All course materials located on this page were updated in Fall of 2017.
Introduction to Digital Technology and Culture will encourage students to explore important and pressing questions that may be found at the intersections of technology and design in today’s digital world. We will start and end with an attempt to define technology and its relationship to culture. How do our choices shape technology, for better or worse, even as technology shapes us? Through assigned course work and a final project in each of the three major modules, students will explore and harness the world of data and metadata, practice creative design thinking, and create dynamic digital projects.
Module: Data Analysis
The use of “big data” for everything from surveillance to search engines has been a constant subject of discussion in academia and beyond over the last several years. What kind of questions can we ask of data? What kind of answers might it provide? What can data not do? Is there justice in data? In this module, students will practice critical thinking while interacting with data (both big and small) and metadata, ultimately working at an intersection between data and design with the “My Data” project.
How I Acted Like a Pundit and Screwed Up On Donald Trump
Selected posts from r/dataisbeautiful (subreddit)
Project: “Dear Data”
During the entire module, students will track some aspect of their own life using whatever means they desire, a la Dear Data Project. Students will prepare the resulting data for presentation, either digitally or traditionally, as well as a short written statement on possible readings and interpretations of their data collection, and what it has meant to them.
Module: Digital Curation
The internet provides a functionally limitless supply of information, so how do we harness that immense power to tell the stories that we want to tell? Who decides what stories may be told, by whom, and when? This module will explore digital (and analog) storytelling and the many ways in which communities from museums to fandoms archive and curate data. Students will have the chance to practice curation of their own digital ID in the module’s key Flux Kit project.
Alison Knowles Discusses the Flux Kit
Module: Design Thinking
While design thinking will be a topic of discussion and practice throughout the course, this module will allow us to think more deeply about the choices which make up the built world, both on and off line. As the last module, its final project will also ask the most of students: they will visually realize an app which meets a need in a particular community, designing its interface and theorizing its use of data and metadata.
Selections from Logo Design Love and Header Design Love.