working groups

:: Working Groups ::

Working groups are collaborative research projects which focus on one theme for the semester (or the year). The first meeting for each working group is a brainstorming session where students collaboratively decide how to move forward on the project. Groups then meet for about 45 hours over the course of the semester to research, explore, create & build.

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2013-2014

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  • Analog Cultures

Everything is “retro” – – but do you know what a slide projector is? Have you ever held a piece of film? We are going ‘back in time’ to re-imagine how we use our ‘digital’ tools. We will be creating and using our own cameras, experimenting with polaroids, 35mm photography, the dark room,and 8mm film, while exploring the relationship of analog to digital. Fall semester will focus on still images and Spring semester will incorporate moving images.

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Come design and prototype a pollution sensing kit that detects the presence of chemicals in the (outdoor) air. We will consider everything from what types of chemicals to sense, to how and where we will place the completed sensors. Then we will use this prototype to build and deploy detection kits in and around campus. We will analyze the data collected and use it to better understand not only the spaces where the sensors are placed, but also to find and understand patterns that hopefully will inform government and business practices as well as allow everyday citizens to make informed decisions. One component of this project is to connect the pollution data via SMS messaging for real-time feedback without needing expensive equipment or specialized software.  Watch our research as it progresses

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  • Mentorship Program (Education Working Group)

Be a mentor in a one-of-a-kind collaborative program that combines traditional mentoring with hands-on workshops in digital cultures and creativity. As a mentor you will have the opportunity to build from your own knowledges and interests, gaining leadership skills while collaborating, sharing, and learning together. Come gain leadership skills and teaching experience while contributing to the development of another’s educational and personal growth.

What it means to be a mentor: DCC student mentors are paired with high school students for co-learning and fun (and food). Along with DCC faculty, mentors plan activities that are both educational and social in nature. These are based upon individual and group interests. The Mentorship program is a yearlong commitment and meets once a month on Saturday afternoons, and once per month on a weeknight for planning purposes.

History: In 2011, in collaboration with Pre-College Programs, DCC developed a pilot program combining traditional mentoring with hands-on workshops in digital cultures and creativity. In its pilot year the program included 6 DCC undergraduates and 15 high school students. During the second year, the program expanded to include two other living-learning programs: Integrated Life Sciences and Honors Humanities. At the present time, the mentorship program includes 24 undergraduates and 45 high school students.

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  • Creating Interactive Environments

Come immerse yourself in a space in which visualization has primacy, in which a 22’ x 9’ curved wall dissolves into imagined worlds, spaces and art, and explore the ways in which we can extend that world into our own and our own into it.The Kinect sensor for Xbox holds great promise as a device to make the viewer a controller. However, what would happen if not one sensor but two were positioned in such a way to capture the entire space of the physical room? Consider this an invitation to take up the challenge of building an interface between the human body and 3D software for with the Michelle Smith Collaboratory for Visual Culture.

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  • The Gwydion Project

“Help me find my father.”

Posters printed with those words have been appearing in the Los Angeles area along with a faded photo of a mysterious bearded man and a link to a website. The same image has appeared on various social media outlets. The link leads to a blog maintained by Cassandra, a teenage girl whose seemingly normal life is haunted by her father’s absence. Of course, she is not the first to seek an estranged parent through the connectivity of the Internet. However, when she receives her father’s will she realizes that he might still be alive—and the stakes to find him are even higher.

Meanwhile, at the Museum, a new intern by the name of Simon has been developing an original outreach program in the form of a game. When it is released, however, participants find that the tasks involve more than just observing various paintings. After completing these tasks they are led to Simon’s office, where he promotes his website and upcoming book. For some reason they don’t want to trust him, and if they follow the link to his website, they will start to figure out why. As players progress deeper into the story, they uncover the web of mystery linking Cassandra, Simon, and the museum. Come join us as we continue to build and then deploy this game for a local Museum.

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2012-2013

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  • Nairobi, Kenya Study Abroad Course Development

This past summer I traveled to Nairobi, Kenya with my DCC colleague, Krista Caballero on a  course development grant that we received to create a study-abroad course to commence in 2014. The course will explore the relationship between social justice and mobile technologies by engaging with Kenyan entrepreneurs, leaders, and citizen movements.  Our students have already begun an online (art/performance) collaboration with young adults from an amazing Nairobi-based organization.

  • Creating an Alternate Reality Game (ARG)

  • Undergraduate Research Advising

Though these are not projects of my design, I am putting it here because I feel lucky that I get to spend time with students who are thinking about new technologies, and new ways of thinking about digital cultures, and then work with them to create research projects- from small personal works to larger capstone projects. Their genuine joy for creative exploration makes my day on many occasions.

  • Open Lab Hours

In addition to office hours, another DCC colleague, Leah Flake,  and I have lab hours, where students can come and work with the various tech we have in our lab space (3D printing, sound/music station, graphic design station, physical computing workspace).  Leah and I spend our time experimenting with whatever we feel like, and students can join if they want.  We’ve played with everything from legos and architectural cardboard puzzles to 3D printing, and more recently, using the arduino to make music.  This last one meant that we had to cannibalize an old computer for speakers, source the arduino music library, and then begin messing around with it. Fun!

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2011-2012

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  • Games and Play

This working group explores critical concepts in games and play, beginning with a critical analysis of games and free play (from card and board, to legos and dolls, to computer and console). Key questions asked: what is fun? How do the rules get subverted? What are house rules and how do they function? How might we change the games we are playing to consider difference? The second half of the semester will be spent brainstorming, creating and test-playing a game of our own.

  • Creating Interactive Environments

(with Quint Gregory) In a space in which visualization has primacy, in which a 22′ x 9′ curved wall dissolves into imagined worlds, spaces and art that, through their sheer scale, overwhelm our senses, wouldn’t it be amazing to extend that world into our own and our own into it? The Kinect sensor for Xbox holds great promise as a device to make the viewer a controller. However, what would happen if not one sensor but two were positioned in such a way to capture the entire space of the physical room? DCCers consider this an invitation to take up the challenge of solving the challenge of building an interface between the human body and 3 dimensional software for the Collaboratory.

  • Journalism

This is an in-depth, hands-on approach to digital journalism- including skill building and production processes with a focus on producing across multiple media. During our first meeting a brainstorming session culminated in a semester-long plan to create an interactive user’s guide to the iPad for aspiring journalists. This includes primary research using various apps, considering workflow, pre-production and production, and then developing a digital platform for display and download of the user’s guide.