CSE 87D: Stories, Computers and
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:
- The paper should be about 3 to 10 pages, not counting the bibliography;
if you decide you want to work with a group of N instead of alone, an
N-fold multiple of effort will be expected, including 3N pages.
- The paper should make good use of significant material presented in this
class; much of your grade will depend on how well you do this; examples
include concepts from semiotics, textual analysis and narratology.
- It should have a good solid bibliography; use proper format for citations,
with full names of authors, full title, date, page numbers, and publisher, as
applicable; do not just give a list of URLs.
- Each reference should have a unique identifier, and you should use those
identifiers in the text whenever you use ideas from that reference.
- Avoid unsupported opinions and unsupported appeals to authority.
- Use as much concrete data as possible, such as screen shots, quotes from
original source documents and interviews, etc.; be as specific as possible in
providing data to support arguments.
- Provide introduction and conclusion sections.
- Weak English is acceptable as long as it is clearly understandable.
- The pages of your paper should be numbered.
- Don't forget to include a title and your name(s)!
- 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).
- Do a comparative analysis of two or more media objects from the same
genre (or from similar, or from contrasting, genres).
- One successful project last year was a socio-historical overview of the
role of women superheroes in comics, using semiotics to analyze particular
- Another project last year was a digital cutup of several hiphop tracks,
with a discussion of the sources, how it was done, etc.
- Discuss the ethical aspects of some video game, using the Labov theory of
evaluation in narrative.
- 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
- Discuss some application of information technology to education; you may
include some information on the history of this area.
- If you have appropriate research and HTML skills, there may be
opportunities to prepare some webpages for future versions of this course as a
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Last modified: Wed Jan 4 17:28:28 PST 2006