CSE 87D: Stories, Computers and Semiotics
Project Guidelines

A paper of 3 to 10 pages is due on the last day that this class meets; alternatively, it may be a powerpoint or other media presentation, but you must provide me with hardcopy documentation in case the registrar requires me to justify your grade.

You must have an outline of the project approved by me before you begin writing; in general, I will provide you with substantial feedback, and several iterations are possible if that seems to be helpful. I want everyone to have a really good experience with their project.

The best advice I can give in choosing a topic, is to pick something that you love, or something that is closely related to something you love. For example, a video game, a genre of movie, a genre of music, an online forum about something you are deeply into, etc.

The following are requirements for preparing this paper:

There are no very rigid rules about the subject, which can be chosen to match your own interests and talents. It is a very good idea to look over the course readings and course notes before beginning. DO NOT pick a topic that is too general. Here are some specific suggestions, just to indicate the kind of topic that is appropriate:
  1. Do a detailed semiotic analysis of some particular media object, such as a film, soap opera series, novel, car, newspaper column, poem, shopping center, etc. (note that "media object" can be interpreted very broadly, as does Barthes in Mythologies).
  2. Do a comparative analysis of two or more media objects from the same genre (or from similar, or from contrasting, genres).
  3. One successful project last year was a socio-historical overview of the role of women superheroes in comics, using semiotics to analyze particular comics.
  4. Another project last year was a digital cutup of several hiphop tracks, with a discussion of the sources, how it was done, etc.
  5. Discuss the ethical aspects of some video game, using the Labov theory of evaluation in narrative.
  6. Sketch a design for a video game or art project that makes significant use of one of the alternative approaches to narrative that discussed in this course, such as parable, deep embedding, cut-ups, intertextuality, or trickster narrative.
  7. Discuss some application of information technology to education; you may include some information on the history of this area.
  8. If you have appropriate research and HTML skills, there may be opportunities to prepare some webpages for future versions of this course as a project.

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Last modified: Wed Jan 4 17:28:28 PST 2006