COMM 409 DIGITAL MEDIA AND THE CITY

Annenberg School for Communication

University of Pennsylvania

 

Spring, 2011

Fri 2:00-5:00 (ANNS 225)

 

Prof. Keith Hampton

Office Hours: Fridays 1:00-2:00 (Room ASC 327)

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

A spectrum of new technologies enable the layering of interactions and information from the digital world onto the physical world, creating spaces in which users interact with their physical surroundings through digital media. This course explores the intersection of media, social interaction, and information systems for the urban environment. Examples include applications of location-awareness and pervasive gaming. Students will be exposed to theoretical and methodological concepts from the social sciences on social networks and democratic engagement and will work on a semester-long design project – of their own choosing – such as a public art installation, an application for mediated urbanism, or a game or application that affords political, civic, civil or social engagement.

 

PREREQUISITES

Students are expected to have experience with data structures and algorithms as well as an understanding of computer hardware and software organization. Students should have competence programming in C, C++, Python, Visual Basic, Java, or PHP, and should have the ability to learn a new language and programming tools quickly. CIS 110, CIS 120, CIS 240 and/or CIS 277 provide this background and should generally be taken before this course.

 

REQUIREMENTS

This course requires weekly readings and ongoing attention to a design project. Students are expected to have read the week’s readings in advance of the course meeting. Class meetings will be in a seminar format and students should be prepared to participate in a discussion based on the topic and readings of the week. A typical class meeting will consist of two hours of class discussion followed by one hour of team discussion/planning. All students will complete a team design project. The goal of the project is to design and implement an intervention that supports political, civic, civil, or social behaviors as defined by the theory and research to which students are exposed in the course. Teams will need to meet regularly in and outside of the class to complete the project. The project will require a significant time commitment and will comprise the majority of the student’s grade. The project is team selected, but instructor approved. Each group member will typically share the same grade for the project. However, if in the judgment of the instructor all members do not contribute equally, individual grades may be adjusted. Pay close attention to due dates, extension will not be granted for any part of the course.  

The following is intended as a brief outline of the project requirements, detailed instructions will be provided in class and supporting material will be posted to the class Blackboard website.

1)      Homework  (2.5%): Find two examples of how new digital media have been used to promote positive political, civic, civil, or social behaviors . In a 5-10 minute presentation discuss the project and pitch a proposal for a new project with similar goal/outcome. 

2)      Project proposal (5%): A presentation of the project proposal to the class and the instructor to obtain feedback on the acceptability of the proposal and recommendations for modifications. 10 minute in-class presentation. A short 2-3 page summary is due at the end of the same week. 

3)      User research report (5%): Each team must identify a minimum of three individuals that will serve as users and assist in the evaluation of the project. The typical user report will include a detailed profile of each user and a rational for how the individuals relate to the project, e.g., relevant demographics, motivations, tasks, etc. The user research report should include a description of the specific tasks that your project is directed at achieving and a description of what your users currently do to complete the tasks at which your project is directed. The report should take the form of a narrative, 3-5 pages in length.   

4)      Paper prototype and use scenarios (15%): The prototype should illustrate the main screens of the interface with sufficient detail to work through the tasks identified in the user research report. All user interactions with the project should be described in detail. 15 minute in-class presentation. A document containing relevant images of your prototype along with use scenarios expressed in terms of the interaction vocabulary (e.g., “press the button marked start,” “select an item from the menu,” etc.) of the prototype is due at the end of the same week. This document should also include a work schedule and resource estimates.

5)      User evaluations/walkthrough results (5%): With the prototype complete, your team must meet with a minimum of two of your users to complete a walkthrough and evaluation of the prototype. Encourage each user to think aloud during the walkthrough to help identify any usability issues or confusion. Create a numbered list for each usability issues discovered during the walkthrough and your ideas for addressing the problems encountered or otherwise improving the project. The report should take the form of a narrative, 3-5 pages in length.

6)      Demonstration of functional prototype, rational, and plan for evaluation (15%): A demonstration of your first functional prototype. Discuss the rational for the project and the interface and any changes as a result of the user walkthrough. Discuss a plan for an empirical study of the prototype. Your plan for an empirical study should answer the question: if you were to evaluate the success of the project for outcome(s) related to political, civil, civic, or social engagement, how would you do it? The prototype will be evaluated based on its completeness, detail, overall quality, and the ability to explain the rational for the project and design as it pertains to the course themes. The study plan will be evaluated based on clarity and relevance, collection of the appropriate data, and procedural detail. 20-30 minute presentation.

7)      Final project and user evaluations (25%): The final project submission consists of three components: i) A project portfolio to be evaluated on how well it communicates the problem your project addresses and how it showcases your solution. ii) You must meet with a minimum of two of your users and complete an evaluation of the project. The evaluation should focus on user reports of how well the project achieves the goals at which it was directed. The report should include information on the testing environment, where the evaluation took place, and how the evaluation was conducted. Your team must also submit a list of usability issues uncovered, possible reasons for why they occurred, and design ideas to address them. iii) You must submit your source code and an executable version of the project along with instructions on how to run it from your instillation.

8)      Final Essay (7.5%): This is an individual, not a team assignment. Each individual student must prepare an essay reflecting on the relationship between digital design and democratic or social engagement.

9)      Participation (10%): Individual participation grades will be based on attendance and participation in the weekly seminars.  

10)  Peer Evaluation (10%): When each project deliverable is submitted, each student is required to complete a private and confidential evaluation of their team members. The average rating will be reported to students.

 

COURSE MATERIALS

All readings, files, and grades will be available from the course Blackboard website: https://courseweb.library.upenn.edu/

 

 

COURSE OUTLINE

 

WEEK 1 (Jan 18) - Introductions

 

WEEK 2 (Jan 25) - Homework presentations

Heatwole, Anne-Ryan (2009). Interactive Texts Involve You in Public Spaces. http://mobileactive.org/interactive-texts-take-over-public-spaces

Kolowich, Steve (2010). Just Walk on By. Inside Higher Ed. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/11/18/experiment

Gordon, Eric & de Souza e Silva, Andriana (in press). Net Locality: Why Location Matters in a Network World. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. (pp. 59-84).

Gordon, Eric & de Souza e Silva, Andriana (in press). Net Locality: Why Location Matters in a Network World. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. (pp. 85-104).

Kim, J., Lee, E., Thomas, T., & Dombrowski, C. (2009). Storytelling in new media: The case of alternate reality games, 2001–2009. First Monday, 14(6-1).

Collis, C., & Nitins, T. (2010). Bringing the internet down to earth: emerging spaces of locative media.

Delli Carpini, M. X., Cook, F. L., & Jacobs, L. R. (2004). Public Deliberation, Discursive Participation, and Citizen Engagement. Annual Review of Political Science, 7(1), 315-344.

 

WEEK 3 (Feb 1) - Homework presentations / submit group information

Livingston, Geoff. (2010). How Non-Profits are Exploring Augmented Reality Tech. http://mashable.com/2010/08/27/augmented-reality-non-profits/

Grinberg, Emanuella (2010). 3D illusion in street tries to change drivers’ attitudes .CNN.com http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/09/3d-illusion-in-street-tries-to-change-drivers-attitudes/?hpt=C2

Zraick, Karen (2010). Phone Apps Aim to Fight Harassment. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/08/nyregion/08hollaback.html

Iveson, Kurt (in press). “Mobile Media and the Strategies of Urban Citizanship: Discipline, Responsibilisation, Politicalisation”. In Marcus Foth, Laura Forlano, Martin Gibbs, & Christine Satchell (eds.). From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

De Cindio, Fiorella, & Peraboni, Cristian (in press). “Building Digital Participation Hives Toward a Local Public Sphere”. In Marcus Foth, Laura Forlano, Martin Gibbs, & Christine Satchell (eds.). From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hirsch, Tad. (in press). More than Friends: Social and Mobile Media for Activists. In Marcus Foth, Laura Forlano, Martin Gibbs, & Christine Satchell (eds.). From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Nansen, Bjorn, Pearce, Jon, & Smith, Wally. (in press). Gardening Online: A Tale of Suburban Informatics. In Marcus Foth, Laura Forlano, Martin Gibbs, & Christine Satchell (eds.). From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Farnham, S., McCarthy, J., Patel, Y., Ahuja, S., Norman, D., Hazlewood, W., et al. (2009). Measuring the impact of third place attachment on the adoption of a place-based community technology.

 

WEEK 4 (Feb 8) – Project proposals

Davis, Hilary, Francis, Peter, Nanson, Bjorn, & Vetere, Frank. (in press). Family Worlds: Technological Engagement for Families Negotiating Urban Traffic. In Marcus Foth, Laura Forlano, Martin Gibbs, & Christine Satchell (eds.). From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Schieck, Ava Fatah gen, Palmer, Freya, Penn, Alan, & O’Neill, Eamonn (in press). Sensing, Projecting and Interpreting Digital Identity through Bluetooth: From Anonymous Encounters to Social Engagement. In Marcus Foth, Laura Forlano, Martin Gibbs, & Christine Satchell (eds.). From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

 

WEEK 5 (Feb 15)

Paulos, E., & Goodman, E. (2004). The familiar stranger: anxiety, comfort, and play in public places. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems.

Piekarski, W., & Thomas, B. (2002). ARQuake: the outdoor augmented reality gaming system. Commun. ACM, 45(1), 36-38.

Karahalios, K., & Donath, J. (2004). Telemurals: linking remote spaces with social catalysts.

 

WEEK 6 (Feb 22)  User research reports

de Souza e Silva, A., & Frith, J. (2010). Locative Mobile Social Networks: Mapping Communication and Location in Urban Spaces. Mobilities, 5(4), 485 - 505.

Gordon, Eric & de Souza e Silva, Andriana (in press). Net Locality: Why Location Matters in a Network World. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. (pp. 133-154).

Consolvo, S., Smith, I. E., Matthews, T., LaMarca, A., Tabert, J., & Powledge, P. (2005). Location disclosure to social relations: why, when, & what people want to share. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems.

 

WEEK 7 (Mar 1) – Paper prototype and use scenarios

McGonigal, J. (2003). This is not a game: Immersive Aesthetics and Collective Play. Melbourne DAC 3003 Streamingworlds Conference.

Gordon, E., & Manosevitch, E. Augmented Deliberation: Merging Physical and Virtual Interaction to Engage. New Media & Society.

 

WEEK 8 (Mar 8) - Spring Break

 

WEEK 9 (Mar 15)

Humphreys, L. (2005). Cellphones in Public. New Media & Society, 7(6), 810-833.

Gergen, K. J. (2008). Mobile Communication and the Transformation of the Democratic Process. In J. E. Katz (Ed.), Handbook of Mobile Communication Studies (pp. 297-310). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

 

WEEK 10 (Mar 22) - User evaluations/walkthrough results

Hampton, K. N., Livio, O., & Goulet, L. S. (2010). The Social Life of Wireless Urban Spaces: Internet Use, Social Networks, and the Public Realm. Journal of Communication, 60(4), 701-722.

Hampton, K. N., & Gupta, N. (2008). Community and Social Interaction in the Wireless City. New Media & Society, 10(6), 831-850.

 

WEEK 11 (Mar 29)

Humphreys, L. (2007). Mobile social networks and social practice: A case study of Dodgeball. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 17. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/humphreys.html

Humphreys, L. (2010). Mobile social networks and urban public space. New Media & Society, 12(5), 763-778.

 

WEEK 12 (April 5)

Gorden, E. (2008). Towards a Theory of Networked Locality. First Monday 13(10).

Hampton, K. N., Lee, C. J., & Her, E. J. (in press). How New Media Afford Network Diversity: Direct and Mediated Access to Social Capital Through Participation in Local Social Settings. New Media & Society.

 

WEEK 13 (April 12)

Hampton, K. N., & Wellman, B. (2003). Neighboring in Netville: How the Internet Supports Community and Social Capital in a Wired Suburb. City and Community, 2(3), 277-311.

Hampton, Keith (in press). Internet as a Leveler between Advantaged and Disadvantaged Communities. In Phil Nyden, Leslie Hossfeld, and Gwen Nyden (Ed.). Public Sociology: Research, Action, and Change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Iverson, H., Sanders, R., Fishcart, I., & Vitiello, J. (2008). The Neighborhood Narratives Project: New Dialogues with/in the Mediated City. MediaCity: Situations, Practices, Encounter., Frank Eckardt, Jens Geelhaar, Laura Colini, Katharine S. Willis, Konstantinos Chorianopoulos, Ralf Hennig (eds.). Frank & Timme, Berlin.

 

WEEK 14 (April 19)

McKone, Jonna (2010). Public Art, Public Space and Great Places. http://thecityfix.com/public-art-public-space-and-great-places/

McCoy, M. (1997). Art for Democracy's Sake. Public Art Review, 9, 4-9.

 

WEEK 15 (April 26) – Demonstrations

 

April 2 - Final project and user evaluations / final essay

 

April 6 – Final peer evaluations due