Course Description

Digital and interactive media permeate virtually every aspect of our society from information delivery and product marketing to education and entertainment. In this course you will learn practical and critical skills necessary to become a technically proficient and thinking digital media maker. Literacy in any medium is the ability both to access (read) materials created by others and to generate (write) materials for others. In this course you will learn to "speak" the language of digital media and to become conversant with the computer as an expressive medium. Through hands-on training, you will be introduced to creative approaches to media production and to a range of software. The format of this class is designed to bridge practice and theory. Topics will include digital imaging, typography, animation, video, sound and web design. We will concern ourselves with "how" and "why" the digital world is constructed the way it is. Students will be challenged to deconstruct this world and to develop an ability to analyze and critique the cultural implications of digital media in our lives. Prior computer experience is not required, but students are expected to take the initiative to become comfortable operating a Macintosh computer.

Learning Goals

  • You will be able to understand the function and relationships of computer hardware and operating systems, input and output peripherals and the Internet.
  • You will be able to use Macintosh-platform digital media software including Adobe Photoshop (for image manipulation), and Macromedia Dreamweaver (for web design).
  • You will be able to present and articulate your creative ideas to others.
  • You will be able to give and receive constructive critical feedback in a group setting.
  • You will read, write, and think about the roles computers and media play in your life, in your creativity and in society in general.

Textbooks and Materials

USB Flash Drive (256MB or bigger) - OR - portable Hard Drive

required texts:
all required readings will be available online or handed out in class

optional technical texts:
Adobe Photoshop CS2 for the Web Hands-On Training by Tanya Staples
Photoshop CS2: Visual QuickStart Guide by Elaine Weinmann, Peter Lourekas
HTML, XHTML, and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide (6th Ed) by Elizabeth Castro
Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 Hands-On Training by Daniel Short & Garo Green
Macromedia Dreamweaver 8: Visual QuickStart Guide by Tom Negrino & Dori Smith

optional history/theory texts:
The Reconfigured Eye by William J. Mitchell
Multimedia - From Wagner to Virtual Reality edited by Randall Packer & Ken Jordan
The New Media Reader edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin & Nick Montfort

Grade Weights

Participation: 20%

A large amount of class time will be dedicated to group critiques, team projects and class discussion. I encourage you to take an active role in contributing to make our class a fun and dynamic place to be.

Weekly Assignments: 50%

This is where its at - you can't learn HTML by osmosis or wait until the end of the semester to cram for an exam. Multimedia production involves a complex spectrum of techniques and software. If you do the assignments each week you will do well. If not, you will fall behind rapidly. Weekly exercises are due at the beginning of class the week after they are assigned unless noted otherwise.

Rant or Rave: 5%

This 2-3 page paper will be assigned later in the semester. You will select a website, CD-ROM, multimedia technology or media phenomenon that interests you and make an analysis or critique. Your paper should address the following:
* describe the product/service - what does it do and for what purpose?
* who is the intended audience? who is the actual audience?
* what media elements are used and how do they contribute to or detract from the product/service's effectiveness
* place this product/service in the context of other media - does it extend a previous technology, what future impact will it have on society?
* offer your evaluation (critical or positive)

Final Project: 25%

This project will be self-initiated and should integrate many of the skills you will learn this semester. When the time comes I will suggest possible topics and approaches. You will have the option of working individually or collaborating with other students.


  • Warning - this course demands substantial work outside of class time to complete the projects. Unless you already own an Apple computer with the relevant software, you should plan on coming into the Digital Media lab for an additional 3 hours every week.
    Attendance is essential to succeed in this class. The skills and techniques taught are cumulative - they build upon previous ones. Missing just one week can make it very difficult to catch up. You will also note that class participation makes up a sizable percentage of your final grade - if you are absent you cannot participate and your grade will suffer.
  • Save different versions of your projects and save often. Make back-ups of your files.
  • Work in the lab with a friend - when learning new technology, 2 brains are usually better than one. You are welcome to work on your assignments at home but many students use the Multimedia Lab in room 556. Lab hours will be posted after the first week of classes. Students may not use the lab when another class is in session. If the lab is locked during regular lab hours you may get a key from the Security Desk.


Water/liquids are a excellent conductors. You can be shocked if you are touching water that touches electricity. Be careful with drinks around the computers!

Carpal Tunnel
Computer keyboarding, typing and use of the mouse are among many common activities that have been identified as contributing to repetitive stress induced carpal tunnel syndrome.

Attendance Policy

Attendance will be taken in each class. You are allowed one unexcused (no questions asked) absence, after which your final grade will drop substantially with each absence. In the event that an extraordinary circumstance will require you to miss a class, please let me know ahead of time, by calling me, or by email.


Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations or academic adjustments for this course must either enroll in the Program for Academic Access or register with the Office of Student Support Services. For any accommodation, the instructor must be presented with either a letter from the Assistant Director of the Program for Academic Access or an Accommodations Card from the Office of Student Support Services during the first week of classes.

Academic Honesty Policy

MMC fosters an academic community where students and faculty work together to create a learning experience that imparts knowledge and forms character. To achieve this, the College requires all members of the community to adhere to the policy of Academic Honesty that can be found in the Student Handbook, the College Catalogue and on the College website.