues that led you to the cache? What did you think about this experience? How might you go about designing your own geocache (say, if you were to do so for your final transmedia project)?

Posts should be between 300 – 500 words long, should include pictures from your hunt, and should be uploaded to your course blog by 11:59pm on Saturday, April 27th.

OR

Visit a campus or local museum and experience the current exhibits. Be sure to take a few pictures of your trip (though if the museum bans photography in the exhibition itself, please respect those rules and take pictures outside). After you’ve viewed the exhibits, write about the experience of visiting the museum. How might the exhibits be said to function textually? How is the exhibit arranged to portray information to an audience? What kinds of stories are being told in the way objects and information are curated? If you were to take inspiration from this exhibit for your final transmedia project, what kind of experience might you be able to curate for your own audience?

Posts should be between 300 – 500 words long, should include pictures from your visit, and should be uploaded to your course blog by 11:59pm on Saturday, April 27th.

Final Reminders:

Our last class is on Tuesday, April 30th. On that day, we are having our final in-progress Gallery Day, so you should have your (very far along) final project with you in class that day.

Final projects, rationales, etc. are due by 11:59pm on Tuesday, May 7th.

Tuesday 4/16

Today in class, we talked more about transmedia by looking through and discussing Hollow and by looking at your research proposals for the final transmedia project. You guys also signed up for one-on-one conferences during Week Fifteen. You can check your appointment time HERE.

Those appointments will all take place in my office, English Building room 220. To get to that office, go in the main entrance to EB on Wright Street closest to HAB, and turn right as you go into the building. If you take the elevator up to the second floor, turn right as you get out of the elevator and walk to the end of the hall. Turn left at the end of the hall, walk all the way down to the end of the hall (past Jerry the Mouse’s hole on the left). Turn right at the end of that hall and my office is immediately on the right: room 220. My desk is right as you walk in that door.

Homework:

  • For Thursday
    • Read/watch/experience John Branch’s “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek”
    • Your Final Project Proposal is DUE in class for workshop.
      • In your Final Project Proposal (300 – 500 words), you’re describing how you plan to present your research project as a transmedia text. Think about your topic and how to best present your ideas about that topic over multiple modes of communication. How will you incorporate at least five different modes of communication into your project? How will you incorporate the tactile/physical element of the project? Since this is a proposal, you’re not necessarily married to any of the aspects you propose, but you should try to make productive use of this time to think about what you can and will create in the time left this semester.

Thursday, April 11th

Today in class, I asked you guys to draw a map of your research process for a past research project in order to think about the specific places you went and the people you interacted with in order to make your paper happen.

I asked you guys to consider the following questions about Bonnie Mak and Julia Pollack’s “The Performance and Practice of Research in A Cabinet of Curiosity: The Library’s Dead Time”:

  • Read back through the introduction to the article. What was the intended purpose (or purposes) of the art installation? Based on this article, do you think they achieved that purpose? Why or why not?
  • Look back at your research process map. In what ways might “dead time” fit into your process? What unseen producers and organizers of knowledge exist behind the scenes of your map?
  • In what ways do embodiment and materiality get highlighted in the exhibit as described?
  • Near the bottom of page 220, the authors describe the reason they wrote this article. (See: “To counteract the ephemeral nature of the exhibition…”) In what ways does this article limit or flatten the experience of the exhibit? In what ways might the article be superior to the exhibit? (Remember the terms “affordances” and “constraints” that we’ve discussed before.)

Here’s your homework, upcoming due dates, and prompts:

Due Saturday:

Transmediation Blog Post #1

Spend some more time listening to/watching/reading/exploring Because the Internet. You can find links to much of it on Camden Ostrander’s page, but also do your own snooping on YouTube, social media, and the Google; for example, try searching the #roscoeswetsuit hashtag on the social media platform of your choice and see what comes up. Reflect on the experience. What do you like about this kind of transmedia text? What do you not like? Do you think this kind of transmedia experience is the future of entertainment? Why or why not? Posts should be between 300 – 500 words long and should be uploaded to your course blog by 11:59pm on Saturday.

Independent Reading Blog Post

Write one blog post about one of the assigned readings for class. In this reading-related blog post, you will choose one of the assigned readings, write a brief summary of the piece (200 – 300 words), then write an analysis (300 – 500 words) in which you discuss the text in relation to other texts and ideas we have discussed in class. If you’re not sure that a particular text will “count” for the purpose of this assignment, please check with me before proceeding. This post is due by 11:59pm on Saturday.

Due Tuesday:

Research Proposal for Workshop

In this proposal (200 – 300 words), you’re describing your intended topic of research along with some ideas about the kinds of sources you need to find, where you might find these sources, and a sketched-out timeline of how you plan to accomplish your research plan. You might have a set research question at this point, but it’s not necessary. As long as you have some general ideas about your research topic, you should be fine.

Also for class on Tuesday, you need to read/watch/experience Hollow, and come to class ready to sign up for a one-on-one meeting during Week Fifteen.

Tuesday, April 9th

Today in class, you guys got into your final unit groups:

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5
Mounika Serena Cris Jia Ling Kate
Garrett Sara Bryan Vishaank Aspen
Shannon Amine Will Ryan Mansi
Milan Nik Gabe Sergio Spencer

I introduced you guys to the concept of transmedia through the Cinderella 2.0 video and a discussion of Camden Ostrander‘s take on Childish Gambino’s Because the Internet. In groups, you all worked to define:

  • Transmedia
  • Intertextual transmedia
  • Modernism, Postmodernism, and Metamodernism
  • Metamodern identity

Finally, we talked about the prompt for Major Project #3: Final Transmediation Project.

Make sure that you turn in Major Project #2 and post your rationale by 11:59pm tonight!

For Thursday:

  • Read Bonnie Mak & Julia Pollack’s “The Performance and Practice of Research in A Cabinet of Curiosity: The Library’s Dead Time.” (There WILL be a notecard quiz.)

If you’re still confused about transmedia, here’s another take on the concept: Introduction to Transmedia Storytelling – Robert Pratten

If you watch the above video and write a 200 – 300 word response in which you discuss the ways in which Pratten’s view of transmedia fits in with the other views we saw in class (from the Cinderella 2.0 video and the Camden Ostrander piece) and post your response by 11:50pm on Wednesday, April 10th, you’ll earn 5 bonus points toward Major Project #3.

Thursday, April 4th

We discussed Spider Robinson’s “Melancholy Elephants,” and talked about the ways in which copyright affects creativity.

You guys also had a chance to review one another’s drafts of Major Project #2 and the accompanying rationales.

Remember, the new deadline for Major Project #2 is Tuesday, April 9th at 11:59pm.

You have an opportunity for five points extra credit if you respond to the following prompt:

Inspired by “Melancholy Elephants,” write a fictional dialog that explains some of the things you’ve learned about copyright and remix over the course of this unit. Post by Saturday, April 6th at 11:59pm.

Tuesday, April 2nd

Today in class, we talked about Meg Shields’ article “The Imitation Game: The Difference Between Homage and Plagiarism,” and we also discussed some of the finer points of intertextuality using a clip from Rocky IV.

Here’s a review of that vocabulary:

Intertextuality: references and allusions between texts

Traces: the specific references that you can point to

Iteration: direct repetition of an idea/image/reference

Presupposition: pre-supposes audience knowledge

You all then reviewed your rough drafts and ideas for Major Project #2.

For Thursday:

  • Bring in a revised draft of Major Project #2 and a rough draft of your Rationale to review.
  • Read Spider Robinson’s “Melancholy Elephants”

There’s a new due date for Major Project #2; instead of being due on Saturday 4/6, the project will now be due on Tuesday 4/9.

If you have any questions or concerns, drop me a line via email.

Thursday, March 28th

Today in class, we discussed Major Project #2 and your proposal ideas. I also asked you guys to consider some additional remixes and consider the following questions:

  1. Considering Jared Sterling Colton’s “Heuristic of Vulnerability,” do you consider this to be an ethical remix? Why or why not?
  2. What is the purpose of this remix? Is there a recognizable argument?
  3. How does the remixer acknowledge his/her/their sources? Do you think the remixer properly credits the original sources? Why or why not?
  4. In what ways does the remixer transform the existing materials he/she/they use into something new and creative? In what ways is this remix dependent on the original sources?

Homework:

  • For Tuesday, you need to bring in a rough draft of your project to workshop. (Remember: part of your grade for each project is dependent on your participation in the class workshop.)
  • For Tuesday, read Meg Shields’ “Imitation Game: The Difference Between Homage and Plagiarism” (on Compass).
  • For Saturday, Scavenging Blog Post #2 is DUE to your course blog by 11:59pm. Here’s the prompt:

Scavenging Blog Post #2

Watch Kyle Kallgren’s Star Wars Minus Star Wars and consider the following questions:

  1. With Jared Sterling Colton’s “Heuristic of Vulnerability” in mind, do you consider Kallgren’s video to be an ethical remix? Do you consider Star Wars itself to be an ethical remix? Why or why not?
  2. Considering both Kallgren’s remix and Star Wars, how does the remixer acknowledge his/her/their sources? Do you think the remixer properly credits the original sources? Why or why not?
  3. Considering both Kallgren’s remix and Star Wars, in what ways does the remixer transform the existing materials he/she/they use into something new and creative? In what ways is this remix dependent on the original sources?

Posts should be between 300 – 500 words long and should be uploaded to your course blog by 11:59pm on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 26th

In class, we discussed Jared Sterling Colton’s “Revisiting Digital Sampling Rhetorics with an Ethics of Care” and Nick Statt’s “Fortnite Keeps Stealing Dances—and No One Knows if it’s Illegal.” We talked about ethical and legal concerns when it comes to re-mixing because even if we accept the idea that everything is a remix, additional concerns of morality and legality are definitely at play.

In groups, you guys considered different remixes and decided whether or not you felt they were ethical or not.

For Thursday, you’re coming to class with some ideas for Major Project #2.

Also: please check your updated grades on Compass!

Special Edition: Extra Credit Discussion Questions

Here are some of the discussion questions you guys came up with for Jonathan Lethem’s “The Ecstasy of Influence.” Respond to one of the questions in the comments for 2.5 extra credit points toward Major Project #1. You have until 11:59pm on Saturday, March 16th to respond.

What other pieces of literature (show, song, book, etc) can you think of that “heavily borrow” from another source? Does this source cross the plagiarism line, or is it a parody?  

Is the advent of technology automating retail reinventing a new medium between gift and commodities that Lethem mentions?

Since everything seems to borrow from something else, have we already crossed the point where nothing is truly original? Will we eventually run out of new music or new text? 

There are often times where people come up with creative ideas but later on find out that the idea which they thought was so unique was already thought of by someone else. When Lethem speaks about everything being familiar or repeated, do you think this is because people copy ideas or because people think similarly to one another?

Lethem mentions that royalties are expected whenever there are repeated ideas or material from a previous source. Do you think that individuals are so firm on copyright issues because they care about receiving the money or because they care about showcasing their originality?

Is the use of stock photographs/free-to-use materials still considered as plagiarism? 

Do you think that the introduction of the internet played a role in how the view of plagiarism has changed over time?

When should inspiration and influence be considered as forms of plagiarism? Where should we draw that line? 

How does current technology impact the way that we perceive plagiarism? Is there a concrete definition, or is it changing?

Should culture be considered intellectual property, and be considered plagiarized by individuals who practice it even if it may be improved in the future? Why or why not?

If a certain practice or culture is modified in a unique way, what is the threshold that can tangibly determine when it should be deemed plagiarized? Is there a certain threshold that determines whether or not something is considered plagiarized?

As discussed in Jonathan Lethem’s article, plagiarism is hard to distinguish because it is hard to prove in some scenarios. What do you think draws the line when accusing someone of plagiarism and why? 

Why do you think Lethem included this quote in his article “All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated…?” What does this quote mean? 

Tuesday 3/12

Hey, guys!

We had a short class today, but I left you all with plenty to work on as we head into Spring Break.

First, I introduced you guys to the Unit Three Text Groups:

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5
Sergio Cris Spencer Shannon Nik
Sara Kate Gabe Ryan Serena
Mounika Vishaank Jia Ling Mansi Milan
Amine Will Brian Aspen Garret

Next, we briefly discussed Jonathan Lethem’s “The Ecstasy of Influence.” I asked you guys to consider:

  • What is the purpose of Lethem’s essay? What argument is he making?
  • Why did Lethem write this piece in this way? Do you think he appropriately credits his sources in this piece? Why or why not?

Finally, we talked about ALL OF THE THINGS that are coming up in the next few days:

  • Scavenging Blog Post #1 DUE by 11:59pm on Saturday, March 16th.

Scavenging Blog Post #1 Prompt

Go to TED Radio Hour’s “What is Original?” (https://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/321797073/what-is-original). Click on “Listen to Full Show” and then do just that: listen to the full show. The radio show brings together highlights from various TED Talks on a common topic, and the focus of this particular episode is the idea of originality with intersecting issues of copyright, plagiarism, and intellectual property. After listening, choose one of the covered TED Talks (from Mark Ronson, Kirby Ferguson, Johanna Blakley, or Steven Johnson) and watch the complete TED Talk (links are embedded on the site). After listening and watching, respond to the following prompt:

Compare and contrast the ways in which intellectual property and originality are treated by a discourse community you learned about in this podcast and TED Talk when compared to the discourse community of the university. What values are reflected in the different ways intellectual property is treated? What might the university gain or lose by adopting some of the originality practices of this different discourse community? In your response, include a couple of specific citations from TED Radio Hour, the TED Talk you watched, and/or the university’s plagiarism policy (http://studentcode.illinois.edu/article1/part4/1-402/). Posts should be between 300 – 500 words long and should be uploaded to your course blog by 11:59pm on Saturday.

  • Independent Resource Blog Post DUE by 11:59pm on Saturday, March 16th.

Independent Resource Blog Post Prompt

In addition to the scheduled blog posts, you will write one blog post introducing and describing a potential resource that would be useful for future WAM students. In this post, you will choose a campus resource (e.g. the Fab Lab, the Media Commons, the Rare Book and Manuscript Library), a personal resource (e.g. a specific faculty member, librarian, staff member), a community resource (e.g. the Independent Media Center, the I.D.E.A. Store, a local comic book shop), or an online resource (e.g. Student Life and Culture Archives, Emojipedia, Project Gutenberg). The purpose of this post is to introduce students to the resource, describe how to use it, and suggest what others might use the resource to do. The entire blog entry should be between 300 – 500 words. If you’re not sure that a particular resource will “count” for the purpose of this assignment, please check with me before proceeding.

  • Readings for when we return on Tuesday, March 26th: Jared Sterling Colton’s “Revisiting Digital Sampling Rhetorics with an Ethics of Care” & Nick Statt’s “Fortnite Keeps Stealing Dances—and No One Knows if it’s Illegal” (on Compass).

Reminder that there is NO CLASS on Thursday (Bri is out of town at a conference.)

I will next see y’all on Tuesday, March 26th!