Introduction to

Digital Culture

time and place

Stauffer B125

T/TH 13:30-14:45

course communications



Garrett Johnson

Matthew Center 220

teaching assistant

Josh Gigantino

Matthew Center 220

Office hours

Garrett // Tuesday  15:00

Josh // TBA

overview //

AME111 introduces fundamental themes and skills relevant to what 20th and 21st-century thinkers have called new media, network society, and digital culture. We’ll explore themes: the body and experience, creative code and new media, sound and music, games and play through in-class lectures and discussions, collaborative design and research projects, and reading quizzes and reflection.  

As an introduction to an undergrad program of study, students may expect to be exposed to the trailheads of various paths towards developing your own practice in DC. Acceleration of technological development in hardware and software ecosystems has brought about a milieu of perennial flux; specific coding and making chops developed at the beginning of your degree may likely fall out of fashion by the time you graduate. As such, this course (and arguably the DC major) emphasizes meta-skills over practical skills over profit.  

The course will consist of lectures with discussions regarding important topics, discussions, applied projects, and in-class peer activities. This course will challenge you to think in new ways and work with new people on diverse teams.

objectives //

QUESTION //  What is digital culture? How do computational technology and culture emerge and influence each other? How can we use technological skills to create meaningful interventions into complex systems and wicked problems (climate?

ABSORB // new modes of interacting with and implementing technical systems, including noticing, critiquing, prototyping, collaborating, making, and bootstrapping.

UNLEARN // bad habits from K-12. Good grades ≠ learning, growth, development. Learn to value commitment, engagement, enthusiasm, and curiosity.

MAKE //  new habits for success and health: take notes, be open, pull instead of push,  get comfortable with breadth and the unknown...

GET TO KNOW // research labs, topics, and faculty members within the School of Arts, Media and Engineering.

evaluation //

35% Projects (2)

13% Homework + 12% Pressure projects + 10% Reading questions

15% Exam (1)  

10% In-class work

5% DC Speaker Series Attendance and Reflection



What We’re Doing


Jan 14 + 16

Intros, Syllabus, Basics // DC Speaker Series

Module 1 // Noticing ... Technology + Society


Jan 21 + 23

21st Century Noticing: Introductory Lecture and Discussion


Jan 28 + 30

What is a computer? History of the Digital // Human-Computer Interaction

Module 2 // Making ... Creative Code


Feb 4 + 6

Maker culture and maker spaces  


Feb 11 + 13

Creative Code: P5*js + laser cutting

Module 3 // Prototyping ... Experience + the Body


Feb 18 + 20

Bodies and Thoughts in Motion


Feb 25 + 27

Prototyping: Design Thinking

Midterm Exam and Project


Mar 3 + 5

Review Session + Midterm Exam

Module 4 // Critiquing … Games + Play


Mar 17 + 19

Why Games?


Mar 24 + 26

Why Critique?

Module 5 // Bootstrapping … Sound + Music


Mar 31 + Apr 2

Sound and Music


Apr 7 + 9

Bootstrapping, Remix/Sampling, and Culture Jamming + Introduce final project + Brainstorming activity

Final Project


Apr 14 + 16

In-class work time + meetings w.(draft of the proposal due Thursday, self crit due Friday)  


Apr 21 + 23

Propose and show WIP (crits due Friday)


Apr 28 + 30

In-class work time + meeting w.


May 7 @12.10

Final Projects presentations



All course activities and up-to-date schedules are accessible via the Canvas. You may communicate with instructors via Canvas messages or e-mail, as you prefer. You are responsible to check your Canvas account regularly for announcements, assignments, etc. Canvas offers a mobile app which in addition to other features can notify you of important events. Google account

Throughout the course, we will make use of many GoogleApps functions, such as Docs, Forms, Sheets, etc. You must use your ASU G-mail/Google account for all of these interactions. If you have problems accessing these materials, try logging out of and logging back into your ASU email. email

Learn to use g-mail and check it regularly. Set up notifications for important events, like email from professors, etc.

Standard Policies

In order to protect students and instructors alike, there are many university policies in place you should be aware of. You may view a comprehensive list of them here.


Books (purchase not required but invited).

Blackman, Lisa. The Body: The Key Concepts. The Key Concepts Series. London, Bloomsbury: 2008.

Bogost, Ian. The Geek’s Chihuahua: Living with Apple. Frontronner’s Series. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. $7.95 on Amazon. Available to read online here.

Ceruzzi, Paul. Computing: A Concise History. MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series. MIT Press, 2011.

Gane, Nicholas and David Beer. New Media: The Key Concepts. The Key Concepts Series. London, Bloomsbury: 2008.

McCarthy, Lauren, Casey Reas, and Ben Fry. Getting Started with P5*JS. Maker Media, 2015. Available to read online here.


Schiffman, Daniel. The Coding Train. YouTube Channel.YouTube Channel.