Photography on the Internet

a syllabus

Spring 1997
PHOT 4870.02
© Bill Barrett 1997

Feedback (general opinions, problems, suggestions, etc.) on this hypersyllabus is encouraged!

An exploration of some of the ways photographers have been benefiting from the Internet, and how to join them there. Topics include E-mail discussion groups ("Listservs") (your personal electronic mail account is included in the course, and you actively participate in lists of your choice), portfolios on the World Wide Web, Internet photojournalism, getting technical information and doing research, and more. This course is part of Webster University's "Languages Across the Curriculum" project. An additional credit in Foreign Languages may be earned by students with proficiency in a language; see the instructor for more information.

Class attendance is very important this course. Your participation (especially in discussions) and attendance are a significant part of your grade. Class presentations must be ready on schedule. NB: While almost any topic can be researched on the Internet, be aware that areas unrelated to photography are not the subject of this course. Verbum sapientiae sufficit.

Required text:
Nicholas Negroponte, Being Digital (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995).
Available at the Webster University Bookstore.

How you're graded: Your final grade is based on your performance throughout the course. Your attendance and active participation count for 25% (this especially pertains to the weekly discussion of readings from Being Digital); work on assigned projects (and thus general knowledge of computer hardware and software) count for 50%; class presentations count for 15%; written exam and quizzes count for 10%. Doing more than required can earn you extra credit; talk to me outside class if you're interested. What grades mean...

What we're doing and when:

Week 1 (1/13). Introductions; the computers and the software (SV 103, University Center, what you may have at home); the Webster University Computer Technologies Acceptable Use Policy; your Internet account; joining photography-related discussion groups (and how to find groups you might be interested in); first assignments. New to on-line discussion groups? Read the "rules of the road." Discussion questions for Being Digital, and what this is all about. Begin reading Being Digital; we will discuss the first two chapters on the 27th.

Week 2 (1/20) Martin Luther King holiday.

Week 3 (1/27) Discussion of Being Digital. Reports on Photoforum or PhotoPro (o, para los participantes en español, FotoRed); first impressions of the listserv group, proposed self-introductions; what did you find on the WWW? what seems missing? what other listserv group(s) are you joining?

Week 4 (2/5) Weather kept us from meeting... reorganization of the syllabus follows!

Week 5 (2/12) Jargon on the net. Polite behavior on e-mail and listservs. Bookmarking favorite places in your browser. Discussion of Being Digital (Bill, Ch. 2-3). As we begin looking at photography-related web sites with a critical eye, it's important to be think about some of the special concerns when evaluating resources on the Internet. Here are your first sites to review (y hay varios en español)

Week 6 (2/19) Reports on the e-mail lists we are subscribed to: What is the list like? Is is "moderated"? Who reads it and who posts messages? Recent threads (or flames and spam).Reviewing websites: deciding where to go, criteria (good and bad), writing the reviews. Discussion of Being Digital (Bill, Ch. 4). More sites to review.

Week 7 (2/24) Newsgroups... and why you might want to avoid most of them. General introduction to HTML; viewing source of web documents. Discussion of Being Digital (Elisabeth, Ch. 5 & Jamie, Ch. 6). More sites to review.

Week 8 (3/3) Internet Relay Chat (IRC): wasting time or professional tool? You can download the mIRC software and read a FAQ file for IRC. What do you want in a web page? Discussion of Being Digital (Andrés, Ch. 7 & Melissa,. Ch. 8). More sites to review.

Spring Break

Week 9 (3/17) Building web pages: What would you like your page to look like? Viewing code and seeing how good pages are constructed. Discussion of Being Digital (Jackie, Ch. 9 & Natalie, Ch. 10).

Week 10 (3/24) Looking at HTML and beginning to build our pages. Discussion of Being Digital (Kevin, Ch. 11 & Elisabeth, Ch. 12).

Week 11 (3/31) Virtual Reality and the photographic portfolio: William Whitehurst Studio. More sites to review.

Week 12 (4/7) Building our own web sites: first look at your pages. Discussion of Being Digital (Jamie, Ch. 13 & Andrés, Ch. 14). More sites to review, in English y en español.

Week 13 (4/14) Using WYSIWYG software and "tweaking the code." Look at the web sites of next week's guests in preparation for the class. More sites to review.

Week 14 (4/21) Guest presentation & discussion: What do you want in a web site? Our guests are Ben Hockenhull, Roy Tamashiro, Joe Schuster, and Bruce Umbaugh. Discussion of Being Digital (Melissa, Ch. 15 & Jackie, Ch. 16).

Week 15 (4/30) Maintaining your site, planning for the future. How to get your own domain name (as long as no one else already has it registered). Discussion of Being Digital (Natalie, Ch. 17 & Kevin, Ch. 18).

Week 16 (5/7) Final critique and wrapup: Where do you go from here?

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