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MMEDIA 1A03 Multimedia&DigitalSociety

Academic Year: Winter 2017

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Robert Hamilton


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 315

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27955

Office Hours: Tuesday 11:00am - 12:00pm

Course Objectives:

Course description:

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.


In support of these learning goals, students will complete four multimedia exercises. A series of feedback sessions on work in progress during the tutorials will ensure that all students are developing the knowledge and skill to create effective media-based expression and communication. The final exam will cover lecture materials as well as readings discussed in lecture and/or tutorial.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required materials and texts:

• It is recommended that students purchase at a USB key for storage.

All required readings will be posted on Moodle (Learning Management System). 

Method of Assessment:


Detailed descriptions of individual assignments will be posted in Moodle and explained in class. You are encouraged to begin working on assignments immediately to fully benefit from the work-in-progress feedback sessions provided in tutorial. All assignments will be submitted via Moodle in the forum associated with your tutorial.



Readings are listed on the week they will be discussed so you must read them prior to that class/tutorial meeting.



Four Multimedia Exercises (15% each) 60% 
1. January 24th
2. February 14th
3. March 14th
4. March 31st

Final Exam 30%

Tutorial Participation 10% 

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Regular attendance is required to successfully achieve course outcomes.  If you are absent, it is your responsibility to complete any work missed in class. All assignments must be submitted by their due date. Late assignments will only be accepted with prior consent from the instructor and/or appropriate documentation to support your inability to submit the work by the due date.

Grading will be based on the quality of the submitted work. The participation grade will be determined by the student’s contribution to a supportive and critical atmosphere during class. Late assignments will be penalized by 5% per day of the week (weekends included).  Extensions will be given if requested before the assignment’s due date and if the instructor considers the reason legitimate.


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:

Lecture Schedule:

Week 1 – January 6 
Lecture Jan 6: Intro to Class, review course outline, expectations. What is digital society? What is Multimedia? 
Tutorial: None 

Week 2 – January 10 & 13 
Readings: McLuhan, Turkle 
Lecture Jan 10: The Medium is Still the Message
Lecture Jan 13: Technology Transforms Everyday Life
Tutorial: Discussion of assigned readings 

Week 3 – January 17 & 20 
Reading: Marche, Klinenberg, Rosen 
Lecture Jan 17: Stop Motion Animatio
Lecture Jan 20: Assessing argument and evidence in Is Facebook Making Us Lonely
Tutorial: Feedback for Exercise 1 in progress; discuss assigned readings 

Week 4 – January 24 & 27 
Reading: Stracey, Squires 
Lecture Jan 24: The Death and Lives of hitchBOT the Hitchhiking Robot 
Lecture Jan 27: Intersections of Art and Science: Bio Art
Tutorial: Discussion of assigned readings 

Week 5 – January 31, February 3 
Reading: Gladwell, Glei 
Lecture Jan 31: Surveillance and Mediated Reality 
Lecture Feb 3: Mediated Reality
Tutorial: Discussion of assigned readings; create groups for Exercise #2 

Week 6 – February 7 & 10 
Reading: Samara 
Lecture Feb 7: Creativity: Not Just for Artists, Creativity in Action and in the Economy, Education Paradigms and Divergent Thinking 
Lecture Feb 10: What is design? Design as Communication, Design Fundamentals Tutorial: Discuss Exercise #2 projects in progress 

Week 7 – February 14 & 17 
Reading: Kidd 
Lecture Feb 14: Design Fundamentals, Book Cover Design
Lecture Feb 17: Introduction to Typography
Tutorial: Photoshop Basics 

Week 9 – February 21 & 24 
Midterm break – no lectures or tutorials 

Week 10 – February 28 & March 3 
Reading: Samara 
Lecture Feb 28: More on Typography; screening excerpt of Helvetica
Lecture March 3: Abstract Form and Meaning
Tutorial: Feedback on Exercise #3 projects in progress, more on Photoshop as needed 

Week 11 – March 7 & March 10 
Reading: Manovich 
Lecture Mar 7: Analog vs. Digital: Residual Media
Lecture Mar 10: Design and interactivity; the possibilities of code
Tutorial: Discussion of assigned readings; feedback on Exercise #3 projects in progress 

Week 12 – March 14 & 17 
Reading: Keen & Jenkins 
Lecture Mar 14: Live Coding and Physical Computing 
DUE: Exercise #3
Lecture Mar 17: Participatory Culture
Tutorial: Code basics using Processing 

Week 13 – March 21 & 24 
Reading: Lessig 
Lecture Mar 21: Remix Culture; Copyright and Fair Use
Lecture Mar 24: Copyright and Gaming
Tutorial: Discussion of assigned readings; more code basics in Processing as needed 

Week 14 – March 28 & March 31 
Lecture Mar 28: Final Exam Review
Lecture March 31: Showcase of 1A03 student projects (presented by TAs) 
DUE: Exercise #4 
Tutorial: Preparation for final exam 

Week 14 – April 4 
Lecture April 4: TBA