Winter 2008
Professor O'Gorman

Participation - E-mail | Class Discussions | Workshops - 10 %

This is an interactive course that will be run much like a studio. It won't work unless students actively participate in discussions both in the classroom and on the e-mail list. You will also be graded on your effort to complete workshop exercises.

Quizzes - 15%

Each class will begin with a very brief quiz to test your comprehension of the readings assigned. The quiz will be administered promptly at the beginning of class, and questions will not be repeated for tardy students.

Group Presentation - 20%

Each assigned goup will prepare a presentation based on the reading for that week covering key points, terms and points of contention or discussion. Your presentation should be as attentive to stimulating discussion as it is to the theatrics of powerpoint. This is not simply a summary of the reading, although the group must give a comprehensive overview of the text; instead, the goal of the presentation is to "translate" the weekly reading so that it is relevant within the context of previous and future course discussions. The group should make use of audio/visual materials of their choice to enhance the quality of the presentation. Groups will be rewarded for attempting to give a "hypericonic" presentation. Don't just present the text -- engage your colleagues.

Grade Breakdown:
Comprehensiveness (did you cover the most important parts of the article?): 5%
Relevance (did you relate the reading to other course readings or current events?): 5%
Innovation (did you make an effort to use A/V materials or other methods to enhance the learning experience?): 5%

ASSIGNMENT 1 - Hypericonomy - 25%
Due Tuesday, February 12

This project requires you to complete a "hypericonomy," a collage-like theoretical imagetext based on autobiography, history, pop culture, and academic discipline. Additional details will be provided in course readings, discussions, and ongoing instructions. Since there are no specific rules for what a "hypericonomy" looks like, students will be required to develop their own research methodologies and modes of presentation. You will also be required to write a 3-5 page essay that describes the theoretical rationale for your specific project. You will be graded on your ability to integrate course readings into the assignment

ASSIGNMENT 2 - Picturing Theory (select ONE option below) - 30%
Iteration 1: Tuesday, March 25
Final Iteration: Tuesday, April 1

Picture Theory Poster
Drawing on your knowledge of a specific theorist covered in the course, develop a detailed poster that encapsulates this person's work. Your poster should serve as a sort of hypericon that uses images and text to capture the "essence" of an entire text or a specific concept. You will also be required to write a 5-7 page essay describing how your design choices achieve the goal you have set for yourself with this assignment. Additional details provided in class.

Theory Book Cover
Drawing on your knowledge of a specific theorist covered in the course, develop a book cover for one of his/her works. Like the poster project above, your cover should serve as a sort of hypericon that captures the "essence" of an entire text. Unlike the poster, however, you are dealing with a specific set of design constraints, and you must also take into account other covers created for the same text. You will also be required to write a 5-7 page essay describing the rationale for your book cover design.

McLuhan / Fiore Essay
This project is for students who prefer a straight writing assignment. You will apply Alex White's "seven design components" to dissect McLuhan / Fiore's The Medium is the Massage. How are each of these elements treated in the book? What suggestions would you make to improve the book by drawing on the seven components? You should include, in your essay, reprints of pages from McLuhan and also from White to illustrate your argument.