Course Description

Identity and community have become contested concepts in the contemporary era of late capitalism. They are themes which are increasingly explored and represented in user-generated content on social software websites. We will consider themes and tensions surrounding identity and community in late capitalism, with reference to theorists such as Anthony Giddens. We will undertake textual analysis of the user-generated ’identity media’ which is common on social software websites such as Facebook, Myspace and Youtube. Finally, we will use social software ourselves. What is it good for? What types of relationships does it establish?

Your major assessment will consist of the production of an  experimental documentary about identity and community, to be published in your blog and also to other appropriate social software environments that you identify. It is expected that the documentary you produce will draw on pre-existing production skills. Because students will be at different levels of sophistication, each student will enter into a ’learning contract’ with the tutor, which will guide the specifics of the assessment tasks.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development:

Students will:

  • develop an understanding of issues in networked media;
  • develop research skills and experimental approaches to understanding and developing innovative media;
  • develop a sense of the evolutionary nature of the mediascape and learn techniques for coping with this;
  • develop their ability to justify their use of technology with reference to theory and appropriate content outcomes.

Learning outcomes for this course include:

  • digital literacy;
  • network research skills;
  • development of your own approach to networked documentary;
  • project management skills;
  • problem solving techniques;
  • independent learning skills.

Overview of Learning Activities

Class time will be divided between exemplifying and theorizing the late capitalist media environment and acquiring technical skills (if necessary). An emphasis will be placed on students acquiring a critical approach to the networked mediascape and being able to contextualise new developments, historically and sociologically.

Students will be expected to undertake self-directed learning to expand their technical skills, if required. Students will find it difficult to grasp some concepts and acquire the technical competencies if they don’t attend classes. Students will be using Macintosh computers in labs.

Details of Learning Activities

Lectures will include examples of work and other people’s media about the issues the course covers. Tutes will include technical instruction as required, and discussion of relevance to the assessment task. Minimal use will be made of the DLS, as we will be using blogs and other forms of social software, for example Facebook and the ABC’s The Pool. You will be expected to be prepared to discussed points raised by the readings, and their relevance to your own project. The readings will be all available for download (you do not buy a dossier for this course).

Overview of Assessment

Assessment will consist of thee parts:

1. learning contract, published in your blog: 15%

2. online documentary published in your blog and in at least one other social software environment: 45%

3. blog entries addressing appropriate themes: 40%

Note: For more details consult your course outline that was handed out in class.


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