Sunday, 18 March 2012

Digital and Cyberculture Studies: Reading in the 21st Century

- let us not waste our time in idle discourse! (pause. vehemently.) let us do something, while we have the chance! it is not every day that we are needed. but at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. let us make the most of it, before it is too late! - samuel beckett - waiting for godot -

This September I'll be launching a third year module at the University of Exeter which aims to introduce students to studying the various digital technologies that surround them. It's not a full blown DH module; the creation component is relatively minor as I didn't want to put people off from discussing or theorising digital products simply because they hadn't thought about them, at least not officially, for the first two years of their degree and therefore worried that they wouldn't be techie enough to risk their final grade on actual coding (and in some cases this may even be true, yet why should those students not be able to even discuss the issues surrounding code in the context of their degree?). I think that this module fills a very particular introductory gap, and I'd love to expand to an advanced option paired with a CompSci department at some point so that maybe students could take something like this in their second year and put it into deeper practice in their third. But for now, with the vast majority of English undergraduate programmes in the UK not even having the word "internet" or "digital" appearing in their available module descriptions, I hope that this is an early move to getting students to engage with these issues. A huge thank you to Exeter for taking a chance with me on this one, particularly as a young academic, and for seeing where things are going.

The module description is reproduced below (fullscreen link at bottom if text is too small) and I'd love to hear from anyone with any feedback or suggestions (please pass around if you think it might be of interest to people you know). The week by week materials are still being finalised, these are merely indicative texts so that students know what they're letting themselves in for (in some cases this required books which, whilst also excellent in their own right, had very descriptive titles!).

UPDATE - This class now has a Twitter hashtag (I'm going to do something with the curated tweets as it populates) - #DandCS