Similar to the Snapchat Research Story project, which asked you to analyze an artifact of digital culture, the DIG 101 final project is an opportunity to analyze an artifact or phenomenon related to digital culture from a number of angles.
Your object of study could be an app, a website, a meme, a file format, a videogame, a piece of hardware, a social media service, a practice or set of behaviors, or something else entirely. Whatever it is, you will explore it from three distinct angles.
Angle 1: The Artifact Itself
This angle is very similar to what you did with the Snapchat Research Story, where you discuss the artifact or phenomenon on a literal but also an evocative level. In fact, you can use the same object of study from your Snapchat project, and expand on it here.
Length: 600-750 words
Sources: Use at least one reading from the course syllabus, plus an additional scholarly or journalistic source. The sources must be integrated in a substantive way: this means summarizing the argument of the source, paraphrasing it in your own words, and building on it, challenging it, or otherwise using it to gain traction for your own analysis.
Angle 2: Cultural Representation
For this angle you will analyze a fictionalized cultural representation of the artifact or phenomenon. In other words, explore how some fictionalized version of that real world artifact or phenomenon appears in popular culture, such as a videogame, a film, a poem, an artwork, a TV show, or a novel.
Length: 600-750 words
Sources: In addition to the primary source (the cultural representation itself), use at least one scholarly or journalistic source (different from the sources in Angles 1 & 3). Integrate the sources in a substantive way.
Angle 3: History
A recurring theme in DIG 101 has been that everything comes from someplace else. Understanding the historical antecedents of digital culture is crucial for understanding the present—and for anticipating the future. For this angle explore the history of your artifact or phenomenon. What were the non-digital precursors of the artifact or phenomenon? How did the artifact get from there to here? Who pioneered it? Who profited from it? What problems did historical antecedents of this artifact solve? What problems did historical antecedents cause?
Length: 600-750 words
Sources: Use at least two scholarly or journalistic sources (different from the sources in Angles 1 & 2). Integrate the sources in a substantive way.
Your final project will be published on your Davidson Domain. But it won’t be a post or series of post on your current DIG 101 blog. You will create a new space on your domain for this project. For most people, this means creating a new subdomain and new WordPress installation.
The best projects will include illustrative images or other media of the artifact or related phenomenon. This includes audio, videos, maps, and timelines. For an example of what a digital project might look like, check out this ASMR research project by Violet Degnan ’17.
A skeletal version of the project is due in class on Friday, December 1. The final version is due by Thursday, December 14 (the last day of the exam period).
I’ll evaluate your final project according to these criteria:
- Theme (the level of engagement with the social, ethical, cultural, and philosophical questions surrounding technology that we have asked this semester)
- Craft (the degree of style and care put into the research and execution of the project, including its digital representation)
- Inquiry (the degree to which you ask and attempt to answer deep questions about your research object, rather than relying on surface level questions and answers)
- Argument (the degree to which you take a stance about your object of study and offer analysis over observation)
- Unexpectedness (the extent to which the project makes new connections, synthesizes material, and produces unexpected results)
List of Projects
- The Digitalization of Emotion
- Video Games and Their Impact on the Modern World
- Virtual Reality for Physical Disabilities
- Facial Recognition Technology
- FIFA 18
- Call of Duty
- Glitches, Viruses and Hacks—For the Culture
- Bitcoin and Blockchain
- Let’s Plays
- Net Neutrality
- Contemporary Filters
- The Past, Present, and Future of Self-Driving Cars
- The Surveillance Project
- R.I.P. Vine
- The Uses, Meanings, and History of Photo Filters
- This is Linux
- Algorithms: They’re Everywhere
- The Humanization of Artificial Intelligence
- The Wayback Machine
- Smart Homes
- (Hu)Man Knowledge: Feminist Perspectives on Wikipedia