MDST110-1 (Schedule # 93859)
University of Virginia
Fall 2004
MW 2:00-3:15 :: 108 Clark Hall
Mr. David Golumbia
Office: 304B Bryan
Fall 2004 Office Hours: T 1-2, W 12-2

Information Technology and Digital Media Studies

This course is designed for first- or second-year students seeking an introduction to media studies. It is suggested that students take MDST110 prior to taking the intermediate-level introductory Media Studies course, MDST201. MDST110 provides a general foundation for the critical study of media, as well as a grounding in the particular issues raised by the history and current use of computers and digital media more generally (including digital technologies as they are used in television, film, print, and other contemporary media). Includes a lab section where students are introduced to the basic concepts in digital media criticism and, to a lesser extent, production (including HTML) and discuss issues raised in lectures. Recommended for 1st- and 2nd-year students who are considering applying to the Media Studies major in the spring of their second year.

Main Course Links



Required Texts

  1. Martin Campbell-Kelly and William Asprey, Computer: A History of the Information Machine, second edition (Westview Press, 2004)
  2. Coursepack of required readings (available at Brillig Books copy shop on Elliewood)

Recommended Texts (limited copies available at University bookstore)

  1. Elizabeth Castro, HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide, 5th Edition (Peachpit Press, 2002)
  2. Martin Davis, Engines of Logic: Mathematicians and the Origin of the Computer (Norton, 2001)
  3. Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (MIT Press, 1996)
  4. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort, eds., The New Media Reader (MIT Press, 2003)

Requirements and Grades

Grade weighting

Evaluation for the course is conducted on the following basis:


You will be given five questions in early September. The midterm will be drawn from these five questions. On the midterm, which will be an in-class midterm, you will be given two of these five questions and asked to write on one of them. Your midterm grade will be based on assessing your answer according to these criteria: 1) accuracy; 2) writing; 3) critical thought; 4) organization; 5) argumentation. Under no circumstances may you miss or make-up the midterm UNLESS you have made prior agreement in writing with the professor. The final will be handled the same way, with questions available on Toolkit just after the midterm.


No attendance will be taken in lectures. Your grade will be based on your midterm, final exam, Lab projects, and participation.

Lab attendance is not required, but you must demonstrate that you can make a web page in HTML to pass this class. But if you do not take the Lab, the highest grade you can get in this class is 80% (B, if you had a perfect midterm and final) since up to 20% of the class credit is in Lab work. If you elect to take the Lab section, you can complete the web page (5%), web site (5%), case study (5%), and get credit for participation (5%). Lab work and discussion participation will be graded, and credit will be according to assessment of: 1) thoroughness and thoughtfulness of design 2) credibility of sources used 3) participation in discussion 4) in the last assignment, suitability of the case study for class use.


Last updated November 29, 2004 .

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