This interdisciplinary minor provides a foundation in the history, theory and practice of digital media production and communication.
What is "digital culture"?
"Digital culture" describes the participatory culture of global online communications and creative practice: today's inexpensive recording devices and digital editing tools, social software such as Facebook and Twitter, and other "Web 2.0" applications such as Wordpress, Wikipedia, Flickr, and so on, allows everyone to be a creator, a collaborator, and a publisher.
What is "new media"?
"New media" describes digital technologies that adapt and transform traditional communications media (e-books or even videogames are new media versions of books and novels; musical and recording instruments become programs and apps on your laptop or iPad; television and radio become multimedia podcasts, YouTube channels, and so on; painting and printmaking are transformed by computer graphics and design, etc.). "New media" also includes Digital Humanities, a field of scholarship and research concerned with the intersection of computing and the humanities.
Digitally-mediated communications are vital to a variety of professions that undergraduates will eventually pursue — whether business, the arts, journalism, education, the government, or academia. This minor provides an interdisciplinary education to prepare students to participate in, use, critically engage with and assess, and perhaps most importantly, contribute creatively to the new global information networks, resources, and communications of the digital age. Students completing this minor will develop a foundation for future employment, higher education, or research in these areas.
Digital Culture & New Media Courses
Required courses to complete the Minor
Digital Communication and Design: Introduction to Methods & Applications
This course is offered through the Interdisciplinary Centre for Culture and Creativity (ICCC). This is a hands-on course focussing on the techniques and methods of digital communications and multimedia design. Modules include Photoshop and introduction to digital image editing; digital movies & sound editing; Web 2.0 apps; html and basic website design. This course is primarily lab-based, with graded assignments for each module. The course is introductory, and provides a foundation on which to build further technical skills. There is no final exam as students will be marked on their labs and portfolio of work. The portfolio will be a personal website that will be marked on the basis of organization of materials (user-interface design), language (appropriateness and clarity), and quality of technical production.
Digital Culture and New Media: Capstone Collaborative Design Project
This is a capstone seminar in which advanced principles of history, theory, and design are applied to a suitable interdisciplinary project in new media creation and commentary. The seminar, which builds upon the foundations established throughout the course of study, focuses on approaches to be taken in defining project objectives and scope, researching suitable contexts, and designing and implementing a new media project. Design philosophy and methods are discussed and explored in the context of the particular assignment. The course requires that the students work in groups to achieve a unified production, which may include a formal essay in addition to blogs, digital films, art, and/or soundscapes published online. Group interaction and performance is monitored throughout. When possible, guest lectures from various industrial and other representatives will be provided to enhance the student's design experience.
In Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century, Henry Jenkins (Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and his co-authors define participatory culture as one:
- With relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement
- With strong support for creating and sharing one's creations with others
- With some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices
- Where members believe that their contributions matter
- Where members feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created). (pp. 5–6)
In this course, we will practice some of the roles and activities of participatory culture. This course builds on the foundation of traditional research skills, technical skills, writing skills, and critical analysis that you have learned throughout your undergraduate education, but also involves "new media" skills of collaboration, networking, negotiation, problem solving, and play to publish and interact online.
Choose from the following courses to fulfill the remainder of the Minor requirements:
(see the University Course Calendar for official details about requirements)
Interdisciplinary Centre for Culture & Creativity
*For more information about these courses and their applicability to the minor, contact Allison Muri.
Art & Art History
(please note that not all of these are offered every year)
ART 136.3 Extended Media I Foundation
ART 235.3 Digital Imagery
ART 236.3 Extended Media II A
ART 237.3 Extended Media II B
ARTH 250.3 Introduction to Visual Culture
ART 338.3 Extended Media III A
ART 339.3 Extended Media III B
ART 438.3 Extended Media IV A
ART 439.3 Extended Media IV B
*For more information about these courses and their applicability to the minor, contact the Department Head.
CMPT 105.3 Introduction to Computing and Interactive Systems Design
CMPT 106.3 Design and Construction of Games and Interactive Systems
CMPT 281.3 Website Design and Development
*For more information about these courses and their applicability to the minor, contact Professor Carl Gutwin.
ENG 204.6 History and Future of the Book
ENG 307.3 Digital Literature and New Media
ENG 404.3 Topics in 16th Century Literature in English (ONLY when focus is on digital editing; permission of Program Coordinator required)
ENG 406.3 Topics in 17th Century Literature in English (ONLY when focus is on digital editing; permission of Program Coordinator required)
*For more information about these courses and their applicability to the minor, contact Professor Allison Muri.
PHIL 236.3 Ethics and Technology
*For more information about this course and its applicability to the minor, contact Instructor William Buschert.
SOC 244.3 Sociology of Mass Media in Canada
SOC 246.3 Ideology and Mass Communication
SOC 260.3 Social Change and Global Solidarity
SOC 360.3 Globalization and Social Justice
*For more information about these courses and their applicability to the minor, contact Professor Darrell McLaughlin.
Optional Complementary Courses
DRAM 340.3 Play Directing
DRAM 440.3 Advanced Direction
ENG 288.3 Introduction to Film
Professor, Program Director
Art & Art History; Digitial Research Centre
9 Campus Drive