ENAM 803 S01:
The primary objective this semester is to move to the next level of sophistication in understanding American culture(S) and the web as a medium by creating new extensions to the 30s Site on AS@UVA. We will begin the course with a series of readings meant to provide a rough map of the decade. Then we'll proceed to the selection of research topics, then workshop those topics through the remainder of the term. The site is already useful and frequently visited, but we should be able to push it to the next level and establish it as the primary site in this area. Projects of real scale and quality should be able to accomplish this.
As we did last term, we're also going to have a series of skill, knowledge, and asset building exercises. Most importantly, we're going to organize ourselves as a small web-development firm. I get the role of "The Boss," of course, but each of you will play a particular role of considerable independence and responsibility. E.g., we'll need production managers, a marketer, editors, professional developers, a technical support person and a placement officer. My intention here is to give you an opportunity to take responsibility for some specific aspect(s) of creating, maintaining, and deploying a web site. We'll change roles for the summer term, so you'll have two specific areas of expertise to include on your resume.
The major job of AS@UVA.com is, of course, the 1930s site. It desperately needs a timeline, something that will both give an overview of the period and serve as a navigational tool for the site. We have a piece of one now, embedded deep in a project, but it's seriously inadequate. As I see this now, I think the easiest way to do this is each of you to take a single year, then to assemble the whole lot into a single site much as you've done with the Yellow Pages. I'll also ask each of you to create a year-in-review newsreel (.mov?) of the sort moviegoers in the 30s would have seen at their local theatres. And I'd like each of the timelines to be as visually and auditorily rich as the resources permit. I have a collection of newsreels from the period in the lab, along with Time Magazine anthologies for some years, and we can push on the video acquisitions people at Clemons to purchase materials if they are crucial. I suspect the LOC Today in History site and the Internet Archive of films will be of some help, but we're going to have to be energetic and imaginative. More about that later.
I'd also like to ask each of you to take an existing project in the site -- not necessarily in the 30s -- and do a make over of it. I'll come up with a list of possible targets as soon as I can. In addition to trying to get some unrealized value in an asset, I also interested in the make over as an exercise, analyzing a site for its potential and finding ways to realize that.
Final project, role playing, make over, and timeline; that pretty much covers it. I considered asking you to work more on Parrington, on film clips, on magazine covers, etc., but concluded that the costs would be greater than the benefits. Even though I know you'll be disappointed by this decision, I believe that your efforts will be better spent creating technically and intellectually sophisticated sites that will display your knowledge, imagination, and competence -- and lead the world to beat a path to our door.