Thursday, July 23 – Composing with ArcGIS

In Class

1) Discuss homework question. (10 – 15 min)

2) Introduction to ArcGIS, how to make a map. (15 – 20 min)

3) 2nd mini-discussion, “How can this possibly help your advocacy project, either in research or content generation?  What geographic datasets/layers would you need to add value to your project?” (10-15 minutes)

4) Composing & Sharing (Rest of class)

For Monday: Video Games & Story

Homework: read ‘Achieving the Illusion of Agency

Write a blog post to work out some discussion points regarding the following questions:

  1. Do you think that a story becomes more interactive if it offers more choices for the reader? Does this change upon reading the article?
  2. Do you agree with Murray’s definition of agency? Why or why not? Do you believe that any of the other provided definitions fit better in the given context?
  3. Did you find any of the results of the study unexpected or odd? Why or why not?
  4. Which do you believe is more important for a branching narrative: the number of choices or the impacts of the choices?

Wednesday, July 22 – Composing with MPix


  • Go over website, share and upload pictures together (10 minutes)
  • Poke around on the website and individually choose one of the uploaded pictures and create something using that you would give to your best friend as a gift (5-7 minutes)
  • Share with your neighbor what object you chose and explain why you did choose other objects (2-3 minutes)
  • As a group, share each person’s object and discuss the following questions (10-15 minutes):
    • What did you think about when designing this object?
    • What kinds of influences are affecting your choices?
    • The article mentions time pressure as a factor of decision making, did you feel if you had more time would you have chosen a different design for your object?
  • Create another object, using a different picture, that you would give to a parent or grandparent as a gift (5-7 minutes)
  • Again, share with your neighbor what object you chose to use and explain why you did choose other objects (2-3 minutes)
  • As a group, share each person’s object and discuss the following questions (20-25 minutes):
    • How did the first object differ from the second? What design choices were different? Text? Colors? Object? Picture?
    • When given a task that directs your attention to a specific audience (friend or parent) are there decisions you automatically make? Alternatives you eliminate based on who you are buying for? What are these decisions based on?
    • How was your decision-making process different? What things came to mind when creating for different audiences?
    • I gave you 5 predetermined pictures to choose from, I assigned you two audiences, and I gave you a set time to complete the task. If today when you walked in and I just asked you to create anything using this website, how would your creation look different? Would the task be easier or more difficult?
    • In the reading from last night, there is a section that addresses the effects of social influences and the difference between choosing something for you and choosing something for another person. What would you choose to include or exclude if these objects were for yourself?
    • What is your one take away from this discussion?
      • Mine was to analyze how people make decisions. Do people make decisions based on past experiences? Audience? Personal preference? Environment? Context? Or a combinations of everything? My purpose of this discussion was for you as a consumer to become more aware of the decisions you make and what influences you to choose one thing over another.

[link to our discussion!]

Homework (from Zander): 

1) Read GIS as Media,

2) Write a short blog post on: (In reference to the old relationship of map maker produces for map consumer)

“New spatial media are reconfiguring this relationship, as is illustrated by the SyriaIran maps that proliferated during and following the final presidential debate. The reader is no longer (perhaps they were never) a simple percipient of maps. The reader interacts within the map, querying and adjusting the scale and scope of the cartographic representation. In some cases, the map is reconfigured and layered with new meanings (Roth 2012). This emerging map interactivity has been largely described as maps 2.0, with map practices and map products increasingly driven by users — many are self-identified ‘neogeographers’.”


“The emergence of ‘volunteered geographic information’ therefore marks an emergent area of inquiry within the GISciences, responding to less academic developments within a field of hobbyists and entrepreneurs called ‘neogeography’ (Wilson and Graham 2013). VGI describes an area of GISc that recognizes the opportunities of social and spatial media in producing massive amounts of information that can and should be leveraged to understand human as well as physical geographies”

Here are the questions you should address/think about:

  • A large part of what makes GIS so powerful right now is the access to “Big Data”.  What do you think of GIS being a data-driven spatial medium in which information is nitpicked to carry and present specific arguments?  In other words, we can develop tremendous insight, objective and artistic, into all varieties of human, social, and political geographies by filtering the small sliver of data we need to form a perception of reality, a worldview.   What are your thoughts?
  • GIS goes far beyond maps, but what compositional tools/affordances does it create as spatial media?
  • How does everyone having access to geographic data (social, economic, physical, visual), being what the author’s call “neogeographers”, either enhance already existing compositional mediums or originate new forms altogether?  We’ve seen how GIS has proliferated location-based services, but we’re beginning to see more, particularly in secondary education.

3) Create an account with ArcGIS at  -> make a public account.

July 21 – Composing with Social Media

Today’s class is led by Katie – here is her original post IMG_2399

  • Start of class (15 minutes)
    • Discuss findings from close reading
    • Why do you think these patterns occurred?
    • Did anyone find anything similar to another member of the class?
  • Reading time (15 minutes)
  • Discussion part 2 (20+ minutes)
    • What did you find in comparison to the workings of the algorithm?
    • This is an open ended discussion but must be brought back to the question “What does it mean to go viral?”
    • Possibly include clip from Its Always Sunny when Frank tries to make a viral video
  • Writing time (15 minutes)
    • With their reading partners, the class will take the information from the article and compose a Facebook post designed to viral.
    • Choices in method go beyond word analytics, they can also include pictures, video, etc.
    • The subject of the viral post is suggested to be related to one partners’ Advocacy Project
  • Share (Whatever time is left)
    • Class will share their posts and give a short rationale for their choices in method
  • End class 🙂 

[notes from conversation – scroll to 6/21] Things that came up in our conversation:

  • Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace “Until recently, American teenagers were flocking to MySpace. The picture is now being blurred. Some teens are flocking to MySpace. And some teens are flocking to Facebook. Who goes where gets kinda sticky… probably because it seems to primarily have to do with socio-economic class.”
  • Everything We Know About Facebook’s Secret Secret Mood Manipulation Experiment “So we know it happens. Consider Fiske’s explanation of the research ethics here—the study was approved “on the grounds that Facebook apparently manipulates people’s News Feeds all the time.” And consider also that from this study alone Facebook knows at least one knob to tweak to get users to post more words on Facebook. “
  • “Super Cookies” track you, even in privacy mode “A software developer in London has discovered a string of code that can carry over from your regular session into private mode, rendering privacy mode somewhat useless. For example, let’s say you use a regular browser to shop on Amazon and use Facebook. Then you launch privacy mode to visit a website that deserves more discretion, like a controversial blog.”


  • Read the Contingent Consumer Decision Making section (pages 62-64) and the Research on Contingent Consumer Decision Making (pages 66-69)
  • Create an account on
  • Save 5 completely different pictures on your desktop

Thursday, July 16 – filming and talking with Lauren, Gordon, and Zander

Today was a work day!

I had the pleasure of talking with Zander, Gordon, and Lauren about what their thoughts are for composing with media.

Zander: proposed readings on GIS as media for us to compose with ArcGIS

Gordon: proposed readings on playing with the accessibility of coding and Scratch

Lauren: proposed readings for composing with mPix and thinking about audience and genre

Such fruitful conversations! I’m so excited to learn from all of the WAM students next week and the week after  😀

Wednesday, July 15 – filming and meeting with Sam and Katie

It’s Wednesday! Today is a work day.

Today, I met with Sam and then with Katie on their proposed readings for their Composing With Media project. Their readings and my notes are below.

Sam: on video games

Katie: on social media 

Tuesday, July 14 – choosing our ‘one script’ and going off to plan for it in ‘three ways’

Ideas we had for one and two person scenes:

  • No Country for Old Men – coin toss scene 
  • Bill Murray in The Life Aquatic 
  • A Few Good Men – “you can’t handle the truth” 
  • William Wallace – Freedom Speech 
  • Good Cop / Bat Cop – 
  • Joker – I am the agent of chaos 

The winner? No Country for Old Men!

Today, the groups are planning. Tomorrow and Thursday are for filming and editing.