Information Technology and Digital Media Studies
Prof. David Golumbia
University of Virginia
Fall 2005

Lab Assignment 2. Resource Site: Media About Computers

This assignment provides you with the opportunity to do some detective work, and some interpretive work, and also to build a website with multiple pages that is more complex than the Personal Web Page you built for Assignment 1.

Requirements for media objects:
The media you choose should ideally be a film, episode of a television program, or novel. Novels do not have to be long, but short stories are not allowed. Before you begin working on your media selection, you must email me (at dgolumbia-at-virginia-dot-edu) with your choice. I will either approve your choice or tell you to find another media object. No more than two students may work on any particular media object. You may work in teams of two to choose the object, but your work on the website must be your own. I will add each film, novel, or TV or radio episode to this list as they are claimed by students, so check this page often. I encourage you to be creative with your choices of media objects. If you think there is any question about how your media object engages with the world of computers, be sure to explain your justification in your email to me.
Media that will be read, used or discussed in class sessions. You may NOT choose any of these media:
  • Artificial Intelligence: AI (movie dir. Steven Spielberg)
  • MT Anderson, Feed
  • Michael Crichton, Prey
  • Frank Miller, Ronin
  • The Matrix (any version, movie, sequel, game, etc.)
  • The Simpsons (any episode/version)
  • South Park (any episode/version)
  • Star Trek (any series, episode, movie, comic, cartoon, game, etc.)
  • Star Wars (any series, episode, movie, comic, cartoon, game, etc.)
  • The Terminator (any version)
  • The X-Files (any episode/version)
  • X-Minus One (radio program): "The Veldt"
Media claimed by two class members. You may NOT choose any of these media:
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (movie)
  • Antitrust (movie)
  • Bicentennial Man (movie)
  • Blade Runner (movie)
  • Electric Dreams (movie)
  • Enemy of the State (movie)
  • Equilibrium (movie)
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (movie)
  • Gattaca (movie)
  • Hackers (movie)
  • I, Robot (movie)
  • The Incredibles (movie)
  • Independence Day (movie)
  • The Jetsons (TV show)
  • Logan's Run (movie)
  • Minority Report (movie)
  • The Net (movie)
  • Ocean's Eleven (movie, 2001 remake)
  • Office Space (movie)
  • Short Circuit (movie)
  • Simone (movie)
  • The Stepford Wives (movie, 2004 remake)
  • Tron (movie)
  • Vanilla Sky (movie)
  • War Games (movie)
  • You've Got Mail (movie)
Media claimed by one class member.


Most web sites are comprised of multiple web pages. These are linked to each other, and may be linked to other information and sites as well. A web site raises issues of organization and navigation that are more complicated than those of a single page. In this project you will go through these steps:

  1. Once you have cleared your media object with the instructor, read or watch the media object carefully. Keep track of the ways computers figure into the narrative, but also keep track of other interesting aspects of the narrative.
  2. Write a brief description of the media object you have chosen. Then write a brief analysis/interpretation of the media object, focusing on the way the media portrays computers. Are the computers in your media object like or unlike real computers? In what ways? As in class discussion, you should feel free to interpret the media object as a whole and in relation to other media, not just to describe the media's use of computers.
  3. Create a site architecture that seems appropirate to your media object. Your architecture should include navigation to the pages of the site. Your site will be graded based on its organization, so you will want to think about the conventions for making multiple web pages available to the user. In most cases, it is preferable to have the navigational elements available on all the pages of the site.
  4. Create a specific set of resource pages (at least 4 total pages) for the most important or interesting areas to which you want to draw attention. This will be a research project and involve decisions about relative importance and value of information and sources.
  5. Make the web site. This will involve designing the pages, HTML code, writing the pages, and linking the resources.

The challenges in this project are:

The site should be a minimum of four individual pages. Your pages should have a minimum of 500 words of your own writing. Make sure to cite any writing that is not your own properly (you may use any citation format you like, but you must cite any writing not your own, including the media object you are discussing).

As in the first lab assignment, the index page for the site should be located in a subdirectory of your mdst110 directory, so that the index.html reads as follows:

You should put your page in a directory that has the following form (where "yourid" is replaced with your UVa ID for your home directory):

Project timeline: Your Resource Sites are to be finished and submitted by the beginning of lab during the week of October 26. You should choose your media object by October 10 at the latest, so that you have plenty of time to read/watch and analyze it before building your website.