New Media

Day Twenty Two Notes

Link back to syllabus

In class today, I'll review about your final three projects:

  • First, there's the Personal Web Presence project.
  • Second, there's the Resilient Tampa Bay project.
  • Third, there's the New Media Research project.

In case you need it--here's a link to last week's crash course in visual rhetoric.

Also, here's a few tools that can help you finish your sites:

  • First of all, for those who don't have a smart phone, here's a decent (and dated) mobile emulator.
  • Second, here's an iPhone emulator
  • Finally, here's some pointers for converting a standard css sheet to a print css sheet.
  • First, however, I wanted to thank you for participating in my first section of New Media for Technical Communicators. Amongst the faculty, there's some question of what this course should be--whether it should be more of a technology course or more of a content-based course. I have attempted to craft a medium between the two.

    Moving forward, I have a few revisions in mind, and I'd like to share them with you and solicit some advice.

    • Project One / Ong Remediation - This project will remain exactly the same. I feel like it did a great job of introducing the content of the course (since our readings in Ulmer essentially argue that digital media break us away from the dominant ideological underpinnings of Ong's literacy). Also, its a pretty easy introduction to coding (pull some quotes, build some links, include some images). So I think its a keeper. In fact, I might do two remediations next semester--first Ong, and then Martin Heidegger's "A Question Concerning Technology."
    • Project Two / Electronic Monuments - I like this project, but feel like it was ill-timed. I am unsure if I will do another electronic monument, or if I will do Ulmer's other book Internet Invention. The MYstory genre is longer than the MEmorial, but I also feel it is more accessible, theoretically rich, and allows for more opportunities to learn code.
    • Project Three / New Media Wiki - I tripped on this project somewhat by accident this semester when I realized how heavy I landed on new media theory (and, thus, how much I had ignored social media theory). So, next time around, this will be the second project, before we begin reading Ulmer. There will be two components to this project: first, we'll read David Weinberger's book Everything is Miscellaneous. This will replace the DJ Spooky book. Then, I will ask everyone in the class to peer review 2 annotations posted to the wiki (the emphasis, cum Weinberger, will be on tagging the articles and thus producing a usable, non-hierarchical, site navigation). Finally, I will ask everyone to submit two new articles to the site (from a narrow list of journals). The kicker--the second article has to come from the works cited of the first.
    • Project Four / Service Learning Project - Although our experience with the RTB hasn't been ideal, I remain committed to the importance of service learning. It provides students with a measure of real world experience and forges important connections between our program and outside entities.
    • Project Five / Personal Web Presence - I think developing a professional portfolio is important, and so I am likely to keep this project around. I am trying to think of a way to divide it up and start it earlier in the semester.
    • Project Six / Final Project - I want to see how these turn out before I make a decision here. I really like the idea of you guys developing your own project, and I like the Pursuit of Happiness blog as a starting point (since, I think, it captures much of what Ulmer and Sirc are calling for while also drawing upon the participatory and local elements of social media).

Personal Web Presence Project

This project asks you to construct a personal web presence in standards-compliant (x)html and css. Here's a list of requirements:

  • Your PWP should contain at least 4 (x)html pages;
  • One of those pages should be either a resume (professional) or a vita (academic/artist).
  • Your PWP must include a portofolio of all the work you have completed for this class. Additionally, you might include work from other classes. The material should be organized in some kind of organic/meaningful way. The material should be briefly annotated (say two to five sentences per project/piece). You might have several different pages for organizing your work. Your portofolio should include images/screen captures.
  • Your PWP must include contact information.
  • Your PWP should include four CSS style sheets for different media--one for screen, one for print, and one for mobile. Also, your PWP should include "conditional comments CSS" for Internet Explorer.
  • Your PWP should include some kind of bio/about. This is an opportunity to create ethos.

The following sites are worth a glance for inspiration. Also, think of your favorite writers, artists, musicians, people. Check out the homepages of the people who write your textbooks and/or articles you read for classes. Check out their homepages to see how they handle these things. As professional and technical writers, everything you create should involve rhetorical/genre research.

New Media Research Project

Warning: I might be intentionally vague for the next few paragraphs. Which ever possibility you select, I expect the project to remediate about an 8 to 10 page research paper into either an (x)html or video format.

Possibility #1: Research Remediation

Last year, a student introduced me to Maira Kalman's exquisite project And the Pursuit of Happiness, which originally appeared as a series of blog posts via the New York Times. Kalman's project symbolizes what I consider new media research: it interweaves text and image, personal and objective, argument and emotion.

Follow this link to Kalman's And the Pursuit of Happiness portal via the New York Times. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and find the link to the month of your birthday:

  • How is color used?
  • What media are used?
  • How is the project organized? [Beginning, Middle, End]
  • Does it raise a philosophical question?
  • Does it offer a philosophical answer?

This project possibility asks you to create a research presentation that imitates Kalman's method--crossing personal experience, field research, scholarly research, and asethetic presentation into one project (I think you can see elements of Sirc's pithy poetic, Ulmer's MYstory, and Robinson's non-standardization).

Possibility #2: A New Media Paradigm

This semester, I have exposed you to five primary readings:

  • Walter Ong, "Writing is a Technology that Restructures Thought"
  • Marilyn Cooper, "Being Linked to the Matrix"
  • Gregory Ulmer, Electronic Monuments
  • Geoffrey Sirc, "Serial Composition"
  • Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid), Rhythm Science
  • I've also drawn heavily on two videos that we watched in class:

    • Sir Ken Robinson, "Changing Educational Paradigms"
    • Michael Welch, "The Web is Us/ing Us"

    Taken together, I think these materials suggest a future (to draw upon Robinson) story for why you go to school. What should/could/will the purpose of education be in the "new media" University? (Or even the new media high school?) [In other words, what does Robinson say we need to change the paradigm, how do these researchers speak to that need? See also, Rickert and Bay on new media and the fourfold; also, I recommend watching Robinson's full-length lecture].

    This possible project threads together the readings from the course and combines them with outside research (probably around 3 to 5 sources) to suggest a future mission for education in the age of new media. This, of course, requires you define "new media." Hint: this is trickier than you might think...

    This project can vary in tone--from the kind of lecture offered by Robinson to more of a manifesto.

    Possibility #3: Remediation Project (Theory 2 Wayves)

    As I mentioned in class, I value projects in which students read books that call them into question. For this final project, I would ask you to read a seminal book (or a few related articles on a specific topic) from philosophy, critical theory, rhetoric, composition, sociology, anthropology, or new media theory. The list of works isn't set in stone, but here's a few examples to get you thinking.

    • Aristotle: On Rhetoric
    • Berlin, James: Rhetoric, Poetics, Cultures
    • Bolter and Grusin: Remediation
    • Burke, Kenneth: "Terministic Screens," "Definition of Man," and "Paradox of Substance"
    • Butler, Judith: Gender Trouble, Giving an Account of Oneself
    • Cixous, Helene: "Laugh of the Medusa" and other essays
    • Davis, Diane D.: Breaking Up [at] Totality
    • Derrida, Jacques: Animal That Therefore I Am, On Hospitality, Archive Fever, On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness
    • Grassi, Ernesto: Rhetoric as Philosophy
    • Foucault, Michel: The History of Sexuality, The Archeology of Knowledge, Discipline and Punish, Madness and Civilization
    • Heidegger, Martin: "The Question Concerning Technology" and "The Way to Language"
    • hooks, bell: "Postmodern Blackness" and Teaching to Transgress
    • Hyde, Michael J.: Heidegger and Levinas, Rhetoric and the Euthenasia Debate, The Life-Giving Gift of Acknowledgment, Perfection
    • Kristeva, Julia: Strangers to Ourselves
    • Jarratt, Susan: Re-reading the Sophists / Classical Rhetoric Refigured
    • Latour, Bruno: Politics of Nature, Pandora's Hope
    • Lingis, Alphonso: The Community of Those Who Have Nothing in Common
    • Levinas, Emmanuel: Ethics and Infinity
    • Nietzsche, Frederick: see me.
    • Poulakous, John: Sophistic Rhetoric in Ancient Greece
    • Rickert, Thomas: Acts of Enjoyment
    • Ronell, Avital: The Telephone Book, Stupidity
    • Ulmer, Gregory: Internet Invention, Applied Grammatology, Heuretics
    • Vitanza, Victor: "Abandoned to Writing," "Critical Sub/Versions of the History of Philosophical Rhetoric" and/or "Feminist Sophistic?"
    • Welch, Kathleen: Electric Rhetoric
    • .
    • Zizek, Slajov: Looking Awry.

    This project would ask you to do two things. First, to write a review of the material you read, highlighting major concepts. Essentially, the review would structure itself around the five questions you used for the new media research project. Second, I would ask you to remediate the work into a website as we did with the Walter Ong essay to open the course.

    The goal of the remediation should be to expose not only the meaning of the book, but to create an argument--a kairotic argument--for why a reader should read the book. Or, perhaps, to align the book in the Burkian parlor.

Resilient Tampa Bay Website

This is a team project.

In terms of coding, the Resilient Tampa Bay website should mirror your PWP: it needs to come with four different CSS sheets (media=screen, print, mobile and a conditional comments sheet for IE).

This assignment will call upon your skills as a technical writer, and ask you to deploy those skills in (x)html and css. This is in part because you are serving two mastersL

  • First, I will ask you to code a site in (x)html and css, with an emphasis on usable design and accessibility.
  • Second, we are working for the RTB group. They have a resident web designer, and need us to supply him with content. This is actually a great "real world" scenario--since, as technical writers, this is a likely future assignment. Here's how to conceptualize the scenario:

    Your firm has been hired to create copy for a new NPO, Resilient Tampa Bay. This group works in connection (but is not directly affiliated with) University of South Florida's School of Global Sustainability. The group would like to become a permanent part of the School of Global Sustainability, but that is in the future. Recently, the group held its first international conference--entitled "Resilient Tampa Bay / A Knowledge Exchange with Dutch Experts." The focus of this exchange was "Water Management." Now the group has two issues/problems (which we can frame as rhetorical opportunities or exigencies): first, they don't want the conference to "disappear," they want to archive, as much as possible, what transpired. Second, they don't want to over-associate their group with this particular conference. In retrospect, they realize that they probably shouldn't have named the conference "Resilient Tampa Bay," since that is also the name of their group. Whatever kind of website we design for them, we need to make sure that it does more than just archive the conference.

In creating copy for the site, you will have to work with an unfortunately limited amount of materials. Here's what you have:

  • A copy of the conference proposal from the "Resilient Tampa Bay /Water Management / A Knowledge Exchange with Dutch Experts" conference
  • A copy of my meeting notes from Resilient Tampa Bay conference planning meetings. This includes a few possibilities for how to organize the site.
  • A link to the Resilient Tampa Bay conference website.
  • Forthcoming: information from RTB's "Linkedin" group
  • Forthcoming: information on available video from the conference; I will attempt to locate video of the opening keynote, because it probably contains excellent information to transform into content

Finally, as I have said in the past--in R/C or TC every creation should come with rhetorical research. Here's a snippet from my notes that can serve this principle:

In terms of branding and language, we might check out the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, a group working in the wake of the BP spill [http://gulfofmexicoalliance.org/]

Thinking in terms of the construction of the website--it would be really nice to get those questions. It will also be essential to get some recordings of those answers.

Related Content: Hurricane Phoenix film [mock-up of a category 5 hurricane on Tampa Bay] see: http://www.tbrpc.org/tampabaycatplan/scenario.shtml See the regional planning committee: http://www.tbrpc.org/about_us/mission.shtml Peter Clark, tampa bay watch:

http://www.tampabaywatch.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=content.home&pageID=1 [yikes]

Look at this one too: http://www.tbep.org/ [yikes]

Below, I reproduce the class email I sent out laying out terms for the project:

A+/A (95-100): To qualify for a 95 or higher, a group will have to produce a site that contains considerable W3C-validated content and has 4 accessible CSS pages (one for screen, one for IE, one for print, and one for mobile). Content should include images, presentations (link w/ screenshot), and embedded YouTube videos, complete with annotations. The CSS design has to be original work.

A/A-/B+ (90-100): To qualify for a 90 or higher, a group will have to produce a site that contains considerable W3C-validated content and has 4 accessible CSS pages (one for screen, one for IE, one for print, and one for mobile). Content should include images, presentations (link w/ screenshot), and embedded YouTube videos, complete with annotations. The CSS design does not have to be original work (i.e., you can use Bradley's design).

B+/B (85-90): To qualify for an 85 or higher, a group will have to produce a site that contains considerable W3C-validated content. Content should include images, presentations (link w/ screenshot), and embedded YouTube videos, complete with annotations. While this option doesn't have to use a CSS stylesheet, it should code its (x)html according to the div id's in Bradley's blue CSS.

Any project receiving below an 85 will likely have deficiencies. Here's a few issues that might get you downgraded.

  1. Issues with W3C validation will cost points.
  2. Issues with accessibility (see here: http://www.w3.org/WAI/eval/Overview.html - look specifically at the various accessibility tools). Read Stolley, pages 81-94, for Tuesday's class. We'll talk about accessibility and conditional comments on Tuesday.
  3. Please remember that points will be deducted for using images not in the public domain/Creative Commons. You can google "free stock photos" to find more free images.
  4. Dead navigation links will cost points.
  5. Failing to use some kind of "box" structure (i.e., div id's) will cost points. NOTE: A projects will have to follow Bradley's box structure.
  6. Failing to adequately title pages will cost points. NOTE: not every page should have the exact same title.
  7. Failing to complete alt tags will cost points. NOTE: while I am not asking you to pen a sequel to Leaves of Grass, a description more substantial than "a tree" would also be nice. Find the happy medium.
  8. Failing to attribute any images will cost points.
  9. Failing to frame images will cost points. NOTE: this can be done in photoshop, but it makes more sense (from a usability standpoint) to do it through the CSS.
  10. Spelling and grammatical errors will cost points. While not a writing class, errors speak to ethos and are a quick way to undermine a project.