FDM 20C:
Introduction to Digital Media

Instructor: Margaretha Haughwout
Syllabus: Winter 2014


Meeting Time and Place:

Class: TTh 12-1:45, Oakes 105

Course Website with Course Schedule:



Office: Communications 110
Phone: 831-459-1354 (this is a voicemail and may not be checked often)
Office Hours: Thursday 10:30-11:30a (or by appt.)
Online Office Hours: TBA
Skype: mllebuffalo
Delicious: http://www.delicious.com/margaretha/fdm20c
YouTube playlist
Email: margaretha dot anne dot haughwout at gmail dot com

Teaching Assistants:

name: Joel Horne
email: jshorne at ucsc dot edu
office:DARC 104
office hours: Fridays 1:30pm - 2:30pm

name: Jonathan Menendez
email: jonathan at ucsc dot edu
office: COMM 121
office hours:Thursdays 11am-12pm

name: Kelly Skye
email: ksky at ucsc dot edu
office: DARC 104
office hours: Thursdays 2:15-3:15

name: Matt Jamieson
email: mjamieso at ucsc dot edu
office: DARC 104 or 313
office hours: Thursday 2:00 to 4:00

Sections + Times:

a + b: TH 4:00-6:15PM (Communications 121) - Jonathan Menendez
c + d: F 9:30-11:45AM (Communications 121) - Joel Horne
e + f: F 12:00-2:15PM (Communications 121) - Matt Jamieson
g + h: F 2:30-4:45PM (Communications 121) - Kelly Skye

Course Description:

Students will learn how to analyze the philosophical, political and cultural forces and foundations that constitute, contextualize and are catalyzed by the technologies and techniques of digital media. We will read a number of historically significant texts from the last 60 years that help define digital media. Lectures, sections and demos will compliment the readings by introducing students to a number of methodologies useful for the study and presentation of digital media. Throughout the term students will work on projects that advance their "code literacy" by helping them learn skills necessary to participate in and produce new media art. By the end of the quarter students will be both critical observers and active participants in digital art and new media

This Syllabus Is Subject To Change At Instructor's Discretion

Recommended Texts:

The texts below are not required, but are recommended for any new, inquisitive student of New Media. Copies of these texts are available at the Literary Guillotine bookstore (204 Locust St, Santa Cruz), and are on reserve at the McHenry Library. You can also find used copies online.
  • Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort (editors) The New Media Reader (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003)
  • Rachel Greene, Internet Art (Thames & Hudson, 2004)
  • Christiane Paul, Digital Art (Thames & Hudson, 2003)

  • Technical Books:

    You will also need to consult texts that will help you learn HTML and CSS, Processing, Javascript and vector and raster programs. Consider:
  • Head First HTML with CSS and XHTML by Elisabeth Freeman and Eric Freeman (O'Reilly, 2006)
  • HTML and XHTML: The Definitive Guide by Bill Kennedy and Chuck Musciano (O'Reilly, 2006)
  • Programming Interactivity: A Designers Guide to Processing, Arduino and openFrameworks by Joshua Nobel (O'Reilly, 2009)
  • Getting Started with Processing by Ben Fry and Casey Reas (O'Reilly, 2010)
  • burroughs, xtine and Michael Mandiberg. Digital Foundations: Intro to Media Design. Berkeley: New Riders, cc Attribution, Non-Commercial, 2009.
  • Burroughs and Mandiberg's book is also available online. The O'Reilly books listed above can be found for free via Safari Books Online. If you are off-campus, you will need to login remotely to the UCSC library to access the Safari site. Start here: http://oca.ucsc.edu/menu and then http://proquest.safaribooksonline.com.oca.ucsc.edu It is not required that you use the O'Reilly Safari Books. They are good and free, but if you find other technical books that you prefer, that is fine. There are also many free tutorials online.

    There are also several howto sites listed under the resources page of this course website.

    Course Requirements:

    Class / Section Attendance/Participation (20 points of final grade):

    During class we will be viewing and discussing an array of visual and textual material. It is absolutely essential that you attend all sections and lectures. Attendance will be taken during both class and sections. Also, be sure to inform your TA in advance if you know you will be unable to attend one of these sessions for medical reasons, due to religious holiday observance, etc. Students who anticipate being absent from class due to religious observance should inform their TA by email previous to their absence. If you are absent from class, you are responsible for contacting a classmate for the information you missed. Five unexcused absences from class, or two from sections will result in failure of the course.

    Midterm (15 points) and Final Examinations (20 points):

    There will be two exams: a mid-term and a final. The mid-term examination will cover everything up until the date of that examination. The final will cover all information after the mid-term. However, as we will build on ideas over the term, there might be general reference to earlier material. The exams may include short essay responses, comparisons, definitions. Students are required to take both exams in order to pass the course. Makeup exams will not be offered.

    Assignments (45 points of final grade):

    Students are required to complete 3 small digital projects throughout the quarter and 2 short essays.
    A0: 2.5 points
    A1: 5 points
    A2: 5 points
    A3: 7.5 points
    A4: 15 points
    A4: 10 points

    Late Work Policy

    Work is considered late if handed in or emailed after due date/time. 11:59pm is the default deadline time unless specified otherwise in the schedule. Late Assignments: Late work will NOT be accepted and missed exams will NOT be rescheduled. Your TA may, at her or his discretion, accept late work deducting a full letter grade for each day the assignment is late, including weekend days.

    Save your work constantly! Assignments not completed because of lost work will not be excused.

    Final Grades:

    Your final grade will be based upon the quality of your projects, your midterm and final exam scores, as well as your participation and attendance. See Course Requirements above for a point breakdown.

    Laptop Policy:

    Laptops are to be used in lecture or section only for the purpose of taking notes or participating in websites and demos presented in class. Laptops used for other purposes will lead to the banning of laptops in class for specific students.

    Use of cell phones and laptops for other purposes besides note taking in class significantly detracts your attention from class. For this reason, your TA may mark you absent should you be using your cell phone in class.

    Academic Honor Code

    Cheating, plagiarism or fabrication will be dealt with in accordance to the University's policy as outlined in the Student Handbook. You are expected to be familiar with the University policy on dishonesty and disruption of the academic process. If you use outside sources in your work, you must attribute them.

    Academic Misconduct:

    Submitting someone else's work as if it were your own will be dealt with severely. It will result in automatic failure for the course and possible expulsion from school.


    Students are expected to participate in each section. For section you may want provide your own removable storage discs to store your work. Small, portable key drives are available in the bookstore, or you may choose another form of storage, as long as it is compatible with the Porter Lab facilities.

    Grading Rubric:

    A -- Excellent. Student exhibits exemplary conceptual, technical and perceptual ability implementing projects. Student demonstrates a close reading of the any required materials, and ability to successfully communicate ideas and processes to others. All work is lucid and engaging.
    B -- Good. Student completes assignments, and demonstrates a grasp of most of the main aspects of each lesson, but not all. Is able to communicate information, and step by step processes well. In exams, critical analysis is present. In projects, conceptual, perceptual, and technical skills are present.
    C -- Satisfactory. Student completes the assignment but may lack enthusiasm or drive to push the work into a detailed perceptual, technical, and conceptual space. Student does not demonstrate knowledge of the application or programming environment. In exams, problems exist in student's work, or the work is underdeveloped.
    D -- Unsatisfactory. Student does not complete the work as assigned. Substantial problems exist in student's work.
    F -- Fail. Student does not submit work, or work is below unsatisfactory level.

    Standard Formatting for text based work

    We do not accept handwritten work for any assignment.
    Use only 10 or 12 point type in Georgia, Times, Verdana.
    Use 1.25-inch or smaller margins on the left and right, 1-inch margins on the top and bottom.
    Your name should appear on each page of your text.
    All writings should have your typed name, date of submission, your TA and "FDM 20C W14" on them.
    If you do not know how to make format adjustments on your computer, then please seek assistance at one of the computer labs, or from your section TA.
    Check with your TA for accepted text filetypes.

    Emailing and Naming Assignment Files

    Students will be required to submit assignments electronically to your TA. Assignment file names should begin with the assignment number, an underscore and the student's last name, another underscore, and then their first name:


    Email Netiquette

    Netiquette, Noun: 1. The social code of network communication. 2. The social and moral code of the internet based on the human condition and Golden Rule of Netiquette. 3. A philosophy of effective internet communication that utilizes common conventions and norms as a guide for rules and standards.
    Please visit: http://voices.yahoo.com/10-best-rules-netiquette-1952570.html for some tips on appropriate email practices. In your subject header, indicate your course, and a couple of words about your question/comment -- ie:

    subject: FDM 20c assignment question

    Allow for a 48 hour response time from the professor (if it is urgent, please put URGENT in the subject header for quicker response time)

    Artwork on this page

    Selenga River delta/human kidney angiogram/fractal image/deciduous tree in winter. Found here.