Thursday, August 27, 2009

Prompt 1

Per the syllabus, this actually won't be due until Sept. 9, but the first Prompt assignment is the Google group response to Clive Thompson's Wired article on the "new literacy." To receive those 10 points, you should post a response to Thompson's piece on the Google group, and a response to one of your classmates' responses (5 points for each). Most of you have done this already, but I wanted to put the assignment in writing somewhere right away. So here it is.

If you had trouble posting on the opening night of class, please retry now. It seems to be working for just about everyone. And let me know if you have problems doing that.

Please check your email and Twitter contacts in the sidebar on the right, and see if you are receiving my tweets from @profbrett. I'd like to have all of these communication connections completed by next week's class.


- Prof Brett Oppegaard

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"The Medium is the Massage" online

Stumbled upon an electronic version of the "The Medium is the Massage" book by Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore. We are only reading an excerpt for DTC 375. If you want to look over the rest of it, this link might help.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Please take a moment to fill out this survey

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Your answers will help direct the course. Thanks!

Ways in which we learn today

This video -- created by Michael Wesch in collaboration with 200 students at Kansas State University -- suggests that modern classrooms need to evolve with the times and technology.

What are some of your ideas for improving the university learning environment?

Clive Thompson on the New Literacy

Recent Clive Thompson piece on about the new ways in which people "write." What do you think about this perspective on the evolution of communication?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

PICA's Time Based Art festival on Sept. 9

We will be taking a mandatory class field trip on Sept. 9, to the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's Time Based Art Festival.

We will be experiencing two programs, back to back, that raise interesting discussion points related to our class topic: Language, Texts and Technology.

The first one is Daniel Barrow's "Everytime I See Your Picture I Cry," which starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Portland Art Museum's Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 S.W. Park Ave. Synopsis: "Daniel Barrow's animation combines overhead projection with video, music, and live narration to tell the story of a garbage man with a vision to create an independent phone book. In the late hours of the night, he sifts through garbage, collecting personal information, tracing a portrait of each citizen through the windows of their homes as they sleep." How our identities can be created and communicated is a major theme of our course.

We will meet at 6:15 p.m. at the Roy Lichtenstein sculpture, "Brushstrokes," the 30-foot-tall metal sculpture in front of the museum, that looks like a giant paintbrush. We are time shifting the class just a bit to accommodate the schedule on this night. Attendance will be taken at that time.

The second show, Pan Pan Theatre's "The Crumb Trail," follows at 8:30 p.m. in the Dolores Winningstad Theatre, in the nearby Portland Center for the Performing Arts. That piece, which is 75 minutes, is described as "A deconstructed Hansel and Gretel, this wickedly funny multimedia theater piece blends the imaginary, subconscious, and real. The Crumb Trail takes on everything from parent-child relationships to Internet predators to the self-aware construction of our own identities." That last clause, again, is of particular interest to me and our class.

Please read the excepts about the shows beforehand here (pages 30 and 34) and do additional research on the artists, Daniel Barrow and Pan Pan Theatre, and their work.

This is cutting-edge contemporary art, so prepare yourself for that in whatever ways you need.

This is a requirement of the course, but each student in the class does get one absence this term without penalty to the attendance points. So that is always an option.

To participate, you will need to call PICA's box office at 503-224-7422 right away (these could sell out) and identify yourself as a member of the DTC 375 class at Washington State University Vancouver, then purchase your tickets. As part of this class, you will get the member rate, meaning a total cost to you of $32 ($30 for the tickets, $2 for handling). This is in place of buying a second textbook for the course.

If you have any trouble with any of that, please let me know right away.

Your course pack for the semester

Instead of textbooks this term for Language, Texts and Technology, we're going to use a course pack containing readings from various sources. This gives us more flexibility to cover broader ground. It also provides access to a wider breadth of voices and ideas than otherwise possible, while still working within current copyright rules and compensating authors and publishing houses appropriately.

Instructions for purchasing the pack (for $64.82) are below. Another significant expense for the term will be passes for a field trip on Sept. 9 to the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's Time Based Art Festival. More details will be coming on that soon.

Forgive the boilerplate, but here is the note from University Readers:

"Dear students,

Your custom course materials for DTC 375 published by University Readers are now available online at I have carefully selected the readings included in this course pack to provide you with a more relevant, custom learning experience. Please purchase this course pack to stay on top of your readings. Doing so will help you be successful in this class.

The course pack price is $64.82, and includes materials that we will use in class daily, so you should purchase your own copy. Also, please keep in mind that our institution adheres to copyright law, so any copyrighted material should not be copied or duplicated in any manner.

To purchase the course pack, please follow the instructions below:

Step 1: Log on to

Step 2: Click on the white "STUDENTS BUY HERE" button located in the "Student Store" section (upper right-hand corner of the page).

Step 3: Create an account or log in if you have an existing account to purchase.

Step 4: Easy-to-follow instructions will guide you through the rest of the ordering process. Payment can be made by all major credit cards or with an electronic check.

Orders are typically processed within 24 hours and the shipping time will depend on the selected shipping method and day it is shipped (orders are not shipped on Sundays or holidays). If you experience any difficulties, please email or call 800.200.3908.

Kind regards,


P.S.: after purchasing, you will also be emailed instructions on how to download a FREE 20% PDF to get started on your required readings right away."

Thursday, August 13, 2009


To Language, Texts and Technology, DTC 375, at Washington State University Vancouver.

Your textbook this term will be supplied through University Readers (more details on that to follow soon, or just go to the link on the right, under class materials and explore the store). The syllabus is posted here, to the right, under class materials. We also will use a Google group for asynchronous discussions and updates (link to the right; are you sensing a pattern?). The first assignment sheet is posted, as is my contact information:

Any questions so far?

- Professor Brett Oppegaard