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MMEDIA 1A03 Multimedia & Digital Society (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2019

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Dale Shin


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 333

Phone: 905-525-9140 x

Office Hours: TBA, TSH 333

Course Objectives:

This course examines the impact of digital technologies on contemporary life. Lectures, readings, discussions, and multimedia projects will enable students to both reflect upon and participate in today’s digital society.

This course is designed to help students better understand the role of digital technologies in contemporary life and to encourage students to reflect on, and create new possibilities for, how they participate in today’s digital society. 

Lectures will explore topics such as what it means to live in a mediated society, the power of creativity and divergent thinking in today’s economy, fundamentals of graphic and multimedia design, interactivity, and remix culture. Special attention will be paid to social and cultural issues surrounding the use of technologies.

Tutorials will provide opportunities for in-depth discussions of course readings and also facilitate students’ ability to express themselves effectively with diverse types of media.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

All readings will be available on Avenue to Learn. There are no texts to be purchased for this course. 

Note: students will employ different software applications in completion of coursework. In some cases, these will include free and open source software that students can easily install on their personal computers; in other cases, these will include commercially distributed software available in the computer labs supported by the Faculty of Humanities.

Method of Assessment:

Tutorial participation (5%) and quizzes (10%)

Students will contribute to tutorial discussions about course readings and to feedback sessions with peers (5%), and will also complete regular quizzes (10%). The quizzes will be graded for completion, and will reiterate course concepts while providing an opportunity for students to practice answering multiple choice questions throughout the term, in preparation for the final exam.

Final exam (25%) – during the exam period

Students will write an exam during the exam period. The exam will be based on material (readings, lectures, and tutorials) covered up to the final week of classes.

Multimedia exercises (15% + 15% + 15% + 15%) – Jan 31, Feb 28, Mar 21, Apr 4

Students will complete four (4) multimedia exercises throughout the term. A series of feedback sessions on work-in-progress during the tutorials will ensure that all students are developing the knowledge and skills to produce effective media works and projects. Further instructions will be provided in class and shared on Avenue to Learn.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Assignments must be submitted by the exact date and time specified. Late submissions will continue to be accepted after the due date for up to one week (seven days) without penalty, but will be marked as late. No assignments will be accepted later than one week (seven days) after the due date.

The one week (seven days) grace period is provided to allow for completion of assignments in the event of illness, a personal emergency, etc.

Note: MSAFs can only be submitted up to three days after the due date, and can only be used for the assignment’s original due date. This means that even if you submit an MSAF, you will not receive any additional time beyond the one week (seven days) grace period.

If you fall ill or have any emergency that prevents you from completing the assignment before the due date, take advantage of the grace period. If you something happens after the deadline, you should already have submitted your assignment.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Week 1: Jan 8-10

  • Readings: Review course syllabus and log onto to Avenue to Learn
  • Lecture Jan 8: introduction to class, review of the course outline, and statement of expectations.
  • Lecture Jan 10: discuss technologies of observation; discuss exercise #1
  • **No tutorials this week**

Week 2: Jan 15-17

  • Readings: McLuhan, Twenge, Mollman
  • Lecture Jan 15: The Medium Is Still the Message; discuss exercise #1
  • Lecture Jan 17: Technology Transforms Everyday Life
  • Tutorial: Discussion of assigned readings

Week 3: Jan 22-24

  • Readings: Rosen, Wortham, Urist
  • Lecture Jan 22: From Disciplinary to Control Societies
  • Lecture Jan 24: Surveillance and Everyday Life
  • Tutorial: Feedback for Exercise #1 in progress; discuss assigned readings

Week 4: Jan 29-31

  • Readings: Stracey, Squires, Venkatraman
  • Lecture Jan 29: Intersections of Art and Science: Bio Art
  • Lecture Jan 31: Creativity: Not Just for Artists
  • Tutorial: Discussion of assigned readings

Week 5: Feb 5-7

  • Readings: Gladwell, Glei, RSA Animate
  • Lecture Feb 5: Creativity in Action and in the Economy; discuss exercise #2
  • Lecture Feb 7: Education Paradigms and Divergent Thinking
  • Tutorial: Discussion of assigned readings; create groups for exercise #2

Week 6: Feb 12-14

  • Reading: Samara
  • Lecture Feb 12: What is design? Design as Communication
  • Lecture Feb 14: Design Fundamentals
  • Tutorial: Discuss Exercise #2 projects in progress

Week 7: Feb 18-24. Midterm recess (no classes)

Week 8: Feb 26-28

  • Reading: Kidd, Kreider
  • Lecture Feb 26: Book Cover Design; discuss exercise #3
  • Lecture Feb 28: Introduction to Typography
  • Tutorial: Photoshop Basics

Week 9: Mar 5-7

  • Reading: Samara, Bright
  • Lecture Mar 5: More on Typography; screening excerpt of Helvetica
  • Lecture Mar 7: Abstract Form and Meaning
  • Tutorial: Feedback on exercise #3 projects in progress, more on Photoshop as needed

Week 10: Mar 12-14

  • Reading: Manovich
  • Lecture Mar 12: Analog vs. Digital
  • Lecture Mar 14: Interactivity; discuss exercise #4
  • Tutorial: Discussion of assigned readings; feedback on exercise #3 projects in progress

Mar 16. Last day for canceling courses without failure by default

Week 11: Mar 19-21

  • Reading: Chokshi, Fuchs
  • Lecture Mar 19: Code Art
  • Lecture Mar 21: Participatory Culture and Fandom
  • Tutorial: Code basics using Processing

Week 12: Mar 26-28

  • Reading: LaFrance, Murray
  • Lecture Mar 26: Remix Culture
  • Lecture Mar 28: Copyright and Fair Use
  • Tutorial: Discussion of assigned readings; more code basics in Processing as needed        

Week 13: Apr 2-4

  • Readings: Frank, Quartz                                                                               
  • Lecture Apr 2: Digital Media & Materiality
  • Lecture Apr 4: Final Exam Review
  • Tutorial: Preparation for final exam

Week 14: Apr 9

  • Readings: Review course material
  • Lecture Apr 9: Showcase of MM 1A03 student projects (presented by TAs)
  • **No tutorials this week**