Becoming Digital: Writing about Media Change

The photograph shows the Standards Eastern Automatic Computer (SEAC) that was used to create the first scanned image. This is the fifitieth anniversary of the first marked digital image.

The room-sized Standards Eastern Automatic Computer (SEAC) was used to create the first scanned image. (Photo by National Institute of Standards and Technology.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2009



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

"Becoming Digital" traces the change in practice, theory and possibility as mechanical and chemical media are augmented or supplanted by digital media. These changes will be grounded in a semester length study of "reports from the front." These reports, found and introduced by students throughout the semester, are the material produced by and about soldiers and civilians on the battlefield from the introduction of wet photography during the Crimean and Civil Wars to contemporary digital content posted daily to Web 2.0 sites from areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan and possibly even the games and simulations they've inspired. Students will work through the ethical, aesthetic, technical and cultural problems raised by the primary content and secondary readings in three papers, a group project written with Inform 7, a presentation, and frequent discussion.

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Ben Miller. 21W.784 Becoming Digital: Writing about Media Change. Fall 2009. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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