Course Assignments

Audio Documentary (20% of final grade)
This assignment asks you to work with a partner to create a short (no longer than four minutes) audio documentary. Similar in style to stories on This American Life, Radio Diaries, Transom, and Story Corps, your documentary should attempt to capture a narrative recounting of some event or investigate a question, activity, or community of people. The subject matter is up to you, though you should consider incorporating narrative from the main character(s), contextual voiceover material, relevant natural sounds (if appropriate), and possibly background or transitional music. Your final project will also include a short written reflection and justification of your production and authorship choices.


Interactive Multimedia Project (20% of final grade)
This project asks you to synthesize what you have learned about multimodality, interactivity, and narrative to complete a piece of interactive multimedia. As with the audio project, the subject matter is yours to choose, but your team may want to look at samples from the Interactive Narratives web site. Utilizing the software application Flash, your team will create a project that allows readers some degree of control over how they use/read/view your work. Your final project will also include a short written reflection and justification of your production and authorship choices.


Short Reflection Writings (25% of final grade)
At several points during the semester, you will be asked to write a short (1-2 page) reflection on a particular reading or activity. These quick assignments are designed to help you synthesize information, prepare for class discussions, and make connections between course themes and key concepts. Although largely informal, these writings should still illustrate significant thought about the issue at hand.


Multimodal Video Game Analysis (15% of final grade)
Taking advantage of access to the Learning Games Initiative’s game lab in Knox Hall, you will spend time playing and analyzing a computer- or console-based video game of your choosing.  On March 13th, you will have an opportunity to visit the game lab while it is in a research session with middle school students.  This will give you a chance to see the space and resources available, to see some of the games in action with “expert” users, and to learn a little bit about the academic research being conducted there. We will return to the game lab on April 25th for our own session of play.  In addition to playing and watching a game or two, you will be gathering information about one particular game title and its use of various multimodal and multimedia elements. 

Your resulting 3-4 page written analysis can examine the use of an individual mode or medium (such as background music, sound effects, video cut scenes, animation, color, images, movement, etc.) throughout the game or the intersection of several of these.  In this paper I am looking for you to pay specific attention to the use of multimedia and how it shapes the feel and experience of the game.  Additionally, we will have completed several readings about video gaming, interactivity, game structure, games and narratives, and gaming and literacy by the time we visit the game lab for your play session.  If appropriate, you should work to tie in some of this material as you see fit. You do not need to be an experienced game player to complete this project. 


Final Paper (20% of final grade)
The purpose of this writing assignment is for you to synthesize, critique, reflect on, and further explore an area of interest related to multimedia theory. Working with at least one reading from the course and at least two sources you find on your own, write a short piece (4-6 pages) in which you investigate claims and implications for multimedia. You might look at how new media is being incorporated into technical communication or composition courses, how different modes of communication impact audience understanding, how digital games may or may not support certain kinds of learning, how narrative and multimedia might be used to communicate technical content, or a whole variety of other topics.