In the Spring 2009 term, after having taught Digital Media and Culture for three semesters, I felt a certain obligation to offer an advanced digital media course.  In addition, the students who were asking for the course for the Spring 2009 term were all very strong and motivated. So, as a stacked course, they agreed to work with much less instruction and with much more independence using complex software, more complex ideas and generally advancing their artistic visions via digital media processes. We would occasionally get together in class for brief meetings and periods of instruction. Much of our communication occurred outside of class through individual meetings or via the students’ blogs or email. In the end, I am glad that they had the opportunity to work in the NCAT, but at the same time their course was taught concurrently (“stacked”) with an overfull and uncommonly needy Digital Media and Culture I course.

During the term, the four students worked independently on various print and motion projects that are listed to the right. They include programs that they learned in Digital Media & Culture I, as well as Illustrator. At the beginning of the term, I made it clear that the course was going to be a very independent course, much like a group independent study. Like independent studies, some of the students occasionally lost interest, motivation or focus. It was difficult for them to maintain momentum because while I had hoped to spend more time with them during class, I rarely could find the time while dealing with the other class. If lucky, I would get to them within the last half hour, and by then they were tired of waiting for me.

Shortly into the course, when I asked what they wanted to work on, because I had left it mainly up to them to determine the course content since they were working so independently, no one had any ideas with the exception of one student who wanted to learn about typography. This is why there is a good deal of typography content in the assignments listed below. Instead of a strict syllabus, I tried to respond to what the students wanted to do considering the independent nature of the course. In the end I am impressed with what the students accomplished. Offering the course concurrently with the beginning course was not the best idea, but fortunately all but one of the students who were in that class are taking the same course that I am offering as a stand-alone class this term.

The current, Fall 2009 course (not stacked) will include the use of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, FinalCut Express, Motion, and social media software. Students will be expected to do much more in terms of working to cross-integrate their software/creative processes with conceptual knowledge to create works that achieve a more complex and complete vision that expresses their position as creative digital citizens. Mash-ups and/or new visions of authorship will be encouraged as will a continual encouragement to consider how their work could function in a socially transformative way.  That course is being documented here: blogs.stlawu.edu/digitalmediatwo