Archive for the 'Reading Responses' Category

Responses for 4/29

Today’s readings explore social networking sites, an area you’re all probably quite familiar with. As native “experts,” do you think these articles capture the appeal of Facebook, myspace, and the like? What drives you to participate or abstain from these sites?

(And remember to please add your thoughts to the thread on Midd’s internet presence.)

Reading Responses &social networking Jason Mittell 28 Apr 2008 15 Comments

Responses for April 22

Check out this article on transmedia storytelling & the “geek elite.” How do you see Jenkins’s ideas playing out in the contemporary media landscape? Does convergence culture serve as the “new normal” or is it still a fringe phenomenon for specialized audiences? How do you see such practices transforming the future of media production & consumption?

Reading Responses &Transmedia Jason Mittell 20 Apr 2008 9 Comments

Responses for 4/15

In concluding Benkler’s book and reading about Second Life, what promise do you think virtual worlds have for the issues of freedom and democracy that Benkler discusses? Do virtual worlds function as a site of political and cultural experimentation and engagement, or are they just an escape from the real world?

Internets &Reading Responses &Virtual Worlds Jason Mittell 14 Apr 2008 12 Comments

Reading responses for 4/8

The bulk of Benkler’s book for this week focuses on how network culture impacts our political processes. What issues and arguments seem particularly relevant to you, especially in light of the ongoing campaign that many people are referring to as the “YouTube Election”? Do you see evidence of increased autonomy and freedom emerging around politics in the networked ecology?

Media politics &Reading Responses Jason Mittell 05 Apr 2008 10 Comments

Responses for 4/3

Sorry for the delay in posting this…

Benkler offers a new vision of economics to account for the internet era. What strikes you as particularly compelling about this approach to economic and social relations? Are there specific examples from your own experience that speak to the redefinition of markets, production, and consumption that he lays out?

Class business &Reading Responses Jason Mittell 02 Apr 2008 4 Comments

Responses for March 18

Bogost’s book outlines how games can work within politics, advertising, and education. What aspects of his argument do you find most convincing, or were there parts of his claims that you did not agree with? Are there games you’ve played (on your own or through the class) that seem to connect with his points?

Reading Responses &video games Jason Mittell 16 Mar 2008 8 Comments

Responses for March 11

The Jenkins article and beginning of Bogost’s book make arguments for the specific ways that videogames function as a specific medium with a particular rhetoric and aesthetic mode. What aspects of gaming do you find most distinctive, and how do they work to persuade or create an artistic possibility?

I also want to collect links to online games that seem relevant to our study – try to play around with some of them to get a sense of different possibilities. Here are a few that Bogost discusses or that offer examples of political games:

Darfur is Dying

McDonalds Game

September 12th and Madrid

Redistricting Game

Persuasive Games – Bogost’s own studio, which includes the Dean for Iowa game and many others

Class business &Reading Responses Jason Mittell 10 Mar 2008 14 Comments

Responses for March 4

The readings for today by Jenkins, Lethem, and Boyle all deal with remix culture in a variety of ways—making new works from raw cultural ingredients of others. How does this form of cultural production fit within your understanding of originality, creativity, and art? Is the remix an artform? And what media seem particularly well-suited to remix culture?

Also, please post links to examples of remix culture you find particularly successful or interesting.

Reading Responses Jason Mittell 03 Mar 2008 13 Comments

Reading responses for 2/26

Scott McCloud’s book serves as an extended “meta-media object,” using the tools of the comic to explore the medium itself. What aspects of comics, both as a medium of analysis and medium of expression, did you find particularly interesting? How might McCloud’s ideas extend to other media, or how might someone be able to express such concepts in other media? And what do the pieces by Madden and Smith add to our understanding of comics in relation to other media?

Reading Responses Jason Mittell 23 Feb 2008 14 Comments

Reading response for 2/19

This week’s readings provide a glimpse into the “media ecology” tradition and its most well-known theorist, Marshall McLuhan.  McLuhan and media ecology emerged in response to the rise of television in the 1960s – what aspects of this approach are helpful in understanding today’s digital media? Are there particular limitations to this approach that strike you, either conceptually or in relation to today’s media environments?

Reading Responses Jason Mittell 16 Feb 2008 15 Comments

Reading Response – Derek

It would seem that a real-life implementation of Jenkins’s comments on literacy depends on an interpretation of media that incorporates all three of Meyrowitz’s levels; examining any one of these levels in a vacuum opens up criticisms, some more valid than others, to media as a tool of social education and participation. For example, Jenkins’s media literacy “skill” of play, which he defines as “the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem solving (24),” necessitates a definition of media similar to Meyrowitz’s “Media as environment” level, since the context in which one plays is quite important if the goal is to encourage participation (as shown, a teenager might become engaged with ancient Rome much more readily through a computer game than through written text). However, the expression that comes with the experimenting of play requires some sort of coherent grammar that the “player” can understand. Without this grammar, there might simply be too much abstraction for the average person to be able to, again, enjoy participating in it. The grammar of a computer game like Civilization–the layout of a world map, the sounds and animations associated with in-game game units, and the expressive meaning of building a city–is infinitely more interesting and engaging than an abstract reading of the game’s source code. If we were simply to think of a computer game in the context of Meyrowitz’s level of the conduit–the level that most people see first and never see past–we would be severely restricted in terms of how we thought of the game and of “play” as a skill. Because the discourse of “education” does not operate in most computer games at the level of the conduit, they are often dismissed as mindless diversions. (When I was a child, my mother always made me play a “learning game” like Reader Rabbit or Outnumbered before I could play Monkey Island…yet the grammar, the particular form of Monkey Island was much more engaging (the player has to solve logic puzzles in a kind of narrative form) than simply solving math or vocabulary problems in a designated period, as most of the educational games of the early and mid-90s did. This is not to denigrate those games–I enjoyed playing them, if not as much as Monkey Island–but to speculate on how the levels of grammar and environment can drastically enhance their participatory power.

Reading Responses Derek Long 14 Feb 2008 No Comments

Reading response Brian

I enjoyed reading the section in Meyrowitz’s article about grammar (language) of media because it brought up some points about how the structure and syntax of the medium sometimes help our collective understanding of the medium. There are conventions that we as a society (or consumer) expect from those who create medium. For example, when watching a movie, we expect that if a character looks off to the side, the next shot should be what he is looking at so we the audience can see it too. These little “rules” have been established and reinforced over decades—we expect movie makers to follow them to avoid confusing us.
Jenkins writes about the way students learn, specifically talking about how they interact when playing certain types of games. Those who play games regularly will find loopholes that they can exploit, and once they become familiar with the structure of how the game is designed, they can take advantage of these rules. Sometimes this is called strategy, but if you are playing against the computer and you continually employ the same tricks because you know the game cannot stop you, I think you have broken the structure of the game—the programmer has followed a specific convention and you are going against it.
For example, I have been playing the football video game Madden for several years, across all types of systems, although I started on computer back in high school. I have learned that the best way to complete a pass is to put your best wide receiver in the third receiver’s spot and just wait for a linebacker to guard him. For those that are not as familiar with football, basically I am putting a fast player in position to exploit a slower defender. The game typically does not make the appropriate adjustments because it will put its best defenders where my best receiver should line up (the number one spot) but since I have my best guy in the third spot, I score lots of touchdowns. I feel like I have gone against the structure and “rules” of the game because this really would not happen in real life—and if it did, a human coach would make an adjustment.

Reading Responses Brian Sommers 14 Feb 2008 No Comments

Affinity Spaces: a growing list

We should create a list of the “Affinity Spaces” that we utilize.

I use DIGG, as well as The Hype Machine .

Digg is a fully democratized news site. Anyone can submit an article, picture, video or mp3. People browsing the site can “digg” a specific page and increase its popularity rating. Each page functions as a message board for a particular submission. Comments on each message board can also be dugg.

The hype-machine utilizes a web-crawling robot that trawls the Internet for the most popular music blogs. Every few hours, hypem adds music to its homepage based on these blogs’ most downloaded mp3s. All the music is streamed from hypem but the site provides links to all the blogs hosting the mp3 files. A huge amount of music on hypem is remixed by independent artists.

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Reading Responses &Uncategorized Ernest Russell 14 Feb 2008 1 Comment

Kyle’s Images of Media Response

Giving that we are currently witnessing perhaps one the most thrilling and important presidential races in our lifetime (and that’s coming from a guy who until now has never voted or really followed politics), the Macro-level medium questions that Meyrowitz addresses seem very relevant and timely. No more so than the question he raises on p. 63 of how different medium environments might “affect the criteria that are used to evaluate political leaders?” As an Obama supporter, I couldn’t help but notice how a lot of the pundits (both left and right) and so called “objective journalists” deem Obama’s physical presence as his greatest strength. So if he loses this primary or this election, would it really be a stretch to claim that the average american’s reliance on non face-to-face mediums for information about the candidates cost him the presidency? Who knows. I don’t deny that there is some validity in claiming that a speaker’s physical presence not an important quality for a president to have. But perhaps it doesn’t matter what you or I think because it looks like the succesful politician of tomorrow will be someone who is camera friendly and has a well funded blogging unit.

Politics &Reading Responses Kyle Howard 13 Feb 2008 1 Comment

First assignments

Two quick requirements to start the course. First, all students need to take this brief survey to get a sense of your techno-profiles so we can be sure to customize the class to meet your needs & abilities.

Secondly, to help familiarize yourself with blogging and to build a community among the class, your first blogging assignment is to post a brief “techno-biography”: write a biographical account of some way that media technology had a direct impact on you. It can be a specific anecdote, a broader reflection on your technological use, or any other entry that serves to introduce you to your peers and might intersect with themes from our course. By class on Thursday the 14th, each student should read others entries and provide comments on at least two of them.

Additionally, here is the discussion question for Thursday’s readings. You’re expected to respond to readings at least 9 times throughout the semester, so might as well get started now! Just login and post a comment to this entry below:

How do you think Meyrowitz’s three levels of media (content / grammar / environment) apply to the models of literacy explored in Jenkins’s policy paper? How does participation and literacy operate at these different levels?

Class business &Reading Responses Jason Mittell 11 Feb 2008 6 Comments

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