Description and Assessment of Assignments
The course will balance critical and experiential approaches to interactive media, and the evaluation methods aim to reflect this. While there are several “must-do,” graded activities with fairly rigid parameters, many assignments in the course offer flexibility for you to investigate particular forms, theories, and practices that you find most valuable or interesting. Sharing our curiosity, expertise, and research findings is paramount in the course.
You are expected to have read/watched/played the assigned texts before each class. Over the course of the term, you will submit to the course website, ctcs505.com, five critical comments on the week’s readings (15%); comments (300-500 words) should be posted by noon on the day before class (i.e., Sundays). The comments should present an analysis of arguments/ideas communicated in the week’s readings and, ideally, extrapolate from these ideas to consider related works, ideas, or experiences of critical interest. Worth 3% each, comments will be evaluated in terms of their clarity and intellectual verve; we’ll likely reference your comments in class.
You will make something and share it with the class; this is the interactive practice assignment (20%). There is much latitude here, and I will be introducing you to interactive authoring tools, exemplary works, and prototyping strategies to provide inspiration and direction. Examples of something to make: an interactive narrative, a short interactive film, a first playable table-top game, an app, an augmented reality experience, an AI chatbot, an interactive artwork—and many other options. You’ll be asked to post a link and other documentation of your creation on our course website so that we may read/view/play in advance of class discussion.
Students will work in groups of four to design and deliver an hour-long team-taught class (25%) on a week/topic of their choosing. Readings will be assigned as per the syllabus, but teams are encouraged to assign further viewing or reading in advance of their presentation. Teams may break into pairs, where each pair would “run” the class for 30 minutes on related topics. The team-taught class may be comprised of some combination of lecture, discussion, activity, workshop, assignments, tests—or whatever else your dream class in interactive media would look like. Sign-up will happen once our syllabus is finalized.
The final project (30%) can take two forms. Students may submit a paper (2500-3000 words) offering a critical argument and analysis on a subject related to interactive media; alternatively, students may submit a work of interactive media and a statement (600-800 words) describing the work and its theoretical significance. Interactive works may be cinematic, game-based, theatrical, literary, etc. Students should consult with the instructor before deciding on subjects for the essay or interactive work. Essays and creative works will be presented (in a skeletal/condensed form) as pecha kucha talks (5% of final project mark) on the last day of class.
Participation (10%) will be based on the student’s level of engagement with ideas and themes in the course, as demonstrated by thoughtful and constructive contributions to class discussion and questions posed to presenters and guest speakers. Students can also participate by responding to peer entries on the course website, bringing to our attention course-related events or resources, or anything else that will extend our understanding of interactive media.
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Assignment Submission Policy
Written assignments should be submitted on time and in electronic form (PDF). Contributions to the course forum should be submitted to the course website by noon on the day before class (i.e., Sundays).
Essays and projects submitted after the due date will be penalized half a letter grade per day late to a maximum of four days, at which point the assignment will receive a zero. Attendance is mandatory; if you need to miss class for medical reasons, please provide me with a doctor’s note. Classes missed without documentation will result in a 2% deduction from your participation mark. Arriving late to and departing early from class is considered an absence. On screening days, you are encouraged to remain and view the film, but you may be excused on the condition that you will watch the assigned film before the following class. If we have a guest speaker scheduled, you must remain in class for their presentation and Q&A. You are permitted to miss one “interactive experience” without penalty.
Laptops and tablets (but not phones) may be used during class for note-taking or course-related activities—but NOT during the team-taught classes. I’ll often ask you to put away all electronic devices, so be sure to have paper and pens with you, in case you need to take notes.