EDPX 4010 Emergent Digital Tools (F16)


Catalog Description:

This course serves as a primer on the tools essential to expression, sharing, and creation in digital mediums. This will include knowledge of web technologies, creative coding, video, audio, and the basic historical and theoretical contexts of each.  4.000 Credit Hours

Contact information

Associate Professor Chris Coleman

Office: Room 216A Sturm Hall

Office Hours: By appointment only.

Email: Christopher.Coleman@du.edu

Course Overview

This course is an introduction to some of the technical areas and issues in digital media. In order to give you some core creation literacies in digital media, we will cover foundation concepts of web building and managing simple content management systems as part of the creation and maintenance of a personal research blog. On the blog you will be expected to post your thoughts on different topics related to digital media over the course of your degree.

In addition to the web realm we will look into a number of methodologies, practices, and tools for a broad entry into the field. We will also cover the basic programmatic literacies involved in creating and manipulating digital media. This will involve an introductory exploration of interactive media and the principles and processes involved in creating interactive projects. We will discuss the preproduction processes as well as production practices using the open source language Processing. This portion of the class will focus on learning basic programming approaches as well as rudimentary programming problem solving. Variables, Functions/Methods, Arrays, Conditional statements, loops, and object-oriented approaches to programming will all be discussed.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course you will:

  • Critically examine interactive pieces and the internet
  • Conjecture about the future of interaction and the internet
  • Analyzing potential projects and creating user aware solutions with clear goals and outcomes
  • Have working knowledge of mainstream and alternative tools for interactive media creation
  • Identifying and utilizing effective structures, information design and navigation for interactive projects
  • Use programming to manipulate and transform media for a variety of purposes
  • Problem-solve and develop solutions to rudimentary programming tasks


  • Required Text: Getting Started with p5.js – Lauren McCarthy, Casey Reas, and Ben Fry
  • You will need at least 64GB of high speed portable storage (thumb drive, portable hard drive, etc.)
  • You must have or purchase a sketchbook approx. 8.5″x11″
  • Other reading materials and examples will be supplied digitally on this website
  • Other materials: All students will need to purchase a webspace and domain name. The webspace will need to support wordpress installations, preferably they will do it for you. Recommendation will be for BlueHost.com and costs $7-$9/month depending on the length of time you prepay for.You must have adequate storage to have a backup of your work. Please do not rely upon the lab computers for your only source of backup. USB drives or CD-R should be used to make frequent and versioned backups of your projects. All media is subject to failure, therefore it is advisable to maintain a practice of frequently making backup copies of your work.We will have a site for class that you can check for updates. In order to ensure that I can contact you, please check your du email on a regular basis.


This class will combine individual work in the lab with individual and group instruction. Students must come to class prepared to work. Showing up without necessary files or equipment is the same as not attending. Although students may also use their home computers to work on projects, this is not a valid reason to not attend. It will be necessary to work outside of class to complete all projects and assignments. A minimum of six hours per week of work outside of class is suggested to get an average grade of a C. Computer failure, equipment malfunction, and file corruption are not accepted as excuses for late or unfinished work so BACK UP YOUR WORK. The computer labs are used by many students, so the labs are in high demand. Budget time accordingly as “unavailable computer time” will also not be accepted as an excuse. Participation in all class discussions and critiques as well as constructive use of lab time is considered in the final grade for each project. At any time in the creation process students should be able to produce notes, drawings,charts etc from their sketchbooks, as well as discuss and articulate the nature of their work to their peers as well as to the instructor.

Attendance is mandatory. Attending class is the responsibility of the student. Lectures and demonstrations may be given or changed without notice and every class will start with professional examples of relevant work so punctuality is essential. An individual who is absent, late or sleeps during class will be responsible for getting the information missed. Students will be allowed two (2) absences without penalty. Any absence in excess of two will result in a 10% grade reduction of the final grade for the course per absence. All absences will be counted. A student who misses 15 minutes or more of a class (late or leave early) is considered absent. A student who sleeps will be considered absent. A student who will acquire absences due to a University sponsored activities must provide necessary documentation from the appropriate office prior to the absence to make any special arrangements for missed work.

For any absence due to religious beliefs, written notification should be provided in the first two weeks of the quarter; the student is responsible for any missed work. Any special medical or personal problems that occur, where absenteeism will exceed the allowed two, will require verification by a physician or emergency medical association (a letter from Student Affairs merely explains an absence, and will not qualify as an excuse). These situations may require course withdrawal or “Incomplete” status on the final grade. Six absences mandate an automatic grade of “F.” Three late arrivals (less than 15 min.) will equal one absence.

Students who have disabilities (i.e., physical, medical, mental, emotional and learning) and who want to request accommodations should contact the Disability Services Program (DSP); 303.871.2372;1999 E. Evans Ave.; 4th floor of Ruffatto Hall. Information is also available online at www.du.edu/dsp; see Handbook for Students with Disabilities.

CARE Team (Communicate, Assess, Refer, Educate) – When a graduate student is involved in a crisis situation or needs support the Pioneers CARE administrator in the Office of Graduate Studies steps in to connect with the student, determine the best resources on campus to help find solutions and develop a plan of action leading towards his/her success. Pioneers CARE 303-871-2400 or email care@du.edu


Grades will consist of the following:

  • Assignments @ 30%
  • Reading Responses @ 10%
  • Project 1 @ 10%
  • Project 2 @ 10%
  • Project 3 @ 10%
  • Process Blog @ 20
  • Participation @ 10%

Projects and assignments will be graded on the following basis, listed in order of importance.

  • Development, creativity and originality of concept or problem solution
  • Technical development and demonstration of skills
  • Craftsmanship and presentation of work
  • Participation in classroom discussions and critiques in connection with the work

Your grade will be calculated according to the following standards:

  • A = Excellent (100-90%)- work pushes far beyond the project stipulations and shows clear evidence of extreme time, dedication, care and thought about the project as evidenced in effective execution of original/thoughtful ideas.
  • B = Good (80-89%)- work exceeds the basic criteria, provides creative solutions to the problems and shows technical proficiency. Student has made the project “theirs” in that they do not need to explain project stipulations before showing the work.
  • C = Average (70-79%)- work fulfills all requirements, does not expand on techniques shown in class, ideas are close derivations of popular culture.
  • D = Unsatisfactory (60-69%)- work might meet basic criteria but in a careless and/or thoughtless way. Technical proficiency is rudimentary and no chances were taken.
  • F = Failure (0-59%)- the work does not meet the basic criteria.

Late projects will be penalized a letter grade for every class period they are late. Turning a project in after the beginning of the critique counts as one class day late.

Process Blog

A key piece of your work this quarter will be documenting your process on a blog. The general structure for each entry will be as follows:

  • Research and inspirations: this section should include ideas, quotes, snippets of readings, embedded videos, inspirational images, links related to the course or a current assignment/project
  • Progress and process: this section should include in-progress images of projects and assignments, scanned sketches, descriptions of progress

It is expected that each entry is comprised of more than two paragraphs of text and several images or other media. These entries must be completed before the start of the Tuesday class period. All work for this class will be documented and submitted via the blog.

Lab Rules

It is your responsibility to adhere to all rules regarding the use of the EDP labs and equipment. You will be given a sheet stating all rules. Please see Dorian in the EDP office or look on the EDP website if you need a form to access the EDP lab in Sturm 211.


Solutions to assignments you submit will be your own work. A student who is discovered to have plagiarized another’s work will immediately receive a grade of F for the course, and a recommendation for disciplinary action will be forwarded to the Dean of Students.


While you are not required to purchase the software that we are using, not having the software is no excuse for failing to complete your projects. It is your responsibility to work out times when you can use the EDP labs or to make other arrangements for doing your work. Please do not download and/or install trial versions of this software or any other onto campus computers. Processing is freely available and available for all major operating systems. You will also do some work in Affinity Designer and Photo.

Course Outline

(The following schedule is open to revision at any point in the quarter.)

  • 9/13 – Introductions, Tech roundtable, identity levels, Feeds and sources
  • 9/16 – Tech discussion, Camera basics, Design/Speculative Fiction, Setting up WordPress and themes
  • 9/20 – Reading Discussions, Importing footage into FCP, Editing
  • 9/23 – Work Day
  • 9/27 – Editing Continued.
  • 9/30 -pre-crit, titles, Exporting and saving,
  • 10/4 – p5.js Intro
  • 10/7 – (ALT)
  • 10/11 –
  • 10/14 –
  • 10/18 –
  • 10/21 –
  • 10/25 –
  • 10/28 –
  • 11/1 –
  • 11/4 – (ALT)
  • 11/8 –
  • 11/11 –
  • 11/15 – Arduino
  • 11/18 –
  • 11/21 – Final


Day 1:

Reading #1 – Introduction to “Program or be Programmed”

Reading #2 – To_Save_Everything_intro

Day 2:

The Near Future Laboratory

Videos we watched in class:

More resources:

Video Tutorials for Video Shooting and editing:

 Day 3:

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