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NM 142
New Media History and Theory

Instructor: Curt Cloninger / curt at lab404 dot com

"New Media" may be understood as media that is dependent upon computers. This course traces the history of new media, from the origins of computing in the first half of the 20th century to contemporary new media art, design, and theory. We will read critical texts by artists, scientists, and theorists; and we will respond in writing, through class discussion, and by making -- interpreting these texts in various social, political, aesthetic, and ethical contexts.

Note: This course fulfills the university's Arts requirement.

This course is Writing Intensive, which means writing is an essential component of this course. You will read and be exposed to various multi-disciplinary perspectives. Writing is an integral tool which will allow you to better comprehend and assimilate these perspectives. Through your writing, you will develop and explore original insights regarding new media and its relation to contemporary culture. Research, thinking, and written expression are intrinsically related.

NOTE: The University Writing Center (UWC) supports writers in one-on-one sessions with student writing consultants. Consultants can help writers decipher a prompt, organize ideas, document sources, and revise prose. For your consultation with the UWC, have a copy of your assignment, any writing or notes you may have, and the sources you are working with. To make your appointment, simply visit writingcenter.unca.edu and click on "Schedule an Appointment."

Student Learning Objectives
In this course you will:

  • Understand how media, technology, and culture affect each other.
  • Gain insight into the historical evolution of new media forms.
  • Develop a foundation for the pursuit of new media research.
  • Develop a more rigorous and purposeful practice of "reading" new media.
  • Develop a theoretical vocabulary with which to describe and analyze new and emergent media.
  • Improve your ability to dialogue in class about topics related to the assigned readings.
  • Distinguish between various tones and genres of writing within new media theory (technical, philosophical, art critical, cultural).
  • Understand the purpose and the process of revision in writing.
  • Articulate a coherent thesis in your writing and support it with appropriate evidence and argumentation.

Required Materials:
Bulldog email account -- check regularly
Student web hosting space (for posting work)
Flash drive, notebook or sketchbook, graph paper, pencils, and pens

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