Requirements & Assignments

Attendance and Participation

Given the interactive nature of this seminar, attendance and participation is critical. If you must be absent, please notify both of us in advance. One absence will not affect your grade. Two absences will result in a “one step” reduction in your final grade (i.e., from an A to an A-). Three absences will result in a “two-step” reduction. Four absences will result in failure of the course; to avoid the ‘F’ on your transcript, we’ll instead advise you to withdraw from the class. Please note that absences include those days you might miss at the beginning of the semester because of late registration. Please note, too, that a class absence does not entitle you to a private reenactment of the missed class.

We are required by The New School to take attendance at the start of class. Students who arrive more than 15 minutes late will be marked absent. Your timely arrival is appreciated. Students who are consistently late disrupt their classmates and impede our class progress.

Attendance and participation are worth 20% of your final grade.

Project & Presentation Proposal

Due Monday, March 11, @ noon; share with Zed and Shannon via Google Drive (submission tips here, at the bottom of the page).

By mid-semester you should choose a topic that you’d like explore through your final project and in-class presentation in April (see “Presentation and Annotated Bibliography” below!). You could engage with interfaces as either a subject of study (e.g., studying the evolution of graphic user interfaces) or a means of investigating your thesis or dissertation research topic (e.g., how might you examine your research data or present your research findings through a variety of interfaces?; what new insights or resonances does each offer?). We ask you to share a proposal so that we can both help you direct your independent work for remainder of the semester and help you plan your presentation. Your 1200- to 1500-word proposal should include the following:

  • A description of your proposed research topic and the critical issues or larger debates that are at stake;
  • A brief discussion of your topic’s significance (to your discipline, to a broader public, to you), timeliness, relevance, etc.;
  • A description of your desired mode of publication or dissemination: do you plan to write a research paper, propose a (hypothetical) online exhibition, make a documentary film, create a work in hybrid form, etc.?
  • A discussion of your target audience(s): who would you like to reach with this work, and how are your proposed modes of publication appropriate for these groups?
  • A tentative bibliography of at least 10 sources, including at least five scholarly publications;
    • And within that bibliography, please include annotations for three works that could be appropriate “assigned texts” (e.g., readings, audio or video works, web resources, etc.) for your in-class presentation; these works should be no longer than 20 pp. or, in the case of time-based media, no longer than 20 minutes.
  • A tentative outline for your in-class presentation. Will you lead us through a close-reading of your assigned text? Share a few examples — including perhaps examples from your own work — that illustrate the arguments in the text? Incorporate some type of student-led activity?

Your proposal is worth 20% of your final grade.

You’ll need to choose one assigned text — the one you’ll ask the class to read for your presentation — by March 26. Please send to Shannon and Zed a complete Chicago-style citation (why Chicago? just because the rest of our syllabus is formatted in Chicago style!) and either a high-quality pdf or a link to the online resource by 4pm on the 26th, so Shannon can update our class website with everyone’s material.

Presentation and Annotated Bibliography

Each student will share one 20-minute in-class presentation on April 9, 16, or 26. We’ll sign up for presentation dates early in the semester.

Before your presentation day, we ask you to share five references: ideally, resources that pertain to your presentation and area of specialization, perhaps supplemented with a couple more generalist “what is an interface?” resources. You’ll post citations for these resources, along with a ~150-word annotation for each, to our shared, class-wide annotated bibliography.

You’ll have asked your classmates to review a text — a short reading, a multimedia project, a web archive, etc. — prior to class. You’ll then lead a discussion and/or activity (20 to 30 minutes for solo presenters; 40 to 45 minutes for partners) that explicates and builds upon that text. While we do encourage you to summarize your text and perhaps offer a “close reading” of notable passages, you are not required to “stick to the text”; instead, you’re encouraged to connect the reading to your own research and creative interests. One of our primary goals for these presentations is to showcase the eclectic skills and expertise that each of us brings to the classroom. That said, your presentation should not be a soliloquy; please leave ample time for discussion.

Your presentation and bibliography are each worth 15% of your final grade.

Final Project

A 4000- to 6000-word (maximum!) paper or creative project with 900-word critical support paper in which you address the critical and/or aesthetic issues you aimed to explore through your work, explain how your chosen format aided in that exploration, and provide a bibliography listing the critical resources that informed the project.

Projects are before class on May 7. Your final project is worth 30% of your final grade.

Please see our class website for more Policies and Procedures — e.g., submitting work via Google Drive, deadlines, changes to the syllabus, academic honesty, etc.