MDST110-1 (Schedule # 3026T)
University of Virginia
Fall 2005
MW 2:00-3:15 :: 108 Clark Hall
Mr. David Golumbia
Office: 304B Bryan
Fall 2005 Office Hours: MW 9:45-10:45am, W 12:30-1:30pm, & by appt

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 Textbooks, available at University Bookstore
(Used copies of these textbooks are fine, but Castro must be 5th edition and Rheingold must be 2nd edition)

  1. MT Anderson, Feed (Candlewick Press, 2004)
  2. Elizabeth Castro, HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide, 5th Edition (Peachpit Press, 2002)
  3. Michael Crichton, Prey (Avon Books, 2003)
  4. Howard Rheingold, Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology, Second edition (MIT Press, 2000)
  5. Frank Miller, Ronin (DC Comics, 1995)
  6. Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (MIT Press, 1996)
  7. Ellen Ullman, Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents (City Lights Books, 1997)

Required Articles in Toolkit (you must print these PDFs out yourself using Acrobat Reader)

  1. Marshall McLuhan, "The Medium Is the Message"
  2. Stuart Hall, "Encoding, Decoding"
  3. Alan Turing, "Computing Machinery and Intelligence"
  4. Vannevar Bush, "As We May Think"
  5. EM Forster, "The Machine Stops"
  6. Joseph Weizenbaum, "Introduction to Computer Power and Human Reason"
  7. Sherry Turkle, "Video Games and Computer Holding Power"
  8. Martin Heidegger, "The Question Concerning Technology"
  9. Jean Baudrillard, excerpt from Simulations and Simulacra
  10. Lawrence Lessig, excerpt from Free Culture

Requirements and Grades

Grade weighting

Evaluation for the course is conducted on the following basis:


The midterm exam will consist of a media object that you will be expected to analyze in terms of the way it presents computers. The story will be distributed prior to the midterm, and the question for the midterm will ask you to provide a thorough reading of the story.

For the final exam, you will be asked again to analyze a media object. You will also be given a series of possible final exam questions that deal with the culture of computers about mid-way through the second half of the term. On the day of the exam, you will be given some of these questions, which you must answer in essay form without the benefit of computers or notes.

Your grades on these exams 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 exams UNLESS you have made prior agreement in writing with the professor.

Attendance in Lecture and Discussion

No attendance will be taken in lectures. Your grade will be based on your midterm, final exam, lab projects, and participation. Participation in discussion during lecture can increase your participation grade.

Lab and discussion work is a critical part of this course. A substantial portion of your grade is derived from the assignments in lab. 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.

Some students may feel that their HTML and web skills already meet or exceed requirements for the course. These students are urged to confer with their lab TAs early in the term to become a lab aid for other students, which can result in extra credit. Note that every student, whether a lab aid or not, must complete all assignments by the due date.

Extra Credit

This course provides several means to obtain extra credit. Extra credit is conferred in the form of points. A perfect grade for this class is 100 points. Extra credit assignments can add 3 or 5 points for each assignment completed. Students may complete no more than 2 extra credit assignemnts during the term.

Extra credit assignments include:

Brief descriptions of these extra credit assignments will be distributed at the beginning of the semester and will include criteria for extra credit grading. Note that no student may submit more than two extra credit assignments, and no course (semester) grades above A will be assigned for this class.

Last updated November 27, 2005 .

Valid XHTML 1.0!