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DCC 105: Perspectives on Digital Cultures and Creativity



Monday 4:00 – 5:15pm

Tydings 0117


  • Wednesday 4:00-4:50pm
  • Wednesday 5:00-5:50pm
  • Thusrsday 4:00-4:50pm
  • Thursday 5:00-5:50pm

Krista Caballero
E-mail: klc@umd.edu
Office: 0103 Queen Anne’s Hall
Office Phone: 301.405.2866
Office Hours: by appointment

Dr. Jason Farman
E-mail: jasonfarman@gmail.com
Office: 4123 Susquehanna Hall
Office Phone: 301.405.9524
Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 – 2:00pm or by appointment


As the introductory class to the Digital Cultures and Creativity Program, this course is designed to familiarize you with a variety of perspectives on digital media, emerging research in the field, and ways in which the DCC program can augment and extend your chosen majors. We have selected exciting scholars on campus to come and share their perspectives on digital cultures and creativity. Coupled with these lectures, we as a class will engage these ideas through hands-on explorations such as collectively tracking down the surveillance cameras on campus, the creation of a flash mob, researching the life cycle of our devices, writing a story as a citizen journalist, and a creative misuse of algorithms. This class will be cool.

What You Will Learn in this Class (Some of Our Course Objectives):

  • You will learn how to cultivate a professional online identity (and why you should).
  • You will gain a greater awareness of how your data is being tracked and the pervasiveness of surveillance around you.
  • You will be able to better assess the sustainability and environmental impact from digital technologies.
  • You will be able to use existing technologies in unexpected ways.
  • You will gain insights into the role of social media in the Arab Spring (and the implications this has on the future).
  • You will learn some methods for doing “media archaeology.”
  • You will gain a deeper understanding of how digital technologies are transforming the creative process.
  • You will have the opportunity to interact with experts on each of these topics.

Required Texts:
All readings will be available through online links in the syllabus or posted on Canvas.


    • Twitter: 10%
    • Active Engagement (participation in all lectures, discussions, and hands-on explorations;  2 “Labs” — e.g. workshops, talks from guest speakers, films, working groups): 10%                   
    • Quizzes: 15%
    • Lead the first 10 minutes of a discussion: 10%
    • Citizen Journalism Project: 15%
    • Life Cycle of a Digital Medium Project: 15%
    • End of Year Self Evaluation: 25%

Twitter Responses:

You will need a Twitter account to interact with the in-class lectures. You may set up a separate account just for this class. Please be sure to email your username to your discussion leader. Please note, your Twitter account cannot be set to private (so that your tweets are searchable by other students in the class).

  • You must post to Twitter at least once during each lecture on Mondays. All tweets must include the hashtag #dcc105.

Your baseline score is out of 10 percent; exceptional posts and uses of Twitter may garner you a bonus score up to a maximum of 12 percent (giving you 2 percent extra credit in the course). To gain the 2 bonus percentage points (for a total of 12 percent for the semester), you must post especially insightful posts, provide useful links to outside material, or offer consistently helpful and engaged responses to classmates’ posts. Tweeting multiple times in a week will not make up for days that you did not tweet or were absent.

 At the end of the semester, you must turn an archive of your tweets from throughout the semester. This archive must be emailed to your discussion by lecture on Monday, December 9th. You may want to use archiving tools like Norton Ditto, Archivist, or the Google Docs spreadsheet found at: http://bit.ly/twitter-archive-gdocs.

I recommend downloading a Twitter application to use during class. Recommend applications include HootSuite, Tweetdeck, YoruFukurou, Janetter, or simply the Twitter homepage.

Note: for students who don’t have a laptop or smartphone, you can send tweets during class by using the text message feature on your phones. You must text your message (140 characters maximum) to 40404 after setting up your cellphone at www.twitter.com/devices.

Your Twitter Responses are worth 10% of your grade (with a possible 12% based on quality of tweets).

Each week that has readings associated with it in the schedule will have a quiz on those readings. These quizzes will cover the material in the readings and may also contain content from a previous lecture. These quizzes, which are mainly multiple choice and matching (with the occasionally short answer question), are designed only to make sure that you are keeping up with the readings and attending lectures. There are no trick questions; if you have done the readings and taken notes on the lectures throughout the week, you will get a good grade on these quizzes. These quizzes are taken on our Canvas and must be completed prior to lecture each Monday (except for the days that have no reading, i.e., days where we’ll be doing a “Hands-On Exploration”). Each quiz will be available on Canvas for 24 hours prior to the lecture. Once lecture begins on these days, the quiz will be closed and cannot be taken if missed. For example, a quiz due by lecture on Monday will be available starting at 4pm on Sunday and will cover topics discussed in the readings due for that day and may also include questions drawn from the previous lecture. Quizzes are worth 15% of your grade.

Leading Discussion:
You will each sign up to lead the first 10-minutes of discussion. Your goal is to present the material (or hands-on exploration) from that week and synthesize it with the ideas and explorations of the preceding week. For example, if you are leading the week during our hands-on exploration of surveillance maps on campus, you should connect that activity with Hasan Elahi’s lecture and the readings on surveillance. How did this exploration elucidate and concretize the ideas from the lecture? Also, what did you find interesting about the lecture, hands-on exploration, or readings? What will you take away from this portion of the class long after the class is over (i.e., what would you like to remember)? This assignment is worth 15% of your grade.

—Please Note: This syllabus is subject to change at any time according to the professor’s discretion.  The assignments below may also include readings handed out in class, which each student is responsible for completing.



Week 1 — Course Introduction
Sept. 9

Week 2 — Our Digital Code of Ethics
Sept. 1

Week 3 — On Creativity in the Digital Era

Sept. 23

Week 4 — Hasan Elahi on Privacy, Surveillance, and Art
Sept. 30

Week 5: Hands-On Exploration: Create Surveillance Maps of the Campus
Oct. 7

Week 6 — Joe Delappe
Oct. 14

Week 7 — Hands-On Exploration: Flash Mob
Oct. 21

Week 8 — Sahar Khamis on the Arab Spring and Citizen Journalism
Oct. 28

Week 9 — Hands-On Exploration: Citizen Journalism
Nov. 4: Meet in your groups to do your citizen journalism projects.

  • Present your group’s Storify in discussion section.

Week 10 — Mark Stewart: Sustainability in the Digital Age
Nov. 11

Week 11 — Hands-On Exploration: Life Cycle of a Digital Medium
Nov. 18

  • Students present their projects in lecture

Week 12 — Erkki Huhtamo: Media Archaeology and Screen Culture (Thanksgiving Break — no discussion sections)

Nov. 25

  • Huhtamo, Erkki, “The Sky is (not) the Limit: Envisioning the Ultimate Public Media Display,” in Journal of Visual Culture 8, no. 3: 329-348. (File download on ELMS under “Files”)

Week 13 — Jarah Moesch: Creative Misuse
Dec. 2

  • Readings TBA

Week 14 — Course Conclusion / Evening Event
Dec. 9: Course conclusion followed by evening event, starting at 5:30 (dinner included)

Dec. 13: Self-evaluation paper due by 11:59pm via email

Week 15 — Finals Week
No final exam!

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