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New Media Faculty Seminar Week 10

Here we are in April, looking ahead to our last four weekly podcasts connected to the Faculty Development Seminar: New Media as a Platform for Integrative Learning being coordinated by Gardner Campbell that is in its 10th week at Baylor University, but also includes others who have been participating remotely.

This week, for a month Gardner jokes about April being the "cruelest" month. In our podcast, he described last week's conversations surrounding the pair of essays by Brenda Laurel, The Six Elements and the Casual Relations Between Them and Dramatic Interaction in a Small World,  found on pp 563-573 in the New Media Reader  (available as a PDF from the the Media Reader web site). As in the last few weeks, the discussion at Baylor was led by two of its participants, this week Megan and Sandy. The seminar conversations revolved in Laurel's premise of describing human-computer interaction in terms of Aristotelian drama, specifically the idea of computers having "agency." Gardner described an interesting thread about the notion that a computer experience can be "beautiful".

Seminar participants also wrestled with the question of would our relationships with computers were not framed by using them initially in the scope of work. Gardner indicated how this flowed well into a discussion of games.  The seminar facilitators shared some game experience via YouTube clips such as ones from Halo 3, and how that platform is sometimes used as a place to create media, like the Red vs Blue series or This Spartan Life  that conducts talk shows created in a game space.

As a group, they watched a YouTube clip from World of Warcraft about Leeroy Jenkins, an internet meme for a comic character  who tragically yells out his own name when rushing into battle, ruining his team's strategy. Questions surrounded the intense nature of a short video inside view of a complex environment, and the influence of first person shooter perspectives in video games manifesting itself in movies like Cloverfield. The seminar participants also talked about the influence of social connections via gaming, which were not really as present in the games described in time of Laurel's essay.

Tis week's reading goes deeper into games with Sherry Turkle's look at the psychology of game play in Video Games and Computer Holding Power (pp 499-513 in The New Media Reader; also found online as a full excerpt from the New Media Reader site).