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1 Introduction
2 The lecture series
3 Statements on IT provision

4 Observations

5 Appendices

Case Studies

"Digital Futures": A Case Study in a Faculty of Art & Design


"Digital Futures": Initial I.T. Survey and results (extract)

TNTU: Department of Visual & Performing Arts
"Digital Futures": Semester 3 Elective (1997/98)
Initial Survey, Week 1
Points of contact: Barry Smith, Live Art Archive
Voice mail: (0115) 9418418 (extn 4219)

Your name:.......................................................
From paper to pixels
This initial survey (Week 1) is paper-based and requires your presence in the Bonington Lecture Theatre... the final Evaluation Survey (Week 15) will be remote and digital. Sign of the times I s'pose...
Topics which will feature in the series: (not necessarily in this order) .

  • Art on the Net
  • Communication: e-mail, lists, virtual libraries, virtual education
  • CyberWars: real, flame and virtual
  • Cyborgs, medical developments, Artificial Intelligence
  • Fiction - virtual and real: from words to invading aliens
  • Hackers/crime/security; copyright and copyLeft
  • Image and sound: design, composition and manipulation
  • Internet, Websites, HyperText and multimedia
  • IRC/MUDs/MOOs and digital games
  • Netsex, porn, violence and NannyWatch; freedom/censorship
  • Political, gender and Third World issues on and of the Net;
  • Space - real and cyber: Black Holes and hyperReality
  • Transportation and time-travel
  • Virtuality: banking, shopping, selling, homes, people, world.

You can influence the extent to which any topic is featured by ticking FIVE topics which interest you most at this stage.
If you wish you can also note below any additional "digital future" topic(s) which you hope the lecture series will at least touch upon.

Note: You will be asked to leave this completed Survey at the end of your first session; it will be returned to you at the beginning of your second session with a list of e-mail addresses and summary of the poll.

Admin Week 1: details of persons registering on the course:
Your name:
Your "home" institution (if not TNTU)
Your TNTU Faculty (if not Art and Design):
Your Department (if not Vis & Perf. Arts):
Your main degree course:
Your e-mail address*

*Note 1: It is a pre-requisite of this course that you have a current and accessible e-mail address (even if you don't yet know how to use it). Computer-User Registration is free for all TNTU students and if you don't have a registration name and password (or have forgotten one or both of them) you must ascertain both before you can be considered registered on this course. If necessary details of how to obtain these individual codes will be given at your first meeting.

*Note 2: Details supplied above (including your name and e-mail address) will be given to all registered members of this course. All other individual details requested below will remain confidential except by way of summaries (e.g. averages) which will help to determine course content, direction, starting point etc.

In case of illness/non-attendance at any lecture/seminar/workshop please leave a message on (0115) 9418418 extn 4219 or e-mail .
Any amendments/additions to the standard programme (e.g. workshop times, postponement of a session through staff illness) will be notified to all registered participants by e-mail.

General levels of I.T. (Information Technology) familiarity/ experience/ skills/ knowledge: (Please indicate on a scale 0-3 where
0= none
1 = a little
2 = familiar/practised
3 = advanced
(name package(s) most familiar to you)
(TNTU and/or private subscription?)
(name any current subscriptions )
(name any sites regularly visited (!) )
(give URL of any created )
(name any regularly used: )
(name software most familiar to you)
(name any regularly played )
(name any regularly played )
J.* OTHER I.T.-related experience/knowledge (1)
(give brief details: )
K.* OTHER I.T.-related experience/knowledge (2)
(give brief details: )

* Note: J and K can be used to indicate other individual I.T. interests even if your practical experience of them is only "a little" or even "none". (See also "workshop preferences", bottom of p.4.)

The only way to familiarise yourself with the practical aspects of I.T. (e-mail, "Lists", websites, surfin' etc) is by doing it - lectures, talks, demonstrations, seminars etc can all add to your understanding (particularly if parts of it are already familiar) but they won't necessarily be that helpful when it comes to negotiating practical problems. The "Digital Futures" lecture series is mainly discursive. Therefore if you want to develop additional I.T. skills you must be prepared to spend time in the University's computer resources (which are fairly sophisticated, available 24 hours a day and accessible if sometimes very busy). In some instances these resources may be supplemented by specialist departmental/course facilities and/or you may have your own facilities. Much of the skill of using IT is learning what does what, how, when you can access it to attempt what you want to do and who's on hand to help you if things don't work as expected! To achieve all this perseverance is necessary!

The "Digital Futures" course offers a chance to "get started" into unfamiliar territory - whether that be sending and receiving e-mail or creating cyborgs (but be warned, my practical knowledge of the latter is limited...). Familiarity with "digital futures" is intended to be "empowering" and, in IT at the moment, where there's a will there's a way! It may take time and effort but you can get there!

If you would like some additional "hands-on" sessions (which as far as possible will be arranged as group sessions in TNTU Resource Rooms) please indicate when your timetable
a) permits you to be free of other commitments (MARK CHART WITH A TICK!):
b) does NOT permit you to be free (DELETE TIMES ON CHART):

If you are opting for these class sessions please select any two items from page 3 of these notes that you would be particularly interested to improve. It may not be feasible to offer separate sessions on all topics but your choice will help to plan overall preferences. Your options should be realistic: if you are unfamiliar with e-mail creating cyborgs might prove difficult in the short term!

Your workshop preferences: Items A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J*, K*
(ring 2 letters, as appropriate)
*Note: J and K offer additional areas not specifically listed on p. 3.


For undergraduates registered on the "Digital Futures" course (10 credit points) there is a requirement to attend the main lectures/seminars and agreed workshops and to complete your own assessed work during the semester. Assessed work may take several forms providing it is agreed in advance (see below) as being adequate to fulfill the assessment requirements. It must be presented in a "permanent" form (e.g. paper, disc, CD-ROM, website etc) by the standard deadlines; if in a digital format it is the responsibility of the person submitting the work to ensure that it can be accessed for assessment purposes!

You are advised to develop a piece of work with some links into your main area of study (though this is not an absolute requirement and does not feature in the assessment criteria). The work, however, must have as its central concern "digital" developments in one guise or another. Under standard Assessment Regulations it is not possible to submit the same work for two separate assessments: thus work submitted in fulfilment of this course must be the original work of the person submitting it and may NOT be submitted in whole or part as fulfilment of another assessment. (It could however quite properly form an adjunct or "appendix" to another assessment providing its origins are clearly delineated at that time.)

Below are listed a few possibilities to prompt your thinking about a suitable assignment:
  1. An essay arising from one or more of the issues prompted by the Lecture Series or of particular concern to the individual arising from the study of "digital futures".
  2. A log-book (or similar) charting the individual's current explorations of one or more of the digital topics raised in the Lecture Series making clear the new territory examined/explored and reaching some concluding statements.
  3. A web-site (or equivalent) developed by the individual to explain/convey information or to stimulate debate around an appropriately related area.
  4. Collaborative proposals (both within and outside the registered group) may be acceptable providing that the contribution of any individual whose work is to be assessed remains distinctive and traceable!

It is essential to get prior agreement about the broad scope and manner of approach of any assessment work and a form (sorry!) is attached for this purpose. Remember that this "elective" is worth 10 credit points and the work undertaken should reflect that weighting in this semester's total workload. Also remember that a key aspect of the assessment criteria is your research/advancement over the course (so if you are already a guru of website design there may not be much point in just tossing off another one!)

Assessment/Assignment agreement

Your name:
Your main degree course:
Your E-mail address:
Give a brief title of your proposed assessment/assignment (max. 20 words)
Give a brief description of the proposed project (max. 100 words)

Once completed you should hand this to Barry Smith at one of the weekly sessions. At the next session he will return a photocopy to you with comments. Agreement on the scope and format of the proposed assignment is necessary and should be obtained before work for assessment is undertaken. The latest date by when assignment proposals must be agreed is Monday 1st December 1997.

Tutor's comments:

Digital Futures: Results (extract) from Week 1 survey

ART            xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxx                 24  3rd=
E-MAIL         xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/         30  2nd
CYBERWARS                                                   00  14th  btm
CYBORGS        xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/x                          16  5th=
FICTION        xxxxx/xxxxx/xxx                              13  8th=
HACKERS        xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/                           15  7th
IMAGE/SOUND    xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/x  36  1st  *
INTERNET       xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxx                 24  3rd=
IRC            xxxxx/                                       05  13th
NETSEX         xxxxx/xxxxx/xxxxx/x                          16  5th=
POLITICAL      xxxxx/xxx                                    08  12th
SPACE          xxxxx/xxxxx/xxx                              13  8th=
TRANSPORT      xxxxx/xxxxx/xxx                              13  8th=
VIRTUALITY     xxxxx/xxxx                                   09  11th

                      Level 2/3           Level zero
word, wp, x              3                  01
photoshop x              2                  32
image/sound              0                  20
internet                 1                  27
email                    1                  28
games, x, x, x, x, x     6                  19
irc                      1                  38
cd-rom                   1                  31
html                     0                  45
other:  accounts         1                  n/a

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