IAS 213: Animating Print Texts
IAS 213: Animating Print Texts
IAS 213: Animating Print Texts
IAS 213: Animating Print Texts
IAS 213: Animating Print Texts
IAS 213: Animating Print Texts

IAS 213: Animating Print Texts

Spring 2009, Winter 2010 (20 students)

Course Site No Longer Live

The Syllabus


Computer-Integrated Media Production Workshop (designed and taught with the approval of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, Bothell)

Full Course Title: “Art Techniques: New Media Production (Animating Print Texts)”

Course Description

This course’s primary aim is for students to have the time, space, and materials to acquire some basic technical competences in “new media” production. According to Lev Manovich (in The Language of New Media), new media are (1) composed of digital code, (2) modular collections of discrete elements, (3) highly automated, (4) variable, and (5) a blend of a “cultural layer” and a “computer layer” (27-48).

With this definition in mind, the course will be concerned less with conceptualizing new media and more with making, manipulating, and circulating it. Our meetings will be conducted in a computer-integrated classroom and will be module-driven. That is, the majority of class time will be spent working hands-on with new media instead of relying heavily on lecture. Since the course meets only once per week, for a little over two hours per meeting, we will narrow new media production to two domains: Adobe Flash (object-based animation software) and Audacity (an open-source sound editor). Given the possibilities that each domain affords, the course modules focus on animating print texts by taking an excerpt from an existing poem, novel, or short fiction, digitizing it, and making it move.

By the end of the quarter, students should be able to produce their own, text-based Flash work, add sound to that work (using Audacity for sound editing), and assess (in writing) how effectively their work refashions a print text through a digital medium. To this end, students will develop their own Flash projects over the course of the quarter, offer written and verbal feedback on the work of their peers, and circulate their projects for others to modify.

There is no textbook for the course. The course modules on new media production will be circulated via a class website and examples of new media (e.g., Flash poetry) will be engaged in class.

Learning Outcomes for the Course

By refashioning a print text through software like Flash and Audacity, students will:

Become familiar with how a given medium will influence how people make knowledge from information and its design.

Learn how refashioning texts is more than a technical matter—it’s an act of interpretation, too.

Use media as a space for collaboration, critique, and critical thinking.

Determine how new media are currently influencing perceptions of print (and vice versa) and might be used in academic projects and research.

Develop competences in how to assess their own new media work, including how they could improve it and to what effects.

What I Learned

When teaching this workshop, I learned more about how to integrate technical competencies into the humanities classroom. Since the course was explicitly listed as a media production workshop, students expected to learn hands-on techniques for making new media. However, my pedagogy did not reduce class meetings to a series of step-by-step tutorials. Instead, students and I asked how to critically approach software and interfaces in such a way that interpretation and media practice would transfer from one platform and context to the next.

Course Evaluations

Available upon request.

(The third image on the left is a screen shot of Nathan Evers’s final IAS 213 project, a Flash-based, audiovisual remediation of Charles Bernstein’s poem, “Thank You for Saying Thank You.” Image used with permission. The other images are screen shots of the course site, modules, and syllabus, which I designed.)