Schedule // Spring 2020

Schedule // Spring 2020

@Jessifer // //

Here’s what we’ll spend our time doing this term (and space for us to fill with other stuff we decide on together.) This schedule will evolve as the term proceeds. There will be specific activities for you to complete each week. Watch for more details. On weeks when we don't meet in person, the week's activities will appear by Monday, and you'll need to complete them by the end of the day on Sunday.

[/] WEEK 1: Jan. 13 - 19

Jan. 13: Meet in HCC 136, 6 - 8:45pm

Draft of coauthored final project description:

[/] WEEK 2: Jan. 20 - Jan. 26

First read and watch:

"The Machine is Us/Using Us"
"Mother of Invention"
"House of the Future, 1957"
Cory Doctorow, "The problem with self-driving cars: who controls the code?"

Then, do some stuff:

1)  Sign up for our Slack channel by clicking here, say hello in the #open-forum channel and start getting your bearings. (Note: you'll need to use your UMW e-mail adress to sign-up.)

2) Create a personal domain at You can find steps for signing up here. Take care in determining your domain name, as you may want to take in with you when you graduate. If you already have a domain, feel free to use a subdomain for our classe. You don't have to install anything at your domain yet, but Wordpress is a good place to start if you want to tinker around. You'll be using your domain as a place to share your final project, at the end of the semester and as you work on it.

3) Visit the draft of the final project we worked on last week (, add comments (if you have questions or want to suggest changes), and begin thinking about what you might do.

Note: If you run into trouble with these or any of your digital work this term, you can make an appointment with the Digital Knowledge Center.

[/] WEEK 3: Jan. 27 - Feb. 2

Jan. 27: Synchronous chat on Slack, 6 - 7pm, face-to-face group work in HCC

First read and watch:

"Red-lining and the historical roots of housing segregation in New York City"
Chris Gilliard and Hugh Culik, "Digital Redlining, Access, and Privacy"
Cory Doctorow, "I Shouldn’t Have to Publish This in The New York Times"

Then, do some stuff:

1) Join a one-hour live discussion in the #machine-is-us channel on Slack at 6pm on Monday, 1/27. We’ll chat generally about what's becoming of humans in the digital age, but I’ll kick things off with some specific questions about the "Mother of Invention" short story, so make sure you’ve read that one before the discussion.

2) Make a 1-minute short film in any genre (documentary, fiction, experimental, stop-motion animation, etc.) that engages, poses, or responds to any of the ideas raised in the readings or topics from Week 2 or 3. Feel free to work on your own or with a group. (You can use the time we're regularly scheduled to meet to collaborate in the HCC or elsewhere.)

3) Upload your short film to YouTube, Vimeo, or to your domain. Share a link in the #machine-is-us channel anytime before the end of the week. Respond to the films of your peers.

[/] WEEK 4: Feb. 3 - Feb. 9

Feb. 3: Meet in HCC 136, 6 - 8:45pm


Black Mirror: "Nosedive"

[/] WEEK 5: Feb. 10 - Feb. 16

First read:

Creative Coding Module (if you didn't already look at this in your DGST 101)

Then, do some stuff:

You may remember this line from our co-authored final project instructions, "At a minimum, you should hand-code in a computer language you do not know, design a website from scratch, manually build a computing tool, or create/code a video game. You are encouraged to use tools that expand your digital horizon, such as (but not limited to) Python for coding or use Sploder to create a game." As we discussed, the idea behind that component of the final project is not to restrict what you can do for your project but to push you even a bit outside your technical comfort zone. Toward that end, let's play with computer code a bit this week.

1) If you are new to coding (or very rusty), pick one of these tools and work through a few of the lessons (all of these have free options, so no need to pay any money):
* codecademy (I suggest starting with: Learn How to Code, then progressing to Intro. to HTML, Learn CSS, and/or Learn Python)
* code avengers (you can get a free trial for 7 days)
* Hour of Code (a lot of playful tutorials here, for children or anyone, mostly designed around an activity you can do in a single hour)
* m1m0 (an iOS or Android app – I haven't tried it, but it looks fun)

2) If you are looking to hone skills you already have, pick any of the above and dive into something more advanced, or here are a couple more places you could start:
* freeCodeCamp (any of the "certifications" have shorter courses within them that are worth checking out)
* (also a fine place for a beginner to start, but you can take a really deep dive with this one)

Now, either:

3) Make something with code (a game, a bot, a whatever) and share it with the class in the #code channel in Slack.


4) Write a code poem (this works especially well with HTML, but also works with Python, CSS, etc.). Your code should be both human readable and machine readable. It doesn't have to accomplish much when compiled, but it needs to accomplish something (rather than just a bunch of error messages). You can run your code using a compiler (here's one for HTML and one for Python) to test it, but the poem should be presented as raw code. Read this piece for ideas. Check out this limited edition book of code {poems} and some amazing pictures of its construction. Share your poem in the #code channel.

Looking Forward:

Begin drafting a proposal or prospectus (an outline or plan that looks snazzy) for your major digital project. During our synchronous chat next week, we'll look at some of your code experiments, but I'll also make time for us to talk about the what, when, and how of digital projects. You don't need to have a finished plan by then, but it would be good to come with a concrete idea and/or questions. We will keep refining these plans when we meet in person on Feb. 24.

[/] WEEK 6: Feb. 17 - Feb. 23

Feb. 17: Synchronous chat on Slack, 6 - 7pm, face-to-face group work in HCC

First read and watch:

The coauthored assignment description for our final project (

By the way, what's a digital project? We'll look at some of these together in class on Feb. 24, but here's a list of sample digital projects that might be useful.

Then, do some stuff:

1) Join a one-hour live discussion in the #the-big-project channel on Slack at 6pm on Monday, Jan. 27. We’ll chat generally about the scope and scale of a major digital project and look at some examples together.

2) Compose/design a draft of your final project proposal / prospectus. It should contain these three components: An outline of proposed goals, deciding what form of technology your project will require, and a timeline for completing your work. A challenge: find a way for the proposal / prospectus to be itself a creative/digital work. For example, you might write part or all of it in code, make it interactive, describe it in a microfiction, poem, short film, infographic, etc. Bring a full draft with when we meet together in person on Feb. 24. Note that you'll still have a couple days to revise (or change your mind entirely), because the final proposal / prospectus isn't due until Feb. 26.

[/] WEEK 7: Feb. 24 - Mar. 1

Feb. 24: Meet in HCC 136, 6 - 8:45pm
Feb. 26: Final project proposal / prospectus due
Mar. 1: Complete midterm self-reflection by midnight (watch here for link)

[/] WEEK 8: Mar. 2 - Mar. 8

Spring Break

[/] WEEK 9: Mar. 9 - Mar. 15

[/] WEEK 10: Mar. 16 - Mar. 22

Mar. 16: Meet in HCC 136, 6 - 8:45pm

[/] WEEK 11: Mar. 23 - Mar. 29

[/] WEEK 12: Mar. 30 - Apr. 5

Mar. 30: Meet in HCC 136, 6 - 8:45pm

[/] WEEK 13: Apr. 6 - Apr. 12

[/] WEEK 14: Apr. 13 - Apr. 19

[/] WEEK 15: Apr. 20 - Apr. 26

Apr. 20: Meet in HCC 136, 6 - 8:45pm

[/] WEEK 16: Apr. 27 - May 3

Apr 27: Complete final self-reflection by midnight (watch here for link)

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