IDC Lab: Media
Integrated Design Curriculum
Parsons The New School for Design

instructor: Cynthia Lawson (
Office Hours - By appointment

Visit course BLOG

Introduction to Course - What is Media?

Warm-up Project:
A Personal Techno Map PDF icon

Assignments: Keep track of your daily interactions with media, analyze them + read Not So Fast


Class Discussion: Reading
Student Presentations: Weeklong media interactions

Resources: Map your Moves data visualization challenge

Assignments: Finish Project 1 and write a brief one-paragraph statement on your concept and list two examples that inspired you

Weekly Blogger: Ryan


Critique: Project 1: A Personal Techno Map


  • Read Never Just Pictures, The F Word, watch Gender and Sexuality in the Media, read/listedn to Gay and Gamer and come to class prepared with at least three project ideas inspired by the four sources, and to present for discussion.
  • Bring one image to class for an in-class workshop. The image can be appropriated or created by you and should be at least 1024x768pixels in size at a 72 dpi resolution.

Weekly Blogger: Belinda

09/21, 6-7:30pm: Art & Science Transdisciplinary Lectures Nina Katchadourian, Artist. Event details here

Introduction to Project 2: Sexuality and Gender PDF icon

Workshop: Image-making and taking


  • Finish the warm-up project (under one minute) & bring to class to present, as an exported Quicktime file. (It doesn't necessarily need to connect with sexuality & gender.)
  • Prepare a one-paragraph concept statement for Project 2. You must take a position on sexuality, gender, and the media, and describe your vision for how it will be translated into a slideshow.
  • Come to class prepared with images to start your project

Weekly Blogger: Jessica

Film: Catfish


In-class screening: Chris Marker's La Jetée, Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players' Mountain Trip to Japan, Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries' Artist's Statement No. 45,730,944: The Perfect Artistic Web Site, Takeuchi Tijin's Stop Motion with Wolf and Pig, Blu's Big Bang Big Boom, Oren Lavie's Her Morning Elegance (and Kindle's ad rip-off), Heavy Ammunition's Promo Video

Workshop: Images in Final Cut Pro

Assignments: Finish all images necessary for your project and come to class prepared to finish it.

Weekly Blogger: Hannah

Film: The Social Network

Film: Catfish


Studio work

Assignments: Finish Project 2 and be prepared to screen a Quicktime file of your work and to read your one-paragraph project statement.

Weekly Blogger: Bonnie

Film: The Social Network

Film: Catfish


Critique Project 2: Sexuality & Gender

Assignments: Assignments: Look through UBU Web and NPR. Choose one work (example: sound work, interview, or podcast) and listen up. In two to three paragraphs describe why you chose a certain piece, what it is, and your response to it. Next class we will have a show & tell - at which point you need to show the example you chose and read your statement on why you chose it.

Weekly Blogger: Caitlin W.

Ines Rae on "Some Will Pay (For What Others Will Pay To Avoid): Vernacular Typography And The Irreverence Of Popular Culture" on 10/21 at 6pm

Artist talk by Cynthia Lawson at Giacobetti Paul Gallery, Sat. 10/16, 4pm

Film: The Social Network

Film: Catfish


Introduction to Project 3: Signal/Noise PDF icon

Student presentations of sound inspirations


Workshop on sourcing sound and Audio Hijack

Assignments: Read Michel Chion's "The Three Listening Modes", the Sounds Amazing website, and Audio in the 21st Century. Write up three possible concepts in the form of a project statement for each, as well as how you are defining "media", "signal," and "noise." The statement should include conceptual & sonic content, and must include at least one reference to the Chion reading and one reference to either of the other two sources.

Weekly Blogger: Caitlin

Film: The Social Network

Film: Catfish


Final Cut Pro sound workshop

Studio work

Assignments: Finalize your concept statement and bring ALL of your sounds to class ready to import into Final Cut Pro.

Weekly Blogger: George

NY Soundscape Installations @ White Box

Janet Cardiff's The Forty-Part Motet

Film: The Social Network

Film: Catfish


Studio work

Workshop: Final Cut Pro audio filters

Assignments: Finish Project 3: Signal/Noise. Rewrite your concept statement to have references to readings as well as other sound work, and bring a ready-to-play file to class either in quicktime (if it has visuals) format or as a .aiff (sound file.)

Weekly Blogger: Miki

Janet Cardiff's The Forty-Part Motet

Film: The Social Network

Film: Catfish


Critique Project 3: Signal/Noise

Assignments: Read Exposed, Risk Reduction Strategies on Facebook, Always Social: Social Media Art Parts One, Two, Three;, and watch Flash Mob Gone Wrong. Come to class prepared to discuss the readings (each of you will be called on.) Also, create a self-portrait of your identity online and bring it printed ready to present in class.

Weekly Blogger: Hugh

Exhibition: #thesocialgraph

Janet Cardiff's The Forty-Part Motet

Film: The Social Network

Film: Catfish


Introduction to Project 4: PDF icon

Discussion: Readings and self-portraits.


  • Hand-coding a basic HTML page and how that fits into the larger picture of Web 2.0.
  • Uploading to a server. Instructions are found at, under the Student Tab, heading "webspace"

Assignments: Read 20 Things I Learned About the Internet, watch The Machine is Us/ing Us and create a basic web page proposing how you plan to transform your online identity. What is it now, and what do you want it to be? What tools and concepts are you exploring for the remainder of the semester?

Weekly Blogger: Melanie

Exhibition: #thesocialgraph

Film: The Social Network

Film: Catfish


Student presentations: Project proposals

Workshop: When to use what

Resources: Web Design Trends 2010

Weekly Blogger: Emma

Film: The Social Network

Film: Catfish




  1. Finish online identity project and make sure to include, in a statement, how your identity has changed (not just your new web presence.)

  2. Prepare a DVD to hand in with each of your projects and statements. Make sure your files are appropriately named and that all files are standalone versions (pdf, .mov, .aiff, .html) If you did not create an HTML-based project as your final piece, then please include a link to your web presence. If you have updated any of the work please add updated to your filename.

  3. Last week to catch up with the blog and extracurricular activities!

Studio work

Film: The Social Network

Film: Catfish

Final critique:Project 4: Online ID


Course Description

Students work with various digital applications (including, but not limited to digital imaging, presentation, video and audio tools and internet) as platforms to investigate the concepts and processes of making, creating, imaging and representing the media in society today.   The course is both a hands-on introduction to various software applications as well as an exercise in bridging theory and practice.  A special emphasis will be placed on digital media for purposes of representation, dissemination and critique.

Learning Outcomes

The objective of this course is for you:

  • To use reading, writing, and digital media as a means to better understand the relationship between theory and practice and its importance to your development as an artist or designer.
  • To develop a personal conceptual process and to bring your process into play with others through group discussion and peer reviews.
  • To increase your ability to observe and identify, describe and analyze ideas and aspects of your work in order to deepen and expand the possibilities of exploration and experimentation.
  • To understand the different processes and meaning of invention through the experience of reading, reflection, and working with digital media.
  • To develop technical skills in imaging, presentation, and video, and understand the rela-tionship of technique to concept.

Course Deliverables
Students’ learning will be assessed through one warm-up assignment and three projects.  Students are also required to participate (via writing during one week and via reading and commenting the other weeks) on the course blog, which will serve as the repository for critical insight and reflection on the themes in the course, the projects produced, and the readings assigned.  Lastly, students are required to attend at least two of the extracurricular events suggested by their faculty throughout the semester and submit a written critique (not a summary, but an insightful and short reflection on the event) after each.

Working with Technology

All students are expected to

  • Keep copies of every version of every file
  • Hand in a CD or DVD with the final versions of both the project and artist statement the day of final critique.
  • Use hardware and software in The New School computer labs - for schedules and more information see
  • Know the policies on file deletion from Works in Progress and Drop Box.   Students are encouraged to purchase an external hard drive to backup their work.
  • Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.   Please keep this in mind when planning your week (ie. do not leave your homework for Sunday nights!

Department and Class Policies

Student Responsibilities
•    Treat class time as an opportunity.
•    Arrive to class on time, with all materials, ready to work steadily throughout the ses-sion. Be prepared with all your required materials for every class. Complete all as-signments on time.
•    Participate in all class discussions and critiques. Confront difficulties in your work in the spirit of learning, creative exploration and personal growth. Ask for help from your instructors when needed.
•    Respect your fellow students at all times. Disruptive behavior is not tolerated. You are responsible for cleaning up after yourself at the end of each class.
•    No radios, players, walkmans, beepers or cellular phones are allowed in class.

The New School Statement on Academic Integrity and Honesty

Academic honesty is the duty of every member of an academic community to claim authorship of his or her own work, and only for that work, and to recognize the contributions of others accurately and completely.   Academic honesty is fundamental to the integrity of intellectual debate and creative and academic pursuits.   All members of the University community are expected to conduct themselves in accord with the standards of academic honesty.   Students are responsible for knowing and making use of proper procedures for writing papers, present-ing and performing their work, taking examinations, and doing research.

Plagiarism and cheating of any kind in the course of academic work will not be tolerated.   Academic honesty includes accurate use of quotations, as well as appropriate and explicit cita-tion of sources in instances of paraphrasing and describing ideas, or reporting on research findings or any aspect of the work of others (including that of instructors and other students).   These standards of academic honesty and citation of sources apply to all forms of academic work (examinations, essays, theses, computer work, art and design work, oral presentations, and other projects).

It is the responsibility of students to learn the procedures specific to their discipline for correctly and appropriately differentiating their own work from that of others.   Compromising your academic integrity may lead to serious consequences, including (but not limited to) one or more of the following: failure of the assignment, failure of the course, academic warning, disciplinary probation, suspension from the university, or dismissal from the university.  

Every student at Parsons signs an Academic Integrity Statement as a part of the registration process.   Thus, you are held responsible for being familiar with, understanding, adhering to and upholding the spirit and standards of academic integrity as set forth by the Parsons The New School for Design Student Handbook .

Attendance Policy
Class attendance is mandatory. There is no substitute for working and participating in class. The attendance policy applies to everyone. There are no exceptions. Students must return to class promptly after breaks. Undo tardiness following a given break will result in an absence. Leaving the class before it is over will be considered an absence.

For classes meeting one time per week for 15 weeks, 3 absences constitute grounds for failure.

Two (2) tardies will be counted as one absence.
Class begins on the hour sharp. The door to the classroom will be closed at that time. Anyone walking in after the door has closed (class has started) will be marked late. 5 minutes is con-sidered tardy, and over 20 minutes is considered an absence.
The following may be counted as tardy:
•    Coming to class without the required materials
•    Sleeping in class
•    Being asked to leave class because of disruptive behavior.
•    Doing other course work in class.

Academic Warning
Students who do not complete and submit assignments on time and to a satisfactory standard will fail this class. It is a student's responsibility to obtain missed assignment sheets from other classmates and make-up the work in time for the next class.

Evaluation and Grading

Course Expectations
In order to receive a grade for this course, students must complete all presentations, and ac-tively participate in classroom discussions and critiques. Any student that does not present work during any of the formal presentations will automatically fail. Expectations for the pres-entation are clearly defined. The presentation will be evaluated on the following basis:

•    if the project fulfills the requirements and objectives of the assignment
•    if the student demonstrates initiative and inventiveness in the exploration
•    if the student has improved
•    if the project is carefully considered and consistently iterated and developed

Assignments and work in progress must be completed on time and included in class discussion & critique. Late assignments will be penalized. Consideration will be given to how much a stu-dent's work has developed and how well that development demonstrates an understanding of the concepts of the course in conjunction with the arguments present within your project.  Students will also have an opportunity to re-do the major projects before the end of the se-mester for extra credit.

Your grade is determined by your performance in following:
Blogging & Weekly Progress: 20%
Extracurricular: 5%
Project 1: 15%
Project 2: 20%
Project 3: 20%
Project 4: 20%

Grade Descriptions: (from Parsons Student Handbook & Core Studies Faculty Handbook)


Work of exceptional quality.These are projects that go above and beyond the expectations and requirements described in the assignment. They d substantial effort and achievement in the areas of critical thinking, technique and presentation.


Work of high quality. 90-94%
Work of high quality, higher than average abilities  
Very good work that satisfies goals of course.  
The "B/B+" student offers a clear and convincing structure to a visual endeavor that is more complex and unique than a project at the average level. The creator's point of view and point of the project are merged successfully and organized fairly consistently throughout the project. Although minor structural problems may be present in the assignment, they do not hinder the overall outcome.
Good work. 80-82%
Average work, Average understanding of course material. 76-79%
Adequate work;   passable.     The student demonstrates some success in engaging with the assignment. The project will show that the creator can identify and work with key ideas and examples found in reference material. Typical of a "C" project is that the original problem or assignment once approached, does not move forward. Projects may also have organizational, technical weaknesses. 73-75%
Passing work but below good academic standing. 70-72%
Below average work; does not fully understand the assignments.

Although this is passable work, the project only answers the minimum requirements of the assignment. The projects shows very little effort, is incomplete, late or incorrect in its approach. The outcome shows a lack of understanding and commitment on the part of the creator.

Failure, no credit. 0-59%