DMS 373/Spring 2020

DMS 373 Digital Media Studies Capstone Seminar

MW 10:25-11:40 Spring 2020



WADE KEYE, PhD Student, Visual & Cultural Studies

OFFICE HOURS: M 1-3pm, Morey 309

Welcome to the second half of what we hope will be your most fulfilling semester in college! We’re off to a great start with your capstones but there is more work to do to complete your ambitious projects and demonstrate your knowledge. In this final semester, our major’s emphasis on theoretical and practical components will come together through group projects, design and discussions. We will continue to make and research your capstones as you build upon and refine your work from last semester.

Class meets MW 10:25-11:40 on the third floor of Rettner hall. Plan on using Wednesday’s class time for group work and meetings.  Wednesday’s classes should be used as your planning sessions, this is a time when you can consult with your faculty or staff mentors and/or Wade and I in regards to the specific capstone project you are working on. Scheduled time on Monday includes lectures, workshops speaker presentations, professional development and capstone project trouble-shooting.   Please note that outside of class work for the capstone is integral to the success of your project, each of you should devote a MINIMUM of 10-12 hours per week on your capstone – and probably should allot more than this.  Because your fellow group members will be depending on you to pull your weight and meet deadlines, please ensure you do not over-commit yourself to other courses and activities this spring! Keep in mind, Wednesday classes are our most flexible.

The University of Rochester respects and welcomes students of all backgrounds and abilities. In the event you encounter any barrier(s) to full participation in this course due to the impact of a disability please contact the Office of Disability Resources. The access coordinators in the Office of Disability Resources can meet with you to discuss the barriers you are experiencing and explain the eligibility process for establishing academic accommodations. You can reach the Office of Disability Resources at:; (585) 276-5075; Taylor Hall.

Please find credit hour policy here:

Syllabus UPDATES March 19th 2020:

We recognize this is not the class you signed up for. This is not the class I agreed to teach with Wade either. We are in a totally different landscape than when we last saw you. From this point forward, we agree the humane option is the best option. In order to prioritize supporting each other, we need to communicate often. Our goal for the rest of the term is to complete the capstone projects and launch them online. Intellectual nourishment can be found as weekly posts on this site and will be accessible asynchronous content for diverse access, time zones, and contexts. The synchronous discussion will take place as scheduled capstone group meetings with Wade or I occasionally sitting in. We will remain flexible and adjust to the situation. We welcome and expect personal accommodations.

Assessment:  Your grade will be based on the following:

Group Work:            

  • 5 Bi-weekly Progress Reports (due Wednesdays, see below) 25%
  • Project Pitch Presentation to DMS Faculty Members 5%
  • Project Poster and logo  5%
  • Capstone Promotional Video (1-3 minutes) Rough Cut 5%
  • Capstone Website 5%
  • Prototype Presentation/Demonstration (with guests)   5%
  • Final Presentation, including finished video, Project Poster and actual capstone project 25%
  • Final Capstone Report, including  Overview, Reflection and External Validation      10%
  • Class engagement 15%

We will continue our use of Digital Media faculty and professionals as presentation panelists, in most cases using panelists from last semester who will already be familiar with your projects.

Written Reports will continue the format of the fall, with rotating leaders/recording secretaries, reporting on meeting the previous weeks’ deadlines and activities, significant group design decisions, etc., setting individualized future work goals and expectations, and regular consultation with our TA and faculty mentors. Your group will receive full credit for on-time submissions following your fall end-of-year level of detail and documentation. We will let entire groups know if any individual progress report submissions prove deficient (or are turned in late/not turned in at all) but this semester will not allow rewrites and resubmissions. The five progress reports are due dates are detailed in the course outline below. Each is worth 5% of your final grade, for a total of 25%.

Revised Prototype Demo:  at this session, you should provide a proof-of-concept of all of your project and report on how this may or may not differ from earlier visions/versions. Part of the class is you demonstrating your prototype, but at this stage you should have something that guests and Wade and I can actually use/play/experience ourselves, unscripted. If it is not quite ready for prime time, you need to report on the technical challenges you discovered and how you’re actively overcoming them or redesigning aspects of your project accordingly. The prototype should ideally be in a form that we can take it home and actively beta test. Your grade will be based on both your presentation of the prototype and the actual functionality of the prototype you provide.

Video:  You’ll need to promote, demonstrate, and disseminate your capstone through video(s). These videos will provide a succinct dynamic “Who/what/how/why/so what?” profile of your project, appealingly packaged to make the viewer want to use/play/experience it. In addition to showcasing the brilliance of your capstone project, these videos will serve to demonstrate your mastery of video and sound editing, storyboarding, scripting, and persuasive rhetoric. You will present a rough cut/work-in-progress version of this for critique, and a polished, finished version should be included in your final capstone presentation.

Final Presentation: A culmination/celebration of your finished projects, open to DMS 371 students, the UR community and any guests/community partners/contributors you’d like to invite. These will include an active presentation of your product with a brief reflection on its evolution, incorporate your promotional video, and related promotional/marketing strategies. UI and UX will also factor into this grade, based on my/panelists use/experience of your projects over the following day or two (i.e., we will play your game, walk through your room, or use your apps several times in the field as beta-testers) and confer thereafter. Modest funds can be provided for separate launch events and promotion/advertising through consultation with me throughout the spring with enough advanced notice. The performative and prototype testing part of your final presentation is worth 25% of your final grade.  Presentations will also include a poster providing a text and image 2D overview of your capstone design/development and research, a genre typical of natural sciences disciplines. Please send final versions of these by April 10th if you are updating your design. They will be mounted on easels in the Rettner Atrium on the day of your final presentation.

Final Capstone Reports. Due May 6th, each capstone group will author a report providing an overview of the design evolution and implementation of your project over the past year, identifying milestones in the development and self-assessing the final outcome. These reports MUST address issues of sustainability after you graduate, further potential development, the future of the project, and what important skills and insights you learned in creating it. These reports MUST also include some degree of external assessment and evaluation: reviews, critiques, user feedback, site visit/download counts, client letters, etc. Think of this as a synthesis of your entire previous group reports, but also reflecting on the entire capstone project and experience and how it forces you to learn and grow. Deliverables for the final are:  report (as described above), a link to your website, final poster, uploaded presentation file.

This is going to be a great semester. Although this syllabus has lots of components and assignments, they are all designed to ensure that your group capstones make steady progress and finish successfully and that you individually showcase your expertise in digital communication, critical thinking about digital media, and effective use of the broad range of digital tools and technologies that the major encompasses.

DMS 373 Digital Media Studies Capstone Seminar

Course Outline

(subject to change)

This semester we will be looking critically at a variety of ethical, social and reflective practices that are embedded in digital media and the work you are doing on your capstones.

W January 15:  Classes begin. Meet and re)greet. Syllabus and Spring Kick off! Ethics in design – What’s embedded in your tech? Filters and face tuning/Kodak. (Stephanie and Wade)

Graphic Design

W January 22: Lecture “Poster design, the good the bad and the…” Ethics in Graphic Design. Designing for different cultures. Accessibility. (Stephanie)

M January 27: Group meetings.

W January 29:  Posters Due uploaded to Poster designs due (Please submit .jpg 300dpi 24×36).  Group Meetings.


M February 3: Prototyping: Walk Though Method (Stephanie)

W February 6:  Group Meetings. Final Posters Due in Box before class meeting.

M February 10:  Prototyping Plan. Intro to Glow Forge.  (Stephanie)

W February 12:  Group Meetings. First bi-weekly report due.

Video Production

M February 17: Video Production: Capture Workshop (Wade) / Group Meetings.

W February 19: Video Production: Capture Workshop (Wade) / Group Meetings.

M February 24 : Video: Ethics in Video Production; Pre-Production, Shot lists and Storyboards. (Wade)

W February 26 : Adobe Premiere, editing workshop (Wade). Bi-Weekly Report Due

M March 2:  Group meetings.

W March 4:   Group meetings. Rough Cut Due

March 07-14 Spring Break/ Covid-19 Outbreak


M March 16:  Welcome Back Breakfast, work day – regroup. Graduation Committee Meeting

W March 18:  Bi-Weekly Report #3 Due. Mini-Talk: Ethics in VR: A New Digital Divide?

M March 23: Breathe. Read the posts. Fill out the Survey. Schedule a capstone group meeting for this week with Wade and me.

W March 25: Make sure you have filled out the survey and scheduled your capstone group meeting for this week with Wade and me.

M March 30: Linked IN/Alumni Networking (Career Center). Asynchronous module coming!

APRIL: Do you need any workshops? What are you having trouble completing?

W April 1: Scheduled Group Meetings. Bi-Weekly Report #3 Due

M April 6: Scheduled Group Meetings

W April 8: Scheduled Group Meetings

M April 13: Graduation Planning and Details with Niary and Stephanie via Zoom for interested seniors. 

W April 15: Scheduled Group Meetings. Bi-Weekly Report #4 Due

T April 16:  Guy Hoffman Lecture:  Attendance Required

M April 20:  This is our last week and our final push, so we will work together to finish our capstones collaboratively.

W April 22: This is our last week and our final push, so we will work together to finish our capstones collaboratively.

M April 27:  Graduation details. Final Graduation statements are due.

W April 29: Last class meeting, Final Cap Presentations. Platform TBD.  


M May 5: Final assessment and report due at 5PM.