Together with Jasper Schelling, I have designed the course History of Media for the first year students of Communication, Multimedia Design of the University of Applied Sciences Rotterdam. In this module students learn the basic concepts of digital media, they discover that media have several historical layers of meaning, and they understand how media and society influence one another.
Since media designs are made to be applied, it is important to take the context in which these are designed into account. Understanding our current media landscape requires insight in the impact of these media on society throughout different time periods. In this course students develop what we call ‘a rationale’: the ability to think about the implications of your design decisions for the user. Students also learn to be aware of the context of use, and how that influences the impact of the design on society. Both abilities are essential for a CMD student for they trigger the students to embrace the complexity that is involved in human-computer interactions.
The following themes are addressed: Visual Language & Communication, Reproduction & Revolution, Mass & New Media, Information & War, From Analog to Digital Culture. Each theme deals with different concepts. For instance; while ‘Reproduction & Revolution’ concentrates on the consumption and production of media texts during the Gutenberg Galaxy, ‘ Information & War’ concentrates on the relation between media and governance.
The pictures below will give an impression of the course and its in-class exercises.